Saturday, April 25, 2009


Today is the fifth birthday of this blog.  

I think I'm supposed to spout some vague platitudes about how blogging has changed my life in a positive way, improved my *career* and helped me make loads of new friends around the world so that we can all bask in the glow of positivity and smugness.

It would all sound a bit fakey though, as I hardly ever post these days.  Everything starts to lose its appeal after five bloody years, doesn't it?

In fact, I rarely comment on other blogs now and find that I forget to look on Bloglines for a few days at a time, which means a backlog of unread posts which ... puts me off participating even more, har har.

Still, it's not all been bad.  Remember the January 2006 blogmeet and the hilarious drinking game? Remember the bloggers' weekend at Camber Sands?  Remember the blogging fortnight camping in the Pyrenees?  Phew, that really was an emotional rollercoaster and a *journey* for so many of us.  It certainly made a man out of me.

One of my fondest blogging memories is the terse e-mail correspondence I had with an American woman who took offence to my description of Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues.  I said that he had a face that looked as if it had been carved out of Mount Rushmore: she said that he was so uncomfortably handsome that it would take anyone's breath away.

Occasionally I will look back at the pictures sent on her e-mails of Justin wearing a variety of denim shirts, sandy chest hair poking out and I'll think - when did the fun go out of blogging?

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Saturday, April 04, 2009


As an elder stateswoman of blogging, I've decided to do a three part overview of cinema, because I've lived for quite a long time now.  Hopefully, it'll offer up a stunning panoramic view of the tears, the ecstasy and - yes - the magic of fillum over the past century. Hopefully.

For starters, I have to admit that I don't go to the cinema anymore.  All modern films are aimed at the under eights.  They feature animated bugs in the main. One of the characters will have a growling loud adult voice and one of the other main characters will have a loud squeaky child's voice.  That's as much as I know about modern mainstream cinema.  

Multi screen cinemas have theatres in which children have free for alls, running around, shouting, talking into phones, having arguments, smoking crack and shooting each other.  There are no security guards to lamp them around the head and throw them out into the street, or whatever it is you do to discipline children nowadays.  It is therefore pointless for an adult to go to the cinema or, indeed, to leave the house.

However, years ago it was all ... so ... different and goooood.

Back in the 1980's you could go to an arts cinema.   I dunno, the Aston Triangle in Birmingham was a personal favourite of mine.  You could have taken in a couple of hours of subtitled bollocks you'd seen reviewed in the What's On listing magazine, then go to the cafe and have a slice of seed cake (with seeds hulled by a worker's co-operative of orphaned marmots), a cup of fennel tea (for fuck's sake, you may as well have drunk washing up liquid) and stared across the room at some bald/shaven headed bloke in an Oxfam coat, black polo neck and wire glasses who was no doubt regretting the fact that What's On wasn't as arty as London's Time Out ...

... and you'd STILL have change left from a florin!  Enough money to move on to that pub with all the pots and pans on the ceiling that the students used to hang in around the corner (The Sack Of Potatoes?  The Bucket Of Vom?  Can't quite remember).

Anyway, popular film plots at the time were these:

*  A dirty old man arrives at a farm in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason.  He manages to deflower the three nubile and giggly farmer's daughters, without the farmer knowing.  This has *slightly amusing* consequences.  Probably Spanish.

*  A shy, awkward young man has a turbulent inner life and skulks around in a succession of disgusting acrylic jumpers.  He seems to be trapped in his flat with his ageing auntie, fifty storeys from the ground in an East European concrete jungle where the sun never shines :(   He leers at women in their thirties who live in the flats opposite through his telescope.

Do any readers have fond - or unpleasant - memories of the cinema?  Does anyone remember the film that the picture above is taken from?  Isn't Mark Kermode's greying quiff really CREEPY?

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