Working from home, running one’s own highly successful clothing company gives one the access to the ample cash and leisure time necessary to be able to regularly treat the GLW to all the niceties of life and numerous nights out at the cinema to watch all this year’s Oscar-nominated movies in order to make up one’s own mind as to whose name should be revealed and the winners on the big night in Hollywood.
On the other hand, if you’re like me and you’ve got sod-all business coming your way, you can make use of any two-for one offers on seats at the local Pictures and stick them on the ever-loving IBS credit card (and no, that’s not a typo). Or some might, I suppose, take advantage to the local hookie DVD-producer and settle down with the Missus on the couch with a bottle of Sainsbury’s own-brand vodka, a carton of orange and a tube of Pringles in front of a film which every 17.5 minutes flashes up the watermark “NOT FOR PUBLIC VIEWING. FOR ACADEMY APPROVAL ONLY).
I couldn’t bear that.
So anyway, since we spoke on the subject last, we have managed to take in a few flicks, nominated or otherwise. First up came Sunshine on Leith, a musical treat set in The People’s Republic of Claledonia and based, loosely around the music of The Proclaimers. Nothing bad to say about this one: it has the raw feel of The Commitments, the fun of Billy Elliot, the wit & grace of Alex Salmond (just kidding— I know those don’t exist) and the sensational soundtrack of Craig & Charlie Reid. This brought back so many happy memories for me. Not of Edinburgh (sorry, Embra), you understand—though I have spent many a wonderful wobbly weekend up there— but more clearly of the afternoon eight of us sat in a room attempting to rid a pal of a nasty ganglion on his finger.
There are many different treatments available in the NHS for the rid of these little buggers, and they were all considered at length. However we opted for the ‘patient’s’ wrist being held down by one of our group while others in the party took it in turns to— and apologies if this gents a bit to scientific and technical for you guys— whack the cyst with a copy of a Collins Dictionary (not the travel edition) or any other heavy volume or implement we could lay our hands on. As an anaesthetic we chose Red Stripe, Gordon’s (Green) and Smirnoff Blue (a bottle of which at one stage doubled as a ganglion-whacking tool).
To take the
victi patient’s mind off of all this the record of choice was 500 Miles by The Proclaimers. It was played dozens and dozens and dozens of times, at full volume and right up to the cyst was treated/the police arrived/we all passed out (perm any 2 from 3).
The song is indelibly etched into my brain because of that afternoon and I cannot hear the song without recalling that particular afternoon. Unless I think of the time when a bunch of us went up to Shepherds Bush to a Proclaimers gig and, as the boys were singing 500 Miles, the bloke next to me was punching another geezer in the earhole, while a third was trying to insert a can of Tennents Lager into him. Carnage ensued.
My trip down Livvery Lane was re-awakened as we next viewed The Wolf of Wall Street the other evening. Martin Scorcese’s Gordon Gecko-meets-Goodfellas epic (a movie lasting 3 hours means at least 2 pee breaks for me nowadays). This is again a fun movie, but not fun in the way you’d want to take your auntie Enid to watch it (unless auntie Enid is into cocaine abuse, foul language and group, anal sex. I know mine is.) Leonardo Dicaprio is nominated (in my house anyway) for The Best Jack Nicholson Impression since Heath Ledger played the Joker in Batman Award, which is not a criticism, I just prefer Jack playing Jack and Leo play Leo.
The action is relentless, each scene filled with drunkenness, drug-taking orgies and the sort of behaviour that was banned from dealing rooms weeks ago. Many of the characters in the movie reminded me of my pals in the London markets whooping it up after a long hard slog in the City in the 1980s and 1990s. They worked hard and played hard. I was privileged to be invited along to many a booze-laced session of mayhem at some dive-bar or other in the square mile. They were generous to a fault and extremely welcoming, although unlike some of the players in this movie, none of those present in London ever offered to let me snort cocaine from their sphincter.
And so filled with warm, nostalgic,romantic glee, (as you know I always try to be), it was with some great anticipation that I settled down to watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. My parents were card-carrying members of the Dany Kaye Fan Club and I fondly remember several Sunday afternoons in front of the TV watching the original version of this classic movie, with the brilliant Kaye having my father in stitches and therefore, by extension, me in fits of laughter too. I spent more time laughing at Dad laughing at the telly that I did laughing at the telly itself. (also explains my love of Laurel & Hardy;Buster Keaton;Dad’s Army et al).
And BOY! what memories came flooding back with this new offering from Ben Stiller. As beautiful as this movie looks, as thoughtfully directed as it is by Stiller the Director, as funny as is Stiller the Actor, as epic a journey as our hero embarks on, and as memorable a movie-going experience this is for, I’m sure, many people, it had the teeniest little flaw for me, and I suspect many like me:
Without trying to spoil the movie, (so look away now if you don’t want to read anything about it at all) or giving away the plot too much, or even reading too much into it: the movie opens and we find the titular character working in the Photo Department of LIFE Magazine in the Time Life building, New York. Ivy League 24 year-olds have decided that this Giant of a Magazine needs to be stripped to the bollocks, dispense with the services of a huge amount of staff and be replaced by an online version. What was once a world-respected publication, produced by brilliant journalists & photographers, decent people and experienced & loyal workers will soon be an App to be shred alongside Flappy Birds and Mailonline [aren’t these two the same thing?—Ed].
Walter is plagued by snooty fuckwits, hounding him about photos and even negatives— which they plainly know woefully little about— and who he regularly fantasises about beating to a pulp with his fists, or with dirty great lumps of concrete, or ripping their heads off, or throwing him off the building into the heavy London traffic below. I mean them. I mean New York..
Seeing my shrink first thing in the morning.
(I preferred them when they were funny.)
England should take great pride in their batting over the past few days. It wasn’t that long ago (19 years ago in fact) when they were skittled by West Indies’ Curtley Ambrose for 46 in their second innings in Trinidad. Ambrose (who took 11 for 94 in the game) was one of the greats of the game. But he needn’t had been. This was an age when they were regularly getting routed by all and sundry, good, the bad and the distinctly average of world cricket.
Nowadays, England can be content that they give a good account of themselves against some of the world’s fifth best test sides — often making three figures in the process! On taking up his position as..er…wait a minute, I have it here…er…yes, here it is: COACH of the English team, Andy Flower was quoted as saying “My Goal is to get this side to a level when they can play out a whole spell by Nathan Lyon without losing any more than two or three wickets. Also I’d like to turn Mitchell Johnson from the Sunday Morning Lummox he currently is, into someone who can run through our upper and middle order like Jimmy Savile in a Children’s Ward, no matter how many times he telegraphs his short balls (Johnson, not Savile, that is).” Only Mr Fowlers’ strongest critic would accuse him of failing to achieve his goals.
DECEMBER’S “SPOT THE DIFFERENCE” COMPETITION ANSWERS:
That 1994 Match Summary:
West Indies 252 (Richie Richardson 63, Brian Lara 43; Angus Fraser 4 for 49, Chris Lewis 4 for 51) and 269 (Keith Arthurton 42, Jimmy Adams 43, Shivnarine Chanderpaul 50; Andy Caddick 6 for 65) beat England 328 (Mike Atherton 48, Graeme Hick 40, Graham Thorpe 86; Curtly Ambrose 5 for 70) and 46 (Curtly Ambrose 6 for 24) by 147 runs.
…and by 2013 England have improved to this:
Australia 570-9 dec & 132-3 dec beat England 172 & 312 by 218 runs
Andy Fowlup calculates that, at this rate of progress, by the year 2030, England can expect to rack up scores of well in excess of 500 against a Bangladeshi Presidents XI, and even offer Holland a Five Test series.
Does your team have a useless top order ? Do you suffer from repeated batting collapses ? Is the local Umpire suffering from RSI ? Your problems are solved ! Kit out the local Ump in one of my T-shirts, then he need only flash his chest to the feckless batter standing 22yrds away. Available in a range of colours and terminal slogans.