Saturday, May 31, 2008

Indiana Jones : ho hum

OK, i know there are one million reviews of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull out there, but here's another. as usual, if you have not seen the film, then you may wish to skip this as there are probably *** MINOR SPOILERS *** in it.

apparently, we have all been waiting 19 years for this film :

when you think about it, however, we haven't really. when the credits rolled on Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade and the characters rode off into the sunset, that was it really. i mean, the Indy films were fondly remembered, but no one was quite desperate for more. Ford moved on to "grown up" action films in the shape of Jack Ryan, not to mention the odd "drama" or comedy role, Spielberg disappeared to go and make films featuring either dinosaurs or overt political statements, and Lucas, well, he went back to Star Wars. audiences managed to fill the void, too.

as far as i can work out, this fourth Indiana Jones film exists mostly because Spielberg's kids wished to see it, and partially because the three main players listed above have been somewhat absent from the big box office figures of late. add to that something of a current nostalgia market (Beverly Hills Cop 4, no less, will be with us soon) and there's good enough reason for them to have made this.

these "comeback" films tend to have a rather troubling weight of expectation to them, and it is invariably of a mass and dimension that no one film could lift by itself anyway. i went to see Kingdom with the only expectation, or hope at least, being that it was something worth adding to the story; something worth dragging the protagonist back from his ride into the sunset for. basically, a slightly above average tale would have met that requirement.

sadly, for the most part, you don't get that. the plot and story for Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is limited at best, really. when it isn't being some sort of quasi-mix of X Files and Spielberg's Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, all too often it feels like a contrived homage to something like The Mummy which, as that was a "homage" (to be kind) to Indiana Jones in the first place, more or less paints the poor picture for you.

how the story is told leaves a lot to be desired too. full credit in the first instance for them throwing you into the action - there's no build up of characters returning here, you go straight into it and get on with the story. however, a big loss of credit for the contrived, invented history created for Dr, or rather now Colonel, Jones for the 20 or so years between Crusade and Kingdom. every time there's a significant plot hole or narrative void to be filled all you get is an obscure reference to something or other he did during his apparent military service. no, i didn't know that Indiana Jones, after finding the holy grail, went off to join the army either.

not content with a barely average story and a poor presentation of it, the makers decide to mess around with the character of Indiana Jones too. Indiana Jones was a wisecracking, lucky type, one that fortune certainly favoured and appreciated the bravery of. here he is reduced to some sort of bumbling slapstick comedy figure in a number of scenes, one in particular that is just embarrassing to watch (the bit after he flees "storage area 51" and finds a small town). getting up from some sort of accident, embarrassment or misfortune and acting as if nothing had happened works very well for the stiff upper lip type character (say, John Cleese in Fawlty Towers), but it just comes over as rather painful with Harrison Ford here. recent revisits to 80's classics, specifically Die Hard 4 and Rocky Balboa, worked because the actor remained loyal and true to the character as we remember them. this, sadly, doesn't happen here.

if Harrison is disappointing, then the rest of the cast need not be there. this Shia LeBeouf, who for some reason large amounts of the interwebnet community do not like, gets to do little beyond look uncomfortable being introduced dressed as Brando. Karen Allen, making a much anticipated return as the character from Raiders, is a waste of space. it may as well be an entirely different character, bar a couple of shouted comments. all poor Karen gets to do is smile a great deal, drive for most of the part and deliver but one line of any consequence. Cate Blanchett apparently felt that the need was ready for a homage to any one of the female Bond villains from the awful Pierce Brosnan as Bond era, and the likes of Jim Broadbent, Ray Winstone and, in particular, John Hurt, appear for the most part to be just as clueless as the audience when it comes to working out exactly why they were cast for the parts that they find themselves in.

perhaps the biggest fault with Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, however, is the lack of reasonable story telling and sense of adventure, both removed to make space for many (and i do mean many) car or other vehicle chase sequences.

far too much of the film is taken up by people driving around and in to each other at 3 or 4 different parts of the world. this wouldn't be so bad if there was at least one memorable scene of it, but they are all pretty much the same thing against a different background, and not one of them offers much new. and how many times can you watch people fall over a waterfall before it gets boring? watch this film and you will soon find the answer.

now, believe it or not, i really did wish to watch and enjoy Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull as a splendid 2 hours of entertainment. sadly, that wasn't what i got. it saddens me to have to say that it is the case that, if there was little good reason to actually make this film, there is even less to go and see it. as visually it is hardly epic in scope, bar one or two impressive shots towards the end, perhaps this will work rather nicely as Sunday afternoon DVD watching. as a cinematic or cultural event, however, it's very little than an ill-conceived after-thought. i tried not to be negative, but what can you do when the best thing you can think of when the film is finished is that the trailer for Will Smith's Hancock looked rather good?

now, let's just hope that The Dark Knight does not disappoint!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Visiting The Alamo

hey everyone

well, not me visiting the Alamo! Dad is currently in that part of the world, and so sent over some pictures!

i am delighted to see that Dad has got there at last, i believe this is one place that he has wanted to visit but has never quite got to it on his numerous journeys to that part of the world.

equally, i am delighted to see that he did not do what Ozzy Osbourne did when he visited the Alamo, either! well, as far as i know - at least there are no pictures of it!!

i would imagine that there will be some more pictures when he returns!!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Didn't Our Lord Deliver Daniel

hey everyone

it seems that, at last, New Zealand in general and Gillian in specific has come to terms with the exciting world of photographs. here is a wonderful picture of Daniel!

thank you very much for sending them, Gillian!! thank you also for the invite to Daniel's 1st Birthday party. sadly, lottery win pending, we will not be able to make it.

....we can, however, give you a glimpse of how Daniel may look in a mere 57 years time, depending on if he grows up like Grandad.....

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Terminator Salvations

hey everyone

there are an awful lot of people out there that for some reason don't like the idea of the upcoming Terminator sequel. more fool them, i say, i can't wait!!

here's the first image from it, some concept art!!

nice one!!!

i'll be back.........

Monday, May 19, 2008


the odd things you find on backup discs!!

here are some pictures of us at Greensleeves, the medieval banquet place, celebrating Grant's birthday. what year? i will have to rely on Gillian to tell me, but probably 2001 or 2002, i think. looking at the beard, it could even be as late as 2003? anyway, it was for Grant's birthday, so one May shall suffice.

i recall it being a most excellent night, which much banter, ale and singing of songs. well, the songs were on the bus on the way home. before that, there was the small matter of me being ordained as The Bishop.

i believe i was drawn to the outfit of The Bishop due to the sketch called, erm, The Bishop on one episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. why that one has always appealed to me i know not, as it is not really all that funny, but it stuck in my head somewhat!

if i recall correctly, my Bishop duties for the evening had little to do with administering any sermons or guidance and everything to do with being in charge of the salt and dispensing bathroom permission to all who requested it. for a fee, of course.

alas, no pictures of Grant it would seem (he was either behind the camera or, most likely, off seeking out medieval sheep), but here's one of the brothers and sister, namely your humble narrator, Gillian and Richard.

i have no idea who Gillian or Richard were supposed to be as such, if pushed i would however guess that Gillian was some sort of princess whereas Richard was either meant to be The Black Knight (with arms and legs) out of Monty Python And The Holy Grail, or he was trying to be the dude out of The Sword And The Sorcerer.

and what's a Bishop without a fine maiden or damsel at his arm? nothing at all, so it was just as well that i had a fair and fine, if somewhat fiery, maiden by my side.

why on earth this fair, fine and fiery maiden settled for your humble bishop of a narrator (or narrator of a bishop) is beyond me, but all in all i am rather glad that she did.

now that i think about it, on the bus back i am sure Richard, Gillian and i belted out some classics from our youth, which would probably mean some Mental as Anything tunes. and i believe there was one song of a love that dare not speak its name, although it did feature a duck (for rhyming purposes) and Grant.

fare thee well, or thy shall taste my blade...............

0642 Posse In Effect

i knew there were some more pictures around, here is one of them!

from left, half of Jai, John O'Boyle ("Boyley"), Jason Malcom, your humble narrator, Biff, Michael Llewellyn, a glimpse of Saggie.

0642 used to be the dialling code for us "old school" Boro lads. they changed it to 01642 for some reason, and the world was never quite the same again.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

future legends

hey everyone

i was digging through some discs for old files, and found two pictures from a decade ago. i could find neither sense nor reason in not posting them here, not that i particularly looked for either factor, really.

first up is a picture of your humble narrator, taking his first steps inside the Riverside, home of Middlesbrough.

this must mean that the picture was taken in 1997, and was snapped by Uncle Trevor. Middlesbrough, being the warm and friendly home that i remember, were having none of me flying seven thousand miles to see this new ground; there were no official tours or anything scheduled, so i was not allowed to look around. happily some builders were in, so i could sneak in and look upon my new field of dreams.

it is seldom and rare that i like to see images of me, but this one i really like, even though it stems from my pre-beard days. i had no idea it was being taken, which helps, and it features my long gone beloved coat. it had served me well on several journeys, escapades and adventures, that coat had.

next is an image from 1998, from Rohan Smith's wedding. Jill be the name of the bride. there are more pictures somewhere, but this is the only one that was on the disc.

from the left, we have Jai, Jason Malcolm, your humble narrator, Biff (it was only at the wedding, after knowing him for several years, that i learnt of his real name - which i am not going to reveal here), Michael Llewellyn, Saggie and the groom himself, Rohan Smith.

of the lot of them, i am only in contact with the infamous Mr Llewellyn these days. this is something of a shame, but i guess we all move our own ways eventually.

the wedding was in picturesque Felixstowe and my, the stories i could tell you of that weekend. if you take many pints of fine bitter as the foundation of the stories, they involve the Orwell Hotel, the night porters of the Orwell Hotel, a nightclub which housed women of questionable morales yet with outstanding features (two in particular), confusing a taxi with the mother of the bride, a party from Wales, the traditional Welsh whiskey of the party from Wales, a concerned chambermaid, many headache tablets and being propped up in a shower, the dazed and confused experience of being presented with a Church magazine with Arnie as The Terminator on the cover, being voted as a participant in one of the best fights ever at Nunthorpe School (not that there's much clever about that, and from that day onwards myself and the other participant, David Teasdale, became respected friends of sorts),and finally Michael Llewellyn offering to do all sorts of unspeakable things to one of the groom's brothers, Matthew Smith, if he did not down 5 tots of vodka.

it is rather tempting to go into further details of the above, but i dare say, as and when i find a cure for being lazy about it, they shall all feature in a book or something i may very well write. all that and i didn't even include the best line from the weekend; "we don't do chip butties. but, what i can do for you is butter a roll and put some chips in it for you.".

there are, as i think i said, certainly more pictures from the wedding, although none of the actual wedding (ref chambermaid/headache tablets / shower propping combination and Church magazine incident) and mostly featuring all and sundry making certain hand gestures. why my camera should be the one that all choose to make gestures towards is beyond me, if i ever dig out the pictures of the last day at Nunthorpe School, well, all one would see is a finger festival, really.

i am not at all sure who would have an interest in this, but if you were "there", so to speak, or this all in some way amused you, nice one!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

another poster for The Dark Knight


enough already, just release the film will you!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Classic Album : The Queen Is Dead

is there enough space on the interwebnet thingie, i wonder, for yet more to be written about the album The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths? this whole "internet" thing, despite rumours and stories to the contrary, was probably devised by people tired of sending tales of this album to mere national magazines, looking instead to broadcast the brilliance of it to a much wider audience. just in case there is space for one more article on it, though, let's go for a walk where it's quiet and dark, and talk about precious things........

released in 1986 (some 7 or so months after intended), The Queen Is Dead is the third of four "official" Smiths studio albums, coming after the self-titled debut and Meat Is Murder, the latter of which "gave choice" to the world, in the words of the Manic Street Preachers. as many see The Queen Is Dead as the masterpiece of the band, an equal amount see Strangeways, Here We Come as their greatest work. to be honest, i find it impossible to pick between the two, but as i now have Queen on vinyl, that's the one under discussion here.

the album gathered some notoriety at the time, thanks in large to the British Royal Family being rather popular in the 80s, and not the farcical soap opera that they turned into from the early 90s onwards. as i recall, Morrissey was allowed to hold up a sign proclaiming "The Queen Is Dead" once on tour, after which he was forced to replace it with a sign requesting "two pints of lager and a packet of crisps", a sign that inspired the name of a tv show some years later. whilst not a noted Royalist, Morrissey was not an open Revolutionary either, and has always maintained an ambiguous stance on exactly which 'Queen' was dead. there's no overt reference to Elizabeth II as such, but then again we do get the wonderfully wicked lines concerning if Charles ever craved to appear in his mothers' bridal veil. draw your own conclusions!

since we are on the subject of lyrics, let's have a look at them on this album. they certainly rank along anything else that could be held up to personify the genius of Morrissey. his greatest efforts with The Smiths did, for some reason, tend to fall on single only tracks, such as How Soon Is Now?. but then again, there's no knocking the words on The Queen Is Dead.

this is the album, after all, which contains There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. this is the one that features being hit by ten tonne trucks or a double decker bus, and dying by your side. for some reason it is these words that divides the world into Smiths believers and Smiths deniers. why this of all their words became a flashpoint i have no idea, but for me it is just classic Smiths humour.

and funny it is, by the way. The Smiths tend to be seen as depressing by people who are too lazy to listen properly; if they did they would soon pick up on the dark wit which lurks in this and all their records. the humour is at its darkest in Bigmouth Strikes Again, a rally against domestic violence in specific and bullies in general, and at its funniest in Vicar In A Tutu, where the protagonist is "minding their own business" whilst stealing lead from a church roof. finally, i dare say that the last track, Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others, speaks for itself in regards of this.

not that it is a comedy album, don't get me wrong. Morrissey is infamous for lashing out at people in songs (in later years, Sorrow Will Come In The End was removed from the UK release of Morrissey's Maladjusted album as it was deemed to be legally threatening to the ex-drummer of The Smiths), and this is there in abundance in the attack on The Smiths' record label in Frankly Mr Shankly, as well as a nice go at the critics in the deliberately incorrectly spelled Cemetry Gates.

the words of The Queen Is Dead are something you either get or you don't. wherever you fall within that broad spectrum tends to lead you to deciding if this is their greatest work in your eyes or not, i suppose. what one cannot really argue with is the music on the album. the band are at their devastating best right across the whole album, there is no space for slumming it instrumental work here. from the opening track all the way through, you are fortunate enough to hear music created by musicians on the same wavelength, something that the world did not to get to hear again until The Stone Roses unleashed their debut a few years later. an unsubtle and unapologetic blend of classical, rock, punk, ska and pop music are laced through each and every track; it really has to be heard rather than read about, dear reader.

i will say this, though - when "the drummer and the bassist" out of The Smiths took Morrissey and Marr to court for more royalties, it is this album above all others that they probably used to say yes, our percussion work really did make the music better and perhaps should have given them as equal a share of the cake as lyricist Morrissey and composer Marr. that probably won't go down at all well with the bitter Morrissey or the slightly less bitter Marr should they read it, but my ears do not deceive me, lads.

on the note of lads, it is The Queen Is Dead album inner cover which gave unto the world the iconic image of them apparently stood outside Salford Lads Club in Manchester. when most people think of The Smiths, they either think of this image, or that one of Morrissey waving daffodils around on TV (something that he only did once, and yet the image lingers). the history of this image is fascinating. Salford Lads Club were rather unhappy about it, as none of the band had ever been members and they were concerned that it gave the impression that they were. the picture was taken under quick circumstances - the lads all hoped out of a car, stood their for 30 or so seconds to be snapped, and then got back into the car. why this location? well, one suspects it has little to do with the Salford Lads Club at all, the more observant of you will note that it can be no accident that Morrissey called for them to be pictured near one of Manchester's most famous roads. just have a close look at the barely visible street name!

whether or not it is the greatest album by The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead is one of the greatest albums of all time. it is forty minutes of classic music, and belongs on the shelf of any serious, passionate music lover. they say that this album can turn anyone into a Smiths fan immediately, so if you are not, why not give it a whirl? both amazon and hmv have it at pretty much the same price as each other, if you need to find a copy. legally.

the Queen is Dead, boys, but it doesn't have to be quite so lonely on a limb.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Batman Phone!!

i probably buy far too many things for James, but there you go. they are seldom a waste and are often both fun and help him develop; not that i am trying to justify anything as i have no particular need to do so.

one of the most class things i have found of late is a rather ace Batman telephone book. i couldn't find any reviews on the interwebnet for it, so took a calculated gamble that a picture of Batman & Robin alone would make the lad happy. as it turns out, the whole thing is a winner!!

the basics of the book is that it contains a story of Batman & Robin on the case of the Riddler, who has taken some diamonds that don't really belong to him. at the bottom of every page there is a three digit number. when you dial that number on the phone provided, you get a call from either Batman, Robin or The Riddler giving you an update on where they are and what they are doing.

since there are no reviews on the net, here is one then i guess! although it is rather limited (ten messages are soon heard), it has proved to be great fun for James, and it is helping him learn numbers. plus, he makes up his own stories as he goes along with the book. i am no expert, but the 2 - 5 year old range would be the best audience for this. ahem, 35 year old handsome blog writers are rather partial to it too!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

James Finds Nemo!!!

hey everyone

well, to quote a somewhat famous writer, it was the best of times; it was the worst of times. a rather up and down week, quite frankly. on the down side, well, verk, to quote a still living writer of note, is a four letter word at the moment, and is absolutely vile to quote him further. on top of that, Michele has not been at all well either.

but hey, there's always something there that's better, and indeed there is. my thanks again to Steve and all at Chilli Vinyl for some more ace finds, notably The Queen Is Dead and Misplaced Childhood.

and James, of course, is always a joy in our world. he's had a particularly happy week of sorts, as he has had a good week at school, helped Mummy and Daddy cook, and of course got the new toy and present along the way. best of those is a rather ace Batman telephone book, but i will try and put more of that up later.

first prize to Grandma and Grandad, mind, for a rather astute and indeed wise purchase this last week. at long last, after something of over a year of hunting, James has been able to find the erstwhile Nemo!!

i think the look on his face says it all, really! we have toyed with the idea of getting him a fish tank, and indeed have seen this one around before, but we have two things at home that preclude this being possible - two cats, to be exact.

oh well, Grandmas and Grandads are for things like this, and James it would appear had a rather good afternoon pointing out all the fish!

this does look like a rather splendid device, especially as it has Nemo (or possibly Marlin, although Grandma calls him Marlon) in it, and the video they sent suggests that they are animated too!

we will no doubt be getting James, or rather be letting James, keep a fish tank or some sort of pet/s of his own choice one day. however, we think that it might be prudent, if not outright wise, to await the day that he can help look after the pet/s too. he is getting there, when it comes to the time to feed the cats, he points at the bowls and their food with an expert level of precision. as and when he can put the two together, we shall be in business.

oh well, not much to add on this post!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

your humble narrator

as a big criticism of sites like this one, in particular from the great magazine Private Eye, is that they tend to descend into being "me me me", i would usually be reluctant to put a post like this up.

however, for some inexplicable reason, Michele was rather enamoured with the idea of taking some pictures of me during the course of the day today. needless to say, i took it as a given that i should try and "jazz it up" for the camera, so here's the best of the pics!!

the mind boggles as to what it is i am trying to portray in these pictures of me in deep thought about something or other. oh well, hopefully they will give one and all a laugh or smile at my expense, much like the infamous "mohican" haircut pictures lurking on this site somewhere!

my "bingo" or "eurkea" pose needs some work, does it not??

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ducky the, erm, Chicken

hey everyone

well, with today being Mother's Day, James picked out some very nice presents for Mummy, as well as a card with flowers on it, as "Mummy likes nice flowers".

what James didn't know was that i had an extra special present for Mummy lined up, and so whisked James and Mummy off this morning in secrecy to see what it was.

what was it? well, the finished article is in the box i am holding here....

that doesn't help much, does it? i took James and Michele off to a magnificent place called Build A Bear, where one selects a teddy bear or other animal and makes and dresses it! i thought (hoped!) that James would enjoy doing it, and, well, that turned out to be the case!!

of all the different teddy bears and other animals one could select, what did James choose? this should not be too tricky to work out from the title of this post, but here you go....

hello Ducky the Chicken!! well, James thought that it was a duck, and has only recently admitted that it is in fact a chicken!! his name is still Ducky, so i guess James has decided that he/she/it can have the best of both worlds, really!!

how one makes their choices and then creates the teddy at Build A Bear is magnificent and wonderful. now, i could tell you all about it, but why would i wish to go and spoil the fun and surprise for any of you reading this and wanting to go and try it for yourself?

what i can declare with certainty, though, is that this concept is a winner! see for yourselves!!!!

James and Mummy both love Ducky to bits!!!

be quacking/clucking excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, Mother's Day

hey everyone

quite some time ago, a time which if it were not for my memory would feel as if it were another life, an "experimental" type at college read my palm for me. amongst other things, she told me that i would have two great loves in my life. if we take it as a given that neither of the two would be Elvis, KFC, Marlboro, Derek "David" Bowie or any other curiosity that has wandered through my life, and we further assume that the experimental palm reader all those years ago had some semblance of ability and truth, then here they are....

i would like to think that there is space for more than two in my life, honestly. i know for a fact that James has just about enough love for everyone and everything in his world, except of course eating dinner when he is supposed to. today, being Mother's Day, meant that James got gifts for Mummy that showed her how much she loved him (more on that later), and of course it meant that he went to see Grandma, not only to wish her a happy Mother's Day, but also to give her lots of luvvies.....

Father's Day is still a little while off yet, but i could not but help get in on the pictures!!

and where was Grandad???? well, he had some top level gardening project on the go. he did have James helping him out, but only until such a time as James decided it was time to pose for pictures and have a whirl at this luvvies business!

i trust that wherever you are in the world, for i know that not each and every land commemorates Mother's Day today, you all had a most excellent Sunday!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!


sorry, i really couldn't decide on a succinct or beautiful enough title for this post other than our dear son's name!

for some reason, and i suspect it is to do with the love he has of watching himself in the home videos we have made to send around the world of late, James has taken quite a shine to posing for pictures. this is no bad thing, as usually i have to take 50 - 60 to get the one good image that features on this site!!

here are but a suggestion of the wonderful images we took today. the first is interesting - Grandad was expecting James to be helping him in the garden this morning, but as soon as the camera came out, that was that!!

as for this picture, well, this shows, along with everything else, why we love James heart and soul; who can resist these eyes?

and just get a look at this pose!!

talk about the little stylish dapper poser!! i am sure there are many hearts melting out there as they see this, not just his Mum & Dad!!

we have said it before; we shall say it again - no idea what we did that made it be that we should be parents to such a wonderful little boy, but we are glad that we did it!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Class Frog Glasses

hey everyone

well, KFC have an interesting promo going on at the moment with their self-styled Chicky Meal for kids. they appear to be offering disguises for just about any animal you like, really! cynics will no doubt get all over excited about the apparent lack of a chicken outfit, but who cares? these frog glasses look rather ace, especially when worn by James!

in fact, they are so smart, even i look not at all half bad wearing them!!

anyway, there are a stack of smart pictures from today that i want to try and load here, so i will leave the frog glasses to very much speak for themselves, if not of themselves!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 09, 2008

contraband - pictures from New Zealand

well, go figure. after my report on how photography is for some reason banned in New Zealand, Gillian has managed to smuggle some out! well, it is either that or i was wrong about the ban and i have just prodded her into action, but this is unlikely as i am seldom (if ever) wrong, in my opinion.

here's Daniel and Katie looking rather happy with all in the universe! this, of course, is something wonderful to see!

dear me, Daniel is just under a month away from being one year old!! with some luck we shall get to meet him before he gets too much older (as if he or anyone else could get all that much younger, i suppose); you never know, there is an absolutely massive lotto draw here this week. erm, "seldom wrong" would translate as "always" in picking numbers for it on my side, i guess!!!

ahem, back on topic, here's the intrepid Daniel catching a ride with Katie as she drives some sort of car thing, presumably, looking at the background, to another part of the house??

Daniel looks a bit confused or concerned by Katie driving, but he really should not, so long as Katie takes after her mother when it comes to driving. Gillian's rather good at controlling these combustion engine driven perambulators (cars), and to illustrate such she did pass her driving test at the first time of asking. Richard failed it the 1st time. i failed it the 1st time. and 2nd. and 3rd. and, well, no, i am not writing any more about that.

anyway, thank you very much indeed, Gillian, for sending some pictures over! it is rather brave of you to do so, under the circumstances i suggested! now then, would it be pushing my luck to ask for a few new ones of Grant amongst the sheep, or do you prefer not to take pictures whilst he is out "doing his thing", as it were?

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Zealand Camera Ban!!!

in some rather disturbing news, it would appear that the fine nation of New Zealand has recently implemented a unilateral ban on all cameras and photographic devices, be they intended to capture still or moving images, or a combination thereof.

this must indeed be the case. considering the complaints issued by Gillian and Grant about me not featuring Katie and Daniel on this site, the only reason that they would not be sending me pics to update here is because of such a ban. no?

well, it is either that or Grant has just got fed up with me posting images of him in perpetual conjunction with sheep............

The Dark Knight : oh, go on then....

i don't recall adding these pics of The Dark Knight here before, so, erm, here they are then!

the release date, thankfully, is now not all that far off. assuming that the rest of us who are not in America also get to see it in July. nice one!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Boycott Brideshead 08!!

well, i was dubious about this new (ahem) "abridged" film version of Brideshead Revisted to begin with. i was trying to reserve judgement until the film was out, but i, perhaps unwisely, downloaded the trailer for it to get a glimpse of what they have done. oh dear.

basically, the trailer presents the film as some sort of early 20th Century variant of Desperate Housewives. now, i am not knocking this TV show and appreciate the large audience it has. i am, however, stating as clearly as possible that there is neither reason, sense nor grounds to go and mess about with one of the finest works of literature ever produced until it is churned out as some sort of artistic, "arty" version of an American soap opera.

the trailer really is rather depressing viewing. it is almost as if the makers have no idea of the gem of a story that they have on their hands, and thus just plunder every intrigue-inspiring byline they have in store and slam in buzzwords to try and get people curious enough to see it. this is a rather bad sign. if they had somehow managed to get a film version of Brideshead Revisited done properly, then i assure you there would be an automatic and large audience for it. if they are using tricks to catch an audience unaware of the magnificent novel or elegant television audience, then they are more or less resigned to the fact that they are going to miss the intended audience.

what the trailer reveals of the film is also enough to make you wince. in the space of two minutes of assembled footage, there is enough evidence to conclude that they have willfully toyed with the themes and plot to create something that serves only the demands of a two hour rotation time at cinemas. i would not wish to spoil anyone's enjoyment of a proper version of Brideshead, but in the basis of the trailer, this is the film industry's biggest misinterpretation of a novel to screen since the disaster that was Bonfire Of The Vanities.

if you have any sort of passion for reading you will no doubt have read Evelyn Waugh's fine novel already. if not, i urge you to rather obtain a copy of the novel and read it instead of seeing this new "interpretation" of it. a very close second to this would be to watch the television adaptation. as usual, i am not in the business of promoting any particular site on the interwebnet, but amazon currently have this at the best available price - they have the box set of the series for less than half of the cost of anywhere else.

this, ladies and gentlemen, is the only adaptation of Brideshead Revisited that should exist in either this or any other world :

it is perfect and cannot be surpassed, no matter how big a screen you put something else on or how many dolby sound tricks you try to use. end of story.