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Ben has seen… Stan and Ollie

It takes a brave director to tackle a biography of Laurel and Hardy. To be blunt, unlike a lot of their contemporaries, a lot of their stuff is still funny, so any portrayal of them, however good, is doomed to be not quite as good as the original. Unlike somebody like Chaplin, whose style of humour is so out of fashion that it could all but be ignored when making a film about him, parts of Laurel and Hardy’s act still resonate with a modern audience, but is impossible to… Read more Ben has seen… Stan and Ollie

My favourite novel I read last year (that was published last year)

My plans to get back into the fiction loop last year ended up involving more in the way of buying books than actually reading them. For shame etc. I have a to-read pile full of treats but very little in the way of recommends. Soz.┬áSo instead of a chart, or what have you, here are two books that I did manage to read and that I thought were very very good indeed. It’s quality over quantity or something, yeah? Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss explores the previously untapped literary potential… Read more My favourite novel I read last year (that was published last year)

My favourite novel I read last year (that wasn’t published last year)

OK, runners up first. Naomi Booth’s Sealed more than deserved its place on the Not the Booker shortlist and has an ending that will stay with me for at least an ever or two. Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos was funny and smart and angry in all the right ways. Lacey Noonan’s two novellas, I Don’t Care If My Best Friend’s Mom is a Sasquatch, She’s Hot and I’m Taking a Shower With Her and I don’t Care if My Sasquatch Lover Says the World is Exploding, She’s Hot But… Read more My favourite novel I read last year (that wasn’t published last year)

My favourite live literature of 2018

Let’s start with a confession. I didn’t get out nearly as much as I should have last year. Let’s continue with a plot twist. Despite not going out much, I still managed to see very good things. Manchester is useful like that, all literary. Fat Roland’s one man show at the Lowry was all sorts of brilltastic. Beth Underdown’s ghost-filled National Trust commission at Manchester Literature Festival was great and you got a handsome looking pamphlet with it and everything. I didn’t get to many live literature nights but managed… Read more My favourite live literature of 2018

Ben has seen… The Favourite

The start of the year is, in Britain at least, Oscar season which means that, dependent on the quality of a year’s quality movies, January can set you up nicely for the year or leave a bad taste in your film consuming mouth. Last year I started my cinema going with an All the Money in the World / Brad’s Status double bill, the awfulness of which I never fully recovered from. 2017 was a mixed bag of mixed bags: Manchester by the Sea, La La Land, Silence, xXx: The… Read more Ben has seen… The Favourite