~ Posted by Robert Butler, February 3rd 2012
In From Here to New Hampshire we blogged about the view from our office (with the Shard and the London Eye in the distance) and the beneficial effects, generally, of looking out of the window—whether you're a blogger in London or a former poet laureate in New Hampshire. It turns out the view from our window is also a barometer of the city's financial health. From my desk I can count 25 building cranes, which the chancellor of the exchequer may not consider good news. The Financial Times reports that only 300 tower cranes went up in London in the second half of 2011 compared with 371 in the previous six months. And who's patient enough to count 300 tower cranes? The Health and Safety Executive receives notification of each one that goes up.
In Another Top 40 for Dickens, we noted Penguin Classics' online poll of favourite Dickens characters and suggested another Top 40 poll for favourite minor ones. We put forward five. One of our expert readers wrote in to suggest another 14 including one dog (Bullseye from "Oliver Twist"). The Daily Telegraph is running a series in which 29 journalists write about their favourite Dickens character (one for each day of this month). That discussion continues on Twitter, where there's a shout-out for Tommy Traddles, David Copperfield's endearing pal. The tweet is from the great-great-great-great-grandson of Judge Thomas Noon Talfourd, who is said to have inspired the character and who is the dedicatee of "The Pickwick Papers".
In When Spielberg Does Your Book our literary editor watched "War Horse" with the book's author Michael Morpurgo and waited an hour to hear his reaction (thumbs up). The reaction from the press had thumbs heading in both directions. Now comes the reaction from military historians. In History Today William Philpott takes exception to the spectacular sequence during which the cavalry is slaughtered, Joey's rider is killed and Joey ends up in German hands. Philpott, who is professor of the history of warfare at King's College, London has quite a nitpick. He writes, "There were no cavalry charges in the first battle of Ypres...Cavalrymen fought dismounted as infantrymen...Joey would have been stabled well away".
Robert Butler is online editor of Intelligent Life