Blogs

Proof

Proof shows the Gwyneth Paltrow can act. Anthony Hopkins plays her deceased father, an elderly Russell Crowe/John Forbes Nash character spending his last maniac years writing for 20 hours a day, but he has periods of remission. One of the best lines is when she gets up at a memorial service for her father and asks where they had all been when her father stank and mumbled and took no notice of anyone. ‘I’m glad he’s dead.’ I remember that truth...

Death of Jamie McGuire, What Happened in Vegas. The Commitments

The death of Jamie McGuire and somebody else. Marion told me that Jamie McGuire was dead. And so was …As soon as she told me the other guy's name I forgot it. I said I didn’t know him anyway. Somebody else told me Jamie McGuire was dead and …was also dead. He assured me I’d known him as well. I’ve been going to funerals all week, not sure if I’m at the right one. In the old days, of course, you partied all night as a sign of respect and to make...

Hattie

BBC 4 seems to rely on dramatising relatively well known figures and of course there was no bigger figure than Hattie Jacques of Carry On fame. I’d read somewhere that she had shared a house with her husband John Le Mesurier and her lover and driver John Schofield. But I would never have remembered the latter’s name. I have enough trouble remembering my own. Ruth Jones as Hattie, of course, dominated the screen. Both John’s proclaimed their love...

Uncle Tom's funeral.

Uncle Tom was buried today. He was 86. David, his son, said that they found him lying in his kitchen, probably a heart attack and that he died instantly. And that he didn’t suffer. We always like to think that, so we nod. He still had David’s school tie in his pocket, even though he’s about 32. I like that. His mind might have wandered but he was still literally in touch. My brother drove us through. We were meant to pick up my sister, but she...

Simon Pegg, Hot Fuzz and Priceless

Simon Pegg and Priceless. Simon Pegg is not Priceless, but is meant to be funny. Run Fat Boy Run might have been funny if you were…and I can’t think of the right word here. If you were drunk, daft or Peggless, which probably involves a mixture of all three. Simon Pegg’s big breakthrough film was Shaun of the Dead. That got him noticed and namechecked by among others Tarrantino and it brought him an audience. Hot Fuzz, ITV 4, was packed with the...

The death of Uncle Tom

When Aunt Rose phones somebody has died. The only thing I can be sure of is it’s not her. It was her and my mother’s brother: Uncle Tom Connelly. The last time I saw Uncle Tom was at the funeral for Wullie Winn. That was Aunt Rose’s husband. We don’t hear about the illness; only the death. But on that occasion the early signs of dementia were showing in Uncle Tom. His son David kept a close eye on him, but he was fine, talking about his years in...

saving the world

Saving the economy. With George Osborne taking the piste at Cloisters, or some other rich man’s playgroup I decided to tackle the budget deficit. I must admit I wasn’t keen on £80k a year student fees, but I was made to see sense and toe the party line. I left a memo on his desk suggesting that we backdate it. Those that have had a university education should be sent a bill. Most GPs make a million a year so it would only take them a year or two...

3.10 to Yuma

Russell Crowe is the bad guy in the black hat, with the fancy gun with a cross on its grip. Christian Bale is the dirt-poor family with the wife and the kids and the stump of one leg. He’s obviously the good guy. He needs to put Russell Crowe on the prison train the 3.10 to Yuma to collect a $200 bounty that will keep his farm going. More importantly it is about redemption. He wants to show his sons that there comes a point where a man can’t be...

The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse

The United States had…we had Bob Monkhouse, always there like a background noise in everyday lives. The best way to describe him was smarmy and slick as Listerine. He was on TV every Saturday night for my whole lifetime and before that he was a scriptwriter and successful comedian courted by film and theatre. He was the English Bob Hope. I don’t begrudge him his money or his success. He’d over a million jokes and he recorded every show of any...

The Old Firm, Ibrox disaster and Kenny Dalglish

The Old Firm game takes care of itself. More clichés are flung at it than tackles and it is, by far, the biggest club game in the world-only in this corner of the world. This one was the biggest of the biggest, not least because it fell exactly 40 years to the day after stairway 13 collapsed at Ibrox under the combined weight of fans leaving after Celtic had scored with a few minute to go and Rangers equalising just before the final whistle and...

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