Thursday 26 March 2009


BBC 2 are to screen The Wire (I presume Season One) starting next Monday evening (March 30th) at 11.20. Do give it a try and let me know what you think of it. But don't forget, you've got to give it a fair run as it can very much be an acquired taste.

But I'm so pleased that someone in the BBC thought it was good enough enough to screen.

Power to intelligent thinking!

Thursday 19 March 2009


drinking champagne through a straw

Lou and me and presents

my favourite position - horizontal

champagne bottle on left counter

contents of containers - water - honest

It's my birthday today and I'm the staggering age of sixty, which sounds far worse than it is. Didn't you know? Sixty is the new forty!

I've had a few wobbles in the last few weeks because this really is a difficult age to assimilate, mainly because pension decisions force you to face your own mortality.

Do you defer payment of the state pension, for example? And do you top up your fund to take into account any missing years of National Insurance contributions?

I've worked it out that it would take about twenty years before any top up would actually mean that I break even, given the thousands of pounds I'd have to pay now. So I ain't going to bother.

If being 60 means more days like today, then I'm all for it. I did a Pilates class this morning then had a swim then went to town to have my hair done. And while I was there, I was asked if I'd like to have their special offer of a manicure for £10 whilst having my hair done. Now this really was a no-brainer for me because I love being pampered, so there I was, having my hair and nails done, discussing suitable tattoos for some of my characters in my next novel - Winchester Blues. Pure bliss.

And then, of course, I had to have my feet done, too, just to balance things up.

The only down side was that I had intended to go to The Body Shop afterwards to get my free birthday gift and take advantage of their 20% off offer but I forgot. Lack of memory, sadly, is one of the downsides of getting older!

And then, because I'd promised him earlier, I had to take the dog for a walk when really I fancied a bit of a lie-down (another age thing).

However, since the Turkish army and air-force tried to get me in 1974 and, luckily for me, failed, I reckon that every day since then is an added bonus. Just wished I'd realised this earlier. But I've had such a full life - both good and bad things - I can really say that I've lived life to the full. And reaching sixty is a great achievement.

So, don't be frightened of sixty. I reckon that all those who reach this age are very lucky indeed. The news today has been full of the death of the beautiful and talented actress, Natasha Richardson, aged just 45, and poor, hapless Jade Goody is only 27. So seize life with both hands because you never know when it's going to end.

Now there speaks a person of wisdom. (It's an age thing!).

So, respect. That's what I want. Respect! And if anyone calls me grandma or expects me to behave like a geriatric, they can take a running jump.

By the way, I'm on the champagne at the moment and my hairdresser suggested I try drinking it through a straw so I'm off now to do just that.

Peace and good-will to all.

Maggie xxx

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Sunday 8 March 2009


Like the American Series The Wire (just can't stop mentioning it!), the new British television drama series, Red Riding, has received a lot of publicity. For example, the Guardian television critic has been waxing lyrical about it. Here are just a few quotes:-

"Grown up noir, there's unlikely to be a better British TV drama all year"

"...utterly mesmerising..."

So, on that basis, I watched the first two hour episode of the trilogy. Apparently, it's based on the four novels written by David Pearce, set in Yorkshire during the seventies and eighties, highlighting widespread corruption in all walks of life, particularly the police. I have never read these novels and, having seen this first episode, have no intention of doing so, my reasons being as follows:-

1. It is slow and tedious with a large splattering of gratuitous sex and violence.

2. It's one dimensional. Shot in brownish colours to give a sense of history and decay, it stereotypifies the police, the baddies and the corruption. It's like a scruffy cardboard cutout.

3. There's nothing subtle or three dimensional. No character development, which is essential for good drama. Plus, no particularly likable characters so I didn't care one way or another what happened to them. And Sean Bean was so hammy as a corrupt murderous businessman that it was cringe-making.

4. The ending is so improbable and with so many anomalies that it's just not credible. Any dramatic impact is totally lost.

I don't blame the actors, many of whom are seasoned thespians, including Sean Bean, David Morrissey and Warren Clarke. I blame the script writers and the director and, probably David Pearce's original novels. Given my enthusiasms for The Wire, which is as brutal and hard-hitting as they come, I'm not adverse to such dramas. What I am adverse to is unrelenting bleakness that does not show or explain or provide any kind of balance.

Am I going to watch the next two episodes? As far as I'm concerned, life is too short. It's good in a way because it confirms my praise for The Wire, where there is just as bleak a scenario, probably even more so, but presented in such a thoroughly rounded way that you have sympathy for the drug-dealers and killers and understand why they are as they are. There is also much humour in The Wire and a sense of a shared humanity which is totally absent in Red Riding.

So, despite the fact that I have a degree in English and Education and all, the most appropriate way I can think of to describe this drama and my contempt for it is that it's a TOTAL LOAD OF HORSE MANURE.


P.S.Am totally chuffed because Amazon asked me to write a commentary about The Wire Season Four on their website, which I did with great gusto. It should be up soon. I'm sure this is just standard procedure but I'm chuffed all the same. They probably had no idea what enthusiasm they had tapped into!