Saturday 28 November 2015

You's all your fault

Seven of us headed to the big screen to watch Bridge of Spies.  Big screen it was due to a booking cock up that saw us sitting as near to the front as possible.  The Cat's Mother and Muffin parents decided to sit elsewhere and face the possible embarrassment of being moved by people who had booked the seats they chose to sit in.  They moved twice; the rest of us took our places and ended the evening with neck strain!  Anyway, as to the film, we were divided favour of it being a fabulous film.  A terrific piece of story telling, fabulously filmed with terrific performances from  Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance and the rest of the cast too.  For a Spielberg film there wasn't too much schmaltz...some but not over bearing.  The tension built throughout, and the film is well paced.  Some scenes are outstanding...when the Berlin Wall is being built for example.  So highly recommended.  My one complaint?  Call me a car-geek, but the East German lawyer drives a Volvo P1800.  The year is 1961, the year it was launched.  So possible, but unlikely...especially at the price they sold for.

I knew it would happen, and it did.  I forgot something really quite important.  Well not important, but memorable.

I had a last minute chance to go to Abbey Road Studios and listen to the great Alan Parsons.  Abbey Road well known, of course for its zebra crossing.  Slightly lesser known as the recording studio for Dark Side of the Moon.  Alan Parsons was the recording engineer for that album, and many others too (he helped out on Let it be...and the list of other albums he worked on there is enormous, including one or two by the fabulous Mrs Mills - if you remember her, you're doing well).  So a couple of hundred of us sat in Studio 2 in the full knowledge that this was where The Beatles performed, as did Pink Floyd.  We were surrounded by history.  In an interview format with David Hepworth he talked us through his career, and then showed us with the help of the original 48 track recordings of Dark Side of the Moon how much control he had as the recording engineer.  There was even one bit when he said, "Oh I don't remember that".  He came on to his own work, The Alan Parsons Project which is where I know him from having been introduced to his music at school.  We sat next to his wife, who could just about have been my daughter if you see what I mean.  I'd submitted a question, but evidently it was judged serious enough..."How do you feel about Mike Myers?"  Anyway, perhaps you had to be there...I was absolutely blown away.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Only the good

I remember in younger days and tougher times struggling to pay my various mortgages (yes, for the last thirty or so years there has been more than one), and how just when I thought I'd caught up, the mortgage company would let me know I still had a long way to go.  It's a bit like writing a blog that's supposed to remind me of the things I've been doing...

..anyway, whilst I never condone death and destruction, I am faintly amused by the Turks having the temerity to shoot down one of Putin's aeroplanes.  We would never have done that. So a bit like the bully in the playground who likes to tease and torment until someone bites back.  It will have come as a shock.  Putin has suffered a bloody nose (and sympathies to the family of the pilot, but I suspect that he knew what he was up to, just didn't know he had gone too far), not long after the Russian passenger aircraft was downed shortly after taking off.  If you add that together with a bloody stalemate in Crimea, and harsh economic sanctions, I bet there are a few whispers that may be Putin is not the man for Russia.  Of course, like all men of his type, he will aim to snuff those out pretty quickly,, but he can't avoid no longer being seen as invincible.

It has come as quite a shock to me that I have become a card-carrying member of the Labour Party.  This, the person who for a while was the treasurer of the Western Region of Conservative students.  I like Mr Corbyn, I like quite a lot of what he's got to say, and most of all idea I like the idea of a society that is based around the concept of fairness and equality and not one that is based around elitism and greed that puts money in the pockets of those who need it least.

We're off on Friday to see Bridge of Spies, spurred on by it being written by our 'friend' Matt Charman.  He joined us at a gala dinner a few months back and was charm personified...he even said he'd like to join us for Christmas as it sounded such fun.  He's probably forgotten us, but we haven't forgotten him.

Over the last month we've been to a 60th birthday, The Cat's Mother spent a few days in Dubai (leaving me in charge of an empty house...doesn't she realise how foolish that is), I cycled 73 miles round the Essex countryside for fun, we saw four Shakepeare plays in one night (shortened versions in a schools competition...yes it was mostly hell), went to see the musical Kinky Boots (great fun, won't stretch your brain cells), and saw at the cinema the Broadway version of 'Of Mice and Men' which made us appreciate just how great theatre is, even when seen in a cinema.  We must also have seen Spectre, although it's not in my diary, though it is burned on my memory for ever.  16 people in the cinema, twelve of them slurping, crunching and munching their way through it, which was an achievement as they didn't stop talking either...even when they got up (several times) to go to the loo or get yet another hot dog.  Dreadful experience.

The Boy and The Cat are back briefly this weekend.  It won't be fun.  They are here to bury a friend from school.  He was a lovely lad who had severe health problems all his life...he had a heart transplant many years ago...but he never let it get on top of him.  Indeed he did well at school and went on to University.  He died just after his 21st. I feel for his family, and for his school friends for whom this will mostly be their first real brush with death.  It's a harsh thing for the young.