Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why my face is the colour of a shamrock this morning

Happy St Patrick's Day! The quarter of me that is Irish (top right, sort of near the shoulder) will not be indulging in 'the craic' today as I had quite enough of that sort of thing last night. I was at a book launch in the City of London for Justin Pollard's new book Wonders of the Ancient World. And what a splendid do it was. A splendid book too. Justin has written yet another archaeology book that is both informative and eminently readable. I can see a copy of this in every school library.

What I particularly like is that while it focusses on the obvious ancient engineering marvels like Stonehenge and the Great Wall of China, it also covers lesser known but just as extraordinary structures like Newgrange, Mohenjo Daro, the Buddhas of Bamyan and the amazing Ellora.

Justin is one of the primary writers for TV series QI but is also a producer and director. He also spends some of his time as a historical advisor to the movie industry. Recent examples include Elizabeth, Elizabeth: the Golden Age, Atonement and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Justin (centre) gets some unexpected man love from director/producer Richard Butchins (L) and Museum of Curiosity producer Dan Shreiber (r).

So, have a great night out tonight ... but drink sensibly, okay?
What am I saying ...

8 comments:

John Soanes said...

"School library"? You're showing your age there, matey - they're now known as Localised Information Hubs, and don't have any of those pesky books in, though there might be a battered ZX80 in one corner.
J

Stevyn Colgan said...

Did you see Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle last night? All about books. And very funny too. I caught it this morning on BBC i-Player. He's back on form!

John Soanes said...

Yep. terrific show, and if you can see the 'comedy extra' via the BBC red button facility, I recommend it - it's a mock interview conducted by Armando Iannucci, and is good fun.
J

punk in writing said...

My sister is a school librarian, so I have proof that they still have book in schools. :D

Although part of her job is to show the students how to find information on computers and explain that "the first thing that came up when I googled" isn't the same as the dictionary...

Stevyn Colgan said...

John - It's all good!

Punky - Curiously enough, I had a long chat last night with a guy who used to be the producer on TV's Time Team and he was bemoaning the lack of research skills in fresh-out-of-university new researchers. As we discussed, Google and Wiki aren't the problem; the problem is that people believe what they read instead of using such sites as jump-off points to original sources. I blogged about this very subject a year ago here.

chris hale said...

Saw (and enjoyed) Stewart Lee last night. His critique of Dan Brown leads me to the conclusion that I might get a look-in as an author after all. The famous man looked at the red cup. Brilliant!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Chris - Makes you look forward to Angels and Demons even more this summer, eh? To purloin an old joke from Not the Nine O'Clock News ... 'Tom Hanks says that he had no idea the film was based on such a crappy book when he read the original pay cheque'.

Jon M said...

I love newgrange we missed the ferry home because of it!