Why 2016 was a great year after all

Chris Hallam's World View

150806212843-07-fox-debate-trump-0806-super-169Don’t believe me? Then, consider the following…

  1. Much attention has been focused on the large number of celebrities who died in 2016. But what about the much larger number of celebrities who DIDN’T DIE during the year? These include former US president Jimmy Carter, actor Tom Baker, Bjorn Borg, puppeteer Bob Carolgees, Arthur Scargill, Deliverance star Ned Beatty, Olivia de Havilland, Roger Moore, Brigitte Bardot, Ross Perot, Frank Oz and Hugo Chavez. Chavez, admittedly, was already dead at the start of the year. This still counts.
  2. Sadiq Khan was elected mayor of London. His opponent Zac Goldsmith’s campaign floundered, proving decisively that racist and dishonest tactics will never succeed in a western political campaign. Ahem…
  3. For the first time in over two centuries of history a woman was nominated as the presidential candidate for a major US political party. Hurrah! Admittedly, she lost to a man accused of sexual offences…

View original post 195 more words

Book review: How To Stop Time, by Matt Haig

Chris Hallam's World View

Published by: Canongate, July 6th 2017

Tom Hazard has a condition.

For although he looks and sounds like any other forty-one year old man, he is older than he seems. Much older. For while most men of forty-one spent their childhoods rising BMXs and playing Spectrum computer games, Tom was born in the later stages of the Tudor era. In short, he is well over four hundred years old already and can expect to live into the 23rd century.

Anageria is the name given to Tom’s condition in Matt Haig’s excellent novel. He is not immortal and indeed does still age but just as dogs and cats are thought to live for seven years to every human’s one, Tom lives one year for every other humans’ fifteen. In short, he has only aged ten years since the age of Charles Dickens and Abraham Lincoln. He would only age five or…

View original post 245 more words

Book review: The End Of Asquith by Michael Byrne

Chris Hallam's World View

herbert_henry_asquithA political drama set amidst the upper echelons of the Asquith Government might not sound like everyone’s cup of tea and indeed probably isn’t. Author Michael Byrne nevertheless deserves credit here for almost achieving the impossible task of being both almost wholly historically accurate (as far as I could tell anyway) and being dramatically engaging. The novel often reads like a film or TV script. Anyone planning a drama based around  the very British coup which saw Herbert Asquith usurped as wartime Prime Minister by David Lloyd George in 1916, could do worse than using this book as a starting point.

First world war: British troops go over the top in the trenches during the battle of the Somme

Even with the absence of  “middle aged man in a hurry” Winston Churchill, who has resigned as Lord of the Admiralty after the Gallipoli disaster and gone to the western front, there are plenty of colourful characters here. Byrne does a good job of seeing everyone’s point of view. Asquith…

View original post 168 more words

Book Review: Modernity Britain Opening The Box 1957-59 by David Kynsaton

Chris Hallam's World View

ImageThe Fifties are often remembered as a serene and peaceful, even slightly boring time, but as David Kynaston’s book reminds us, it wasn’t all like that.

The Notting Hill riots of 1958, for example, were amongst the most serious racial disturbances of the century.  British football reeled from news of the Munich air disaster which seemed to have robbed English football of the talented names that had seemed set to dominate the Sixties. The Wolfenden Report, meanwhile, recommended decriminalisation of homosexual behaviour. This wouldn’t actually happen until 1967.

The beauty of David Kynsaton’s book, the first of two making up Modernity Britain covering 1957-1962 (his previous volumes Austerity Britain and Family Britain detailed the period from 1945 to Suez) is how they seem to cover nearly everything that happened in the UK at the time. On the one hand, we get the big, obvious events: Macmillan pulling the Tories back…

View original post 268 more words

Book review: Modernity Britain Book Two A Shake of the Dice 1959-62, David Kynaston

Chris Hallam's World View

kynaston

Book review: Modernity Britain Book Two A Shake of the Dice 1959-62, David Kynaston. Published by Bloomsbury.

They sometimes say that if you can remember the nineteen sixties, you weren’t there. Well, I genuinely wasn’t there, I know this for a fact. But after reading this, the second part of the third volume of David Kynaston’s masterful collection of books spanning the period from the Attlee victory in 1945 to its bitter denouement in May 1979, I sort of feel like I lived through it.
Or at least the first part of the Sixties. For this book takes us to the half way point in Kynaston’s saga. It is a nation in transition. The colossal changes of the Sixties have not quite began at the end of the book. The Beatles are no longer The Quarrymen. They have been to Hamburg but they have not fully taken off yet. Dudley…

View original post 379 more words

Book Review: Play All: A Bingewatcher’s Notebook by Clive James

Chris Hallam's World View

play all

Once upon time, conversations about TV used to be like this:

“Did you see Neighbours yesterday?”

“Yes, I saw most of it. Bouncer had a dream…” And so on.

A few years later, it would often be more like.

“Did you see Sex and the City last night?”

“Don’t tell me about it. I’ve taped it.”

Now, it’s more like:

“I watched Santa Clarita Diet yesterday.”

“Cool. I’ve not seen that. Or heard of it actually. Get back to me in 2020.”

For we live in the age of bingewatching. All of our viewing is laid out before us. In the 1970s, this would have meant whole series of The Onedin Line, Upstairs Downstairs and er, Poldark would have been presented to us in one go. Today, it means I’m bang up to date with some things (13 Reasons Why, Crazy Ex Girfriend, Transparent) and miles behind on others. I’m…

View original post 351 more words

Five not so glorious years of Tory low achievement

Chris Hallam's World View

DC1

The Tories have now been in power for five years and five months. This is a fair old time. What did our previous governments manage to accomplish by this point in their life span? Let’s take a look…

The Attlee Government (1945-51)

(Elected: August 1945. In office for five years and five months by January 1951)

Had created the National Health Service.

Established the welfare state.

Had demobilised our wartime forces, secured full employment and was busy housing the nation.

Had nationalised a third of British industry.

Established the UK’s post-war strategic position. Had joined NATO.

The Wilson Government (1964-70)

(Elected: October 1964. In office for five years and five months by March 1970).]

Had legalised homosexuality and abortion, liberalised divorce laws, abolished the death penalty, generated an education boom and created the Open University.

The Thatcher/Major Government (1979-97)

(Elected:May 1979. In office for five years and five months by October…

View original post 81 more words

Five Classic Books which take no time to read…

Chris Hallam's World View

Image

Want to become very well read but not much time to spare?Then try these…

Goodbye Mr Chips: James Hilton

Is it possible too condense a Victorian schoolteacher’s life from 1870s upstart to 1930s school institution in a few hours’ reading? Hilton shows us how it should be done. Actually quicker than watching the Martin Clunes TV version.

Candide: Voltaire

Sounds highbrow doesn’t it? Voltaire? But it’s honestly really easy, short and fun to read. And you’ll soon be able to explain what “Panglossian” means.

Animal Farm: George Orwell

A great novella and much more political than The Animals of Farthing Wood.

The Catcher in the Rye: JD Salinger

A short one, brilliantly written, although to be fair, more rewarding if you read it twice. This still won’t take you long though.

A Christmas Carol: Charles Dickens

Dickens isn’t exactly famed for his brevity but this one really is a speedy…

View original post 24 more words

Top 6 rejected 2017 Tory campaign General Election slogans

Chris Hallam's World View

Philip Takes Out The Rubbish…Now Let Theresa Take Out The Trash!

may_and_may

Vote Theresa May 2016 in an election which definitely isn’t presidential at all, y’all.

Don’t Let Cyber Attacks Ruin Our NHS…That’s Our Job!

Jeremy Hunt nhs

Vote Conservative: Because Who Honestly Likes Going To Hospital Anyway? Exactly. Soon We’ll Make Sure You Can’t Go Ever Again

Pass At 11: And Be Ours Forever!

Eleven_Plus_Students_in_Exam_Hall.jpg

Vote Conservative: Because If You’re Not Middle Class By Puberty, You Never Will Be

Come On! Theresa May’s Nothing Like As Bad As Thatcher Really…Unless? You Like That Kind Of Thing? In Which Case, She Kind Of Is. Whatever You Want…

thatcher

Vote Conservative: She’ll U-Turn If You Want Her To. The Iron Lady’s Not Returning

Supported Brexit? Got Your Own Way On It But Still Very Angry About It And Many Other Things For No Real Reason?

the_sun_jeremy_corbyn_frontpage

Vote Conservative: Because There Might Actually Be Something A Bit Wrong With…

View original post 68 more words

Top 6 rejected 2017 Tory campaign General Election slogans

Philip Takes Out The Rubbish…Now Let Theresa Take Out The Trash!

may_and_may

Vote Theresa May 2016 in an election which definitely isn’t presidential at all, y’all.

Don’t Let Cyber Attacks Ruin Our NHS…That’s Our Job!

Jeremy Hunt nhs

Vote Conservative: Because Who Honestly Likes Going To Hospital Anyway? Exactly. Soon We’ll Make Sure You Can’t Go Ever Again

Pass At 11: And Be Ours Forever!

Eleven_Plus_Students_in_Exam_Hall.jpg

Vote Conservative: Because If You’re Not Middle Class By Puberty, You Never Will Be

Come On! Theresa May’s Nothing Like As Bad As Thatcher Really…Unless? You Like That Kind Of Thing? In Which Case, She Kind Of Is. Whatever You Want…

thatcher

Vote Conservative: She’ll U-Turn If You Want Her To. The Iron Lady’s Not Returning

Supported Brexit? Got Your Own Way On It But Still Very Angry About It And Many Other Things For No Real Reason?

the_sun_jeremy_corbyn_frontpage

Vote Conservative: Because There Might Actually Be Something A Bit Wrong With You

Jeremy Might Not: Theresa May…

bomb

Vote Conservative: Sleep Easy Knowing If Anyone Else Kills Us All, We’ll Make Sure The Rest Of The World Also Die Very Soon Afterwards As Well

Jeremy Corbyn Will Ensure Black Lesbian Dwarves Overrun Your Homes, Steal Your Property and Kidnap Your Children If Labour Win Power

corbyn

Vote Conservative: Because We’ll Say Any Old Bollocks If It Means We Get To Win