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advance reading copies arrived today from random house us.
the real me
i didn't expect to like this. but i did. track one, two, three... long melancholy unrolling songs, like talk talk c. laughing stock. all rather wonderful despite the fact that one appears to be about a sexual relationship with a snowman. then track 6, the title track. and stephen fry is on it. stephen fry. being stephen fry. sounding like stephen fry. as in, snape fixed harry with his steely glare. as in hermione span on her heels and marched off in high dudgeon and so forth. reciting various words for snow in the background. i cannot imagine a more catastrophic error of judgement. except perhaps having a song about flatulence or the crisis in the eurozone (though if anyone could pull those off it would be kate bush). not that it's stephen fry's fault. he is an excellent thing in the right context. chairing qi for example, or being general melchett. but here? it's like finding fondue in your bed. or a dog in your fridge.
this coming monday is the big give. give money to one of their 453 registered charities and your donation will be doubled. and gift aid added if appropriate. there's everything on their list from bampton classical opera to the refugee council. if you asked me i'd steer you towards the latter, but i guess you can make up your own mind. if you pay 25% tax, a £50 donation becomes £125. If you are a 50%, well, you should be giving a lot more than £50 to prevent the permanent damage to your immortal soul. you can give online at any time from 10 am onwards. what's not to like?
my transsexual summer on ch4. this one caught me by surprise. genuinely moving and really interesting. it pains me slightly to use phrases like feelgood tv and restores your faith in humanity but the phrases really do apply. it also says fascinating things about sexuality and gender. specifically you don't have to watch for long before the borders we draw across those areas, which seem such a fundmental part of life for most people, start to break down and become irrelevant, for the viewer if not for those born on the wrong side of those borders. it's character that matters. it's the way we treat other people. in addition, the programme is proof, if more proof were needed, of how shallow and pointless and ultimately incomprehensible homophpobic / transgender prejudice is. it really is hard to watch this without falling slightly in love with everyone involved. though you might have to hide behind a cushion during some of the genital surgery sections...