Blogs

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...

Toast

I’d read a bit of Nigel Slater’s autobiography Toast in The Observer. I don’t really read, although sometimes glance through, his articles on food in The Observer Magazine. I kinda know what he looks like and I think it may have been him (or some other well known chef) at the end of Toast giving the young actor, that plays his character, his first start in the kitchen in The Savoy. It was beautifully worked, a matching not just of styles and...

I am Legend

‘I am Legend’ was filmed at the height of Will Smith’s success, so it was one of those virtuous circles were success begets success. Yes it’s Biblical because it’s apocalyptical. It’s one man and his dog. Will Smith being that man. He’s the only man left on earth, or so we are led to believe, as he hunts wild deer on the streets of New York. And damn just when he gets one in the sights of his telescopic rifle those damn prowl of lions beat him...

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). That means if my arithmetic is correct that there must be at least two girls. One of the in Natalie Portman as Anne. The other is Scarlett Johansson as Mary. Eric Bana is Henry VIII and, although there are three of them, a very nice couple they are to. It’s more complicated than that, of course. Henry is already married, for one thing to Katherine of Aragon. She’s rather nice, but dull and can’t even give him the...

Wallander. The Accused.

Wallander. I love Wallander. The 13 stories staring Krister Henriksson as the eponymous named hero were so depressingly droll and downbeat that the only option was to commit yourself. Little did I know that they were only loosely based on the stories of Henning Mankell, which means, of course, they have as much to do with the original as Kenneth Branagh. But I’ve never read the books and just don’t care. I watched Rolf Lassgard in Firewall which...

Round Robin: A Christmas Adventure.

If I could imagine my age I must have been about nine or ten, and it was the hottest summer ever, when the songbird thrush fell from the window ledge outside my house and onto the slabbed path at my feet. Then again it might have been a plague beaked starling with plumage like an oil-slick, for such are the tricks of memory. I picked it up, intent on saving it-although I wasn’t quite sure how-but dropped it just as quickly as the fleas, knowing...

Atonement

Atonement (2007) for not reading Ian McEwan’s novel is watching the ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ film version. In one of the early key scenes the aristocratic Celia, Keira Knightly strips off and dives into a fountain, whilst the housekeeper’s son James McAvoy looks on. She comes out flush and practically naked, with her non swim lipstick retouched and it’s that erotic a scene that James has to look away, or he’d be accused of blighterdom. We get...

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