Tag Archives: United States

Parlez Vous Francais?

Candice:  Apparently our gaelic writing friends are struggling to find a bigger market than their own turf.  According to the BBC, French books don’t sell well outside of their own country because the French are seen as too deep and intellectual.  And they aren’t very good at writing chic lit…

I have to say this probably relates to most of our European cousins, lets face it most of the books in the shops are British or American these days, the key European ones are more likely to be course text for English Lit students.  The same could be said for the music charts and films – they again are mainly populated by the English-speaking countries.

Why is this? Well it seems it goes both ways, the French don’t read as much of the stuff we select in our bookstores.  It’s highly unlikely you’d be sat on the Metro next to someone reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘. No our french colleagues are to clever for that.

Personally I think it gets lost in translation.  They always say American and the UK, split by a common language.  The Yanks struggle with our sense of humour (though they get Monty Python) and we take their stories with a pinch of salt.  But add in changing the words as well as cultural differences and I think it might be a step too far for most.

However, I’m not saying these guys are stupid.  I think its us English speakers who don’t try hard enough.  We will always opt for the easiest route as we are crap at learning another language, the closest most Brits get to talking to foreigners is slowing it down to say “Fish and Chips, please, senor”.

I have to admit if I had the option of a french film with subtitles or an English one I know which way I would go but then when I give them a chance, something like Leon or Amelie is the result.  Two cracking films.

To our European based readers – what do you think?


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White House Down

White House Down Theatrical Poster.jpg

Candice: Having recently been to Washington DC, I thought I have to watch one of the options available on the flight home from the States.  ‘White House Down’ is a drama about terrorists taking over the White House.

Now, does that sound really serious to you?  I knew what I was letting myself in for as Channing Tatum was in the film so this wasn’t going to be ‘Argo‘.

The film starts off well with Secret Service Agent John Cale (Tatum) wanting to take his daughter for a tour of the White House.  She’s a big fan of the government and this will tick all her boxes.  They are on the standard tour when the terrorists come in and all hell breaks down.  The quote is, ” We have lost the White House, the White House is down.”

The first part of the film gives me the tour I wasn’t able to do while I was there, having a nose round the state rooms and see what’s in there.  The second part however…

Once all hell breaks loose so does the plot line and reality, as we have the current president (Jamie Foxx) climbing up elevator shafts and dodging bullets while Cale does he best diving before a hail of gunfire and escaping dodgy scenarios.  He loses his shirt in the process and gets down to a dirty vest, think Bruce Willis in the Die Hard films.

The final nail in the reality coffin was when Cale’s daughter manages to escape when the back of the building is blown up and can be seen waving a US flag to the incoming planes.  I’m thinking they got some inspiration from ‘Apocalypse Now‘ and the statue of Iwo Jima.

To be honest it was complete American tosh but when you have a seven hour flight to fill it did exactly what it said on the tin. And Channing’s face and chest was enough to keep me happy for most of it.  (Watch ‘Magic Mike‘ if you want to see more.)

If you want a real girl’s night popcorn movie, then get this from lovefilm and turn your reality radar off.

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Tiredness takes over

Candice: I’m not going to use this blog to talk baby – there are so many others out there that can do that.  However, I cant ignore the strange things going on at the moment which mean I don’t seem to be in total control of the large but erratic Nolan brain.

I’ve just returned from a lovely two week holiday in America: sight seeing in Washington DC and then chilling on the beach in Fort Lauderdale.  It was really nice to have a break from things put some stuff into perspective after the last few weeks.  What with house move, ever growing bump and work stuff its been all go.  In my blog before I mentioned about reading and having some down time well I did try…  however I have this slight problem at the moment in that every time I try and read I seem to fall asleep.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, works quite well when you have had a busy day and then need to fall asleep, but when you actually want to read a book its a real bummer.  I managed to get through one and a half books on holiday.  Yes, just that small amount when I had taken four with me, had three flights to fill and lots of beach time.

However, seven hour flight to DC – read about 50 pages of book one, watched a film and mainly chatted to husband.  Time in DC so busy, no time for reading.  Second two hour flight – read some more of book one but full of cold so just slept.  Beach week – read a couple of pages, snooze, read a few more pages, snooze.  Finally finished book one, ‘Buried‘ by Mark Billingham.  Nice police drama, good twist, enjoyed that one.  On to book two.

Well book two is a 700 page tome so maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself but I’m only half was through and we had another seven hour flight to fill in the mean time.  Its not that its not a good book, its just I keep dozing off.  I will write a review when I have finished it – its called ‘Dominion’ by C J Sansom.

Ok, as its the night before this post goes out and 11pm, I’m off to bed.  Lets see if I can manage 10 pages before I fall asleep… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


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What’s in a name? (from another angle)

Candice: So waity Katie didn’t have to wait too long to pop out the royal heir. She’s in hospital at 7am and out it pops at 4pm.  Not bad really. I’m sure there were lots of massages, generally pampering and all the stuff you don’t get in an NHS hospital.

But now we know what sex it is, it’s now all about what it is going to be called.  Names are very important. Its something the child has to carry with them for the rest of their life so Chanel, Chardonnay, Prince and full stop are out (if you don’t believe me they do actually ban names in New Zealand and someone tried to call their child full stop !) Lets face it, Prince Prince would be a bit silly, almost as bad as Neville Neville.   The current bets are on George for a boy, which is actually what a friend of mine has just called her child.  It’s all about the old-fashioned names these days.

When it comes to creating names for characters it can be just as hard.  For our main characters, Kate was always Kate, and Dave always Dave.  Kate, I don’t know where that came from.  Dave because that was the name of the guy I went out with when I was in America.  We’ve struggled with some others, probably because when we have two writers putting together chapters independently they don’t always know what the other is doing, so we have ended up with similar names for two characters. We are still trying to come  up with an alternative for Gareth’s wife who is called Olivia, which is too close to Andrew’s PA Olive.  She needs to be posh and horsey.

But the name can often get across as much about the character as the story.  Kate -strong, sensible, to the point.  Tracey – slightly tarty, abit wayward, could be rough.  Kelvin – geeky.  My favourite is the journalist in the story – Sheldon Bull.  I don’t know where Phil got that from ( a type of beer perhaps) but its a great name for some one who spouts ‘Bull’

I don’t think the Cambridge’s will go too far from tradition, look at how she became Catherine not Kate when they got married but I’d love to see a Moon Unit Windsor on the throne.


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