Well, this month has been an incredibly interesting one; though I’ve delved into some tried and tested favourites by Mineko Iwasaki and Terry Pratchett, I’ve discovered some absolute comic gems in Ian Sansom and Jasper Fforde. You could say that comedy is this month’s theme, almost! I’ve certainly been enjoying myself.
“Today I have seen queues at petrol stations of up to two miles. Some shops are open, but there are queues. It seems like you have to listen to local radio to hear what is opening and then head down there. But I’ve also seen people queuing outside shops that aren’t open. Whether they’ve heard they are going to open, I don’t know. We are quite lucky because we live in a fairly new apartment in the city. By half way through yesterday we had water and they got our electricity on.
We couldn’t stand up. The quake never seemed to stop – such powerful shaking for just over a minute. I had to jump on top of the nearest three kids and try to keep them calm even though they and also I were so terrified. The classroom was totally turned over, bookshelves down, the photocopier also fallen down. There are an estimated 10,000 dead in Miyagi, but that’s just an estimate. Some people can’t get in contact because they can’t phone, so hopefully that number will be less.”
Michael Tonge, an English teacher who was at work in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, at the time the tsunami hit Japan’s northern coast
“Remarkably enough, I know people must think it was a really horrific experience – it’s so much easier to take any form of punishment if you believe you actually deserve it, and I did.
It wasn’t a weekend break, put it that way. I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I thought, ‘Oh my God, this place is absolutely filthy,’ because it was Pentonville. I just thought, you get your head down.”
Singer George Michael, speaking about his prison sentence last September for a drug-fuelled crash into the front of a photo shop in London
“I’m just lucky enough to be employed in this business and get good parts still. I just want another good job. To be in a hit though has been really refreshing; I have enjoyed being in a hit because there have been so many films I’ve been in which about 3.2 people have seen.
It’s fantastic that so many people get such patent pleasure, and all ages. Usually when I see someone coming towards me with great enthusiasm, I can put them into which film they’re launching towards, you know, either Fight Club or maybe. With The King’s Speech I get eight year olds coming up and saying ‘I loved it’, and 88 year olds. It’s the fact that it’s got such a wide appeal to every nationality and every age, every culture. It’s quite extraordinary.”
Actress Helena Bonham Carter speaking about her part in The King’s Speech and her subsequent Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, one of 11 nominations the film has received
I’m a little disappointed in myself that I haven’t read as many books this month as I did in January! However I am still very much on target with the 50 book challenge I started this year.
The books I chose in February seem to carry a mutual theme, that of strong women living inspiring lives and exchanging the socially acceptable in a struggle for empowerment and freedom. I’m not sure whether my choices were deliberate on a subconscious level or just random, but they made a good month’s reading nonetheless.
“It’s still very difficult for me to tell my family about my life being a lesbian. They know I am a believer, they know I am religious, but going as far as saying I am a lesbian is quite hard. I remember thinking this is the only time I am going to get married, and my family weren’t there.
That was constantly going through my mind – I am having an Islamic nikah, doing as much as I can through my faith, but my family weren’t there.”
Asra, a lesbian muslim woman who has married her partner Sarah through a ‘nikah’ or traditional Muslim wedding rite, despite the faith’s ongoing majority opposition to same-sex marriage
Now that there’s a new Lord of the Rings film firmly on the horizon, I thought it was high time to be geeky again!
There are, in my eyes, two different kinds of LOTR geek. First, you have ‘the Purist’, and then you have what’s known as ‘the Ringer’. Ringers (like Trekkies) are fans who love the films and indulge in all-nighter bumper viewings of all the extended versions back-to-back, but perhaps haven’t read the books themselves. Purists are the kind of fan who won’t touch the films with a barge pole, on account of the grave departures in plot or character from the original books. Purists look down on Ringers as lacking some sort of intelligence, and Ringers think that Purists are a bit snobbish, actually.
It’s perhaps a bit ironic that I’m a bit of both. I love the film adaptations of the books, in spite of all their idiosyncrasies and deliberate differences from the original books. I believe both are amazing masterpieces in their own right. Although, it’s true that a very impractical part of me still laments the loss of Tom Bombadil. It also wonders why Elrond, one of the most important Elves in Middle-earth, travelled unaccompanied for thousands of miles just to give Aragorn a sword – when he could’ve avoided the journey completely by handing it over back in Rivendell. As he did in the book.