Wednesday 6 June 2012

Picture Daily

Third Man

Bread and circuses

So there I am with my full and plenty Republican views making the most of the Queen's Jubilee.  It was a time to keep my views to myself.  But really and equally it was a time to recognise that the whole thing showed Britain at its best...and will leave everyone feeling more upbeat and positive than before the weekend.  A weekend of spectacle, pomp and ceremony, that truth be told can only be done if you have a monarch.  It would be nice to think that our politicians would rise and respond to the great spirit which the country has shown and provide the positive leadership they should...but somehow that feels unlikely.

Of course it wasn't all good.  I have to ask myself whether the timing of the rescue of hostages in Afghanistan was done for the right reasons...or was it because success would be a good start for the Jubilee?  Sadly a second rescue attempt (of an Afghan policeman) resulted in the death of a British soldier....I wonder how his parents will remember the Jubilee weekend.

On a more frivolous level, it was probably a good job we only had the BBC coverage of the Jubilee boating pageant on in the background.  The commentators seemed to be no more than over-excited teenagers with nothing to add to the event.  Disappointingly given that there were a thousand boast in the line up, there didn't seem to be a single boat expert nor anyone to talking about our river or seafaring heritage...and a positive tragedy that no one was able to interpret the semaphore message from the National Theatre.  According to the Beeb, it was because they wanted to capture the full sense of the jubilee...but that sounds like PR bull to me.  And I should know.  Anyway, it was very beautiful to look at and we absolutely loved the LPO singing their way down the river.

On the downside transport was a disater...train companies, bus companies and tube companies made a right Royal balls up.  Transport for London said they hadn't expected so many people.  Wonder if they've clocked that the Olympics are coming...judging by the appalling service to Dagenham at the weekend where thousands are rehearsing, no they haven't.

Much praise should be given to whoever was responsible for the lighting and projections during the jubilee concert...truly phenomenal...unlike the linking comedians who struggled to know how to play it.  We came in half way through it so missed the wonder that is Grace Jones, but couldn't help but laugh at Will.I.AM and Stevie Wonder wishing the Queen a happy birthday...Americans. Bless.

We'd been to see Prometheus...the new Ridley film....which has arrived to mixed reviews which was inevitable really.  All I will say is we enjoyed it, the plot was riddled with holes and some of the scripting was a bit naff, but it's kept us talking for a couple of days.

And finally much excitement...we have just discovered that the Olympic Torch will be coming right past our front door on July 16th...and by right past our front door I mean within a couple of feet.  We're planning a trip to Brighton just to be there to see it...desperately excited ...although we won't be going on eBay afterwards....

Monday 4 June 2012

Picture Daily

Beach huts...always a colourful addition to the British seaside

A frozen chicken in the spin drier

I worry that any transgression against modern society's rules demands a fine...we're all used to picking up a parking fine, we get fined for not filling our bins properly, we can get fined for being drunk and disorderly.  Do it wrong and you'll be hit in the wallet.  In many cases this seems appropriate...or perhaps the least inappropriate punishment that can be given.  But I was concerned to read that Brighton Hospital Trust is being fined for data rules breaches.  You can read the full story here.  What worries me most is that, the NHS is permanently short of cash, and all this fine does is make an under-budgeted hospital that little bit poorer.  The only people who will suffer will be patients and staff.  That's not to say it wasn't a breach of the law and a punishment should be meted out, but it feels entirely wrong that a fine is imposed.  Hanging, flogging, quartering may not be the way to go...but perhaps suspending the Chief Executive would send out the right message...I'm open to suggestions.

On Friday we went out with my two friends. They're not my only friends, but they're amongst my longest standing.  By comparison The Cat's Mother has met them only a handful of times.  And it dawned on me that usually it's the other way round...we're often out with her friends, people I've met only a few times.  What it made me realise is how different the dynamic is...when you have known people for ever and a day, you have shared memories and emotions that the 'newbie' cannot be aware of.  So it was good for us to be finding out things new things that evening.

It turns out that when he was a wee lad of 13, young CD had a part in Raul Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected...a Saturday night favourite.  Not only that it was an episode featuring the gorgeous Joan Collins and the god that was John Gielgud.  Not bad for your debut.

On the left is CD, then the great JG, and poor JC with her head stuck in the sculpture

And how did they meet?  At a party he chatted her up with the line "Do you know what happens when you put a frozen chicken in a spin drier." Evidently he and his flatmates had tried it the previous week.  As a chat up line it apparently worked very well.

Sunday 3 June 2012