November 22nd, 2009

Gibbon IX


  • This chapter does what it says in the title, giving us an account of the Germans largely (and occasionally critically) based on Tacitus, and ending by wondering why they did not make more effort to attack Rome between Varus [9 AD] and Decius [251 AD] (the explanations given being lack of metal technology, and too much internal dissent). But Gibbon also uses it to attach a lot of other philosophical speculation, in particular about the politics, social life and culture of the German tribes as precursors of the civilisation of Western Europe (in particular of course England).

    (tags: gibbon)

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Sudan

Well, I have very nearly caught up with myself after my 17-day trip which included five countries, five hotels and three overnight flights. I can't write much here about the actual trip to Juba, but I can share with you some of the photographs I took (below the cut):

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Hope I go back some day.
The Waters of Mars was shown while I was driving across southern Connecticut to catch my plane from JFK last weekend, so it was a day or two before I caught up with it. I enjoyed it. I think RTD is rather good at the base-under-siege stories, and Lindsay Duncan, who I don't think I had seen before, was superb as Adelaide. (Has anyone remarked on the fact that this story was headed by two Scottish actors putting on English accents?)

The ending, and the DoctorCollapse )

I got home to find The Circus of Doom, episode three of the new The Hornet's Nest series, with Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, waiting for me. A half-day in Paris on Thursday gave me time to listen to it as I walked from the Gare du Nord to my meeting at the Tuileries and back. Unfortunately I wasn't wildly impressed; it seemed to me too similar to the second episode, The Dead Shoes, with the added demerit of a comedy foreign disabled character (played very well by Stephen Thorne, but that doesn't really help). I do hope that the fourth and fifth episodes, due out at the start of next month, are an improvement.

As I drove across Connecticut last weekend, I was listening to The Adventure of the Diogenes Damsel, one of the Bernice Summerfield plays released just over a year ago. It is a sequel to my favourite New Adventure, All-Consuming Fire, and features two brilliant actors, David Warner playing Mycroft Holmes and Peter "Nyder" Miles as the evil alien, as well as of course Lisa Bowerman herself. It would alas be slightly incomprehensible to those who don't know All-Consuming Fire but was great fun and consoled me for missing the broadcast on the other side of the Atlantic.

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