Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Piano man again

It's all a bit of an anti-climax really. After four months of mystery and intrigue, the "Piano Man" suddenly tells people his name and flies home to Germany.

What a let down.

But, remembering this is a real person I'm talking about and not just an entertaining story, how nice it is that he's finally home. The question is, will we ever find out how he ended up wandering on beach in a dripping wet suit? Perhaps he just went for a paddle. Or, he still could be a dastardly russian spy - who would tell us? The Sun, maybe...

Whatever the case, and no matter how dull the reality turns out to be, I'm still sure there's going to be a film about this some time in the future. Whether it will tell the truth is another matter. Perhaps we need to hear from the man himself to put this one to bed for good.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Mo Mowlam

As much as I'm loath to get into politics on my blog (except when absolutely necessary...) I couldn't let Mo Mowlam's death go by without mentioning what a brilliant woman she was.

To put it simply, Mo Mowlam was the only politician I ever liked. She was honest, down to earth, determined and, most importantly, very, very funny. Some of her tv appearances brought tears of laughter to the eyes. How many politician manage that? Tears of despair maybe...

The BBC website has an article featuring reader contributions called The day I met Mo Mowlam. Read them, they're priceless.

Where's the next Mo going to come from?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mohandas K. Gandhi

Why did nobody ever tell me about Gandhi? Why?

I'm not talking about the film that I saw for the first time last night, but the man who's enlightened approach to life made the film the fantastically emotional and uplifting journey it was. I'm still feeling gobsmacked. I can't believe I've spent my life so far knowing far too little about this man.

Gandhi was known as Mahatma, meaning great soul (that's right, it's not actually his first name...), as true a description as there ever could be. He was a peaceful man who fought doggedly against civil injustice, who spoke for the downtrodden when others looked away, who rallied against imperialism and succeeded in a big way. Through gentleness, inspiration and perseverence he became the father of a nation. He made a real difference, an almost unimaginable difference, and he did it without guns, or bombs, or hatred of any kind. An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.

We could all learn from Gandhi - some more than others. Violence is never the answer; more importantly, great things can be acheived without it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

New words

You know what job I would like? I'd like to be one of the people who decides what new words get to go in the Oxford English Dictionary. New words and phrases to make it this time around include chav, phishing and chip and pin.

But am I the only person who doesn't know that Ruby Murray is rhyming slang for curry? Am I meant to have heard of Ruby Murray? Let me go and look this up. I'm a librarian, you know.

I'm back...

It turns out Ruby Murray was a famous Irish singer in the 50s. Was she really that famous or is there just not much else that rhymes with curry? What about slurry? Given what some curries look like, I think that could be quite appropriate...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sacrificing myself

The defining moment of each day of your life is the moment you do something for the first time. Most days have moments like that, even if you don't realise it at the time.

Now, I'm not talking about deliberately doing daft things like standing on one leg and shouting "HERMAPHRODITE!" just for the sake of making a dull day original. I'm talking about the tiny, tiny things that happen naturally in the course of your day, like walkng down a new street, trying a new food, talking to a new person, finding out something you didn't know before. Then you can look back on the day and think, Oh yes, that was the day I sat in chewing gum in my lunch break.

That was yesterday. Today will be the day I sat on my bed with a pre-addressed envelope and a plastic vial and sacrificed my body in the name of scientific research. Well, some of my DNA on the end of a stick anyway. I'm pretty sure I've never done that before.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bad library fiction is really really good

There are some things that only incredibly skilled people can do well, and writing very badly is one of them. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest showcases the best of the worst, for our amusement and entertainment.

What the competition seems to lack, however, is a library catagory. In fact, now I think about it, the library setting is sadly neglected by fiction writers in general. How about The Dewey Code, The curious incident of the rat in the stacks or The hitchikers guide to the information galaxy?. But, back to the point.

Well, actually there wasn't much of a point. This is all pretty much a preamble to this terrrible opening to a terrible novel penned by my own fair hand:

She didn't become a librarian for money, for ambition, or even for Dewey. She became a librarian because the moment she cast her eyes upon the papery pages and ink black words of a monograph for the first time, she felt true love. Now, adrift in a sea of shelves, she once more caressed The history and social influence of cod, fondling the masculinity of deep purple buckram with a trembling hand and cursing the readers who had left his pages dog-eared and spilt contraband Ribena on the tp verso. As salty tears began to fall and mingle with the sinful stain of sticky red beverage, she knew she had failed him and every other information resource she cared for. It was then she realised her aching soul could not bear to see this evil happen again, not to a book, a periodical, or, Library of Congress forbid, to the keyboard of a faithful opac. She gripped the keys to the library in her pocket tighter and tighter until she felt the jagged edges gouging her palm. The gaping door beckoned and she knew what she must do.

Pretty bad, hey? Anyone think they can compete with that for library-based twaddle?