Friday, September 29, 2006

Not any hotel I want to stay in

The movies keep on coming, and the latest one to have passed before my eyes is the Oscar-nominated true story Hotel Rwanda. Call me old-fashioned, but when I see the word Rwanda in the title of almost anything, I'm pretty sure not to expect a laugh-fest. And you know what, I was right in this case, just as I often seem to be. Funny that.

To my shame, I'm not particularly well informed of current events. Until only a few short years ago, I never used to watch the news, and I never buy a newspaper and never have. So back in the days of the Hutu uprising in Rwanda, I really had no idea what was going on. Yes, I'd heard the key words -- Rwanda, Hutu, Tutsi, genocide, massacre, etc -- but I didn't really know what was actually happening, who these people were, and why it was all kicking off over there.

Without a doubt, many of the people who find themselves reading this will know more about it than I do, but suffice to say it was another war of stupidity. (Aren't they all?) And it ended with a million Tutsi corpses. This in a country with a current population of some 9 million. Can you believe that? More than ten per cent of a nation massacred, usually with a machete, men, women, children alike, especially children, in order to wipe out the next generation, over some supposed difference in race, tribe, ethnicity, whatever the fuck you want to call it.

Seemingly, though, according to the film, this "difference" between the Hutus and Tutsis was decided upon by the Belgians when they ruled the region. The taller, more elegant, lighter-skinned people with slimmer noses became the Tutsis; those shorter, blacker, wider-nosed folk are the Hutus. What kind of crazy shit is that?

What's it all about, Alfie?: Hotel Rwanda is a kind of an African Schindler's List. Hutu hotel manager Don Cheadle risks his own life to save as many Tutsis as he can, starting with his wife, her family, and his Tutsi neighbours. But the enormity of his task soon becomes clear.

Any good?: Cheadle, as ever, is great. He almost never disappoints. (I'll not mention that terrible Dick van Dyke accent in Ocean's 11, okay?) And Brit Sophie Okonedo puts in a good performance, too, as his Tutsi wife. Strange casting, though, since Cheadle's slight build makes him a far more delicate-framed person than she, in contract to one of the "Belgian rules" set out a couple of paragraphs above. Supporting roles go to Joaquin Phoenix and Nick Nolte, no doubt to help bring a few Americans into the cinemas.

The film gives a good grounding in the basic history of the situation, I suspect, but it could perhaps have been more graphic in its depiction of the violence. Just one scene, maybe, to really hit home with the brutal horror of a situation that the rest of the world just didn't think was important enough to intervene. I guess that's what happens when there's no oil to protect. Just a bunch of crazy niggers with machetes, huh?

Numbers, please: Hotel Rwanda is a good little film, although I fear it mostly trades on being "worthy". But it is worthy -- in the best possible way. I rate this movie 65 out of 100.

An e-mail to music TV channel Scuzz

A couple of weeks ago, I sent this e-mail to music TV channel Scuzz via their website. I'm still waiting to hear back...

Please, please, please can you stop some of the ridiculous censorship of song lyrics? I understand that there are some words that must be censored at certain times of day, but "goddamn"...? Really, must you censor the word "goddamn" in the song "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" by Panic! At The Disco? This is just plain ridiculous. Scuzz is supposed to be a rock channel, and those of us who watch it say fuck and cunt and bollocks, so our channel should reflect that. At the very least it should do after 9pm. And "goddamn" should never be censored. The same goes for scenes of people smoking, such as in Green Day's "Jesus of Suburbia". Censorship decisions such as these are helping turn Britain into a nanny state. Please resist them and keep Scuzz real and rockin'.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

HNT and red fibre-tipped pens

Last night the missus told me to be quiet for five minutes while she finished working. I just kept blabbering on up until then. But after she said that, I did shut up. Eventually I caved, writing on my belly "Parlami e forse parlo io" (Talk to me and maybe I'll talk). "Maybe?!" she exclaimed, underlining the word as she did so. (Ouch.) So I crossed out the "forse". It seemed the wise thing to do...

Click the pic to see what she drew on me...


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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

School daze: an audio-visual extravaganza!

When my dad came to visit a couple of months ago, he brought with him a bag of bits and pieces belonging to me that he had salvaged from the garage when my folks moved out of their latest property to go their separate ways.

The bag was a veritable gold mine of nostalgia for me, containing things I hadn't seen for years, things I thought I'd lost, and things I didn't know I'd kept.

One of the best bits was my school shirt from my last day at school, aged 16 in 1986, still unwashed and covered with all the signatures and well wishes of my friends and classmates. You can see a pic at the bottom of this post.

fingernail manAlso in the bag was a copy of The Guinness Book of Records from waaaay back (the 1979 edition), including this picture of the Indian guy with crazy long fingernails. His record has long since been surpassed, but I used to love being grossed out by this pic as a kid.

There was also a Marc Bolan book that has words and music for many of his big hits. I thought I'd lost this years ago, so I was really pleased to see it again. Strange, cos I'm not the world's biggest Bolan fan, but I do quite prize the very few books of sheet music that I have. It's a small but perfectly formed collection: The Complete Beatles, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, Billy Bragg's Back to Basics, Nirvana's Nevermind, and this Bolan book.

But there was also a bunch of English exercise books. A few years after I left school, I threw away lots of my exercise books. The only ones I felt were vaguely worth keeping were my English ones, since they were the only ones in which I had been creative, writing stories and poems and shit. I figured one day it would be fun to look back on some of this stuff, but who wants to look back on their old Math(s) books? Or Physics, Chemistry, Geography, or... Computer Studies?!

So, over the coming days I'm going to transcribe some of this stuff to my blog. They are, by turns, funny and ridiculous, bizarre and embarrassing, so I'm going to cherry-pick the "best" stuff. That said, sometimes the best stuff will be the stuff that is most embarrassing. Certainly there is nothing there that has quite the creative vibe that I obviously thought it had when I decide to keep these wretched books!

masked*1970As a taster of what's to come, listen to me reciting my poem "My Dog" by clicking on the little mini pic of me here. I wrote this on 13 May 1983. It says some things that I wish it didn't now that the pooch is in dog heaven, but it's what I wrote when I was 13, and I'm not about to censor it now.

school shirt

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Movies I’ve seen of late

I've fallen well behind with my film reviews (such as they are) lately, so in this one post I aim to get fully up to speed. So, what have I seen lately?

The Color of Paradise
Wow, what an interesting experience this was. To the best of my knowledge, this was the the first Iranian film I've seen. I know nothing about film-making in Iran. What I will say before I move on to the movie itself is this: I suspect Iran is a young country in terms of film-making. I think what I witnessed in this film is a country finding itself in film. And that, regardless of anything else, is a great reason to see this movie. I checked Iran on IMDb to help put things in perspective: IMDb lists 1,199 films that are either Iranian or are joint ventures including Iran. There are 188,583 films listed that are either US or US + others, and 35,092 UK or UK + others. So while this is not quite akin to watching The Great Train Robbery or The Birth of a Nation, it is a really exciting time to join the party. And the film was good, too. It tells the tale of a young blind boy whose father doesn't want him. He is struggling on his own since the death of his wife, and he has a potential new wife on the horizon, as well as two daughters. A blind boy just doesn't fit into his plan. This is a slow, deliberate, moving tale. The acting is solid throughout, but the direction is really quite special. Personally, I prefer films with a bit more dialogue, but this was a very beautiful film in the way it was told and the way it was handled. I rate this film at 67 out of 100.

Two Brothers

This was a no-brainer, really. Lots of footage of cute tiger cubs playing in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Sure, you know it's all going to go horribly wrong for them, and Wife's gonna be grabbing the Kleenex throughout, but what can you do? I'm not going to give anything away here. Watch the film for the tiger footage. Ignore the humans' bad acting. There are only two real stars in this film, and they both have four legs. Tough to score this, because as a film it is formulaic and a bit rubbish. As an admonishment for how fucking stupid humans have been and continue to be towards the animals with which we share the world, it works on a certain level. But we all knew that already. As a visual feast of tiger fun, it's great. I dunno: 46?

Murder on a Sunday Morning
I like documentaries. And this one won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2002, so it should be good. (Not that Oscars necessarily mean much when it comes to mainstream fare, but y'know...) The story here revolves around a fatal shooting of a white, 60-something tourist in Florida in 2000. The assailant was a young black man. A young black man (a boy, in fact, since he was just 15 at the time) is arrested and tried for the murder. This film follows the defence team in their bid to have the boy acquitted. It's a fascinating real-life look at the sort of stories that have fascinated us through the years -- from Anatomy of a Murder, to The Accused, Murder in the First, and beyond. Compelling viewing. It was on the More4 channel here in the UK, so it may get a rerun in the coming days. Look out for it. I give this film 70 points.

The other film I saw over the past couple of days is reviewed at Escape Artists Never Die.

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Booking holidays can be tough

We all love a holiday, no? Even those of us who call it a vacation. Deciding where to go can be hard enough, but we got that sorted earlier in the month.

The next thing is choosing the actual hotel to stay in. Wife is always good at this. She really relishes the research. I, on the other hand, have never been much of a research type. So she whittled it down to three choices for me to cast an eye over this morning. We finally came to a decision based primarily on location and refundability should the need arise.

Then we had to consider the actual dates to go. The whole point is to go for Wife's birthday, which is 15 January, so we had a ballpark to aim for. However, when travelling with Italians things are never that simple. The number 13 is bad luck, so we can't travel that day. In Italy, the number 17 is also bad luck, so we can't travel then either...

Furthermore, Wife has a little Italian saying that she likes to mention at these times. Something like venerdì e marte, non si arriva, non si parte, which translates as "don't travel on Tuesdays or Fridays".

So we shouldn't travel on Friday the 12th, Saturday the 13th, Tuesday the 16th, Wednesday the 17th, or Friday the 19th. Well, I suppose that makes it a lot easier to choose the dates we can travel...


Monday, September 25, 2006

Walks and dogs and fences and films – phew!

Well, what a busy weekend, which is why there was such a lack of posts.

I started Saturday with a full English breakfast and a two-hour walk in Whitstable. Red has most of the details in this post over at her blog. One thing she missed out, though, was our encounter with The Hound of the Motherfucking Baskervilles.

There we were, about halfway through our walk, and I'm taking some pics of the missus with a nice seascape kind of background, when all of a sudden she says, "Omigod, omigod, look out * (asterisk)!" The next thing I hear is this clumping of hooves behind me and a loud panting sound.

reflections in a shaded eye

I turn around and see some sort of fucking pitbull making a beeline for us. Now, I'm pretty much a dog person, and Red loves 'em too, but you've got to be a little nervous when a pitbull comes at you at around Mach 2. The hairs (little fine blonde ones, of course) on Red's arms were proper on end, man, and she's particularly scared of pitbulls and bull terriers and the like. And how can you blame her, when you hear all these tales of maulings?

I called the dog over to me and put on my excited-to-see-you-and-not-a-tiny-bit-scared-so-you-can't-smell-my-fear voice, all the while keen to keep my hands and face away from his 17-inch-long vice-like teeth. The owner wasn't far behind and he called the dog back, not that the dog took any notice, just kept running around our ankles and panting. He just wanted to play, really, but it was an interesting couple of minutes. We figured the guy wouldn't have him off the lead if he was dangerous; although, tellingly, he put him back on the lead after our encounter...

Did a bit of work the rest of the day, and then Sunday did a bit of mundane stuff, like putting up a fence in the back garden to prevent the Satan child next door from climbing over again. That really fucking pisses me of when he does that.

Oh yeah, I also put some lipstick on the missus. She might post about that in the coming days. Turns out I'm not very good at it. And the lipstick is a bit more permanent than we had expected. Oops.

I sort of got back on track with some movie watching, too, clocking up three films in total. So I'll be putting up some reviews, such as they are, in the coming hours.

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Curry on a shoestring

Click the pic to discover how to make this delicious curry, which is one of my specialities. It's my first post over at Beggar's Banquet.

courgette curry

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Eye-opening stats

Visit my blog-pal _z. for some fascinating statistics on several nations, presented in an interesting way.

Never mind Nirvana?

Pay special tribute to Nirvana this weekend, in light of it being 15 years since their seminal album Nevermind was released. Opinion on Nirvana is no noubt split, but I'm going to share my views right here. My argument is that the band Nirvana, and in particular the album Nevermind, changed the face of music.

Before Nevermind came out, rock music (and I use the term fairly loosely, to describe heavy, guitar-based music) was largely an ignored genre, having disappeared up its own arse several years previously. It had become a joke to those who weren't entrenched in the scene, and very few bands were crossing over into the mainstream. Not that crossing into the mainstream is necessarily an indication of success, but it is an indication of mass appeal.

Today, though, heavy guitar music is once again a force to be reckoned with. Most weeks there are several such acts in the "pop chart" in the UK, and performers such as Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne, which were all but dead 15 years ago, have now become heroes once more. This is, in my opinion, almost entirely due to the revolution brought about by Nirvana. Not only did old acts resurface, but new ones popped up too, and surely bands like Linkin Park, Blink 182, Sum 41, and Trivium would not even be on our collective radar were it not for Nirvana.

Before Nevermind came out, I'd forgotten how exciting and energetic music could be. Sure, less than one year earlier I'd been rocking out with my own band, which we thought of as punk-metal. But our influences by and large came from the punk era, and most of what my friends and I had been listening to was several years old.

Of course I'd heard the name Nirvana bandied about. I frequented quite a rock 'n' roll pub and similar clubs, and I'd seen the T-shirts blah blah blah. I figured it was just another metal band that would have no relevance to us mere mortals. But then I saw them perform "Territorial Pissings" on TV. It was 6pm, and the show was something hosted by Jonathan Ross. Un-fucking-believable. Three people could do that, make all that noise, and not give a good goddamn fuck that it was daytime and all the lights were on in the studio?

Sure, Nevermind is a bit overproduced and not as raw as In Utero or Bleach, but it's still got some great songs on it. And it changed the world. It changed my world, anyway. Hell, what more can you ask from a record?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Eastern film fix(ation)

Back in the day I used to love Hong Kong action movies. I first got into them in, oh, I don't know, 1994? The first ones I saw (other than Bruce Lee films, obviously) were in a midnight double bill at the Prince Charles cinema in London's Chinatown, just off Leicester Square. They were the martial-arts classic The Barefoot Kid and the heroic-bloodshed masterpiece A Better Tomorrow 2. Both still have a special place in my heart, although I've not seen TBK since. ABT2, though, for me, is one of those rare sequels that outshines the original. Love it, love it, love it.

Over the years I have bought and watched more HK flicks than I can remember, but still not enough of them. I continue to pick up the ones that interest me, ready to watch when Wife is tired and goes to bed early, cos she just don't be diggin' on them there fillums. Chow Yun-fat was -- and will surely always be, despite such dross as The Replacement Killers and Bulletproof Monk -- the king of HK moviedom.

So it was normal for me to jump on the Japanese horror-movie bandwagon when it came along a handul of years ago. Well, y'know, I'd seen The Seven Samurai back when I were a lad, and I loved that. How bad could the Japanese film industry have become in the ensuing 35 years or so. Well, the answer seems to be "pretty bad", actually.

Despite all the critical acclaim and the countless American remakes, personally I feel a bit misled by the likes of Mark Kermode and Jonathan Ross, two critics whose opinions I usually trust in matters of cinema. Anyway, here's some of the films I've seen over the last four or five years. I just feel that Japanese horror movies don't go anywhere quickly enough, and then when they finally get to where they are dawdling, the denouement is usually so silly as to be laughable.

To be honest, I've even forgotten half of the J-horror movies I've seen because they were, quite simply, forgettable. And because I don't like to tar everything with the same brush, I'm going to throw all Japanese movies into the same wok and write down some that I've liked and not liked of late.

Some that I liked:
Battle Royale; Zatoichi; The Happiness of the Katakuris.

Some that I felt were disappointing or downright rubbish:
Audition; Ring; The Grudge.

Beyond that, looking for my Eastern fix, I have also ventured into Korean and Thai cinema. A few years ago the critics were already saying that Korea was the "new Hong Kong" as far as cinema was concerned. Films being touted were things such as Volcano High, which I still haven't seen but really should. My views on Oldboy (pictured) and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance are posted elsewhere on this blog. And A Tale of Two Sisters was great -- far better than similar ghost-themed Japanese stuff.

My luck with Thai films has not been so great; indeed, I can report that the only two I have enjoyed to any extent are Bangkok Dangerous, which is currently (surprise surprise) being remade with Nicolas Cage, and The Eye. Bangkok Haunted was unwatchable.

Edit: I tell a lie here. The best Thai film was actually the Thai/Jap joint venture The Last Life in the Universe, which was so different to most any film I've ever seen that it not only defies categorization, it almost defies nationality. At least that's my reason for forgetting to include it, and I'm sticking to it!

I haven't really bothered going back to HK cinema for a while. I bought Infernal Affairs on import from Hong Kong when it came out there on DVD largely because it was being named as a return to form for that territory's film-making. I was a touch disappointed, but it certainly had a lot of style to it. And, I suspect, far more than the Martin Scorsese-helmed remake soon to be hitting our screens. My blogmate Soupdragon has something to say about that...

Well, that's all I want to say on Eastern cinema for now. Except to say happy birthday to John Woo, who's 58 today. Please John, go back to Hong Kong and make good movies again, instead of that shit you've been churning out in Hollywood...

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Who you calling a telly addict? I watch films, too, y’know...

Regular readers will undoubtedly be most upset that I haven't done any film reviews (such as they are) for quite some time. The reason for this is that I haven't watched any for a while. And why is that? Well, apart from the fact that I've had a bit more work on recently, it's also true that the good TV season has started here in Blighty. Well, kind of. In truth, Thursday is a good telly night.

Yep, that's today. So here, before giving you all the skinny on the movie I watched last night, is how I will spend my evening tonight.

8pm: How to Pay Off Your Mortgage in a Year (or whatever the fuck it's called), Channel 4. This is actually a really shit show, but this week it's about property development in Italy, so I'll watch it with a bit more enthusiasm than usual.

9pm: Extras, BBC2. The second episode of the new series. This week it has David Bowie and that Harry Potter kid, I think.

9.30pm: That Mitchell & Webb Look, BBC2. I'd be lying if I said this was a patch on the genius show that was/is the same guys' Peep Show, but it's not so bad. I'll give it another go and see what happens.

10pm: The Sopranos, E4. Fuck me, this is another slow season. Those first three years were absolutely fucking compelling viewing, but seasons four and six have been a bit lacklustre. At least season five was good. They better pick up the pace soon.

11.50pm: The Apprentice USA, BBC2. The Donald shatters another dream. Go Trumpy, go Trumpy...

So now that you have an insight into my exciting life, I will share my opinion on the film I watched last night.

It was another of Red's choices. It's funny, when her choices drop through the letterbox, invariably it is something I've never heard of, so I say to her: "What's this about, then?" And she'll reply: "I don't know. Is it one of mine?" Crazy woman!

This flick was a Spanish one called El Mar (The Sea). It is set in a sanitarium where young men are dying in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. It's not clear what they are dying from -- at least not to me, although it may be common knowledge to Spaniards. Suffice to say they're coughing up shitloads of blood.

The story focuses on two patients and a nun who works there. The three of them were schoolfriends ten years earlier and were kind of involved in the death of two other boys -- one killed by the other, who then committed suicide. The relationships between the three are complex and fascinating and very much grounded in their history -- a history they can never truly be free of. A history of violence (again that term), both in their personal lives and in the "life" of their country.

The three leads are all acting in their first movie here, but you would never know it. Their performances are strong, assured and wholly believable. As the film builds, it becomes more violent, bringing the story round in an inevitable circle and back to the violence with which it began.

El Mar surprised me. I expected nothing, because I knew nothing about it in advance. But it mixed real-life events with surreality, religion, and violence, leaving me never knowing what might come next. For me, this is what good cinema is all about. I hate the predictable dross that we see so much of. Sure, it's fun as popcorn fodder, but it's not real film-making.

So, how do I score this film? I think, once again, this is a film that will stay with me and appreciate in my mind. I should say at this point that Wife didn't like it at all. She doesn't know it yet, but I felt there were traces of David Lynch in there, so it doesn't surprise me that she no like. I'm going out on a limb here and giving this 67 points. Check it out.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Ant Invasion continues...

In his post of yesterday, my blogmate The Cappuccino Kid writes "wear your badges with pride! and once in a while carry an old album around. i bet someone will strike up a conversation! you never know, you may just make a new friend!"

ant jacket back

ant jacket front

Here are some pics of the jacket I wore almost non-stop for three or four years at least (1989 to 1992), and then on occasion even after that. I had it on the day I trekked up to Birmingham to get my first tattoo in 1989, and someone did indeed come up to me and start chatting. An Adam Ant fan himself -- a big one. When I got my jacket signed by Adam in London in 1993, this lad was there at the signing too, and he mailed me photos that he had taken of me getting the jacket signed. What a nice chap. David was his name.

A Positive Pessimist also expressed interest in seeing pics of this jacket in her comment here a couple of months back, so here you go...

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

School was a laugh, eh?

I was 11 and sat in class. It was one of the days when we didn't have assembly, which was only a couple of days a week. So we would sit there and read quietly for 20 minutes, probably while the form tutor recovered from his/her hangover.

Some days I would read Punk! Lives magazine. Does anyone remember that mag? It was one of those mags, despite being short-lived, that was ideal school reading material because it instantly put you in with a certain group, where otherwise you might not get to know anyone for a few weeks in a new school. Those mags got shared around a lot, and I made some good mates who I remained friends with all through the next five years of school and beyond.

But as it happens on this occasion I was reading something altogether more twee: a Just William novel. Don't even ask me how I could flip from one to the other, but I did. What a contradictory boy I was, just as I like to remain today.

As I read the book, I found some bits funny. I laughed to myself. But you know how it is when you don't want to laugh. You just can't help but laugh even more. I probably laughed twice, perhaps three times, over the course of five minutes. Not big belly laughs, just little chuckles.

The teacher asks me, "Is there something wrong with you?"
I say, "No."
"Then why are you laughing?"
"Because the book is funny."
"Well, perhaps you can keep your laughter to yourself. Or choose to read something less amusing."

I forget her name now. She might have been Scottish. Either way, I think she was a bit of a cunt.

Monday, September 18, 2006

“Might as well jump / Go ahead and jump”

Jumping Blean

This is me jumping yesterday, as captured by Wife, while we were out walking in Blean Nature Reserve, near Canterbury, Kent. Look at the air I'm grabbing, dudes -- that's some rad shit!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My, what sharp teeth you have...

Click the pic to see what this is all about.


Saturday, September 16, 2006


What is it about collecting things that we love so much? I have it on good authority, of course, that collecting is a largely male phenomenon, although I'm sure there must be lots of female collectors too, especially in blogland, I'd bet.

Sure, everyone collects "music" and "films", in the sense that we all buy this stuff, but I'm more interested in verging-on-obsessive collections. I mean, I even considered starting a collection of video recorders at one point! I had five, including a really old top-loading Ferguson Videostar with "piano-key" buttons. What better start for a VCR collection?

I used to collect comic books. Not shitty British stuff like The Beano or black-and-white reprints of US Marvel stuff, but the real-deal American imports. Well, to tell the truth, I started with the black-and-white Brit reprints, but I was only about five, so I didn't have a lot of discernment back then. I remember always being so excited when my Spider-Man comic would drop through the letterbox with the day's papers.

Later came the UK's Hulk Comic, which also included stories of another few characters, such as Captain Britain, Black Knight, and Night Raven (pictured above). I fucking loved Night Raven, man. Again, though, I dare say most of this stuff was reprints, but I was nine or ten; what did I know?! I had it on order at my local newsagents, and I'd pick it up every week.

The next comic that I bought back then was the UK reprint series of the X-Men. This started right back from the old 1960s US stuff with the origins of the team. This was probably my first exposure to the X-Men and I loved them.

Anyway, at some point I guess all of these got thrown away. Then one evening, when I was probably about 13 or so, I was talking to a friend who was a couple of years older than me, and he said that his older brother ordered comics from the US every month and if I was interested I could order through him. Like, okay!

This went on for a couple of years, and I built up quite a nice little collection considering I was still at school and essentially had no money to speak of. This guy guided my choices to some extent, given that he had been collecting for many years and had a better idea of what might be hot or collectible.

I regret the day I sold this collection. A comic shop opened up in my hometown and I needed some cash to buy mics and amps and speakers for use in a band I was in. I think I got about, on average, 30p per comic, so probably about £100 or so. It seemed like an okay deal at the time, until I walked in a week later and saw my copy of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1 hanging on the wall with a £20 price tag. I was gutted. And worse still, I had found myself lured back into the world of comics. I started buying again, having just got rid of a reasonable collection.

And before I knew it, I was working in the shop, too. I'd become friendly with the owner, and I was bored with repairing shoes, which I'd been doing for about seven years. He needed a reliable manager for when he was out of the shop and someone who could run the mail-order side of the business for him.

So I collected again for a few years. I guess I'm an on-off kind of comic collector. I almost sold my current collection a few years ago, but the price offered was too low. I'm already glad I didn't sell.

Other things I collect are almost anything related to Adam Ant, although I've calmed down a lot on that front and no longer buy anything I've already got just because it's got a different cover, for example.

Tattoos, obviously.

Playing cards, too, although this is more on a basis of just picking up stuff I like, rather than actively seeking out particular decks. I am very fond of the Seinfeld deck that came with a limited-edition purchase of one of the DVD seasons; the Lesbian Girls set I bought on the Pigalle in Paris; and my Most Wanted Iraqis, which Red bought for me a few years ago.

I guess in a funny sort of way, I also collect posts on my blog, since I'm now up to 400. Yes sirree, this very post is my 400th.

Wow, I've waffled on a bit here, haven't I? Oops. Anyway, if you've read this far, tell me... what do you collect?

Friday, September 15, 2006

It’s my half-birthday and I’ll sing if I want to

Okay, strictly speaking it's not this blog's half-birthday today, since that passed unnoticed four days ago, undoubtedly because Wife and I were preparing for our visitors.

So, a belated happy half-birthday to my blog. Click here to join in the celebrations, but you might want to turn down your speakers if you are at work... Thank you, thank you very much.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The ant-icipation was killing me

Even though Cynnie said I must have some "humungous huevos" to admit to liking Adam Ant, I feel no shame. After all, who was it who taught us that "ridicule is nothing to be scared of"? Adam fucking Ant, that's who! To that end, I'm just going to fill everyone in on my recent purchases.

1. Stand & Deliver: The Very Best Of Adam and the Ants CD. Despite the fact that I'm fairly certain (I haven't yet compared) this CD has THE EXACT SAME tracklisting as the last greatest-hits package I bought some 12 years or more ago, I got it anyway. Partly because it came with a DVD of eight of Ad's vids. You'll remember how pissed off I was about the Digital Tenderness DVD being cancelled...

2. Stand & Deliver: The Autobiography book. Well, you know, I've waited a long time for this. It arrived in the post yesterday. Lovely and hardback and full of words, apart from the bits where there are pictures. I figured I should get tucked in ASAP, unless I decide instead to listen to...

3. Stand & Deliver: The Autobiography audiobook, as read by Adam himself. I ordered this yesterday, and it was dispatched today, so it should be in my grubby mitts within a day or two. I'll put it on the iPod. Saves me reading, doesn't it? Heaven forbid. That said, in the excerpt I listened to online today, Mr Ant didn't exactly sound inspired. He sounded a bit too much like he was reading rather than telling, if you know what I mean.

This flurry of Ant activity reminds me of when his okay-in-places Manners & Physique album came out, back in 1990, I think. I bought it on CD, vinyl, and tape.

Some of you, including my dear Red, are undoubtedly wondering if I've gone as loopy as Adam himself, but no. The truth is, those Antfans that remain loyal desperately need to show that there is a market for new product. Only by so doing will we ever see the release of the mooted Demos Box Set, among other things.

So there is a "method in our madness", after all.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Tupac Shakur, who passed away six days after being shot in the chest and head after a fracas at a boxing match.

Wife and I chose a 2Pac song to play us out as we left the town hall after getting married: "Life Goes On", from his All Eyez On Me album.

Unfortunately the posthumous release of a lot of substandard material has, I fear, done more harm to Shakur's reputation than good. He truly was a poet of the people -- black or white.

And N.I.G.G.A., in case you were wondering, stands for (if memory serves) Never Ignorant, Getting Goals Achieved.

“Money makes the world go round / the world go round / the world go round”. Oops, guess I’d better change this heading...

A few months ago, I heard an interesting news item.

Not content with having been victorious over Napster and other file-sharing websites, The Big Global Corporate Music Machine had devised another plan to bring in more money.

Don't get me wrong here. I appreciate that an artist should be rightly rewarded for his or her work. I believe that copyright theft is a bad thing. Indeed, I feel quite uncomfortable using other people's images on my blog as frequently as I do. However, I do it because I feel that no one is actually losing out here, and no one is making money they shouldn't be. That is, I make no money from my blog, so I'm not making money off of someone else's efforts; and if I were to be asked to pay for images used, I wouldn't use them. Simple as that.

So what is it that The Big Global Corporate Music Machine had/has planned to do? You know, this is so simple it's genius. I can hardly believe they didn't come up with it before...

Just as it is illegal for me to put an mp3 of a published song on here -- let's say "Stand and Deliver" by Adam and the Ants, since that's also the name of his autobiography, in shops today -- The Big Global Corporate Music Machine proposes that it should also be illegal to put lyrics of published songs on sites without paying the appropriate royalties.

Yes, yes, I know, this is still someone else's copyrighted material, and as such it should rightly be protected. But come on. At the end of the day, most sites posting lyrics often use people's best guesses where songbooks have never been made available. These are the online community's version of sitting down with paper and pen and hitting pause on your tape deck every couple of lines, which I'm sure we all did as kids. Who knows what the fuck Joe Strummer, Shane McGowan, and Tupac Shakur are saying half the time. Check out the lyrics on two different sites and the chances are you'll get two different interpretations.

AND NOT ONLY THAT... Of course, all of this is also applicable to fan sites that offer tab notes for guitar players. The Big Global Corporate Music Machine believes it is losing out because people are learning their guitar parts from free online-community websites instead of going out and buying the sheet music or songbooks. That's a semi-fair point, but if I want to learn how to play songs by guitar-based artists such as Bright Eyes or Elliott Smith, there aren't any fucking books available for me to turn to. What then, Big Global Corporate Music Machine, you dumb cunt?

Am I being naive, or is this whole scenario just really fascistic?

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My cat loves blogging

... but he doesn't get around to it as often as he should. Feel free to check out his latest entry over at Catablog of Disasters. Heck, let your kitties read it, too!


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Are people really this stupid?

Back to normal, then, after a day of non-ranting yesterday, I have to ask, are people really this fucking stupid?

The BBC News website reports that fans of Steven Irwin are prime suspects in the mutilation of ten stingrays that have been found dead on Melbourne beaches with their tails cut off (full story here).

What kind of stupid cunt would do something like that? It's ironic, really, how we should hear of this today. Five years ago, we were hearing news of ignoramuses in the United States taking revenge for the WTC attacks by killing Sikhs and Hindus.

People are ignorant fucks.

And to take "revenge" on a whole slew of animals simply because one happened to defend itself in what it perceived (albeit wrongly) as an attack... Well, that really takes the biscuit.

And what's the sting in the tail here, if you'll pardon my poor taste? Steve Irwin would be fucking appalled.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 five years on: post #4

A child’s picture (created on a computer, it seems) of the Twin Towers trembling in fear and crying. This was hanging among the tributes to the dead and missing-persons notices at Ground Zero. Photographed 28 February 2002.

A view we'll never see again, from the top of the World Trade Center, around late February/early March 2000. It was a very foggy morning, and the already poor quality of the picture has been further worsened by re-photographing this from a print.

Ground Zero, 28 February 2002.

Ground Zero, 28 February 2002.

Paper cranes, tributes to the dead, and missing-persons notices at Ground Zero. Photographed 28 February 2002.

9/11 five years on: post #3

"Gone", a poem

It felt as though the tears would never stop.
It seemed just like the world was going to end.

But life
went on,
for me
and you.

Sometimes I think back to that day,
and the pain seems just as fresh.

But now
it subsides
much more

This is my only poem to be published in a book so far. © 2005


9/11 five years on: post #2

Unfortunately, the sound on this clip is way below par, but after 9/11 this song, "Superman" by Five For Fighting, was very quickly adopted as something of a tribute/anthem, particularly as regards the FDNY.

I think it's a beautiful song and probably would have liked it regardless, coupling as it does the theme of the fallibility of heroes with a high male voice, which I'm often a sucker for. Whether I would have heard it without the events of 9/11 is, of course, another matter.

The undeniable emotion of the song came to a head for me at the Annual NYPD vs FDNY Hockey Game in March 2002, the first since 9/11. I was there, and the game was late starting, in part so that the names of all the fallen firefighters and policemen and women could be played on the big screen, accompanied by this song.

Within months I was appalled to see it being used to advertise pasta on TV in Italy. Shame. Still a great song. Still incredibly powerful in its ability to put my mind right back to those dark days.

9/11 five years on: post #1

Over the past five years, there has been a lot of talk of conspiracy theories and government involvement and cover-ups regarding 9/11. One of the most convincing documentaries I have watched on the subject was the film 911 Loose Change.

Whatever you believe happened on 9/11, one thing is indisputable: 2,996 people going about their daily business died needlessly, be they World Trade Center workers, Pentagon workers, civilians taking aeroplanes, or firefighters, policemen and policewomen.

I have days when I rant about politics. Often these rants are ill informed but from the heart, as I see it. Today, I will do no ranting. My tribute posts today are about the human loss of 9/11 and not the politics or ramifications of it.

On the subject of tributes, go visit 2996, the mother of all 9/11 blog tributes. All 2,996 victims are honoured (and then some), by about the same number of bloggers. This is collaborative blogging on a scale probably never seen before.

2996 banner

Sunday, September 10, 2006

If there was no such thing as war, they’d have to invent it so they could keep making films about it

On Saturday night, Wife and I were channel-hopping after a late dinner, wondering if there was anything worth watching or whether we should just have an early night. Because we were tired, that is. And yes, I know it's not great to go to bed straight after eating, but sometimes, when you're tired and you've had a late dinner, what can you do?

We soon stumbled onto a film called Dresden, which had just started on UK cable/satellite channel E4. Or perhaps it was More4. One of them, anyway.

I asked Wife, "Shall we watch this?" This seemingly innocuous question was raised for two reasons: 1. It was more than 3 hours long, including ad breaks; 2. Wife's mother is a Dresden native, and was about 8 years old at the time of the bombings, so it is a subject quite close to home. She replied, "Is it going to make me sad?"

This personal angle aside, the historical elements of this epic, award-winning, made-for-TV movie are good enough reasons to watch it.

The plot: It's 1945, the end of World War II. "The war is over; the Germans just won't accept it," we are told. A Brit soldier crash lands in Dresden and is found by a young nurse. An unlikely love story blossoms. Meanwhile, Britain prepares to bomb holy fuck out of one of the most beautiful cities in northern Europe.

Any good: The story moves along at a good pace and never seems to drag. Although the love story is a touch implausible, given what's going on, all of the other stuff keeps you interested. They seem to have used some stock footage, too, which is nice. And there is no clear delineation between good guys and bad guys, since we are dealing with civilians for the most part. The coda was a nice touch.

Numbers: I give this film 65 out of 100.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

“He’s a Gecko” (to the tune of “In the Ghetto”)

As the sand flies
On a warm and bright Sahara morn
A cute little baby lizard's born
He's a gecko.
And his mama sighs
Cos if there's one thing that she don't need
It's another little pink forked tongue to feed
He's a gecko.

People, don't you understand
Lizards need a helping hand
Or they'll grow to be some angry old crocs some day.
Take a look at you and me,
Are we too dumb to see?
Or do we simply turn our feet
And walk the other way?

Well, the world turns
And a hungry lizard runs on three-foot'd toes
Playin' in the sand as the warm wind blows
He's a gecko.

And his hunger burns
So he starts to roam the dunes at night
And he learns how to forage
And he learns how to bite
He's a gecko.

Then one night in search of insects
The gecko breaks away
He climbs a wall, he sees a door,
He makes a run, but don't know what for...
And his mama cries.

As a crowd gathers round a tiny young thing
Crawlin' 'cross the middle of a huge kitchen
It's the gecko.

And the lizard sighs,
On a warm and bright Sahara morn,
Another little baby lizard's born
He's a gecko.
And his mama sighs.

He's a gecko.
He's a gecko.

© A Blog About Nowt, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

B-b-b-but I like you...

A few days ago, Wife and I were watching The Late Show with Conan O'Brien, as we do of an evening, and we were particularly psyched to see one of his guests was The Donald himself.

I'm a big fan of The Donald. Wife, too. But as the conversation unfolded between these two great men, it became apparent that The Donald wouldn't like me. That's a shame, because I think I'm a pretty fantastic guy, but you know, it's his loss. What more can I say?

And why wouldn't he like me? I'm sure anyone reading this is just dying to know. Well, it's because he doesn't like tattoos. Indeed, he dislikes tattoos so much that he's even written about it in this post on his blog.

I guess there goes my chance of ever winning the US version of The Apprentice. Still, I shan't hold it against him when I next bump into him in Manhattan. Maybe I'll even try to convince him of the error of his ways.

I bet that you look good when you’re cleaning windas

I know it's a few days late and all, but what about them Arctic Monkeys winning the Mercury Music Prize, eh? That'll be the last we hear of them, then.

Wife and I turned on the award show just in time to see the Arctics doing a live number for a crowd gathered outdoors somewhere, if memory serves.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a bit of their music. I even put that video of theirs up on here a wee while back, but I've gotta say that the song they did on telly the other night...

Well, all I could think was that the singer sounded just like George Formby. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I spent many happy hours sat in front of George Formby films as a kid. But I'm not sure it's the sound that Arctic Monkeys are going for, is it?

That Arctic Monkeys singer; and ukulele man George Formby

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One time, I saw one film; another time, I saw two

Guess what. I saw a film the other night. And I've done a little review thingy. But I've posted it on blogmate Adam's new site. Why not head over to Escape Artists Never Die and check it out? Cheers.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

“Rock ’n’ Roll” – a song

Here's another song I recorded back in 1990, at the same session as Kids' Night. This one's called Rock 'n' Roll (click the name to listen), and today I dedicate it to Buddy Holly.

Unfortunately, over the years the original master tape (reel to reel) has deteriorated, and there is a wee bit of squeaky shit here and there (no, I don't mean my voice!). I'll try to get it fixed one day -- y'know, for posterity -- but in the meantime this is the best I've got.


Happy 70th birthday, Buddy Holly

It's odd, isn't it, that someone who died so long ago, way back in 1959, would only be celebrating his 70th birthday today had he lived?

The man is rightly a legend. His influence on the development of songwriting as an artform was huge -- arguably unparalleled.

Take the time to think of your favourite Buddy Holly track today. Hell, put on one of his records. My favourite is probably "That Makes It Tough". Here are the lyrics:

Memories will follow me forever
Though I know my dreams cannot come true.
All those precious things we shared together.
Time goes by, I’ll still remember you.

And that makes it tough, oh so tough,
When you tell me you don’t love me.
That makes it tough, oh so tough,
When you say you don’t care for me no more.

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“Have you ever had to push, push, push, push?”

In my Mini film reviews #2 post, I wrote that Bleeder was a "really good, hard-hitting Danish movie", and I stand by that evaluation.

Over the weekend, I watched the debut movie by that movie's director. The film was called Pusher, and several of the cast members are the same as in Bleeder, albeit playing different characters.

The downlow: Pusher, as you might guess, is about a drug dealer. Specifically, it is about one week in the life of a heroin dealer -- a week where a big deal goes wrong, leaving him owing lots of money to the type of guy you don't want to be in debt to.

The opinion: I liked this film. Sure, it wasn't as good as Bleeder, but then it was made a few years earlier and was a first film. The performances were all strong, and the story seemed pretty credible for the most part. It was violent in places, but then when you're talking about dodgy people owing dodgy people thousands of pounds, it's gonna get violent once in a while. Also, and crucially, it didn't outstay its welcome.

The bit that counts: Pusher gets 68 points. Worth a look.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Billy Bragg, he da man!

Some of my longtime readers may remember this post about MySpace claiming ownership rights in all music uploaded to its site.

Well, click that link again, my friends, because there has been a change in the MySpace terms and conditions. And it seems that people's hero Billy Bragg is the man to thank. See this page (scroll down a bit) for the story, courtesy of

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20 Comments Wednesday

Well, colour me an ID-card-supporting sonofabitch

This post over at Some Lies got me thinking. Clearly Tideliar's problem is ridiculous, but all of this ID-prevents-terrorism thinking is nonsense. We do all know that, don't we?

For my money, this is part of the reason why the proposed British ID-card scheme is failing miserably and has no support from the general public. We are being sold the idea on a spurious basis. We all know it won't prevent terrorism; ergo, we don't need it.

I believe, though, that if the ID card were to be introduced under a different agenda, it might have a better reception. Or maybe not.

I am in a minority in the UK, I think, in that I really couldn't give a fuck whether or not we all have to carry ID cards over here any time soon. Indeed, I'd argue that it's a good idea. The only bit of this proposal that I do object to is the cost to the general public. If something is governmentally enforced, then it should cost nothing or next to nothing for the citizens. To drive is a choice, or privilege, so a licence costs money; to travel abroad is a choice, or privilege, so a passport costs money. But simply to go about your daily business in the country where you live is something in which you have no real choice, so it should not cost money. Am I wrong?

Perhaps my opinion of the ID card has been influenced by the fact that Wife is Italian. She has an Italian ID card. It costs a nominal amount to keep it up to date (something like €20 every five years). And you know what? It isn't the all-seeing, all-pervading eye of Big Brother that we Brits perceive it to be. (I do accept, however, that the British version will likely contain other information, tied in to the "War on Terror".) Indeed, there is even one key benefit to her ID card: she can travel anywhere within the European Union with it and without a passport if she so wishes. Presumably the UK version will also allow this.

I also happen to believe that carrying some form of ID should be mandatory, if only to aid in identifying your body if you get hit by a bus while crossing the street, rather than wasting everyone's time trying to establish who the fuck you are.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

You naughty boys

The second of my three weekend films was another from a few years ago: Very Bad Things starring Christian Slater, Jon Favreau in slimmer days, and the lovely Cameron Diaz (right).

I've had this one one sitting waiting for my attention for quite a while, with me looking for the right moment -- i.e., a moment when Wife falls asleep on the sofa or goes to bed early, because it was always clear she had no interest in watching it.

I knew very little about this film other than the initial accident that leads these lives to spiral out of control. I had heard, though, that it was not very good and that it was "sick", to quote one of my friends. Thing is, saying something is "sick" isn't exactly going to put me off, especially given who said it.

Wh'appen: Five guys go off on a bachelor weekend in Vegas, baby. A call girl joins them in their suite, and she ends up dead with a coathook in the back of her neck. Oops. What to do -- call the police and fess up, or stuff her in a suitcase and bury her in the desert? The boys choose the latter, and that's where things start to go wrong...

My twopenn'orth: The scene in the hotel room with the hooker is quite grisly. It's not that it's particularly gruesome in what you see; more that you can sort of empathize. We all know how a coathook feels, so we can relate in a different way to when we see people getting shot or hacked up. So it's unpleasant. And it gets more so as the scene progresses. Indeed, there is an all-pervading sense of unpleasantness, even once you realize you are watching a very dark black comedy. As it veers ever more into the farcical, however, all I kept thinking was, "This is like a Joe Orton plot but without Orton's wit." Wit is what is lacking. Instead, we are treated to screaming, shouting, and expletives. And while I'm a big fan of screaming, shouting, and expletives, they are no match for the wit of Joe Orton.

What's the scores, George Dawes? I give this movie 56 points, more for story than delivery.

When will people learn...?

Holidaying in Muslim countries is a bad idea. How many times must we watch Westerners die in attacks on tourists in Muslim countries before we all realize this?

I know, of course, that you can't tar all Muslims with the same brush, BUT clearly there is a violent minority that does not want our foreign cash in their country. Until the respective authorities quell these idiots, we should do what they want and not go there.

Hit them where it hurts, in their pockets.

Monday, September 04, 2006

“What do you take me for, a cunt?”

gangsterno1.jpgThe British movie Gangster No.1 is based on a stage play. The main reason I have been so slow in watching this film is because I saw the play, on its debut run, 11 years ago, back in September 1995 at the Almeida Theatre in Islington, north London. Here's me holding up my copy of the programme. Despite being a one-time acting student and having directed a couple of short plays and a short film, I've never been a massive fan of the theatre. I was always more of a film guy. Gangster No.1, the play, changed that for me, opening a whole new door. It was fucking phenomenal. It was essentially a one-man play starring Peter Bowles (of "I'm H-A-P-P-Y" fame), who gave the sort of performance that can make careers for younger men. The fact that Bowles's performance was so good is why I approached the film with trepidation. I like Malcolm McDowell, but he can be a bit hammy, y'know?

Synopsis: An aging gangster looks back over his violent past when he hears his former boss is being released after 25 years in prison.

The review: As I said above, I'm not McDowell's biggest fan, and he is a touch too muggy in this, for my liking, but he has far less screen time than Paul Bettany, who plays him as a young man. Bettany is a standout in his breakthrough role. The only negative comment I would make is this: It seemed odd to have Bettany be the only actor who doesn't play the same character later in life. All his contemporaries are played by the same actors in both their 1960s and 1990s incarnations. The look and feel of the film is spot on. I'd say this is up there with the best British gangster film, Get Carter, and dare I say it's even better than The Long Good Friday, although it's been a while since I last saw it. It also scores very highly on what I shall henceforth call the "cunt count"; it may have already knocked The Football Factory off the top spot. A comparison with Sexy Beast, by the same authors originally, would be interesting.

The numbers: This film impressed me much more than I had expected. It is on my to-buy list right now. I award it 82 points.


Steve Irwin, R.I.P.

I always really enjoyed watching Steve Irwin on TV chat shows, just as much as I have enjoyed watching his documentaries and wildlife shows. He had a huge passion for his work that was simply impossible to disguise, not that he ever tried to disguise it. He died doing what he loved, but his death has left a huge hole in the world of educational natural-history television. How many kids must have been influenced by this man's enthusiasm? How many young wildlife lovers has he inspired? Countless numbers, undoubtedly. Fortunately we have a huge body of work by which to remember him.

[BBC News story here.]


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Scrabble is fun on a miserable Saturday afternoon

On Saturday afternoon, Wife and I played Scrabble. It was the first time we'd played in ages, possibly even a year. We used to play often. Two or three times a day sometimes.

It was good to play again. I won't say who won or lost. Suffice to say there was not even 20 points in it, and we both had scores well over 300. I was especially happy with my "glitter" at the top, using all my seven letters and hitting a triple-word square for a nice 80 points. I later added an "a" at the beginning, hitting another triple-word square, making "aglitter".

On a related note, did you know that the official Scrabble rules differ depending on which side of the Atlantic you are playing? In particular, the American rules (not sure about Canadian rules) ban the use of racist terms, while they are acceptable in the UK. And rightly so, they should be acceptable; they are, after all, still words. You cannot deny their existence. Ridiculous.

Here's our board at the end of play.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pictures on a big screen

Wife and I took the afternoon off yesterday and went to the cinema. We still had free tickets to a screening of our choice (see this post if you want to know why), and they were burning a whole in our pockets. Or, rather, in Wife's purse.

So, burning... Did we go and see the new Nicolas Cage version of The Wicker Man? The fuck we did! You know -- where did I hear this? -- when it came to remaking The Wicker Man, the producers decided that a 30- or 40-something man couldn't possibly still be a virgin, so instead of that being the lynchpin of the plot, as it was in the 1970s original, they have given the character -- get this -- an allergy to bees!? What the fuck is that?! There is no way I'm paying for cinema seats to see that! (Even if they're free cinema seats, in fact.)

Instead, we went to see Adrift, which seemingly in the States is called Open Water 2. Shame they've given it a sequel name over there, actually, because the two films have very little in common other than people being lost at sea. I quite enjoyed Open Water last year. I thought it was good to see a good idea win out over big budgets (à la El Mariachi and The Blair Witch Project, two of my favourite films). So when I discovered that this Adrift film was being touted as a sequel (even though it isn't), it didn't put me off.

The plot: Six friends hook up for the birthday of one of them, to party on board a massive yacht. Before long, all of them are in the water, but no one remembered to open up the ladder, so they can't get back on deck. Panic and desperation ensue, coupled with accidents and tragedy.

(The experience: Apart from the couple talking most of the way through it about 10 feet behind us, it wasn't too bad. I sort of forgive them cos they were quite old and the woman was in a wheelchair. I think the guy was explaining stuff to her. There were only about a dozen people at the showing, anyway.)

The score: 65 points for this. A good little movie.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Who da man?

Okay, since everyone seems to be playing, I have too. And y'all didn't know I was such a charming motherfucker.

Cary Grant
You scored 23% Tough, 0% Roguish, 38% Friendly, and 38% Charming!
You are the epitome of charm and style, the smooth operator who steals the show with your sophisticated wit, quiet confidence and flirty sense of humor. You are able to catch any woman you want just by flashing that disarming smile, even if you're flashing it at a kindly aunt or engaging child at the time. When you walk into a room, women are instantly intrigued and even the men are impressed, but you're too nice a guy to steal anyone else's girl...unless the guy deserves it. You're stylish, yes, but you can also be a little bit nutty. However, you're primarily seen as dashing, suave and romantic. Your co-stars include Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly, stylish women with a sense of fun.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the
Classic Dames Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 38% on Tough
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on Roguish
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 66% on Friendly
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 74% on Charming
Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Jack of all trades, master of none?

I watched Factotum [a man who does many jobs] (to give it its full on-screen title) the other night. I'm not familiar with the works of Charles Bukowski, and to be honest I don't think this film has inspired me to read any, but that's not to say I didn't like it. It had something going for it, in the portrayal of the depressing life of the lead character, Henry Chinaski, nicely played by Matt Dillon.

The title Factotum, though, I felt to be a misnomer. Perhaps this was intentional and ironic. I kind of suspect so, since truthfully Chinaski couldn't hold down a job. So, yes, while he "does many jobs", he can't keep any.

The scariest/worst thing about the film was Lili Taylor, who looked particularly skanky despite putting in a totally convincing performance. My favourite scene was when the two of them are walking down the street trying car-door handles. It seems they are looking to steal a new car, but it turns out that they are taking cigarettes. Classic!

Score: I give this film 58 out of 100.

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