Friday Videos: A Year of Reading

Michelle Styles sent me a link to this hilarity that is a celebrity-laden video promoting the Year of Reading. Michelle’s (and my) favorite is the “bloke in a bar reading from a Harlequin Presents.”

Michelle tells me that as part of the Year of Reading, she is going to be the Writer in Residence for Northumberland, which is so very, very cool.

I’d like to suggest a similar program here in the US of A, wherein we all take a year off, just for reading. Anyone…? Anyone…? No?



Speaking of, here’s a rare bit of story from my world. Last weekend I went to a dinner party celebrating my cousin’s marriage to a nice bloke from England, and as part of the party favor, my aunt placed “Brit-speak” cards at every place setting. My card? You guessed it: “Bollocks.” I was SO pleased.

Bonus: see the making-of behind the scenes video as well, for additional blokes and giggles:



Friday Videos

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  1. 1

    I loved that! I’d be up for it.

  2. 2
    Katherine says:

    Oh , oh, I know the “bloke in the pub”! Bill Bailey. And Jo Brand is the woman on the bed reading…I watch the series Qi (Quite Interesting) hosted by Stephen Fry and both are frequent guests. Jo is a real pistol, to be sure. Great to see them again!
    Thanks for the link!

  3. 3
    JessicaMcG says:

    I would be all for taking a year off simply to read!  Think of it, there would be no need for a TBR pile because everyone would have enough time to read whatever they wished. Very cool, thanks. :)

  4. 4
    KellyMaher says:

    I’ve been saying for the last few months that I want someone at the Macarthur Foundation to nominate me for the award so I can spend my time reading and skimming as much adult literature as I can so I can apply my newfound knowledge to my day profession of librarianship. Hey, a girl can dream :D

  5. 5
    KellyMaher says:

    And, now having watched the video :D, I feel quite proud to have recognized Lenny Henry in addition to Geri Halliwell, and the other guy who looked damn familiar to me: Omid Djalili, aka the prison warden from The Mummy!

  6. 6
    Carrie Lofty says:

    Richard E. Grant is in there too. And Bill Bailey is hilarious. He’s a musician comedian, which sounds wretched, but he cracks me up with his very malleable face.

  7. 7
    GrowlyCub says:


    not to be a party pooper or anything, but since I live the life of a lady of leisure and do not much else but read I feel I need to tell you that I still have a TBR. :)
    (Can you tell I have recently rediscovered historicals and Regencies? :)

    Hanging out here and at DA makes it bigger daily.  There are just not enough hours in the day!  But what FUN!

  8. 8
    Maya says:

    Omid Djalili – absolutely hilarious.  He was the slave seller in ‘Gladiator’, and has a couple of milliseconds of scene in the third ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ before he’s killed off at the pirate conference or whatever that was.  He also does a hysterically funny spoof called ‘Pride and Racial Prejudice’ where he plays the Persian ambassador Mr. Farsi (instead of Darcy, natch).  It’s on Youtube somewhere.

  9. 9
    Amanda says:

    I would LOVE it if the US would do something like this.

    Unfortunately, I learned in my RWA eNotes yesterday that the RIF Program (Reading is Fundamental) here in the US is losing its funding in the 2009 budget, which makes the contrast between how much (or little) our two countries value reading stark indeed.

    According to the article in eNotes, “The [RIF] program distributes free books to 4.6 million children and families and runs reading encouragement programs in 20,000 locations in the U.S.” As a writer and a librarian the loss of this program is so disheartening. If you don’t get kids reading early on they are not likely to make it a habit. If you want more information, here’s a link to their website.

    Sorry for the soapbox—the juxtapositioning of the UK Campaign and the news that RIF is going away just bummed me out:(

  10. 10
    Yvonne says:

    I read in bars all the time. My friends say that it is proof positive of my geekness. If I saw a bloke in a bar reading a Harlequin, I would be enthralled.
    I remember RIF from when I was a child. I hope they find a way to fund it, its loss would be devastating.

  11. 11
    Walt says:

    Bill Bailey (the bloke in the bar with the Harl Presents) is hilarious with his antiBush comedy rants on stage – but I know him most from his role on the “game show” called Don’t Mind The Bollocks.  Which is occasionally side splittingly fun.

  12. 12
    cecilia says:

    It’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks, which you can watch on YouTube (if you’re like me and don’t have access to it on TV.  And for QI fans, I’m pretty sure I saw Meera Syal in there.

  13. 13
    Mimi says:

    About 70% of those people I only recognize because they guest-starred on ‘Extras.’

    Bill Bailey was also on ‘Black Books’, one of my favorite shows ever.

  14. 14
    NKKingston says:

    I can probably recognise about three quarters of those people, but that’s more an obsessive watching of QuizComs than any real knowledge of their usual work. 90% of them are comedians (and comediennes). It’s a list almost entirely made of awesome.

    Bill Bailey, Sean Lock, Recognise, but can’t name, Jo Brand, Lenny Henry, Ronnie Corbett, Meera Syal, Recognise but can’t name, Sean Lock, Recognise but can’t name, Jon Culshaw?, Jo Brand, Jon Culshaw, Ronnie, the ubiquitous Omid Djalili, Jenny Eclair, Meera, Jon Culshaw, Don’t Know, Recognise, but can’t name, Robert somebody, Bill Bailey again (with a different book to the one he starts and ends with), Jenny, Omid, Recognise, but can’t name – one of a double act, Lenny, She came to my work place and I’ve forgotten her name!
    Geri Halliwell, and we end on Bill.

  15. 15
    Brandyllyn says:

    What?  You didn’t recognise Lee Mack?  For shame.

  16. 16
    Leanne says:

    OMG. Bill Bailey is my favourite comedian. I just about died of happiness to see him reading a Mills and Boon.

  17. 17
    Harlequin says:

    Bill Bailey is MAGNIFICENT. He presents the Empire Magazine film awards and is just beyond magnificent. But it’s Black Books that I really love him for. He works in an old bookshop run by Dylan Moran. In my favourite episode, when he has enough of being badly treated by his drunken, swearing boss, he goes to work for a book chain, run like a cult by Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg. It’s awesome. Here’s a bit

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