The Reading Room

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SPOILER: Romeo & Juliet (Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film based on… well, you know what it’s based on!)

July 14th, 2017

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“If love be rough with you, be rough with love”

Three reviewers, alike in temperament (if not always in opinion), sit down this week to talk some serious culture as the Spoiler team take a look at Baz Luhrmann’s Shakespeare adaptation ‘Romeo + Juliet’. Paul wonders just how many meads he must have had when he suggested we tackle the Bard, while Andy shares his concerns that talking Shakespeare could expose the fact he’s not as clever as he’s often credited with being. Self-proclaimed Shakespeare traditionalist Rachael struggles with the MTV style of Luhrmann’s film but applauds his contribution to making the Bard’s work the visual experience it was always intended to be. While Paul bemoans the fact that Radiohead’s ‘Exit Music (For a Film)’ is not as deep as he once thought but delights in the fact that Billy Bragg’s ‘Between the Wars’ gets even better with age, Andy questions whether Rachael’s interest in the ‘Hollow Crown’ series has more to do with her love of language or the presence of a certain Mr. Hiddleston. And the team debate whether the word ‘punished’ is made more dramatic by the addition of an extra syllable.

Elsewhere, Rachael takes a look at some less-obvious Shakespeare adaptations that reinterpret the Bard’s work in a looser fashion, including ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ and ‘The Lion King’.

This week’s scale: True love or “All are punish-ed”

To listen to more SPOILER podcasts, go to our website www.spoilerpodcast.co.uk or subscribe to us on iTunes or Acast

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SPOILER Review: Children of Men based on the book by PD James

July 3rd, 2017

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“Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices”

This week we’re watching Alfonso Cuaron’s dystopian thriller ‘Children of Men’, based (very loosely) on the 1992 novel by PD James and starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine and Pam Ferris - and not all the team are entirely convinced. While Rachael is “saturated” in the film and Paul wonders how this hidden gem passed him by, Andy finds it impossible to connect with ‘Children of Men’ on an emotional level and would rather spend the show discussing daytime quiz show ‘Countdown’.

While the team are in full agreement about the film’s technical excellence, Andy and Rachael are at odds over the performances of the cast and Paul takes issue with claims that the film is a story that has had its guts ripped out and nothing put back in their place. Despite the disharmony, Paul shares his plans for surviving an imminent apocalypse and gives the team 4 hours to join him in his Co-Op distribution centre. And for all you Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon fans, we’ll be showing you how to get from Clive Owen to our own producer Jonny Haw in just two moves.

Elsewhere, inspired by the cat that likes to climb up Clive Owen’s leg, Rachael takes a look at some of her favourite cats in films, including Jonesy from ‘Alien’ and Cosmic Creepers from ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’.

To hear more from our current podcast SPOILER, go to our website or subscribe to us on iTunes.

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High-Rise (2015 film based on the novel by J G Ballard): SPOILER Episode 23

January 12th, 2017

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“I don’t work for you. I work for the building”

This week we’re watching Ben Wheatley’s film adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s supposedly "unfilmable" dystopian thriller ‘High-Rise’ and the team are at odds again, though not about Tom “so handsome it hurts” Hiddleston. With Andy occupying Paul’s usual spot on the fence, Paul wonders how anyone could possibly put themselves through this film more than once, while Rachael advocates reading the original novel as a possible way to unlock the film’s appeal. While Andy compares ‘High-Rise’ to the music of The Fall, Paul experiments with a new way of saying Rachael’s name while Rachael tries to find a point of entry, causing everyone else to look for a point of exit! Despite Paul’s hankering for some politically-inspired vandalism, everything remains fairly harmonious until the subject of ‘No Country for Old Men’ comes up.

Elsewhere in two very different features, Rachael takes a dreamy look at the highs and lows of being a Hiddlestoner while Andy plunges headlong into the nightmare world of screen violence.

This week’s scale: Soft, delicious mashed potato or 1980s robot-advertised instant mash

To hear more from our current podcast SPOILER, go to our website or subscribe to us on iTunes.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: SPOILER Episode 22

December 29th, 2016

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“Just when you think life can’t possibly get any worse it suddenly does”

This week we’re reading Douglas Adams’ cult sci-fi comedy novel ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. While Paul wonders if anyone anywhere dislikes this book, Rachael tries her best to cast a critical eye over this beloved work by comparing it to the original radio series, while Andy shares his favourite joke of all time with the team (it involves hippos). Paul describes the difficulty of trying to simultaneously cope with jogging, having a mid-life crisis and listening to this audio book, Andy suggests that knocking back a few drinks might help to realign the brain to Adams’ distinctive brand of logic and the naturally squiffy-brained Rachael sets down her very strict rules for discovering more books that mix the mundane with the fantastical.

Elsewhere, Andy takes a look at strange and ludicrous character names in films, Rachael explores the potentially controversial practice of new authors taking on existing series, and both manage to have a pop at James Bond’s sexual politics in the process.

This week’s scale: Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster or Vogon poetry

For more episodes of SPOILER, please go to www.spoilerpodcast.co.uk

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Room by Emma Donoghue - SPOILER Podcast Episode 17

July 29th, 2016

"When I was small, I only knew small things"

This week we're watching and reading "Room" by Emma Donoghue as we take a look at both the original 2010 book and the 2015 film adaptation starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay.

The team approach this powerful story with trepidation, especially Paul who was unable to bear the tension of watching the film from start to finish. Andy and Rachael find themselves feeling so protective towards Jack and Ma that they didn't want to close the book and "leave them on their own".  And as we compare and contrast the book with the movie version, we look at what was lost in the adaptation to the big screen, but also what was gained in the brilliant performances of all the cast,in particular the outstanding Jacob Tremblay.

Meanwhile, inspired by some of the themes in Room, Andy takes a nostalgic look back at a room which played a big part in his life.

This week's scale: Book or Film

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Ready Player One by Ernest Kline: SPOILER Podcast Preview

April 20th, 2016

“Going outside is highly overrated” 

This week in our new show SPOILER, we're reading Ernest Kline's "nerdgasm" of a book, Ready Player One.  As Rachael and Andy get in touch with their inner geek, Paul has been frittering away more of his short time on this earth collating every pop culture reference in the book and putting them into another of his legendary remixes (see video version below…).

Meanwhile, the dystopian setting of Ready Player One leads Rachael to consider the popularity of dystopian settings in teen fiction, and there's an unscheduled interruption from Andy…

To hear more from SPOILER go to www.spoilerpodcast.co.uk or subscribe here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/spoiler/id1042430544?mt=2

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Stoner by John Williams: SPOILER podcast preview

April 13th, 2016

"She turned to him and pulled her lips into what he knew must be a smile"

This week, in another chance to catch up with our new show SPOILER, we're reading John Williams' sleeper hit "Stoner" which, contrary to Paul's assumption, is not a "1990s drug romp", but a 1965 novel about the quiet, unassuming life of a quiet,unassuming man, William Stoner.  The book was largely ignored at the time of its original publication and famously took nearly half a century to become a hit, which leads Rachael to consider some other literary late bloomers....

To hear more from SPOILER go to www.spoilerpodcast.co.uk or subscribe here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/spoiler/id1042430544?mt=2

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SPOILER Podcast: Us by David Nicholls

December 13th, 2015

“While there was breath in my body, she would never lack sufficient AA batteries.”

Another opportunity to try out our new podcast "Spoiler", and this week we're reading David Nicholls much anticipated novel "Us", the story of middle aged Biochemist Douglas Peterson whose wife announces her intention to leave him when their teenage son leaves home for University – but first there's the small matter of taking one final family holiday together.

We discuss how the novel measures up to Nicholl's previous smash hit One Day, and Rachael takes a look at some strategies other authors have used to deal with the pressure of writing a follow-up.  Meanwhile, Paul reveals that the book made him cry, and takes the opportunity to list 10 TV shows which also cause him to blub like a little girl.

To hear more from SPOILER go to www.spoilerpodcast.co.uk or subscribe here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/spoiler/id1042430544?mt=2

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SPO!LER Preview

September 23rd, 2015



Hello again!  It's been a few years now since The Reading Room ended, but now we're back with a brand new show called SPO!LER, which reviews books, films and TV shows in their entirety - without fear of spoilers.  We thought we'd give you loyal Reading Room subscribers a preview of the new show - this first episode features the 2014 drama Whiplash.  We're only putting the show on this feed once, so if you like it and want to hear more, head over to www.spoilerpodcast.co.uk or https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/spo!ler/id1042430544 to subscribe.

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Long Time No See…

July 16th, 2015

Hello again!  Unbelieveably, it's been almost 3 years since we last updated this page.  In the meantime, we decided to take a bit of a break, then did a local radio project called Lincoln AtoZ.  But now we're back - or at least will be very soon - with a brand new podcast called SPO!LER

Our new show will continue in the tradition of The Reading Room by reviewing books, but will also take in movies and TV.  One of the limitations we found when doing reviews on The Reading Room was that we always had to skirt around the ending, any twists or any other spoilers. In this new show, we'll have no such limitations, reviewing works in their entirety - hence the title SPO!LER.

If you enjoyed The Reading Room, we hope you'll also enjoy SPO!LER - pop over to our new website www.spoilerpodcast.co.uk to find out more...