The specials’ time of year

For some Christmas means one thing: Christmas themed TV specials. Nothing brings people together better watching than sitting around the box watching emergency births, surprise reunions and timely snow falls.

You can research the TV of Christmas past with this selection of excellent TV chosen by library staff.

Christmas crackers

Black Mirror White Christmas [BoB]

“This is such a cool series about technology and society in the future, this one is especially great if you need to get away from the sugar of Christmas !!”

“It twists a dark, compelling, and unsettling story around Christmas and technology”.

Extras Christmas Special

Arrested Development – the Christmas episode ‘Afternoon Delight’ [BoB]

“Whilst not the best ever episode of the show it has the key ingredients of a dysfunctional family, a bad Christmas party, and awkward moments, all put together with the running jokes that the series is famous for”

The Blackadder Christmas Special [BoB]

“It turns Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on its head and it hilarious”.

Knowing Me, Knowing Yule… with Alan Partridge [BoB]

“Love everything about this”

Ab Fab

“I like the Christmas special, the one where Patsy tries a little Turkey”

Peep Show Seasonal Beatings [BoB]

“I love that Peep Show where Mark’s parents come to them and Superhans goes as well.”

Family fun

Thomas and friends Ho Ho Snowman

“A lot going on in this one. Very deep”

Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special [BoB]

“It’s just so nice. At first. Then it’s hilarious”

Morecambe and Wise, Only fools and Horses, Gavin and Stacey

“Just love em!”

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

A festive glitterball competition

Worlds Strongest Man

“Not a Christmas themed show but something we would watch every year as a family”. All them glistening, oily muscles, oh don’t.

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Cold cut classics

Royal Family

“No idea if it’s still going  but I’ve always liked their Christmas Specials- mainly because it caters to the humour of both my parents, which makes it an easy one to watch as a family, which is rather lovely.”

It is still going. Recently one of the younger characters announced his engagement.

University Challenge Christmas Specials and Professor Higglespoon [sic], Ab Fab Christmas special, Only Fools and Horses when Del Boy falls down the bar, Year Wipe etc

“Just love ’em”

Morecambe and Wise

“Still find them funny even when they are repeated many times”

The Tractate Middoth [BoB]

“Have wanted to see if for a few Christmasses now but been unable to because my Christmas companions have thought of it, a funny name, but I absolutely love the book. I’m looking forward to getting a big plate of cheese, a well aired Burgundy and watching this one day”.

 

This year (2017) the Northampton Square Library will be open 27th – 29th December 10 am – 6 PM for self-service and reference only use. Check Library Services website for more information on library opening times.

What’s your favourite Christmas shows? Tell us in the comments below.

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New Resource: Bloomsbury Popular Music

The Library now provides access to Bloomsbury Popular Music a database which includes the entire Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, the 33 1/3 series and an expanding range of scholarly books

Screenshot of Bloomsbury Popular music

Database features include:

  • Search, browse and filter content by music genre, artist name, topic, and country
  • Artist Pages containing curated links to relevant content for each artist
  • World Map enabling users to navigate to books and articles covering a particular country or region
  • Timeline of Popular Music showing dates of all the albums covered in the 33 1/3 series, plus an overview of contextual events in musical and political history, with links to relevant encyclopedia articles
  • Related Content links on every content page makes it easy to discover relevant material
  • Intuitive, user-friendly interface for desktop, tablet and mobile
  • Easy to cite, share, and print content

Screenshot Bloomsbury

This resource will be of particular interest to students, academics and researchers in disciplines such as music, ethnomusicology, media, cultural studies, sociology and journalism.

You can access Bloomsbury Popular Music via the CityLibrary Search or our A-Z database list.

If you have any questions or comments about this resource please email Alexandra.asman.1@city.ac.uk

 

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What to see in London this Christmas

London is one of the prettiest cities at any time of year. At Christmas it is especially gorgeous.

We asked library staff for their favourite bits of this world class city and got some interesting results. From Handsome Hampstead to finding spiritual solace in the big shops up west, this city’s got something for everything.

 

Lights in Central London

Central London

“Very lively, lots of lights that cheers me up”

The lighting of the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square

“Christmas is not a big deal in my family and never has been, but I attended this a few years ago with someone new to London, and it was such a nice festive feeling of community. You can bring your own flask of mulled wine too!”

 

 

Festive markets

Markets

“I love to go to some of the interesting Christmas events and markets and soak up the atmosphere, discover something new and find unusual Christmas presents”.

German Christmas Markets!

“Wherever they are! I love all the tat. I don’t buy much but I love all the random stuff that comes out at this time of year, and drinking a bit of gluwein and a hot dog whilst looking at all the stuff is great fun”.

Craft markets and going to musicals

“Love ’em”

The Southbank, London

“The lights, the Christmas market and events. It’s always magical at night”.

 

Skating

“Not a clue, I have never spent Christmas in London! I do want to try the iceskating this year though!”

“Canada water ice rink. Best in London”

 

Shops

The big department stores

“I just like it – but not when they are too busy”

“Visit the large department stores – Selfridges, Fortnum and Mason, Liberty to buy a tree decoration”

Fortnum & Mason

“Every year I treat myself to a select few items from the food hall, like preserves or biscuits or chutney”

Oxford Street

“Love the Steel drum band on Oxford Street, Christmas sales”

 

 

Out and about in nature

Churches and cathedrals

“I find going into religious buildings at Christmastime, and listening to the music that is made in them, very uplifting”.

The Heath
“A good walk on Hampstead Heath on boxing day is a great way to make room for some more mince pies”.

“I also like to walk in Epping Forest”.

 

Home comforts

Community

“East London – where I live – and  the Strand. I like to see how East London changes over Christmas, it gives you an idea of how different and multicultural that part of town is. The Strand is always beautiful and they are all light up with musicals signs and xmas lights”

Home

“Stay in for a nice rest”

Friends

“Sharing a warm Christmas pudding and brandy creme with Colin”

 

 

This year (2017) the Northampton Square Library will be open 27th – 29th December 10 am – 6 PM for self-service and reference only use. Check Library Services website for more information on library opening times.

What’s you favourite place in London at Christmas? Tell us below in the comments or tag us in your instagram posts or use the hashtag #CityLibraryXmas

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15 books you really need to read this Christmas

Christmas is the perfect time to snuggle up beneath the blankets or next to an environmentally friendly peat fire burner and enjoy a good read. Reading is also a good way to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of a busy home during the festive period.

We asked staff at CityLibrary for their favourite Christmas books and got some great recommendations.

Narnia*

‘Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.’

Spot on'”

The Twelve Days of Christmas

“This book is basically the song with pictures, I always have trouble remembering all of the rhyme but my kids love shouting FIVE GOLD RINGS !!!!!”

Box of Delights by John Masefield*

“The wolves are running and the evil Abner Brown and his gang are on the prowl. They’re after a magical box, but Kay has it, and he’ll fight to keep it”.

None

“I don’t read during Christmas, busy enjoying relaxing/socialising with friends and families”

champagne

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas 

“A festive murder mystery full of family intrigue.  A bit like my own dysfunctional family, except more lethal”.

Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs

“Shows Father Christmas in an interesting and humorous light and has elements for both kids and adults.”

Hogfather by Sir Terry Pratchett*

“It’s an entertaining look at Christmas and winter traditions through the distorted lens of Discworld, and features Death (tall chap, hood and scythe) being forced to take on the role of Father Christmas/The Hogfather while his granddaughter sorts out the world”.

‘Twas the night before Christmas

“It was a gift for my daughter and is beautifully illustrated” says one member of staff; “because it rhymes” says another.

Dubliners

“The short story The Dead IDK if it takes place at Christmas but there is a party and it has a very evocative scene where a character watches snow falling from the the window.”

A Christmas Carol

“Reminds me of Christmas”

“Just because”

“The Christmas spirits reminding us all of Christmases past, why we should  enjoy the present and to help people in need.  The amazing change in Scrooge and how it made life better for everyone around him”.

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

“These short stories are quick reads in between meals that never fail to leave me in stitches”.

MR James*

“A most spooky collection. Spine chillingly good, like a cool slushie”.

Gawain and Greene Knight

“Love the lines about Christmas ‘On þe morne, as vch mon myneȜ þat tyme, joy reigns in every dwelling in the world“.

The Gospels

“I have heard the Christmas story as told in the Gospels every year for many years in church, and I like the familiarity of it”.

Harry Potter saga*

“I used to do it in school, taking advantage of the two weeks off. Now I don’t always do it, but I always feel Christmas as Harry’s time”

shooting star

*All books with asterisks are held by our friends in Islington Libraries. Anyone from City can join with a valid City card.

 

This year (2017) the Northampton Square Library will be open 27th – 29th December 10 am – 6 PM for self-service and reference only use. Check Library Services website for more information on library opening times.

What’s your favourite holiday reads? Tell us in the comments below.

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