Breaking Good. Not Breaking Bad.


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Time of the Month


Had enough of Calender Girls ? Sexy Vatican Priest Calenders ? Kent Fire Brigade’s hunks, spread across each month, in various stages of undress ? Me too. For some reason, I took several wrong turnings in life and never became a producer of calenders showing dogs/babies/naked women/Cliff Richard* (delete where applicable). Walk down any high street or through any shopping mall and there is always a calender shop or stall doing a roaring trade.

Back in the day when newspapers paid me a goodly wage to find interesting things to stick in the linen, if I’d happen upon the latest illustrated offering from a rugby team, the women’s guild (including the Goole & District Catholic River Wideners’ Club) the Back Bench would love it and the sexiest photos would doubtless be included in the paper the following morning. Sighs all round. After the 138th of these you begin to get a tad jaded.

However, news reaches me of this one from our friends in Germany, and a bloody good one it is too. Now, as we all know, no-one enjoys a good laugh more than the Germans, and as if to prove it a retirement home in Essen has put together a calender showing inmates residents re-enacting scenes from famous movies. Now how much fun is that ? I tried to get in on the shoot and pose myself, but I was told that a) I am too grumpy to pass as a German; and b) I look too old for this publication (I can’t write calender any more. Apart from just then).

Gershcmittenhemmenzvitz !

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“I don’t expect you to talk, Mr Bond, I expect you to …er…sorry”

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“Can we stop for a pee at the next gas station please ? Again.”

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“Saturday Afternoon Nap”

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“Cor! missus. Those support tights are doing overtime”

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“What did I come up here for ?”

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“I’m afraid Black Forest Gateau always gives me wind”

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“I’ve decided against sketching you naked”

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“It’s 106 miles to Essen, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, we’re wearing sunglasses and I will need a pee before we leave.”

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“Some Like it Fat” (rejected)

Announcing the Losers in Reverse Order


WARNING: NO SPOILER ALERT

For the first time in a while I seem to have seen a few of the movies which all the fuss is about. As you know, I have never been one to fully embrace the full movie “experience” (see And The Winner Isn’t (Original Screenplay)) so it’s usually been the case of waiting til it comes out on DVD or Virgin (and no, I don’t have NETFLIX) before I get to see what everyone else has seen before me (which usually means I know the storyline. I haven’t yet seen Skyfall , for example, but thanks to those around me, I already know the surprises and twists and unexpected deaths).

This year,however, things are a little different. I have managed to see American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave. I will be seeing very soon Wolf of Wall Street, and there is this bloke who knows a bloke who knows a bloke who can get me a copy of Texas Buyers Club, Nabraska and Captain Phillips, should I fancy them and don’t mind breaking the law (heaven forfend). All this means that I will have the opportunity to see the bulk of the Oscar-nominated movies before the ceremony actually begins (not that I’m ever likely to see the ceremony, unless I pay Messrs Branson & Murdoch a lot of money. Which I won’t ever again).

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So without giving away the plot to anyone who hasn’t see any of the above, I shall give you my considered and informed opinion and verdict on Hustle, Gravity and Slave.

They’re ok.

Gravity is a bit of fun and effects — but I hate 3D movies: all that playing with the glasses,  lifting them up & down while you’re sitting in the cinema puts me off the plot. Fortunately there’s not much of one to be put off. Clooney is charming, Bullock acts well again and er…that’s it.

Hustle is a masterclass of period detail. Well done the wardrobe dept. The girls play their parts well. erm….

Slave is 2 hrs 14 minutes of wanting something rather good to stop. (a bit like watching Charlton Athletic, without the ‘rather good’ bit). The 3 main, nominated actors are very good indeed. But…

You see…maybe I’m getting old and stuck in my ways (“No! NO! surely not!” I don’t hear you cry) but Gravity doesn’t have the feeling of epicness which 2001, Apollo 13, Moon, Silent Running or even Star Wars had/has. Hustle is a great study of the 70s, but no better than Boogie Nights, and certainly no Carlito’s Way. And Slave is a very worthy and sad movie, with a tale that needs to be told, and watched. But Schindler’ List it ain’t.

There is a movie called Prisoners, which is a rather under-stated thriller(nominated for Roger Deakins‘ photography) that is worth a look, but it’s not making many headlines, sadly.

So there you have it: Some good films indeed, just not great films. Nothing with the impact of watching the first 28 minutes of Saving Private Ryan, seeing The Godfather for the first time (or the tenth time), no The Right Stuff or even a Milk.

So by way of a trip down memory lane, when the movies really did seem to live with you long after you left the cinema (I’ve already forgotten the plot to American Hustle) and as an excuse to show some pretty cool snaps from behind the scenes (decent movie or not), have a little browse thru this lot.

They’ll have you screaming for the return of Blockbuster Video.

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The Birds. “What’s my motivation for this ?”

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The Godfather.”I reckon this is gonna be worth one sequel, at the very most”

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Apocalypse Now. “I Hate the taste of Pepsi in the Morning”

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Planet of the Apes “Put your stinking cigarette out, you damn dirty ape! Want to buy a gun?”

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Frankenstein. “I’ve created a breakfast”

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Jaws. “We’re Gonna Need some Bigger Shorts”

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The Shining. Heeeere’s Stanley

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Psycho. “Don’t worry, my boy. After this role, the job offers will just fly in”

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2001: A Space Odyssey. “Well I don’t get the oberlisk. Do you get the oberlisk? I don’t get the oberlisk”

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Wotcha Dave


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Boycie, Trigger and Del Boy in the Nags Head.

Only Fools & Horses’ Trigger, RIP, and some of his best lines:

Discussing the name of Del and Raquel’s unborn child:
Trigger: “If it’s a girl they’re calling her Sigourney after an actress, and if it’s a boy they’re naming him Rodney after Dave.”

In the Nag’s Head pub:
Mike: “I’ve had certificates for my beer.”
Trigger: “Yeah, I’ve had a few days off work with it as well.”

Trigg, the road-sweeper discussing his trusty broom:
Trigger: “And that’s what I’ve done. Maintained it for 20 years. This old broom’s had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in its time.”
Sid: “How the hell can it be the same bloody broom then?”
Trigger: “There’s the picture. What more proof do you need?”

At a school reunion:
Del Boy: “We had Denzil in goal, we had Monkey Harris at left-back, we had… camaraderie.”
Trigger: “Was that the Italian boy?”

After Rodney warns against eating beef:
Trigger: “I don’t know what you’re worried about. I’ve been eating British beef all my life.”

About his father:
Trigger: “He died a couple of years before I was born.”

Arriving at the council tip to find it closed:
Del Boy: “You said it was open 24 hours a day.”
Trigger: “Yeah, but not at night.”

As collated by BBC Online today

Greaves’ Rules: It’s Your Round Again, Mate


This’ll be the third or fourth time I have posted this, but you can’t get too much of a good thing. This follows many requests from friends and drinking buddies alike to republish these rules (and they are RULES, not suggestions), and after observing from afar some truly shocking antics of the recent crop of Beliebers, Directioners and Whovians (I’m a Whothefvckcaresvian), who have reached their 18th birthday, somehow are allowed into my pubs, and who now seem intent on making my quiet drinking time a nightmare.

I suspect my first heart attack will arrive as I’m queuing (yes, I’m British) behind 7 Coiffured Dwarfs, fiddling through their man-purses while they individually ask for a WKD and pay for one with 20 pence pieces; or if the pub does Vodka Shots or bottles of Pomegranate and Strawberry Cider ?  “You do ? Excellent! one please. How much is that ? CAN OF YOU GUYS LEND ME 38 PENCE PLEASE ?”

Back in the day when the great Bill Greaves — Friend, Ale Expert, Pub Aficionado, Journalist and Right-Hand opening Bat — composed the following, life was a lot simpler (we’re talking about the 1980s, not the 1880s, you understand). People (men, mostly) stood together, talked together, drank (beer) together and bought a round for each other. If you were 18 years old (or even 15) “this is your pint of Bitter, get that down you and it’s your round next!”. Fluorescence purple or lime green alcoholic drinks had, thankfully, not been invented yet.

Too poor to get your round in ? We’ll stand you a few this time, but make sure you bring some cash next week or you can sod off out of our company (it was only 40p a pint after all).

So for those of us who hark back to such happy times, and for those of you who are in desperate need of a lesson in pub etiquette, I give you (once again):

GREAVES’ RULES

1.When two or more enter the pub together, one – usually the first through the door – will begin proceedings with the words “Now then, what are we having?” He or she will then order and pay. This purchase is known as “the first round”.

2.This player, or “opener”, will remain “in the chair” while other friends or colleagues come through the door to join the round. He will remain in this benefactory role until either (a) his own glass sinks to beneath the half way mark or (b) another drinker finds himself almost bereft of his original refreshment and volunteers to “start a new round”.

3.In the absence of new arrivals, any player other than the opener may at any time inquire whether it is “the same again?” On receiving his instructions, he will then order and pay for “the second round”. (N.B. The second round is the last one to be specifically numbered. Beyond that point, nobody wishes to be reminded how many they have had and, anyway, no-one should be counting.)

“His Eminence” Greaves (right, in jacket) with the late, great Preston

“His Eminence” Greaves (right, in jacket) with the late, great Preston

4.The round acknowledges no discrimination. All players, regardless of sex, age or social status, are expected to “stand their corner”. (Pedants might like to note that we are talking here of the only “round” in the English language that also contains a “corner”.

5.Any new entrant, joining the session after its inception, is not expected to “buy himself in” but should be invited to join the round by whoever is in the chair (see Rule 2). If, however, he is greeted by silence he may either (a) buy a drink just for himself or (b) attempt to buy a round for all present. If (a) or, worse still, (b) is not acceptable to the congregation then the new entrant has been snubbed and should in future seek out more appreciative company. There is one important exception…

6.For reasons of haste or poverty, a new arrival may insist on buying his own with the words “Thanks, but I’m only popping in for one”. If he is then seen to buy more than three drinks, he will be deemed a skinflint, neither broke nor in a hurry to get home, and will be penalised for his duplicity by being ordered to buy the next round.

7.Although everyone in the group is normally required to buy at least one round before leaving, the advent of either drunkenness or closing time sometimes renders this ideal unattainable. In such circumstances, any non-paying participant will (a) have “got away with it” and (b) appoint himself “opener” at the next forgathering. However, any player who notices on arrival that the round has “got out of hand” and has no chance of reaching his turn before “the last bell”, may start a “breakaway round” by buying a drink for himself and all subsequent arrivals. This stratagem breaks the round in two, keeps the cost within manageable proportions and is the only acceptable alternative to Rule 5.

8.When a pressing engagement elsewhere precludes further involvement, it is wholly unacceptable for any player who has not yet been in the chair to buy a round in which he cannot himself be included. In such circumstances Rule 7 (a) and (b) therefore apply.

9.In the event of any one glass becoming empty, a new round must be called immediately. This should not necessarily be called by the owner of the empty glass, however, because this place the slower drinker at an unfair fund-saving advantage. (N.B. Whereas it is permissible for any member of the round to decrease the capacity of his individual order – “just a half for me, please” – the opposite does not hold good. A large whisky, for instance, may be offered by the chair but never demanded of it.)

10.Regional variations. In various parts of the country, a particular establishment will impose its own individual codicil. In one Yorkshire pub, for example, the landlord’s Jack Russell terrier expects to be included in every round. Where such amendments exist, and are properly advertised, they must be piously observed. We are, after all, talking about a religion.

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