Of the many books that bring me back to childhood, three really stand out. One I can’t find in print but it was called Phoebe and the Hot Water Bottles. It was about a little girl who lived with her dad who really wanted a puppy, but kept getting hot water bottles instead (the injustice!).  The other two are both by Maurice Sendak. In the Night Kitchen and the better known Where the Wild Things Are  played a huge part in my childhood. They are both beautifully drawn, and really quite surreal (the former features a cast of chefs who all look a lot like Oliver Hardy).  I also loved the musical Really Rosie. This was a collaboration between Sendak who illustrated and Carole King who sang. I know every one of these songs by heart (as will my sons in a year or two).

When I heard that Hollywood was having a go at making a live action Where the Wild Things Are, I was not filled with confidence. The Dr Seuss adaptations have been underwhelming at best, so I didn’t get my hopes up.  The news that Spike Jonze was directing didn’t help, I must confess. However, the trailer is really rather wonderful. Its evocative and surreal, and certainly the Wild Things themselves are tremendous. There is menace in it to be sure, but there’s a bit of menace in the book.

I was already won over, had bought the tickets and the t-shirt when I saw this featurette in which Sendak himself gives his full support to Jonze and the film. The man himself!

That’ll do pig, that’ll do.


31/07/2009. Uncategorized. 2 comments.


I am sitting with L, who is playing with my phone.

He hands it to me:

“Its your mum” he says.

“Hiya” I say and hand it back to him, “She wants to talk to you”.

“Hi Beth’s mum” he says “pleased to meet you”.

My heart is broken still, and its been 5 years.

30/07/2009. Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Its my NAME

Bit of an emotive topic this one. For me anyway. I chose not to change my name when I got married. It didn’t feel right to me. It didn’t indicate a lack of love or respect for the mister. It didn’t mean I wasn’t committed to getting married. Its just that, as I said many times to disbelieving friends and colleagues “Its my name!”.  There’s a feminist aspect to it, sure. I’ve never fancied buying into the traditional patriarchy wherein a woman ‘belongs’ to her father and then to her husband. But mainly, you know, its my NAME.

The mister did not feel strongly about this (in truth, I can’t see myself falling in love with someone who did). We talked about it a lot. His take on it was that Mrs S was his mother and Beth B the girl he started dating in sixth year so why would that change because we got married (I know, he’s a keeper).

I really, really didn’t expect it to be a big deal. My mum was a radical feminist, and didn’t change her name when she married my dad way back in 1979, so surely 22 years later, society would have moved on enough for it just to be something some people did. Not so. 

Lots of people were very confused. Some still are. We still get mail addressed to Mr and Mrs R S___. In truth, I think the people who do this are being belligerent.

Let me be clear. This is a choice I made, for me. I have never ever told another woman she was wrong to change her name, or tried to talk someone into keeping theirs. I’m not sure why this is a tradition that maintains, but I respect that it does. But people, usually men, seem to find it threatening that I kept my name. Well, that’s just rude. I’ve never had a discussion with a man on this that didn’t end with this line: ‘did you/would you consider changing your name to your wife’s?’. Their reaction to this (always, always incredulity) should educate them as to why I kept my own. But it never does.

Also, my name is neat. Four letters in each word, both starting with a B. It looks nice (I think). It has symmetry.

Plus, you know, its my NAME!

25/07/2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 5 comments.


more like this 

I saw this piece last week. It resonated.

22/07/2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


I just finished reading Dancer by Colum McCann. Not usually my cup of tea given that firstly its historical (albeit recent) fiction and secondly the cover reminds me of Angela’s Ashes (and I promised myself when I finished that, through tears of rage, that I’d never read another like it). Dancer is a loose fictional biography (a what now?) of Rudolf Nureyev.

It is a wonderful read. Told from many perspectives, both of the man himself and also relatives and friends, it presents his story in a number of different written styles (only one of which I found difficult to engage with).  I knew nothing about the man when I picked the book up, beyond that he was a ballet dancer (truth be told I half thought he was the one who was in Sex and the City).

The book details his early years, his extraordinary talent, his defection, his voracious sexual appetite, his generosity and loyalty and beyond all this, the magic of seeing him dance. 

Despite loving it, I did question the morality of writing fiction about someone who has not been dead long (16 years). Write what you want about Napoleon, but Nureyev will certainly still have living friends and relatives to be affected by this work.    

Will readers believe that the events depicted are true, or based in truth, despite the disclaimer at the beginning? I struggled to remember that this was not a biography, and that I should not take it as (ballet) gospel.

With the above warning, I can wholeheartedly recommend.

19/07/2009. Uncategorized. 5 comments.


I saw a trailer for a new comedy online last night (of which more later). It made me think about the sort of movies I get excited about these days. Pretty much above all else I love a good thriller, of which the best in recent past has been Breach. Good thrillers are few and far between though.

 A close second is the big blockbuster. All of my cinema visits of late (Star Trek, Transformers 2, and earlier Iron Man) have been to see big, loud movies. I suspect that a big part of me is forever 12.

I can’t find a pithy title for this next batch – Role Models, Dodgeball, Knocked Up, The Forty Year Old Virgin – boy comedy with a heart maybe?

You will understand my excitement then when I saw this:

Vaughn and Favreau together again for the first time since Swingers (I’m 98% sure)! Bateman! There’s no Rudd, which is obviously a massive omission, but I’m willing to overlook it.

15/07/2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


Feeling a little bit picked on by the universe. To remedy that, I have been looking through photos from our idyllic trip to Fermanagh last month. Here’s my favourite landscape one.


It all feels long ago and far away now.

03/07/2009. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.