Daily Archives: November 16th, 2006

Richard Pipes

I’ve just finished his Concise History of the Russian Revolution, preparing for next year. The book as a whole is fascinating, and glaringly showed up my lack of knowledge, but the end in particular is interesting, for its ruminations – and, to some extent, attack – on historians and thinkings about history. He says that historians should not be passionless in dealing with their subject, that we should not always be scientific in our thinking about historical events.

He says a lot of other things, but right now I have to both make a cassata and get busy with my reports, so I am going to leave this half-thought-out and do those… because my brain really isn’t on theoretical things at the moment.

Still in the Kingdom of Heaven

Gosh, it’s so useful to have a leader who used to be a blacksmith, isn’t it? You can think up all sorts of useful little tricks to bring down the belfries.

And, much as I am embarassed to admit it, Orlando really is a bit of a cutie (sorry J, but he is). He does always play the same character, though… much like Hugh Grant. And bordering on being almost as weak-looking, too. Perfect for Paris Alexandros… what a pansy.


New ASIM! Hurrah! Voume 26… review to follow… I’ve read maybe half; it’s mostly good, but not as overwhelmingly good as previous issues.

Kingdom of Heaven

So I borrowed this out for viewing with some students on a Medieval Day we had at school. We offered Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Monty Python and the Holy Grail also, and I watched the former. I was glad I did, since half way through one of the teachers came and asked whether I had seen it, and if I knew where to forward it to. I hadn’t, so I didn’t; she said the kids were getting bored because it was a talkfest, with very little fighting.

Anyway, we decided to watch it tonight, since it’s our Friday and there is nothing else on TV. It’s not quite as bad as the teacher suggested yesterday, but I can see why the kids were bored. The fighting is – well, I think it’s stylised in some ways, and there really isn’t as much as I had expected. I had thought that this was set during one of the actual Crusades, but it isn’t. (but OH – we just got to the Saladin bit, and that is clever! I knew the Saracen he didn’t kill wasn’t a servant or slave… oh hang on, I thought he was Saladin himself. OK, that’s not quite as cool as I originally thought. Oh well.).

There is a lot of talking. And some bits that I find highly dubious. However, the fact that I picked it was going to be Baldwin the Leper as king has me very smug (and the mask is very cool; I wonder how Edward Norton felt about that, since you basically don’t know it’s him). And the portrayal of Saladin is very positive, for a Hollywood film. Made in 2005… so after the latest crusade was preached by Bush… I wonder if that is deliberate.

Lots of familiar faces in this film too, which is fun. Reinault, he fauning leader of the Templars, was Menelaos in another role. Jeremy Irons, hurrah! Liam Neeson, for all of 10 minutes. Guy de Lusignan… what a different role for Martin Csorkas. I loved him in Aeon Flux, and of course as Celeborn. And the lord not killed by Orlando was blown up in Spooks in very sad fashion. (Notice how I am not bothering to mention Orlando? Pft. Playing Will, again, basically.)

Carole King

Carole King being interviewed on the 7:30 Report, as she’s in the country at the moment – wish I was going to see her, but oh well. She comes across as a lovely person; it’s bizarre to think that she was originally too shy to perform herself. She was performing in James Taylor’s band as a back-up singer, and he basically forced her up the front to perform at a concert. That’s cool.

Ooh, footage of her singing “You’ve got a friend” – shivers up the spine! She’s just great. “It’s too late” is still one of my favouritest songs ever. Which is a bit odd, and probably disturbing to J, but eh.

I didn’t know she was an environmentalist. That’s cool too.