This weekend I've been chatting with the lovely Rob Cain from "Ancient Rome Refocused" via the miracle of Skype. Rob will be podcasting my ramblings at some point - if he can edit them into something sensible - but in the meantime something he said set me thinking. It was the very simple question: Where … Continue reading Prima Donna Downie
We woke this morning to the news that James Gandolfini had died. It felt like losing an old friend of the family. We came late to The Sopranos in our house. We missed the start of the first episode and it was a while before we realised that behind the violence and the overweight men … Continue reading A sad loss
I love the British Museum more every time I visit. Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed by the same volcano AD 79, in but in different ways, so that different kinds of things survived in the buried wreckage. Now the British Museum has cleverly put items from the two together to give a vivid picture of … Continue reading Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum
Terry Deary’s views on public libraries made alarming reading this week. Others have replied far more cogently than I could, so if you want a proper response, Julia Donaldson’s article in the Guardian is a good place to start. Still, if Deary’s comments re-ignite the debate about public libraries, it won’t be a bad thing. … Continue reading Oh Deary
(I'm guessing that if you've got past the title of this piece, you have the sort of constitution that will cope with the rest. You have been warned!) "Say the word and he'll produce a fish out of a sow's belly, a pigeon out of the lard, a turtle dove out of the ham, and … Continue reading Stuffed thrush with rotted fish-guts, anyone?
We don't often venture to comment on the news here at Downie Towers, but current attempts to erase the name of Jimmy Savile from public display put me in mind of this: The focus is somewhat awry, but that's not why you can't read the top line of the lettering. It's been deliberately defaced. The … Continue reading Damnatio Memoriae