Marvel at the acoustic brilliance of Tommy Emmanuel

Over the years I’ve been to many great concerts with my Dad.   He’s introduced me to some of my favourite musicians including James Taylor, Dave Matthews and the Finn Brothers and I always jump at the chance to go and see someone in concert that I’ve never heard of before.  Tommy Emmanuel was one such musician, and when I went to see him in concert at the Theatre Royal a couple of years ago I was blown away.  The things that he could do with a guitar were amazing and it was easy to forget that he was the only musician on the stage.  After the concert I just had to hear more from Tommy and got some of his previous CDs from the Library.

Therefore, when I saw that we had just got Tommmy Emmanuel’s new live CD, Center Stage, at the Library I had to get my hands on it.  The CD is fantastic and it was like being back at that concert again.  One of my favourite songs from the new CD is a masterpiece called ‘Initiation’ in which Tommy shows the range of his guitar skills.

If you appreciate true musical genius, check out Tommy Emmanuel

A. S. Byatt The Children’s Book

A. S. Byatt’s Posession has long been one of my favourite novels so I enthusiastically seized upon her latest work,  The Children’s book …  and was dismayed.  Just I had engaged with the characters in the first chapter the book dives off into a discourse on the bohemian and radical in late Victorian society and then to a whole other group of people; it’s worse than a Russian epic.  David Larsen’s review in the Listener July 4th 2009, p.40-41) sums it up: “Absorbing, rewarding and exasperating…”   so I perservered, skipping ahead sometimes but the going back and re-reading.

I am now up to page 300 (it’s a big solid book) and the rhythm of the novel has captured me.   I may even buy it which I only do with novels I know I am going to want to re-read – does anyone else do that?   Yes, chunks of social history could have been edited out, but you can skim them; yes there are too many characters to fully develop as they deserve to be, but none the less, I love it.  Oh to be able to write like this at all let alone when you are 80.

Sue C.

Curious about George?

My three year old, Lucy is a bit of a tv addict and although I try to limit the amount she watches, she still watches more than she should.   We share some favourites (Shaun the sheep among others), some I can’t understand the attraction (In the night garden) and others are just plain weird (Yo Gabba Gabba)  but one she really enjoys and that I don’t mind her watching is Curious George

The dvd collections of the tv programme are great on so many levels.  They are entertaining and funny with humour for both adults and children.  George’s monkeyness and curiosity is very similar to that of a young child.   Although George’s curiosity sometimes gets him into trouble,  he works through the situations methodically with the narrator (none other than the esteemed actor William H. Macy) chanelling George’s thought processes as he goes, which provide educational opportunities subtly embedded into charming storylines.  The official Curious George website for the programme  even details their educational philosophy.   

They are based on the famous books of the same name by Margret and H.A Rey.    While I was looking into Curious George material, my own curiousity lead me to the the true wartime escape of Margret and H.A. Rey, from Paris on bicycles no less – no wonder George is so adventurous.  I only have one thing that bothers me about Curious George.  The fact that George has no tail and is technically not a monkey bothers me – just a little bit.