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Local Libraries Threat

As part of cost-cutting measures a proposal has been put forward to close 16 libraries in Fife. Three of these I have used and one of them has a very good stock indeed.

I have mentioned before how many libraries are within a few miles of Son of the Rock Acres. Most of these serve distinct communities. Not all of them are under threat but I would be sad to see any of them go. However, two of them are the ones I use most often.

As a result of this proposal the good lady and I have recently been borrowing a few more books than we would have previously in order to boost “footfall”. This means the books already unread on our shelves will have to remain there for a while.

Apparently the plans have been halted temporarily to allow for “consultation” – as is mentioned in this article where there is also a link to a petition to keep the libraries open.

Val Doonican

Yet another voice from my young past has been extinguished.

Val Doonican was always determinedly old-fashioned and was probably more famous for Irish novelty songs, wearing woolly jumpers and singing while reclining in a chair than for ruffling the charts but he had a good crooner’s voice and five top ten hits between 1964 and 1967.

Doonican’s biggest was What Would I Be – a no 2 – and his cover of Bob Lind’s Elusive Butterfly reached No 5 in the UK charts – as, curiously, did Lind’s own version.

Val Doonican: Elusive Butterfly

Michael Valentine “Val” Doonican: 3/2/1927 – 1/7/2015. So it goes.

Tanith Lee

I saw in today’s Guardian Tanith Lee’s obituary.

Despite her prolificity, I don’t recall reading much of her work (SF, Fantasy and Horror in the main) but her name was familiar to me. I may have noticed at the time that she wrote two episodes of Blake’s 7 but it wasn’t something I had at my front of my mind.

She was notable as being the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award for best novel (for her book Death’s Master.)

Tanith Lee: 19/09/1947 – 24/5/2015. So it goes.

Charles Kennedy

I was shocked to hear the news this morning that Charles Kennedy has died.

The last time I saw him on television – on This Week the week Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister – he seemed in fine health.

I have since read elsewhere that he didn’t look well during the General Election campaign. The death of his father only a few weeks before followed by his defeat at the polls after 32 years as an MP can only have added to his burdens even if he took it well at the time with his joke about “the night of the long sgian dubhs.”

Since his first election (for the SDP) he always came across as likeable – an almost priceless asset in a politician – even decent. The revelations about his alcohol problem didn’t puncture the sense of warmth people felt for him.

He was a man whose instincts seemed to be right. This was exemplified by his opposition to the Iraq War.

Public life in Scotland and the UK is diminished by his passing.

Charles Peter Kennedy: 25/11/1959 – 1/6/2015. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 120: Terry

I just read yesterday that 60s almost one-hit wonder, Twinkle, has passed away.

Her big hit Terry caused a fuss at the time it was released as it was about a boy who died in a motorbike crash. Coincidentally The Shangri-Las’ similarly themed Leader of the Pack came out at much the same time. I do remember my next to oldest brother buying Terry. He had a thing for records by solo female singers.

Another of Twinkle’s claims to fame is that she eventually married the Milk Tray man.

Here are both sides of the Terry single.

Twinkle: Terry (plus The Boy of my Dreams)

Twinkle’s only other hit, Golden Lights, was later covered by The Smiths!

Twinkle: Golden Lights

Lynn Annette Ripley. “Twinkle.” 15/7/1948 – 21/5/15. So it goes.

RIP B B King

And now it’s blues legend B B King who has died.

There’s something pure about the music the great blues musicians played.

This is B B playing Sweet Sixteen, originally from 1959, live.

B B King: Sweet Sixteen

Riley B (known as B B) King: 16/9/1925 – 14/5/2015. So it goes

Possible Blogging Hiatus

Things may be sparse around here for a while. The good lady’s blog friend from the USA, Peggy of Peggy Ann’s Post and whose Read Scotland 2014 Challenge I signed up for last year, has arrived for her long awaited holiday in Scotland.

As a result we will be busy showing her all the sights, or at least those sights not too far flung from Son of the Rock Acres. Time for blogging may be limited.

Election Reflections

I’ve been struggling to work out what the results of Thursday’s General Election might mean – apart from more years of cuts and austerity and demonising of the people least to blame for the country’s financial woes.

What we have just witnessed is an utterly astonishing all but clean sweep of seats in Scotland by a party whose main raison d’être, Scottish independence, was defeated a bare six months before and which by any logical reckoning ought therefore to have been on its uppers, gibbering in a corner; plus the near wipeout of Scottish Labour representation (a party which evidently has been rotting from within for years and has now simply crumbled away.)

One thing is now clear, however. In UK Parliamentary terms Scotland does not matter – if it ever did. Votes in England determine the result at Westminster and the make-up of the UK Government. Always have, always will.

Are Dead Nazis Due Royalties?

I heard about this in an item on the radio news today.

It seems the owner of the copyright of the diaries of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels is suing a publisher over quotations from them.

My first reaction was “Goebbels had an estate?” As far as I was aware he and his wife Magda had killed all their children before themselves committing suicide – or having an SS man shoot them. So who could be the beneficiaries of his estate? (A private individual it would seem from the link above.) Reflecting on it as I write this, I wonder did Hitler have an estate? And who owns that?

My second thought earlier was, why should Goebbels have an estate? It all ought to have been confiscated and given over to victims’ organisations. Surely no single person has the right directly to benefit financially from the activities of the Nazi hierarchy?

This is a murky area of course, as the publishers are seeking to do just that.

Günter Grass

I see that Günter Grass has died.

I haven’t actually read any of his novels – he’s one of those novelists whom I meant to get round to sometime. The closest I have come was when I watched the film that was made of his novel The Tin Drum. The film was excellent.

There was a stooshie when he revealed he had been a member of the Waffen SS – mostly because he had managed to keep the fact to himself for 60 years and in the interim had been outspoken about Germany’s post-war attitude to the Nazis. I doubt, though, many German seventeen year-olds would have resisted being called up in 1944. In any case his war record can have had no bearing whatsoever on his abilities as a writer. As a person perhaps; but not as an author. (There were doubtless many more in Germany, Austria and various parts of Eastern Europe who may have had more reason to keep theirs quiet.)

The Nobel Committee saw fit to award him its prize in literature in 1999. That puts him in good company.

Günter Grass: 16/10/1927 – 13/4/2015. So it goes.

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