Book Review: Half The Human Race by Anthony Quinn

Half the Human Race, by Anthony Quinn

Half the Human Race, by Anthony Quinn

Set against the eventful years both pre-and-post World War One, this story of personal and public struggle, tender love and political upheaval touches upon many issues of gender, relationships, loneliness and standing up for what you believe in, while also providing a gentle, compelling and absorbing read.

It’s not the most incisive of books on the subject of the suffragettes, and the story’s strength fades out towards the end, but Quinn’s vivid descriptions of such varied settings as central London, Holloway prison, Paris, the Western front and the traditional British country house, as well as his deep ability to portray humanity and inner conflict, make Quinn’s characters memorably and convincingly real.

In fact, the characters’ believability is the best part of the book.

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Little Miss Search Engine

Google

Google: The Internet brand of choice for millions and millions every single day

I have little more than a fleeting understanding of how Google works.

But, living in the Western world (or, indeed, anywhere you can access the Internet), you’d have had to be residing under a rock not to know that in a few short years, the number one search engine has become a multi-billion Internet giant, revolutionising the way the web works, introducing online products you didn’t even know you needed, providing email, maps, translations, and sneaky (and oft-contested) peeks into practically anywhere on the planet (North Korea excepted); in short, doing more with a search box and expanse of white homepage space than any website before or since.

The key to why I consistently use Google over Bing, Yahoo, or any other search engine, translator or map tool, lies in its simplicity, superior search results, and ease of use. Also, with its cuddly-looking, iconic logo, Google also manages to seem appealing, and the company’s willingness to indulge in this whimsical side of its brand periodically shows through on the days where the multi-coloured letters suddenly change – to an image, a game, an animation. A quick click on the altered brand name takes you through to an explanation of what said image or animation is in honour of; a birthday of a famous historical character, the anniversary of a the publication of a seminal book, a holiday festival, the remembrance of a recently deceased but much-loved public figure – and Google, the huge, privacy-invading, global Internet behemoth, acquires a cheeky, human face.

Little Miss Chatterbox

Little Miss Chatterbox: Not for nothing do I own a mug adorned with this smiley face (courtesy of my oh-so-hilarious flatmate)

There have been many such instances, but yesterday, Google outdid itself. To celebrate the 76th birthday of the late Roger Hargreaves, it unveiled 16, yes 16, seriously cute and original illustrations in the style of those seen within the pages of the classic books. Hargreaves, whose simple, colourful children’s characters with personalities that suit their names, have captivated and amused the world (and me, and many of my friends who have been the recipients of many a Little Miss book as birthday presents), died in 1988 aged 53, but his legacy and books live on through his son, Adam, who continues to run the business.

So, as soon as I saw the little designs, I knew I had to capture them. I refreshed the page over and over, checking I’d copied each image for posterity. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one with this idea –  clearly, other people loved the pictures, too. Check out this video from YouTube;  they may be alternative brands for a super-corporation, but beyond that, the images are cute, and they brightened up my day, proving, as if that were necessary, that it really is the little things that count.

Theatre Review: Cause Celebre, at the Old Vic

Cause Celebre

Anne-Marie Duff stars as Alma Rattenbury in Thea Sharrock's Old Vic production

Despite touches of warmth, the Old Vic’s striking production of Rattigan’s tale of potential murderess Alma Rattenbury fails to achieve its glamorous aims

Rather like the glamorous red dress seen in advertising posters for Terence Rattigan’s Cause Celebre, but which never materialises in the actual production (or at least, not that I noticed), the Old Vic’s latest offering promises much but unfortunately falls short of many of its grandiose, glamorous aims.
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