Monday, 27 May 2013

La Mala Educación Spanish film review

La Mala Educación was written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar and opened the Cannes Film Festival in 2004.

Set in the 80s in Madrid, Enrique Goded, a film director, meets up with his childhood friend Ignacio Rodriguez (also his first love). Ignacio has written a book based on their days in a primary boarding school, where a priest sexually abused Ignacio. Enrique reads the script, and decides to make the film.

The action moves from the present to various stages in the past as Enrique tries to figure out what really happened between Father Manolo, the paedophile priest, and his friend Ignacio. Ignacio is a transsexual and, in a way, I was reminded of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, but the overall story is darker and more intense. A film I'd watch again, if only to piece together the real sequence of events better. And to watch the wonderful football scene again.

I bought this DVD on a recommendation from a friend as part of my Spanish language-learning journey. Pity I only have the subtitles in French!  Spanish subtitles would have been useful. I was rather surprised to see a 12 rating. I would recommend this, but not to 12 year olds due to gay sex and heroine overdose scenes.

Here's the trailer on youtube:

Monday, 20 May 2013

Flash Fiction Challenges

Lightening McQueen,
 a.k.a Flash McQueen in French version of Cars

Why do you write flash fiction?

There are plenty of sites and competitions that set a prompt and invite you to write something short within the week and submit it straight away. I've been doing this for a while but, after a few rejections, I'm beginning to wonder if there's any value in spitting out these pieces.

The process is too rushed for me. I need to let my stories sit for a while and come back to them later. I shouldn't have submitted the ones I did. Now I find myself with several stories that need work. So I plan to stay away from the weekly prompts for a while.

But there are plenty of reasons to do the challenges. The prompts are great for breaking old habits and writing about new things. Sometimes it's surprising where they take you. They also give a great sense of satisfaction. I just need to take it more slowly. Just because they're short doesn't mean they can be perfected in a day.

And yet, and yet... 1000words pops up on my radar. I may just polish off one piece and submit. It seems that flash fiction is addictive.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

It rains so much in England...

Found on a packet of McVitie's Digestives sold in France...

'It rains so much in England that the English rush towards McVitie's for comfort.'

Now who uses Digestives to make trifle?
... and who dips Digestives in tea at breakfast?
I don't know those people, but then I'm Irish, so maybe I just haven't grasped the true purpose of Digestives at all, at all.
Also, I note the French don't call them 'Digestives'. Then again, a 'digestif' is more like this:
Any English experts on McVitie's? We need to get to the bottom of this.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

11.22.63 Goodreads Review

Hilary Mcgrath's Reviews > 11.22.63

11.22.63 by Stephen King

's review
May 11, 13  ·          

Read in April, 2013

Stephen King toys with the idea of rewriting history.

What would happen if you went back and changed some things in the past? If you stopped a man from murdering his family? Or stopped a girl from getting shot and being paralysed for life? Or stopped a man from shooting the president?

Jake Epping goes back to stop Lee Oswald but he doesn't know the consequences of his actions. Every time he buys a beer in the past has the potential to change the present.

When I was about 9/10th through this book I had no idea how King was going to end it. The idea of George bringing Sadie into 2011 seemed just as impossible as when he first went back to 1958.

A negative point for me was the executive summary of politics/world history he got when he did return. I felt like King was trying to wrap up the book too quickly.

But I did love the way he finally ended it and I loved the Lindy hopping all the way through!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Please accept this cheese

As poor backpackers travelling around Australia in the mid-nineties, my friend, Melanie, and I attended quite a few book launches and readings in Sydney.

I would don my cleanest t-shirt and slip on the Birkenstocks. Mel wore her iconic red dress. And we'd head into Gleebooks in Sydney. We usually got there early--the first to politely accept some wine and nibbles. Then with a couple of spare glasses of red tucked under our chairs, we settled down to listen to the author read from his or her latest novel. Too poor to buy the books, we were an enthusiastic audience, and I'm sure the authors were pleased to see a packed room.

One of those readings was an author from Melanie's neck o' the woods, and she decided he should be presented with English cheese. How she came up with this wacky plan I'll never know but she purchased, kept refrigerated and politely presented the cheese when the author sat at his book-signing table. He managed to retain his composure. He thanked her. I'm sure nobody had every presented him with a cheese before. I'm also pretty sure he binned it when we're turned our attention to the glug glug of a freshly-opened bottle. I wish I could remember who he was.

A couple of weeks ago Mel presented me with a cheese. The honour!  She came to see me receive my prize in the Writing West Midlands Short Fiction Competition in Birmingham. I was delighted to win a competition, to have people come to meet me and to hear me read. Delighted that Mel could take time out to come up from London. And I was chuffed to be presented with a cheese. The Oscars are next I suppose.

If only--IF ONLY--she had worn her red dress that night, because later in the restaurant, Chris de Burgh serenaded us with a snippet from his most famous Lady in Red. The memories, ah the memories...