For those of you who have followed up my previous recommendation about listening to the short story podcasts on the New Yorker website, a new source of downloadable stories is available via The Guardian. It’s a similar format to the New Yorker, although there is no introduction to the stories i.e. an absence of Deborah Triesman’s dulcet tones. An author reads the story and then – a la New Yorker – discusses it with Lisa Allardice the Guardian’s Review editor. So far, I’ve listened to stories by William Trevor and Rabindranath Tagore – 2 very different stories, one set in modern Ireland but with very traditional elements and the other set in 1890s India. As adults, we’ve lost the habit (and art) of reading stories out loud and only do this for children. These podcasts allow us to listen to a story – a different experience from reading one. So, when you are in the kitchen and preparing a meal, turn off the radio and listen to a story -and be prepared to be enriched.
I went to see the film of the Life of Pi but resisted the temptation to see it in 3D – I’m there for the story, the acting and the photography, not the special effects. Having said that, I haven’t actually tried to experience 3D in the cinema, so maybe I should reserve comments until I do. It’s an excellent film. I read the book when it came out and was enchanted by this potentially preposterous tale of a shipwrecked boy sailing across the ocean with a tiger – the wonderfully named Mr Richard Parker. At the end, there is an alternative explanation but the joy of the film is that, while you need not take the tiger tale literally, it is a great experience to watch the struggle between boy and tiger on the dinghy. another superb film by Ang Lee.
In Edinburgh recently, I walked up The Mound and on to the High Street, which part of the Royal Mile. It was a bright day, so I took my camera. The first photo below is of outside staircases just off the High Street. I like the lines in this photo and the way your eyes follow the railings. The 2nd and 3rd photos were taken at the Old Stamp Office Close. In Scots, a close is an alleyway between buildings, also called a vennel. In this part of Edinburgh, known as the Old Town, there is a plethora of closes, which were dangerous places for unsuspecting tourists in the 18th and 19th centuries, and some famous murders took place in the closes. If you visit Edinburgh- seek out the closes and follow them down to some superb buildings – just do in the daylight.