Sunday, 7 February 2010

Noughts & Crosses, Kryten and the cute one from The Mary Whitehouse Experience

OK, bear with me as these 3 things don't really go together but they are the things I've been doing recently!

Firstly, the Noughts & Crosses trilogy of books (in 4 parts, of course, as all good trilogies appear to be!) by Malorie Blackman are utterly fantastic. Noughts and Crosses is the first part. If you haven't heard of these books, they are children's books, though very much for older teens, set in an alternative contemporary world where Crosses (dark-skinned) are the donimant race and Noughts (light-skinned) are oppressed and ignored. It uses very clever subversion to illustrate how things can be unfair and prejudiced and explores the themes of race and terrorism in a very clear and compelling way. A warning: these books are very traumatic but utterly addictive. Despite their very bleak story, you won't be able to put them down until you've found out what happens at the end of the final book. They are not an easy read emotionally but they are powerful and extraordinarily well-written and tightly plotted.

Secondly, Kryten. OK, not actually Kryten by his alter ego Robert Llewellyn and more specifically his book Sold Out: How I Survived a Year of Not Shopping. Now, I've read a number of these books about not spending or cutting down and they all become much of a muchness after a while, but this one was different. It wasn't a diary-style memior of his triumphs and failures in his self-imposed challenge. It was a themed look at the reasons behind it and the issues which came up for him and how they linked in to his personal history and current family situation. A much better prospect. And I think one of the best books of this kind that I've ever read. Funny, honest, thoughtful and insightful

Thirdly, Rob Newman. OK, hands up who lusted after him back in the early 90s when he was part of the 'comedy is the new rock'n'roll' Mary Whitehouse Experience. Well, now he has truly become the thinking green woman's crumpet as a political activist, and if you want to improve your mind, have a laugh and a bit of eye-candy all in one fell swoop, I can do no better than to recommend this DVD: Robert Newman - History Of Oil. This is intellectual stand-up, powered by cyclists. This is a fantastic way of getting across the reasons behind green politics, and a really interesting history lesson on the west's involvement with the middle east and oil from the beginning of last century. And it's funny. Can't say fairer than that.

So, a mixed bag, but all highly recommended.


Michelle said...

I've seen Robert Newman live a couple of times and one of those was a great gig with Mark Thomas. Definately well worth a watch and he's certainly improved with age for those who liked him in The Mary Whitehouse Experience.

bethnoir said...

*puts hand up* especially as Jarvis.