1. The West Wing is still my all-time favourite television series. The writing is brilliant, the cast superb (I miss CJ) and it’s responsible for some of the greatest tracking shots in the history of TV. There was a great article about the show in the Hollywood Reporter this week – 15 years after the show was given the green light by NBC – and it’s full of fascinating inside information.
2. The New York Times fired executive editor Jill Abramson this week, allegedly over ‘management issues’ and for being ‘pushy’ and ‘brusque’. It has also come to light, however, that Abramson discovered she was allegedly being paid less than her (male) predecessor and took issue with it (though there are some disputes about the amount her ‘compensation package’ might have been worth). There are interesting articles in the New Yorker and the Guardian on the fall-out and on the current position of women in journalism.
3. Tony Parsons’ first crime novel was published ten days ago, and, while giving lots of interviews to promote his new novel, he said that crime novels ‘lack feeling’. The crime writing community was understandably angered by this comment, and many took to Twitter – using the hashtag #TonyParsonsCouldRead – to suggest books Parsons might like to read that would demonstrate how wrong he was. There is a good article in the Guardian on the fall-out.
4. The Guardian have been running an LGBT-themed children’s book week on their website this week. Do read some of their excellent articles here.
5. The Guardian also published an interactive gay rights map of the world this week, highlighting that more than 2.7 billion of the world’s people still live in countries where being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is illegal, and in some cases punishable by death.
6. The final FTSE 100 company with an all-male board is close to appointing a woman to join its ranks for the first time. The mining company Glencore is expected to announce the new member in a matter of weeks. However, there is still a long way to go: the proportion of women on boards of FTSE 100 companies currently stands at only just over 20%. It’s also interesting that, while the government has been keen to encourage more female board members of FTSE 100 companies, there is still a significant gender pay gap among civil servants in Whitehall.
7. The European elections will be held on Thursday. After a ‘month of UKIP’, some polls are now claiming that the Conservatives have edged into second place ahead of Nigel Farage’s party, but they still lag behind Labour. Amid a high percentage of people claiming to be apathetic, it remains to be seen how many of those eligible to vote will actually bother to in these elections.
8. I’ve finally been able to watch the first three episodes of the BBC series The Crimson Field, a World War I drama about a group of nurses on the front line, starring Suranne Jones, Oona Chaplin and Hermione Norris. It might well be, as some reviewers have called it, ‘a soap in uniform’, but I can’t deny that I’ve been enjoying it, and it’s been great to see so many roles for some very talented British actresses.
9. This week I’ve been reading a couple of things, one of which (Above by Isla Morley) I sadly really struggled to finish – I find it very difficult to stop reading a book once I’ve started, even though it would probably be better if I did. I’m now alternating between two much better novels, The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan, and the second novel by an incredibly talented young Scottish writer, Emily Mackie, titled In Search of Solace.
10. I’ve been listening to the really rather wonderful new album by Scottish indie band The Hazey Janes. Called The Language of Faint Theory, it’s an album that’s really been growing on me the more I listen to it, with its perfectly judged combination of guitar-driven pop, rock and country. The band have called it an homage to their hometown of Dundee, and the record is also a beautiful exercise in nostalgia. The Language of Faint Theory is released on 2nd June.
Categories: On My Mind . . .