Rankin and Palin

The kitchen has now been sealed off and blasted into deep space, where it orbits a minor star-system along with other space debris; the cooker finding itself in company with solar panels, bits of cowling, antennae, satellites and satellite dishes which have become confused about their role.

Incidentally, in researching this post * I asked Mark for some technical terms for space debris.  ‘Oh, they’re just bits!’ he exclaimed.

Sadly when I go downstairs I may discover that the  kitchen is Still There and that it is I who will be blasted into deep space.


I watched a great programme last night about Ian Rankin:


Regular readers will know that Rankin is one of my fave authors and there’s a lot of Rankin about at the moment, including a radio adaptation of a Rebus novel which is on this afternoon.  Astonishingly, Rankin writes a book a year; he keeps a folder of press cuttings and ideas gathered over the previous 12 months which then form the basis of the plot; he starts work in January, finishes the first draft by March (!!!!) gets the final draft to the publishers by the summer, edits and then the whole thing is published in November ready for the Christmas market.  Astonishing.  Rankin came across as a thoroughly Nice Bloke, but less outgoing than I would have expected from his prose style; a little understated.  But such a pace to work at!  Normally when people write a novel a year it’s trashy and formulaic, but his bear reading and re-reading and I can’t fault them.

To be fair, a lot of the ground-work is already done: he knows the setting, the genre and some of the characters before he begins, so he doesn’t have to do all that thinking that most novelists do.  What was also interesting, and which I hadn’t known, was that many of the locations in the books are real.  I don’t mean the Castle and the Rock: I mean the Oxford Bar, for example where Rebus hangs out and is more at home than he is in his own flat.  It’s interesting that he does that and gets away with it – normally writers disguise real locations for fear of libel or other unintended consequences; but I guess it would be a brave person who sued Rankin on any grounds whatsoever.

And thence to Brazil.  I wondered whether they’d called it that as a reference to Terry Gilliam’s film of the same name, since it is fronted by the irreplaceable Michael Palin.  He visits indigenous people and sails down the Amazon a bit before visiting a fish market, meeting lots of people on the way.  Unfailingly courteous, self-effacing, interested and interesting, this is TV as it should be.  Watch.


And don’t forget the Rebus adventure this afternoon, 3 pm on radio 4.  It’s called ‘Black Books’.

Kirk out

* What?  You think it’s just thrown together every morning over a cup of tea?

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