Sunday 27 September 2009

Me, Leonard Cohen and the Family Stone

I edged out Leonard Cohen in a bicycle race last night. Just as I passed I could hear him singing “everybody knows the race is fixed”… but it didn’t stop either of us trying. Pedalling as fast as we could into a pitch black room, not nearly enough room, I can’t remember what happened next. Darkness and then…?

The Family Stone
And then this morning I watched a Christmas gathering of The Family Stone, which was rather unsettling as the most sympathetic character was the uptight type played by Sarah Jessica Parker. The family itself displayed that worrying right-on yet vicious liberal sensitivity; God help anyone who doesn’t share their view of the world. Which is a shame as, though it was a refreshing reminder that unkind behaviour has no political or social boundaries, it also made it difficult to care for any of them. It was a little bit different but it had the potential to be so much better, which like the family made it annoying too. The Family Stone were mean. I’m not sure I’ll be spending Christmas with them again.

Friday 25 September 2009

World cheers promised 25% increase in level of ignorance

World leaders yesterday lauded another ‘landmark’ announcement from Gordon Brown who, in addition to reducing the number of UK nuclear-armed submarines from four to three, has promised a proportional reduction in the number of people with a rudimentary knowledge of physics.

Alastair Darling
Whilst some have questioned the need for such a measure, arguing blinkers would prove more cost-effective, sources state that Brown has fallen under the influence of a shady group of neo-realists led by the enigmatic mad monk Alastair Darling. It is thought the Chancellor, whose eyebrows have yet to be authenticated, was reminded of the futility of removing nuclear arsenals after running the economy into the ground at a velocity approaching the speed of light. This near meltdown prompted the hitherto heretical belief that the knowledge of how to destroy ourselves might prove just as dangerous as having the means.

Emboldened with such a vision, Darling arranged a summit at a secret service station on the M4 where he met with the Prime Minister and Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Schools and Stuff… and Peter Mandelson, who they bumped into at the KFC. Several family buckets later they produced the Membury Manifesto.

In it is laid the foundations for making the world a safer place, or as Gordon Brown describes it, “a kinder, more stupid Britain”, by engineering a progressively less intelligent UK population through measures such as The Daily Mail, Sky Television and discouraging students from higher education. “The only way forward”, added the Prime Minister “is backwards.”

Thursday 10 September 2009

Shoot 'em up

A part of me died whilst watching Shoot 'Em Up, the rest of me wasn't so lucky. You know how sometimes you think you ought to give a film a second chance, perhaps you weren’t in the right frame of mind the first time out; there are also times when you should leave well alone. I get that it’s over the top, I get that it’s tongue-in-cheek, I get that some of the puns are deliberately bad. On the other hand it’s not often that you cheer the arrival of each action sequence for the sole reason that you won’t have to listen to any of the characters speak.

There was even a point where I found myself saying “no please… PLEASE DON’T do the BMW versus porcupine joke”... only my appeal was in vain. Michael Davis, the director and writer (so he has no excuse) of this entertainment was no doubt hoping to fool the audience, or at least those capable of rational thought, into thinking it’s a parody or perhaps some kind of ironic statement. I’m pretty sure it isn’t.

Monica Belluci Shoot 'Em Up
But if we must find something to praise, let’s praise it for the full-bodied Monica Belluci; she’s lovely. But what’s not to love about a drug-free lactating prostitute with a heart of gold? Monica uses her considerable charm in the film’s only worthwhile sequence, which manages to show some originality in combining the obligatory sex scene with yet another preposterous shoot-out. Yes it’s true; I did find that bit funny. Also we should commend the film on its length. At 86 minutes it’s mercifully short, but then anything longer and I might have become quite negative.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

A perfect blend

Blend Cafe Lounge in ThornburyDon’t you just hate reading a blog entry that’s no more than a flimsy plug for a restaurant that the blogger has happened to eat in? Well since you’re used to it, here’s one more. Blend CafĂ© Lounge in Thornbury makes the most heavenly beef burger and chunky chips I’ve ever tasted. The BLEND burger alone is worth a mention, but with the most amazing chunky chips it’s an unbeatable combination. I hesitate to recommend a place on the quality of their chips, it sounds like a backwards compliment, but you’d have to eat there to understand. Perhaps if I mention that they seem to have cornered the market on relaxed and friendly staff...

Wednesday 2 September 2009

Paint the whole world

I had a frustrating day yesterday. By one measure it was productive as I learnt something new… eventually... but it wasn’t as quick as I’d like and I’m impatient to learn more. I was in work at 7.45am and, aside from a break for lunch, didn’t leave until 6.45pm. It would have all felt worthwhile if I’d figured out my LINQ problem, but a solution eluded me and I drove home defeated.

Rainbow over motorway It’s usually enough to dent my entire evening though I ought to know better; experience, or advancing years if you prefer, has shown fresh eyes in the morning often does the trick. But I’ve always found it difficult to separate myself from work once separated from work, thankfully nature made yesterday evening an exception; I saw the most beautiful rainbow. I know that sounds ridiculous, it looks ridiculous written down but ‘beautiful’ is the only way I can describe it. Not dissimilar to this picture and possibly prettier, I could see both ends rooted to the ground and each clearly defined colour in the spectrum arcing over the motorway ahead of me. All I could think was to share the information with my daughter, knowing how excited she’d have been in the car with me, despite the appalling weather. I was on the M48 and it was wonderful. It’s not often you can say something like that.

…and my problem with LINQ? Sorted first thing this morning.