Thursday 6 June 2013

Trubble in't mill

Tonight is another Secret Cinema outing...The Cat's Mother is getting a bit grumpy about these things...they're quite convoluted, and booking and finding out where to go, what to wear, what to bring is quite stressful.  And she gets stressed quite easily.

One of the pleasures of Secret Cinema is working out what you're going to see...sometimes we manage, but usually not.  Today, someone in the office let the cat out the bag and told me what it is.  Grrr that is really, really irritating.  I like a surprise.  It's fortunate that I like the film very much, and it's a while since I've seen it.

I managed to upset one of the women in the office the other day...I was a bit clumsy in trying to be helpful.  She was proudly showing everyone her new leggings, and I started talking about how proper safety wear is a good idea when she's riding her Vespa scooter.  Whatever the weather, I'm never without an armoured jacket and trousers...and I was able to quote the label which says 'Helps prevent muscle stripping' and that I'd read that if you come off at 30 mph it's less than half a second before the road will remove all the flesh down to the bone.  Yes, very ungracious of me, but I do have a bit of a bee in  my bonnet about motor bike safety...

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Time clock of the heart

Some things confuse me, some things confuse other people.  Time for example.

On The Cat's Mother's side of the family, time is a mystery which will never be understood.  Her sister, Mrs Muffin, has never knowingly been anything less than half an hour late for anything (except this weekend when I was forced, arm twisted to sit through yet another viewing of The Lord Of The Rings...this time for the benefit of the young Muffins - they arrived two minutes early, whilst I was still working).

The Cat is always late by varying degrees, and when The Boy and I who are both sticklers for time get tetchy because we're being made late, gets really irritated.  I've lost count of the time we've heard her say something along the lines of "Oh, so when you said we had to be there by seven, you didn't mean we were leaving at 7?"  Fortunately the school journey never needs to be made again.  When we lived almost next door to the school The Boy, who could walk there, would leave home at 7.45 in the morning.  Since we started living some miles away, and a car was required to get them there, the journey generally starts some twenty minutes later.  There have been tears.  I'm glad it's all over.

The Cat's Mother, is generally pretty good at getting ready on time, but then will go and spoil it all by finding half a dozen things that can be done before we leave to go anywhere for any reason.  If we're having a meal before we go to the theatre or cinema, all will go well until an extra pudding, an extra coffee, a trip to the loo is thrown in....we have been known to be running down the aisle as the curtains are going up.

So there's an irreconcilable difference in our understanding of time.

I had an e-mail from Southwark Playhouse today that started "Southwark Playhouse mk. III is officially open! Our new bar is easy to find and open from 11am to 12pm Monday to Saturday."

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that mean it is open for precisely one hour?  Eleven in the morning until midday.  I realise that there is some debate about this, but one minute past midday is 12.01pm, so logically 12pm is midday.  Now you may say I'm just being picky, and deliberately obtuse, but now the sun has come out, I don't want to turn up at lunchtime and find the doors locked. Please don't ever accuse me of picking a fight for the sake of picking a fight....

Doing time is another matter.

I never forget how lucky I am to be working in the middle of London, and actually one of the most diverse and dynamic parts of central London.  It's a mix of the ancient and the modern; the rich and the poor.  If I wanted to (and I wish I had the time to) I could spend hours exploring...but usually I just wander out, grab a sandwich and then head back to my desk.  It's a bad habit.  Today, though was slightly different.  As I wandered, I went past Southwark Crown Court...there was a large crowd, and loads of TV cameras and photographers.  I paused just long enough to see Rebecca Brooks come out.  She looked pretty pleased with herself, which is strange because the consensus in the crowd seemed to be that she should be doing time.  I took a picture, but I was a little way away...

Elsewhere, the BBC seems a little confused.  Here are the opening two paragraphs of a story I read on the news site

Al-Rahma Islamic Centre destroyed in 'racist attack'

An Islamic centre in north London has been destroyed by a fire in an apparent racially motivated attack.

It is not yet known whether the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre, which is listed as a mosque, was set alight deliberately in the early hours.

I'd say that was a somewhat inflammatory headline...

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Turkish delight

I'm so glad we have the BBC.  It's not just the TV programmes, it's not just the radio shows, it's not even the BBC website.  What I am most in awe of the BBC for today is that they have finally unravelled the bare bear mystery for me.  No I don't mean naked dancing grizzlies, I mean how to use the words when you're not talking about bears or birthday suits.  The mystery was solved because of the terrible flooding that's going on in central Europe at the moment.  Specifically, the BBC headline which says, 'Flood waters from Czech dams bear down on Prague'.  My money would have been on 'bare' as the right word....I know I've tried to use Google in the past to find out how to bear arms, but to no avail, but at least I no longer have to bear this burden.

So Labour is going to restrict 'winter fuel payments' to the wealthy elderly.  Quite right too...why should those rich feckers get a penny.  Some might disingenuously argue 'because they've contributed more'.  Of course that is ridiculous; how could any one feel that the people who have put most into the system should get anything back.  The chances are, these people have paid for and not used the education system, nor the National Health service either as they've sent their kids to private school and filled the coffers of BUPA too.  I'm not going to dwell on the absolutes of the discussion too much, as I think the major policy announcement is merely the vocalisation of how much the politicians are missing the point.  Tinkering with winter fuel payments will make a difference of a few million at will make no impact whatsoever on the country's financial position.  It does nothing, it says nothing. The truth is, root and branch reform of every aspect of the UK's fiscal system is the only way to solve the problems UK plc faces.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again and again and again.  It would be churlish, of course, to point out that ensuring the international businesses that squirrel away billions out of reach of HMRC pay a proper level of tax would reap unimaginable billions.  I don't even think re-writing tax legislation so that the effective location of business deals is the point of taxation would be beyond the wit and wisdom of any tax lawyer.  Starbucks wouldn't leave the UK now, nor would Google, Amazon or Apple...let alone EDF.  I rather like the idea mentioned by someone the other day, that companies are taxed, just like you and I, on income rather than profit.

The Cat's Mother and I are contemplating a trip to Turkey.  Nay, that is an understatement.  We are definitely booked on a trip to Istanbul later this year.  Well, bugger me, why is it that whenever we decide to go somewhere, the populace start rioting.  They did in Jordan last year, and a couple of years before that The Cat's Mother went off to Syria, and even Lebanon the year before last had seen some trouble.  I've not yet got my head around the Ottoman Problem, but it is unlikely that I won't have a read around to see what the SP is.  In the meantime, if anyone there happens to be reading this...please just cool it until we've been and gone.

Monday 3 June 2013

It's a short life

I love shorts.

Yes, when the sun comes out, my marble white legs are exposed to all in the hope of turning them a dusky brown.  Hopefully that will happen at least once this year.

But the shorts I love most are short movies.  It must be the nature of the format that means all the creativity which normally gets spread amongst two hours of a full-length movie, gets squashed into a much tighter space to create something which is much more powerful and exciting.  Next Floor is one of my favourites

On a lighter note is this one

But my absolute favourite is this one (WARNING ADULT CONTENT)...Danse Macabre by Pedro Pires. It is very moving indeed.

Having seen it originally at Secret Cinema, I downloaded it from iTunes to watch at my leisure.  But sadly, the version that's available has been significantly edited...the 'danse' where the body is moved around has been edited out.  Odd, as this is a key part of the thing.  I don't understand.  Very disappointing.

This weekend we sat down to watch Django on BluRay.  It was a film The Cat's Mother and I enjoyed very much at the cinema...although, being Tarrantino, there were some parts where she hid behind the seats.  It was with great angst I realised, not too far in, that the watch at home, no holds barred version has been edited.  Having only seen the film once at the cinema, it's hard to say what all the edits are, but one that was particularly noticeable - because it's on the soundtrack - is where Django and Schultz ride into town, and they discuss what would happen if they sat down together in the saloon.  It was a nice little bit...not critical to the film, but certainly worth having.  So why has it gone?  Why do that?  If it was good enough for the cinema, what makes it not good enough for the sofa?  There were other bits that my fuzzy memory said were not right either.  It somewhat tainted an otherwise enjoyable evening....

P.S. I see YouTube is working much harder to 'monetise' their sorry for all the ads