Fiction: Still reading "Patriot Games", Tom Clancy which has rather been visited by both the sexism fairy & the racism fairy in the 15 or so years since I last read it. Not enough to make me stop reading it but enough to make me wonder if they maybe don't deserve a space in the house any more. See how the rest of them go.
Non-fiction: still reading Gerald Harriss's "Shaping the Nation: England 1360-1461" - I've now finished the chapter on England's relationship with France & with wider Christendom from 1360-1413. The war with France in this period sort of dribbled on with Richard II getting less & less interested (too keen on establishing authority at home) but with neither side decisively winning enough to enforce their own view of what peace should look like. Finally a truce (more of a stalemate) signed when Richard married Isabella of France, which came to an end after the French were scandalised by Henry IV deposing an anointed king. But they were too busy with their own civil war to really do anything about this - in fact both sides even invited Henry IV in to support their side, which reignited a sense in the English that they could make gains in France.
Maps: 1300-1492 CE - in this period it's the Mongols whose meteoric rise & conquest reshapes the world even after their political collapse & fragmentation. In the Americas the first two substantial empires have risen - the Aztecs & the Incas. As the world is on the cusp of European expansion there were also a couple of spreads about themes related to this - the trade networks pre-1492 and also the spread of writing systems across the world. Notable in both cases that Eurasia was all linked together, but the Americas seemed to be small enclaves with fewer lines of contact. Also, I hadn't really realised that the Incas are the only empire which didn't have writing.
Podcasts: ep 43-52 of Renaissance English History podcast. She's really hit her stride by now - and is interleaving solo episodes with interviews with someone from the Tudor Times website so there's two different sets of perspectives. Currently she's looking at rebellions during the Tudor period.
Sunday podcast: ep 11 & 12 of Our Man in the Middle East - 9/11 & the beginning of the Second Iraq War. So we got the bits of GWB's speech that made me annoyed at the time and the bits of Blair's various speeches that annoy me in retrospect as we now know he was lying.
Music: while running I've mostly listened to Voice of the Beehive and the 100 Hits Rock compilation. While J was out last night at the cinema I listened to more Belle & Sebastien, plus an album by Bellowhead (which I'd completely forgotten we had, and also forgotten that I enjoyed it). And now moved on to Belly, listening to several EPs and a compilation that has Feed the Tree on it (Ladykillers). I just listen to the albums (discs, folders, however you want to think of them given it's on the computer) in the order the computer presents them to me so I think I get actual Belly albums after the compilation.
Live music: Marillion at the Royal Albert Hall. Which was great - first set was F.E.A.R (their most recent album) and then after the interval they played a selection from their back catalogue.
Visited the Scythians Exhibition at the British Museum - liked it a lot, they're steppe nomads from the 1st millennium BCE, and because of the conditions where they buried their dead (cold) they've not only found the obvious things like gold ornaments but also some well preserved textiles so we know what they actually wore.
ep 2 of Russia with Simon Reeve - the middle of Russia, which felt like it included a lot of the places that feel left behind by the growth that bits of Russia are seeing. And areas that had suffered particularly when the Soviet Union collapsed & the mafia took over.
ep 3 of Dangerous Borders - the end of this series, with the two journalists travelling the easternmost section of the India/Pakistan border. Perhaps the most distressing of the series too, there were places they visited in this one where it seems the violence sparked by Partition never stopped.
ep 2 of The Yorkshire Wolds - watched as a lightweight half hour antidote to the one above. Paul Rose walking the Yorkshire Wolds, which is a short enough path that it only took 2 half hour episodes to cover it. Rather odd series tbh, but fluffy & fun.
Glam Rock at the BBC - the BBC trawling their archives again to give us a selection of glam rock performances. Fluff, but fun.
Marc Bolan: Cosmic Dancer - a biography of Marc Bolan (i.e. the guy in T-Rex) who would've been 70 this year if he'd not died at the age of 29. Unlike many similar programmes about rock stars from the BBC this wasn't a hagiography. I didn't know much about Bolan going in (and I only really know a couple of T-Rex songs) but my goodness he came across as a bit of a dick.