BBC’s “neglected classics”

BBC Radio 4 has been running a “neglected classics” segment on its programme “Open Book” where they get famous authors to choose books that not enough people still read. There are ten; there is a public vote; then the winner gets dramatised for Classic Serial.

The list is here, along with links to the authors talking about the books to help people choose.

Of those ten works promoted, only four are out of copyright (I was hoping for more than that, given that they are “classics”!)

So, four are available from Project Gutenberg, and can be downloaded for free as E-books:

Lermontov, Hero of our time

Trollope, Miss Mackenzie (apparently very short by Trollope standards)

Johnson, Rasselas

Moore, Esther Waters

If you prefer your classics to be narrated, then two of them have been recorded for Librivox by volunteers, and can be downloaded for free as public domain audiobooks in MP3 format.

Esther Waters by George Moore on Librivox

Rasselas by Samuel Johnson on Librivox

Tweets on 2009-10-27

  • @LloydieJL no 🙂 in reply to LloydieJL #
  • Starting to think it might just be easier to remove the beercan and spoon from my passenger footwell than explain anew why it's there. #
  • @bykimbo "passenger footwell" is not a euphemism for a body cavity. #
  • Cripes, this was a really bad time to try and fit in a quick supermarket visit. Checkout queues are 20 deep. #
  • RT @jodrellbank: If you can see the Moon, you can spot Jupiter a few degrees to the east of it. It'll be west of Moon tomorrow #MoonWatch #
  • @bykimbo a beercan and a spoon would make your eyes water? N00b! #
  • Can't see Jupiter – too much cloud tonight. #
  • Ooh, now I can see Jupiter next to the moon (out of my office window looking south over the city centre.) #
  • @willhowells this seems to be happening a bit more of late. #
  • "The officer, who is openly gay, was with his partner, another man and a woman" – #janmoir's not gonna like this. #
  • @sarabedford been meaning to get a pair of bins for a while, since friends saw amazing things in the sky on a clear night from a Welsh beach #
  • Hmmm. Urge to raid the drinks cabinet. Not going to resist. See you next week. #

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Tweets on 2009-10-26

  • Landscape Photographs of the Year #
  • Political flashback as I put on my winter coat: in the pocket are the £1 Asda gloves I bought for the Ipswich by-election. #
  • "Only Connect" is barking mad! #
  • Heh, @rfenwick: CarmEEna, carmEYEna, lets Karl the whole thing Orff. in reply to rfenwick #
  • @Paul_Cornell No short film before Up? Did you not get the lovely thing with the clouds and the storks? in reply to Paul_Cornell #

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Tweets on 2009-10-25

  • Well, that was the last time this year I start a leaflethog round at 5pm. #
  • Ooh, the council has brought the gritbox back. It's in a slightly different place this year. #
  • @scottm IRTA racist sandals. #
  • Each time we open the front door, another hundredweight of dead leaves eddies in. #
  • Just seen Russell Howard's news show. A tough format to sustain. And were there Twitter usernames in the credits? #
  • Cleaning the fish tank and watching the old #thickofit specials on iPlayer. Not sure which is more disgusting. #

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Tweets on 2009-10-24

  • Off for meeting with Registrar. #
  • Registrar is seeing us separately (in case our statements don't match.) She's been quizzing P for ages now! #
  • @austinrathe I can't donate blood either. Grr. #
  • Half a million pounds for three crocheted lions?! #
  • Erk: has a poll with thousands of respondents which is currently showing 97% of them don't think God exists. #
  • RT @FakeAPStylebook .@jsgf: I don't know, jsgf, when do YOU think it's OK to use the passive-aggressive voice, MR. SMART GUY? #
  • @FakeAPStylebook do Americans not use "hanged" ? #
  • RT @libdemvoice Tory frockgate unravels further – (thanks to @bykimbo for t'link 🙂 #
  • @helenduffett typo in final para of 2×2 🙂 #
  • @bykimbo it definitely was *in my mind* 🙂 buggrit, who was it really? #
  • @markpack Albert Hall? Evensong at St Pauls? Wembley? What sort of music? #
  • Oh, my, what's that in my inbox? Is it… Can it be..? No! Surely not? A Google Wave invite? #

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Tory frockgate unravels further

On Monday I reported that a scandal was unfolding concerning Samantha Cameron’s “£65 M&S dress” worn at Conservative party conference.

On one level, it really doesn’t matter what the spouses of party leaders wear, and, within reason, how much they pay for it, particularly since the Camerons are well remunerated for David’s parliamentary work, as well as being privately wealthy.

On another, when strenuous efforts are made for one thing to appear as something else entirely, that’s hypocrisy and it should be exposed. So when, as the Mirror reported last Sunday, strings are pulled to obtain an off-the-shelf dress that hasn’t been on the shelf for months, it’s worthy of comment in organs such as this.

Today, a story appears in the Times that deepens our understanding further, and unveils a further set of complications.

Mrs Cameron set in train a series of events that led to her getting the dress. The Mirror reported it as finding too large a dress and having it altered. Today’s Times suggests it was more radical than that:

M&S said initially that they could not get hold of the garment in store but it was believed that they eventually found a press sample.

In truth it was a practically bespoke £150 sample, not a £65 off-the-peg garment as previously claimed.

The controversial viscose shift was run up specially as a favour to the company by Amanda Marshall Ltd, run by Alison Mansell, which supplied the dresses. This was despite M&S having dropped them as a supplier in February, placing 15 jobs in jeopardy.

And a further few interesting details:

Mrs Cameron, who was charged £57 for the dress after being given a staff discount of 20 per cent, strode out on to the Conservative Party conference platform wearing the very same garment on October 8. Ms Markeviciene, who was at her sewing machine when she spoke to The Times this week, said: “It’s a great dress — it’s famous.”

A spokesperson for David Cameron stated that Mrs Cameron was not aware of the history or the fact that the dress cost the company nothing. Mr Cameron delivered his speech in a £3,500 bespoke suit from Richard James although, Conservative Central Office insisted, he paid only £1,185.25.

… which just begs many more questions! Why did the Camerons get M&S staff discount when neither of them work there? Why would M&S go to such lengths to obtain a dress, without taking credit for those lengths by telling the client? How on earth is a suit worth £3,500? Was Mr Cameron shopping in the sales to get an almost £2,500 discount? Was the difference in price declared in his register of members’ interests? (I can’t see it here?)

Tweets on 2009-10-23

  • Rats, just discovered that although I wrote a "Daily View" last night, it appears I forgot to hit "publish" – #
  • RT @tweetminster "80% of UK wealth controlled by over 85s, but our products are designed for 13 y/o" << Really!? #
  • Finger on the pulse much? Listening to a podcast of Today in Parliament. Took me 28 minutes to realise it was from October 2008. #
  • After yesterday's débâcle, I'm not going to suggest that Emily Howell is related to @willhowells #
  • RT @libdemvoice New post: BBC Question Time – LDV open thread, 22 October 2009 #bbcqt #
  • Seriously thinking about doing Movember this year. #
  • @lonelywonderer Erm, yerrrs. Is that an error that's now fixed? #
  • I've got a gay friend in the army, does he qualify as a militant homosexual? #
  • @po8crg yup, I'm fully behind #enddadt #
  • Oushing for justice, @helenduffett? 🙂 🙂 #
  • @lloydiejl have you also seen @willhowells's song re Windows 7? #

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BBC Question Time – LDV open thread, 22 October 2009 #bbcqt

It’s Thursday, it’s 10.35 pm … it’s BBC1’s Question Time.

It is, of course, the most highly anticipated Question Time ever with a colossal media storm surrounding the invitation of BNP leader Nick Griffin. The evening news says that there are massive protests outside BBC TV Centre, with twitter reports that staff are almost under siege. Across the country, protests are happening at regional BBC offices.

For the Liberal Democrats, it’s leadership contender and Shadow Home Secretary Chris Huhne taking up cudgels for the yellow corner. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi will be in the blue corner, and Lord Chancellor Jack Straw in the red. The celebrity non-political punter will be Bonnie Greer. Stephen reported earlier on with Griffin’s response to his co-panellists – and handy links to what other Lib Dem bloggers are thinking about the approaching debate.

If you’re tuning in, you can join the simultanous online Twitter debate here at #bbcqt, or the LDV debate in the thread below. Meanwhile Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson will be liveblogging events via CoverItLive at his own blog.

Tweets on 2009-10-22

  • Gathering the whole family around the PC to catch up with @willhowell 's recent traxx. #
  • @Ian3y I might well 🙂 #
  • Apologising to @willhowell for confusing him with @willhowells. I was listening to @willhowells 's song #
  • In planning committee making a difficult decision about the location of a new Children's Centre for Bulwell. #
  • Fellow member of ctte pointing out how unfortunate it is to omit the first i when putting the word "arising" in a report. #
  • Negotiating a temporary ceasefire between shopkeepers and transport planners. #
  • Nation's Morons March On Washington State (it has to be The Onion) #

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Daily View 2×2: 22 October 2009

Good morning readers. It’s the 22nd October and there are just 70 days left til the end of the year. Today is Derek Jacobi’s birthday, the 43rd anniversary of the first time an all-female group topped the charts in the States, and the 114th anniversary of a rather scary train-wreck at Paris’s Montparnasse station.

Train wreck at Montparnasse, 1895

Train wreck at Montparnasse, 1895

2 Big Stories

Postal strike poll puts blame on government as union announces action

The Guardian reports a Yougov poll in which voters put the blame for postal strikes squarely on Gordon’s shoulders.

Gordon Brown’s handling of the Royal Mail strikes comes under strong criticism from the public and Labour backbenchers today, with a new poll showing most voters believe the government should get directly involved in the dispute and force management and unions to go to the conciliation service Acas.

Microsoft’s Bing signs landmark deals with Twitter and Facebook

Over in the Telegraph, we learn that a valuable deal has secured Twitter’s finances for another few whiles.

Microsoft’s recently revamped search engine, Bing, has signed a deal with Twitter and Facebook to add real-time updates from their users to its search results. It means people using Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, will soon be shown the most recent and popular results, rather than the just the most popular.

This almost at the same time as a tweet arrives telling me of Google getting into bed with Twitter too. And as if by magic at precisely the same time, my daily google alert email which runs a search on my own name for vanity and libel reasons pops into my inbox. And it includes a tweet I sent yesterday morning.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

Meanwhile over at Lib Dem Blogs, a number of people are talking about the 10:10 campaign and how it applies in their areas –

  • Maureen Rigg – Carbon reductions on track in Stockton
  • At full council tonight the Tory Cabinet member had put a motion on the agenda supporting the 10:10 campaign. Sadly, she’d forgotten to arrange for someone to second it. We’d already decided that I was speaking on the motion and that we of course would support it. After all, all the Lib Dem group are already signed up to the campaign along with other members of the party all over the country. That gave me the chance to second the motion and to thank her for saving me the effort of writing it!

  • Jane Watkinson – The ‘Special Relationship’ vs. European Fascists?
  • Meanwhile Jane is pondering anew the issue of the re-alignments of the Conservatives in Europe – this time from the perspective of UK/US relations. If we are to have a Tory government next year, how will Washington react if the UK is isolated in Brussels?

    The question is clear for the Tories. They can either carry on with their stubborn denial attitude, which places them on the outskirts of all forms of decent society, or they can break their ties with the extremes and join the mainstream. Either way however, there will be major conflicts within the Tories.

These are just my quick picks for yesterday. Please let us know in the comments if you read anything great yesterday.