The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho by Paterson Joseph

This is one of the those occasions when I buy a book in hardback. Why? Well, two reasons:

  1. The fantastically over-the-top cover design.
  2. It’s one of the books I’d like folk to see on the shelf, or on the coffee table, or in the office, or on the passenger seat of the car.

I’m not sure where this book fits in the genre list; it’s based on the diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho, an ex-slave who, through his own ingenuity, and I will concede, the kindness of others, escaped his destiny of life-long, unrewarded servitude, to become a noted musician, writer and abolishonist in eighteenth century England.

Paterson Joseph

Interestingly enough, the book was written by Paterson Joseph, an English actor who’s cropped in just about everything over the past twenty years or so. He started out in Peep Show, if I remember rightly, and since then he’s performed on stage as well as TV, and has also found the time to knock out a book or two.

The life of Charles Ignatius Sancho is obviously a passion of his, because he’s also behind a stage play about the same character.

Back to the book. Since it’s based on the diaries of a genuinely historical figure, then I’m going to put in the creative non-fiction bracket. Thinking about it, I think we can go a little further and pidgeon-hole it further into that miniscule section of the book market entitled Literary Creative-Non-Fiction of Outstanding Calibre.

Yup, it’s that good.

The writer notes that this is based on the diaries of main character, and as such, he’s embellished in places, though the story still carries the authentic thread of Sancho’s life.

And what a life it was …

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Roar

Sorry, yet another review of something on a pay stream, but just like Severance, this weird little gem is well worth the money – from what I’ve seen so far anyway.

Roar is a series of eight films, based on the story collection of the same name by Ceclia Ahern.
Each story touches upon issues such as gender, race, illness – pretty much a metaphor for modern living, which probably explains why the whole series is heavy on metaphors.

I haven’t gone through the whole series yet, but so far, so good:

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Severance

If you haven’t seen Severance yet, then you should. The first season (running on Apple TV+) has just finished, and the whole thing has been absolutely bonkers.

I mean, from the strangely disturbing opening credits, you know you’re in for something seriously weird.

The premise is deceptively simple; Severance tells the story of a small group of individuals who, in order to work for the dystopian Lumon Corporation, have agreed to be ‘severed’. What does this mean? Okay hang the hell on … The employees have a chip inserted into their brains which prevents them accessing their home life memories while they’re at work, and their work memories when they’re back at home.

Ideal for Lumon: the staff have no idea what they do for a living when they’re not at work, and when they are at work, they’re not distracted by problems at home. Sounds almost too simple to run a whole TV series around, but the genius of it hits you when you realise that what you have is two separate people living in the same body, and as your memories are part of who you are, then these people can become completely different over time. And as far as the ‘Innie’ (the person actually at work) is concerned, their whole existence is in the office. They get in the elevator to go home, but they don’t go home: as far as they can tell, the elevator doors open and they’re still in the office. That’s when it hits you how inhuman it is; people are being exploited with no escape, and when their ‘outie’ leave the company, they simple cease to exist … or did they ever exist in the first place?

As I said, it is bonkers, a dark comedy, thriller and dystopian science fiction all rolled into one. The script is witty and sardonic, the acting is brilliant; it’s worth seeing for the sheer novelty, and for Patricia Arquette’s mad portrayal of the department boss.

Yeah, it’s on AppleTV+, but it’s worth taking out the sub for the month to binge it.

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