Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus.

Good afternoon, my faithful readers.

Jamie's new title due late September.

I sat down two nights ago and caught up via the beauty of Sky+ Jamie Cooks Summer, which was on Channel 4 on Monday. In the fifty-minute programme, no doubt broadcasted late in the summer to get us in preparation for his new title Jamie’s Great Britain coming next month, the naked chef found himself positively on the brink of euphoria every time he tasted one of his meals he had cooked, be it – as he says, back to basics – by cooking over a homemade tin pail masquerading as a fish-smoker, sticks chopped from trees or in the case of his chocolate pancake-cake (yes, you read that right), no cooking whatsoever. It must be said though that the beef chili brisket [insert salivating noises here] he made at the beginning of the show looked utterly to die, the meat flaking away moistly in Jamie’s fingers upon stewing. But in all seriousness, taking into account my naivety and weaknesses when watching cookery programmes, even I was thinking although it was no doubt sublime and melt-in-the-mouth, are you going to have time, or can you actually be bothered, to cook a stew six hours before heading off to Glasto when you’re more excited about seeing Muse than anything else? For this was festival/ garden/ barbeque/ general anything-that-one-can-do-in-the-garden-and-eat-food-to food. And not only did Jamie show you how to cook it, he showed you how to make your own cooking equipment too. So if you find yourself in Epping Forrest with nothing but a fallen oak tree, Swiss army knife and a lame fawn, you now know how to keep yourself going for the night. Just don’t use pine, as the wood is too oily and will make your venison taste like toilet duck.

Will Parky win your vote with the greatest interview?

Something a bit more serious caught my sleepy morning eye two mornings ago when I turned the BBC Breakfast News on and watched a feature on something the Radio Times are currently doing; a competition to find out the best ever interview in history. I watched the small clip of famous interviews, from the confessional – Frost/ Nixon, to the downright baffling, Meg Ryan on Parkinson. There have been lots of nominations; don’t forget Michael Portillo on Jeremy Paxman and indeed, the legendary physical assault on Russell Harty from Grace Jones in 1981. I should imagine Martin Bashir and Princess Diana will be a strong contender too, with her finally admitting that there were “three people” in her marriage to Prince Charles. Personally anything from TFI Friday in the ’90s gets my vote. Keep an eye on the Radio Times if you want to cast your vote on which interview kept you biting your nails throughout history.

An article I was recommended to read was a post in the Books blog on the Guardian website about the many words in the English language which are no longer used any more. The writers and compilers of the Collins English dictionaries have sadly had to remove a mass of words that are just not spoken in this modern day and age. The post, which you can read here, highlights some of the words which you will no longer see in some of Collins’ smaller dictionaries, but what is sadder I feel than this are the words that have been brought into dictionaries because of the advent of internet and text-speak. I standby wholeheartedly in my opinion that the medium of texting has a lot to answer for with the level of diction and literacy in today’s generation. Yes, I know that may make me sound like I could be queuing up in the Mr Kipling aisle in my local supermarket on pension day, but one can’t deny how differently we talk and write now compared to how we did only ten years ago. Words that have been added to our modern-day dictionaries which may surprise you include, breadcrumb trail (not to be confused with the escapades of Hansel & Gretel), bridezilla, bucket list, eco-chic, insidery, man flu, mani-pedi, nekkid (apparently we don’t say ‘naked’ anymore), NSFW, permalink and unfollow. ZOMG!

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

An era where one would never have heard or spoken those afore-mentioned words is being highlighted at the Imperial War Museum in London with an event they are currently running, Book in the Park: Read-a-thon. The event pays tribute to some of our greatest literature set during WWI and WWII, with iconic titles including Carrie’s War and War Horse being read aloud and discussed. If you want to get down there for the last couple of days, more details can be found here. Adults and children of all ages are welcome and it’s a great way to learn more about the history of the World Wars through novel and play.

Before I go I just want to mention two pieces of Harry Potter news that got me rather excited when I read about them in the past week. First, HarperCollins have announced they will be publishing the seminal Harry Potter movie guide in October. This will be the ultimate piece of non-fiction Harry Potter literature, where fans can read about the movies, go behind the scenes of the sets and learn how the films were made with in-depth looks into the characters and actors who created and brought to life our greatest ever movie franchise. However if you can’t wait until then, or the hefty £49.99 price tag is worrying you, you may find enjoyment in Harry Potter Film Wizardry, which I personally highly recommend also. And at half the price too of the former title, this book is packed with removable facsimile reproductions of props and blue-prints of the various locations and buildings seen in the Harry Potter blockbusters. And if you still can’t see yourself affording that, then perhaps just the Golden Snitch Kit will satisfy.

Harry Potter: Film Wizardry

But what if you wanted to get even more into the world of JK Rowling’s boy wizard and experience how the students of Hogwarts actually felt when they first walked into the Great Hall in the Philosopher’s Stone, or Harry’s thoughts when he was first summoned to Dumbledore’s office? Well, now you can. Opening in spring 2012, Muggles of the world can unite in their love for all things Potter as Warner Bros open the doors of the very-first-in-the-UK studio tour where you will be at liberty to experience the magic of the Harry Potter film sets till your heart’s content. At the Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, fans of the Harry Potter films will actually be able to walk around the stages and sets used in the eight-movie phenomenon and immerse themselves in their fantasies of being a student of the Houses of Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin. Tickets cost a reasonable £28 for adults and £21 for children and more details can be found here, once online booking opens in mid-October. Sectumsempra!

Goodbye for now. I shall see you all next week.

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