Monday, 28 August 2017

Au Jardin De Chez Nous

I sit in our garden typing and looking up to be transfixed by the parabola of the water sprinkler as it feeds what I have to concede is the rather nice planting. I can take no credit for the scheme, concocted as it was by the designer under instruction of the Groupie. My contribution is limited to destructive tasks (horticulturalists deem it pruning) and the cutting of the lawn. Still it is a nice place to be. I have a glass of chilled water to hand and, bad form I know, also a glass of cold red wine. This, of course, is one my rare social faux pas. The red in question is Porta 6, Vinho Regional Lisboa. Great label.

Summer will subside into Autumn, this mixed season perhaps my favourite time of year. Rugby will be back and over the long horizon comes Christmas, which, now I think about it, is also perhaps my favourite time of year. Actually, I like people better at Christmas and I like the weather as it is now.Then again, I love long sunlit June evenings and my best rugby was played in the mud of the new year. I shouldn't have started down this line, but I'm not deleting it.

We've watched another good film, in fact very good - Nocturnal Animals. A story within a story, the second layer of the confection bearing tones of Cormac McCarthy. That's very much a compliment in case you're wondering. The ever reliable Amy Adams and Jake Gylllenhaal star and this is a nicely creepy psycho-thriller, albeit I was not entirely convinced by the enigmatic ending - couldn't think of a better one mind. 7.5/10.

I'll tell you what's funny: That Theresa May that's what; that Donald Trump that's what. Satire. I'm here all week.

Monday, 21 August 2017

It's Just a Matter Of Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other

That's all there is to running, so I keep telling myself. Oh and you also have to pray (perhaps that's a bit strong - fervently hope then) that the bloody calf muscles hold up. And as you know the new orthotic insoles seem to be doing a job on the bloody calf muscles. So even on  a dank Monday morning after a dissolute weekend I was up to putting one foot in front of the other. Three miles of distance run. And it has the desired effect. Endorphins a-go-go.

But none of this improves, except on a very local level, the world at large. I heard that bloody Theresa May this morning giving forth on the enforced silencing of Big Ben (the tower needs refurbishing) - well quelle surprise, she even sounds ineffectual on that matter. Mind you, a good thing coming out of the confected silly season rage about that topic, is that John Bercow seems to be in the critical firing line. We don't like him - we've met him.

I have another film of merit to report: Disney Pixar's Inside Out. Honestly it is really sweet (not sure I've ever used that phrase before - too saccharine for the house style?) and one heart grabbing moment had Daughters Numbered One and Two (aka the Two Man Idiot Show - back in Brum for the weekend) reaching for the tissues. 8/10.

So often we come to good television late and courtesy of Netflix - thus with the bleak medical comedy Getting On. This is very dark stuff but with just enough human edge. Particularly brilliant is the jargon-fluent male Matron, Hilary Loftus played by Ricky Grover. If you haven't encountered one of his species, that is to say the over-promoted and clinically useless, then you are very lucky and have probably never worked in the health sector. If you don't laugh you have nowhere to go but to weep. Co-scripted by Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine and Joanna Scanlan (all of whom are integral to the ensemble piece) this is one to track down if you managed to miss it on the first pass. 

Friday, 18 August 2017

Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

Not a plaintive cry for absent bin-men, but the title of the Coen brothers' film. In any case the much maligned bin-men have now made their first appearance of the month and the streets of Four Oaks are smelling a little sweeter - honestly, I could smell the refuse when out running.

Oh Brother Where Art Thou? Let no one tell you that Fargo is not one of that small coterie of genuinely great movies. From the same auteurs we get Oh Brother, and no it's not as good but that is hardly the point. It is still better than most run of the mill cinema. The credits claim inspiration from Homer's Odyssey - this is stretching it a tad, but adds to the fun. What we do have is a sequence of gently comic episodes tellingly shot and acted. It made me smile - and the bluegrass music is good. 7/10. 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

You Can't Always Get What You Want

What I want and what I haven't yet been able to obtain is a copy of the article Presentism and Anachronism: the Case of Titus Andronicus. You  will, I am sure, understand my eagerness to read this page-turner. I'll get there eventually and will share the juicy bits with you. That should keep you logging on.

What I would also like is to have been a better athlete. Still I did manage a three miler today to add to yesterday's hilly four. This gives me a feeling of remarkable well-being. One method I have adopted to keep my sad old legs moving is to detour through a pub car park - the smell of food cooking is a great incentive. Do you think Mo Farah trains that way?

Monday, 14 August 2017

Admirable Stategy

Our bins haven't been emptied for three weeks now, courtesy of the industrial action ('strike' in good old fashioned parlance) by the City's binmen. But here's the clever part: they're only partially on strike; they down tools for an hour at a time but still take up their various entitlements to breaks etc. So they're still picking up a wage whilst managing to cause absolute havoc. As a strategy you have to admire it - it's pretty much flawless when ranged against the insubstantial intellectual might of a Labour controlled administration. Me? I relay my rubbish direct to the dump when taking the grass cuttings - the price of having a nice lawn (which thanks to the good people at Top Grass I now have) is that it needs to be cut weekly. It grows like Topsy and not a weed in sight.

you can't get me I'm part of the union
I have been listening to the Strawbs - who knew they were so good? Not I certainly but I have to confess that the more I try, the less I seem to know. Tempus will keep on bloody fugiting. Mind you I strode (alright shuffled) four miles on the hills of Four Oaks this afternoon. Mens sana in corpore sano and all that jazz. My expensive orthotic insoles (touch wood) have done the trick. What I need now is an expensive product that will magically prevent me from being unutterably shit at golf.

Ooh, forgot to tell you - Bridgnorth Golf Club - nice but OG not up to the job. Trounced by my little brother.   

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Donald Trump's Hair

I'm fascinated by Trump's hair. Try out this rather good article on the semiotics of the Trump mane - We shall overcomb

The irony should not be lost that this article appeared in a 'newspaper' that no longer appears in print. The post truth era is with us.

Things Ain't What They Used To Be

But what the hell, let's get on with it.

It is hardly a novel observation that the pair of wankers currently rattling nuclear sabres at one another have the very worst hair ever seen on a public stage. Nevertheless it is worth saying and I congratulate whoever produced the photoshop that transposes the two coiffures. Funny.

What has been cheering me up in these dire times? A few things actually. I have been running without triggering my calf injuries. Which is nice. We are enjoying the subtitled Spanish thriller Se Quien Eres (I know Who You Are) on BBC 4. Which is nice. I saw a cracking Titus Andronicus at the RSC this week. Bloody but not unfunny. Which is nice. We really enjoyed Brooklyn - a beautiful piece of cinema. 8/10. Which is nice. The garden looks good. Which is nice.

So keep on keeping on.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Ennui 2017

More precisely a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction. More bluntly - 2107, WTF?

Those of you paying attention (and I accept that there aren't hordes of you, but enough to constitute a gathering) will notice that I have been blogging only fitfully. Que causa (you see what I've done there - that's the second bit of foreign lingo I have gratuitously lobbed at you)? Well, I'm actually in quite good spirits so far as my own situation is concerned but boring you with gloating about what a lucky boy I am would be an abuse of this self-built platform. Mind since you ask: the Groupie is very well and building work at the country seat proceeds excitingly.

Life's compensations
No, what it is, I just have the feeling of the world going ingloriously down the shitter. The man who ought to be the leader of the free world is a boastful ignoramus - such small credit as he might be due for some anti-statist sentiments is more than negated by his unbelievable crassness. The woman who ought to be the leader of the free British (and I don't mean the Queen) is plain and simple not up to the job. Jeremy Corbyn is, well, Jeremy Corbyn - trust me on this, the man has the intellectual acuity of a plank.

But worse than that - what the bloody hell has happened to the top order batting of the England test team. This afternoon Joe Root has made a fifty in his tenth consecutive match for England. Only two of the fifties have been converted to centuries. He's a a terrific player but, I'm sorry, that pattern doesn't win tests consistently. Just as pop will eat itself, so the inelegant monster of Twenty20 will, if we are not very careful, devour proper cricket. Just look at the mess that is the former glory of West Indies cricket.

Hey, ho, this is a nice rioja.