Thursday, 29 May 2014

D-Day 70 Years On [radio]

Do you listen to music radio much? I don’t, possibly because the only digital radio we have is in the telly, and Radio 4 Extra is definitely my favourite radio channel. (The Goon Show! Paul Temple! Lord Peter Wimsey! Vintage science fiction! So many other good things!) Anyway, one thing worth pencilling into your radio diary is BBC Radio 2’s forthcoming D-Day 70 Years On, a special Friday Night is Music Night broadcast, on 6 June from 8pm.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Trying to choose a vintage knitting pattern

A collection of vintage Stitchcraft knitting magazines from the 1950s
I am very tempted by that little pink blouse, and the blue twin set...
It’s been a while since I got the pink/grey top off the needles, and I’ve been happily working on a fair isle hat I started months ago, all the while thinking about what my next vintage knitting project should be. You can see some of the patterns I'm considering here.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Advice needed! Lengthening a skirt

Yellow rose print fabric 1950s styleNot long now until the Vintage Nostalgia Show! That’s a fab weekend event in the Wylye valley. I am very excited. We went for the first time last year, on a bit of a whim, and had such a great time that I bought tickets for 2014 as soon as they went on sale. This year I’m making a bit more effort with my outfits, but not too much - I don’t want to put pressure on myself and kill the joy of it all. Last year people dressed in a mixture of styles, from authentic vintage to modern outfits, so being picture-perfect isn’t a necessity anyhow.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

I helped make a book!

Ops Ed by day, were-writer by night...
I'm really excited right now. I don't really talk on this blog about work - by day I'm an Operations Editor, a sort of levelled-up magazine subeditor. I also freelance for a few other magazines in my spare time, but that's mainly writing and the occasional knitting pattern. The freelance I've been doing longest is science fiction and fantasy book reviews, mainly for SFX, which I've done since the late 1990s, but for brief time I also contributed to Death Ray. Last year author Guy Haley asked me to be one of the contributors to a science fiction encyclopaedia he was editing. I'm not allowed to work for companies apart from my current employer without permission, but as this was a book, not a magazine, my boss said I could do it. Now the book is listed on Amazon, The Sci-Fi Chronicles, and it will be out in October. I am so excited!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Toby Frost, Wrath of the Lemming Men! [book]

The cover of the book Wrath of the Lemming Men by Toby Smith
Wrath of the Lemming Men is the third of Toby Frost’s Space Captain Smith books. (The first two are Space Captain Smith and God-Emperor of Didcot, which I have also reviewed.) The books simply keep getting better, and this is the best so far – I’ve yet to read A Game of Battleships, the fourth in the series.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Burgh Island: the outfit post

In my recent post about my trip to the art deco Burgh Island hotel, I mentioned that guests were expected to dress for dinner. I made sure I started planning what I was going to wear months in advance. Now, I make no secret of the fact that I'm plus size, and 99% of the time I'm completely fine about that, but glamorous events really do get to me because it's hard to find dresses I actually want to wear and make me feel good. I do own a gorgeous reproduction 1930s evening dress, and had planned to wear that, but I tried it on the weekend before and, frankly, it was too tight and all that blue satin made me look like a balloon animal. I didn't even bother trying on the red chiffon with the 'Ginger Rogers' volume below the knee. Rather than force myself into either and feel miserable in it, I took a more cocktaily approach.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Tall, Poldark, and handsome

My volume of the first two Poldark novels
Have you read any of the Poldark books or seen the 1970s telly programme? I’ve done both. The novels and the show both still have legions of fans, but while I enjoyed the stories and series, I’m not precious about Poldark, so I was interested to hear about the new production, but not massively excited for or against it.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines [film]

The Germans are coming!
 Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines is a film that I love. The story is simple enough: a young Army officer persuades his fiancee's father, who owns a newspaper, to sponsor a cross-channel air race to encourage British aviation. The huge cash prize Lord Rawnsley puts up in his newspaper attracts entrants from around the world - not all of them good sports. Before the race even takes place there are sabotage attempts, rivalries... even a duel where the weapons are blunderbusses and hot air balloons! The race itself sees more sabotage, a cheaty way to cross the Channel, even a convent of nuns aiding the Italian airman in order to ensure the race is not won by a Protestant. It's all very silly, and good fun.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Art deco holiday: a trip to Burgh Island Hotel

The Burgh Island hotel, with the tide out. Note the blue sea tractor!
If you love Poirot, or art deco, or tales of high society goings-on between the wars, you've probably heard of Burgh Island Hotel. Built in 1929, it was one of the places to be seen in the decade that follows: Agatha Christie, Jessie Matthews, Wallis Simpson and the Prince of Wales, Nancy Cunard and Noel Coward were all among its guests. Christie even wrote some books there; Evil Under the Sun is set in a hotel on an island with a clear resemblance to Burgh Island. While the story was rather altered for the Suchet television series, Evil Under the Sun was filmed there. All of which is a lengthy introduction to the fact that I've wanted to go there for years, and so for my 40th birthday Mr Robot promised me a couple of nights on Burgh Island.