Posted in books, films & DVD, Science fiction

Blade Runner 2049

I would like to watch The science-fiction film Blade Runner 2049 which is out on DVD Soon. It is a sequel to the classic science-fiction film Blade Runner (1982). Set In a dystopian future, It stars Ryan Gosling as a blade runner for the Police Department in Los Angeles where bioengineered humans called replicants have successfully been integrated into society, though still face discrimination from humans. One of them, K, works as a “blade runner” for the LAPD, hunting down and “retiring” rogue older model replicants. K lives with his holographic companion Joi.

K is asked to investigate an elusive replicant freedom movement. This leads him to a farm, where he encounters rogue replicant Sapper Morton. K also notices a flower in front of a tree and finds a buried box. He finds human remains inside. Forensic analysis initially reveals they are of a female who died as the result of complications from an emergency caesarian section. On closer inspection, K discovers a serial number on the skull and is horrified to learn the bones are actually of a highly experimental female replicant who died in childbirth. K’s superior, Lieutenant Joshi, is concerned that the the knowledge that replicants can reproduce could be dangerous, so he orders K to destroy all evidence related to the case and to destroy the child. K visits the headquarters of replicant manufacturer Niander Wallace who identifies the body as Rachael and learns of her illicit affair with former blade runner Rick Deckard, who disappeared. Deckard’s old colleague Gaff is also unaware of Deckard’s current whereabouts. Wallace sends his replicant enforcer Luv to steal Rachael’s remains from LAPD headquarters and follow K to Rachael’s child.

Returning to Morton’s farm, K finds evidence that matches his childhood memories suggesting that they might actually be real. He also discovers that: “twins” were born on the day of his birth. with identical DNA except for the gender chromosome; only the boy survived. K goes to Las Vegas to try and find Deckard. Meanwhile Luv confronts and kills Joshi When she refuses to disclose K’s location.  Nevertheless Luv and her men manage to Track K down, however he is rescued by the replicant freedom movement and told by their leader, Freysa, that he is not Rachael’s child and urged to prevent Wallace from uncovering the secrets of replicant reproduction. Meanwhile In Los Angeles, Wallace has a proposition for Deckard which leads to trouble luckily K shows up soon after, before Deckard discovers a shocking secret from Stelline…

Posted in books, films & DVD, locomotives, steam locomotives, Trains

British Steam Railways

34027 Taw Valley

British Steam Railways is new series of lavishly-illustrated hard backed books by DeAgostini, which chronicles the rise of Steam Power in Britain. Charting From the efforts of early pioneers like Cugnot, Richard Trevithick and George Stephenson to record breakers like 3440 City of Truro, Flying Scotsman and Mallard, through to the golden age in the 1930’s. From the formation of the BIG Four Railway companies in 1923: Great Western, London Midland Scotland, London North East and Southern Region, to The formation of British Railways in 1948 which combined the big four railway companies and introduced a new class of Standard Engines which combined the best features from all four companies, until the slow decline of steam in the 1960’s which was hastened by the Beeching Axe. This was designed to save the government money and favoured road transport and eventually banned Steam Traction outright in 1968 following the Fifteen Guineas Special in August 1968.

However there has since been a resurgence of steam thanks to a growing number of dedicated rail enthusiasts who worked on the railways and refused to let steam Engines become extinct. These pioneers were responsible for a large number of heritage Railways such as the West Somerset, North York Moors, East Lancashire, Bluebell, Great Central and Severn Valley Railway which sprang up during the 1970’s and were responsible for buying back Steam Engines from scrapyards like Dai Woodham’s in Wales.

The books also feature in depth articles on noteworthy Chief Mechanical Engineers such as sir Nigel Gresley, Charles Collett, Henry Ivatt, sir William Stanier, Thompson, Maunsell and Urie whose innovative designs helped to shape locomotive development throughout the years. Many noteworthy locomotives are featured such as LNER A4 class pacific locomotive 4468 Mallard, LNER A3 class Pacific Locomotive 4472 Flying Scotsman, LNER D49, j94 Austerities, SR PACIFIC 35028 Clan Line, GWR Hall Locomotives, Jones Goods Locomotives, Duke of Gloucester, LMS 6100 Royal Scot, lMS 6201 Princess Elizabeth, GWR 3440 City of Truro, 4771 Green Arrow, King George V, LMS 8f’s, Q1 Class.

There are also twelve DVD’s including Arfon Haines DVD Learning to Steam, these feature hours of archive steam footage, footage of preserved Steam Engines running on Heritage lines and footage from the footplate. Plus a silver plated stationmasters pocket-watch and TWO Stunning prints of LNER 4472 Flying Scotsman and LNER 4468 Mallard.

Posted in books, films & DVD, Television

Henning Mankell

Swedish crime writer, children’s author, and dramatist Henning Georg Mankell was born 3 February 1948 in Stockholm, Sweden. His father Ivar was a lawyer who divorced his mother when Mankell was one year old. He and an older sister lived with his father for most of their childhood. Mankell’s grandfather, also named Henning Mankell, lived from 1868 to 1930 and was a composer. The family first lived in Sveg, Härjedalen in northern Sweden, where Mankell’s father was a district judge. In the biography on Mankell’s website, he describes this time when they lived in a flat above the court as one of the happiest in his life and a museum was built In Sveg, in his honour during his lifetime.

Later, when Mankell was thirteen, the family moved to Borås, Västergötland on the Swedish west coast near Gothenburg. After three years he dropped out of school and went to Paris when he was 16. Shortly afterwards he joined the merchant marine, working on a cargo ship and he “loved the ship’s decent hard-working community”. In 1966, he returned to Paris to become a writer. In his youth Mankell was a left-wing political activist and participated in the Protests of 1968 in Sweden, protesting against, among other things, the Vietnam War, the Portuguese Colonial War, and the apartheid regime in South Africa. He took part in the student uprising of 1968. he also got involved with Folket i Bild/Kulturfront which focused on cultural policy studies. In the 1970s, Mankell moved from Sweden to Norway and lived with a Norwegian woman who was a member of the Maoist Workers’ Communist Party. In 2010, Mankell was on board one of the ships in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that was boarded by Israeli military forces.

He later returned to work as a stagehand in Stockholm. At the age of 20, he had already started as author at Riksteatern in Stockholm. In the following years he collaborated with several theatres in Sweden. His first play, The Amusement Park dealt with Swedish colonialism in South America. In 1973, he published The Stone Blaster, a novel about the Swedish labour movement. He used the proceeds from the novel to travel to Guinea-Bissau. Africa would later become a second home to him, and he spent a big part of his life there. When his success as a writer made it possible, he founded and ran a theatre in Mozambique. After living in Zambia and other African countries, Mankell was invited from 1986 onward to become the artistic director of Teatro Avenida in Maputo, Mozambique. He subsequently spent extended periods in Maputo working with the theatre and as a writer. He built his own publishing house, Leopard Förlag, in order to support young talented writers from Africa and Sweden.His novel Chronicler of the Winds, published in Sweden as Comédie infantil in 1995, reflects African problems and is based on African storytelling. His books and plays constantly highlighted social inequality issues and injustices in Sweden and abroad

He is also known for a series of mystery novels featuring Inspector Kurt Wallander and also wrote a number of other plays and screenplays for television. Around 2008, Mankell developed two original stories for the German police series Tatort. Actor Axel Milberg, who portrays Inspector Klaus Borowski, had asked Mankell to contribute to the show when they were promoting The Man from Beijing audiobook, a project that Milberg had worked on. The episodes were scheduled to broadcast in Germany in 2010. In 2010, Mankell was set to work on a screenplay for Sveriges Television about his father-in-law, movie and theatre director Ingmar Bergman, on a series produced in four one-hour episodes. Mankell pitched the project to Sveriges Television and production was planned for 2011.

He made considerable donations to African charity organizations. In2008, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of St Andrews in Scotland “in recognition of his major contribution to literature and to the practical exercise of conscience”. In 2002, Mankell gave financial support by buying stocks for 50,000 NOK in the Norwegian left-wing newspaper Klassekampen. In 2009, Mankell was a guest at the Palestine Festival of Literature. He said he had seen “repetition of the despicable apartheid system that once treated Africans and coloured as second-class citizens in their own country”. He found a resemblance between the Israeli West Bank barrier and the Berlin Wall. In 2010, Henning Mankell was on board the MS Sofia, one of the boats which took part in the flotilla which tried to break the Israeli embargo of the Gaza strip. Following the Israel Defense Forces’ boarding of the flotilla on the morning of 31 May 2010, Mankell was deported to Sweden. He subsequently called for global sanctions against Israel.

Sadly In January 2014, Mankell announced that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and throat cancer. In May 2014, he reported that treatments had worked well and he was getting better. He wrote a series of articles inspired by his wife Eva, describing his situation, how it felt to be diagnosed, how it felt to be supported, how it felt to wait, and after his first chemotherapy at Sahlgrenska University Hospital about the importance of cancer research. Three weeks before his death he wrote about what happens to people’s identity when they are stricken by a serious illness. Unfortunately On 5 October 2015, Mankell died at the age of 67, almost two years after having been diagnosed. At the time of his death Mankell had written over 40 novels that had sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and Wallander has also been adapted for Television.

Posted in Television


I am currently watching Requiem an atmospheric six part supernatural psychological horror thriller. It starts in 1994, when a toddler named Carys disappeared from a small Welsh village called Penllyneth , never to be seen again. Twenty three years later, in London, the mother of rising cello star Matilda Gray inexplicably commits suicide, without apparent reason.

Among her possessions, Matilda discovers tantalising evidence, linking her mother to the Welsh girl’s disappearance all those years ago. So a grief stricken Matilda travels to Penllyneth, Wales, determined to find out who she really is. Carys’s Mother is less than thrilled to have Matilda bringing up the past. Then Matilda is invited to stay at the creepy Ancestral Stately Home of a recently deceased man who may also be linked to the girls disappearance and Matilda starts to have disturbing nightmares and experiencing frightening phenomena.

As she investigates further she uncovers long buried secrets in this remote community and begins to suspect that her Mother was hiding something terrible. Then Matilda uncovers something even more bizarre, terrifying and dangerous than anything she could have imagined when it transpires that Dark otherworldly forces are gathering having waited many years for Matilda to return..