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Monday, 21 May 2012

Kristin shows her comedic flair

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22 May

* Many a spoiler in this belated review of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen *

I do not know the novel from which this was taken, and can insufficiently conceive that seeing how it differs from the film would merit the time to find out (quite apart from anything else that I would derive from the experience). In any case, my shameless interest was to see Kristin Scott Thomas, and anything else was going to be a bonus.

The typical end-of-film disclaimer always talks of denying resemblances to people living or dead, but we all surely recall the folly of being found out recording having contrived to bury a bad news story, and the fact that Kristin, as the PM's Press Secretary, was called Maxwell might not have been without another irony.

In the screening that I have just been at, KST got some very good laughs, in character, for how she sought to impose (what is usual to call) control* on the situations that she faced, including a rebellious middle son - and, even by then, we weren't quite acclimatized to hearing this actress casually saying 'fucking' as one element of throwing her weight about, which made it naughtily delicious.

As to whether finding a positive story about The Middle East to offset the bad press about the British forces' campaign in Afghanistan made any sense on which to hang this story, not least in terms of the different timescale of day-to-day business of press releases and conferences, I rather doubt anyone in the audience would have been persuaded. However, that was unnecessary, when we were just required to embrace Mrs Maxwell's breezy indifference to reality or other obstacles, few greater than the implausibility embodied in the title itself: she just wanted kudos for the PM and his office, and latched onto any figure mentioned, such as the number of anglers, that suggested that there were votes hanging on what she did.

If we might compare the farcicality, for a moment, to the monumental one of a film such as Doctor in the House (1954) and others in the series (or maybe even Carry on Doctor (1967)), the pompous consultant (James Robertson Justice (or Kenneth Williams as Tickle)), assured of his own importance, is almost in the nature of the role a sketchily drawn character, and provides enough bluster to rub off on and against those more in the lead. Here, though, Kristin was absent for a long stretch at a time, and her character did not, in this regard, appear to have been integrated enough into the film to sustain her: yes, one can argue that, although it is at her behest that any of this is being allowed to proceed, that does not call for her to be on screen, but I rather feel that the film itself lost sight of what it was trying to be, or tried to be too many things, with too many foci, at various points.

It could be a romantic comedy, set against the infighting and machination of politics, but it does not really sit easily as one, and, to judge from a comment that I heard to the effect that 'they have turned it into a slushy romance', nor did it with someone whose reading of the book had led to different expectations. It is more in the nature of the awkward and rather unlikely romance, which brings me onto the pretty-womanization of Ewan McGregor as Dr Jones. No, he is not an LA hooker, but, in an unlikely way, he has to break through his exterior and appeal to his equivalent of Richard Gere (except that Gere thinks Roberts stunning more or less straightaway, and we are the ones who don't understand his fascination).

In a play on stage, one would trust more, because of having to, in one's script and those delivering it, whereas here, when I first saw him, Ewan had been so dolled down, but only in order that he might shine and look gloriously winsome to be the love interest, that I doubted not only what his lifestyle might be doing to him, but also whether I had actually been wrong in inferring that the voice with Scottish accent that we had heard reading a dismissive e-mail must belong to him. It then made it look quite ridiculous, as a depiction of his throwing himself into the project and, with it, in love with his co-star, that he suddenly became boyishly young.

Oh, yes, falling in love can give one a glow and do other wonders, but this was too extreme, as if we suddenly started expecting him to behave like Trainspotting (1996)'s Renton all over again. That and the accent, which might have been - I am no expert - a mannered version of his native one, but which gave the impression of someone so proud of his Scottishness that he made doubly sure that he sounded from there (whereas many a prominent Scot gives not a hint of it in the voice), even at the risk of seeming to be, if not a self-parody, then a target for mockery.

Which might, in some people's mind, link with what Emily Blunt says to him when she thinks that he has called around on her at home to bully her into going back to work, despite her new boyfriend being missing in action. If McGregor's lack of affect (evidenced as Renton), studied choice of language, and self-confessed inability to tell jokes justified her, in this incautious moment, calling him someone with Asperger's, then so be it, but those things, in themselves, do not add up to anything, and I should be disappointed to know if they were meant to.

Disappointed as I would be with As Good as it Gets (1997), if I thought that those watching it - or House or Frasier - believed that they can see both all the problems that are faced, and also, in the love of a good woman, the obvious and redeeming solution. (Not that Dr Jones' wife isn't a belittling cow, more concerned about his final salary scheme than the job that he has to do to get it, but still**.) But more disappointed with what is put in the mouth of Dr Jones as a reply, since there are many who have the hurts to show to disprove the notion that someone with that syndrome would not be wounded by her outburst - or does scriptwriter Simon Beaufoy know something that I don't?

All in all, I enjoyed the patchy political intrigue (as a chance for KST to show the breadth of her talents), the pottily likeable sheikh (Amr Waked) who - surprise, surprise - has more to teach Dr Jones than he imagines and, of course, has to owe Dr Jones his life (in the face of a singularly inept attempt at assassination by someone commissioned in Yemen to kill him, who fetches up in Scotland with no real evidence of a plan). That apart, it is just the will she, won't she with Emily Blunt, and people doing the decent thing as good Britons.


* For some, contol freak is a sort of shorthand, but the word 'control', to me, belongs in the day of training dogs the Barbara Woodhouse way. (The phrase is, itself, more likely to have originated with a freak who thinks that it is fit employment to seek to control how we perceive and think about his or her clients, which, when the PM and his government is the client, is where KST in this film comes in.) And the word has no positive companion, such as - to make one up - control champion, just this dismal word in the phrase He's so controlling: engage tongue, switch off mind!
** At Civic amenities - a far cry from the locus amoenus?, I have pondered Dr Jones, at this moment, further.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

What's the difference between a t.v. celebrity and a judge?

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21 May

If you start a song, both will quickly determine that they want you to stop, but the judge might even possess a good singing voice

One holds court and puts everyone else in their place, whereas the other fits hearing the case in around having a good lunch

When two judges meet socially, they talk about the latest play or film, and so do the celebrities, but bitching about who undeservedly got the role that they should have had

With a judge, that is the person who hears a case at trial, whereas the t.v. celebrity is just a case of being a trial to hear

Saturday, 19 May 2012

What did Jesus teach about bluebells ? (2)

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20 May

Continuing the sketchy piece that was What did Jesus teach about bluebells ? (1), it can now be revealed that:

* We have learnt, from the recently discovered Garden-Centre Scrolls, that in the early days - perhaps misconstruing something that Jesus once said or did - followers of his teaching each started carrying around a pot of earth in which had been planted a clump of bluebells

* Since bluebells, in common with many plants, not only have (as The Book of Ecclesiastes¹ advises²) a season for flowering, but also tend to prefer shade, the meaning of the gesture - whatever could have been intended - was not, let us say, always apparent from the display in the pot

* Rationalizing it all, the pots were done away with, and emblems - or badges - depicting a flowering bluebell (or three) took their place

* Some say that, with the version with three bluebells, The Trinity was represented (although any theology of Three in One³ was not formulated until centuries later)

* It could just as easily have been any one of The Holy Family, a prefiguring of Peter's denials, or the women, numbering at least three, who were called Mary

* No more than this is known (until I trouble to make something else up, of course)


¹ Parts of many works, in imitation of The Bible, have been called books, but do we know why they are so called? (Greek biblios)

² However, those who do not know it, should not construe this reference to imply that it is a pre-Christian gardening manual.

³ Which has also, curiously, long been a motto for a type of oil for use on bicycles. (Whatever oil one uses, and however one seeks to avoid getting it on one's clothes, the former's contact with the latter is almost always inimical to any attractiveness or cleanliness that they might have, besides which the odour of the oil is both unmistakable and largely ineradicable.)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Twitter® is old hat*

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18 May

We keep reinventing the telegram, first with text-messages, and then with what is fondly thought of as a revolution in communications, this whole Twatter Splatter, where all these messages are generated to divert from the reality that, in just tens of years, it'll all be going on, if at all, with none of the same personnel.

But the truth is simply this: back in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Shakespeare had to pitch every new idea for a play in the tweet form - give you it in just 140 characters.

The Bard could put over Hamlet like that, but Could you?**


* But most of us haven't known, since the days of Laurence Sterne, that the term refers to the female genitals.

** Cousin Marmaduke and I have since taken up my own clannege (? = challenge?) with - I think - creditable attempts by each at a major Shakespeare tragedy on Twitter: by all means do what you like with us then, but find us there!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Kym Marsh rocks skimpy LBD (according to AOL®)

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15 May

It is possible, though I doubt it (it is the whole point of this postlet), that LBD is a recognized term of art in these tinsel teasers on sign-on pages. (Remember the one, a few issues back, that reported Lorraine Kelly tumbling from her horse, whereas a newspaper had reported the story at least a fortnight earlier - not so much breaking news as breaking new ground for peddling old tat!)

For those not initiated (right trouser leg rolled up, etc.), I shall not spell it out*, though I was probably helped - when appeared words appeared to be missing in the headline - by the image below, because that would spoil the Fun of Who Is In The Know, i.e. who is manipulated into using some stupid expression or contraction, but merely continue with my would-be contentious proposition:

Is this a WAG** in the making, or an MCD (to refer gratuitously, for the sake of cross-pollination, to Pork and beef on the same plate) - what some might call a defining moment, when that unhelpful term is contracted to its initials?

Although many acronyms (and some contractions) are no easier to say than the original text, are we heading for A Contracting Universe (ACU)?:

With LSL, she skipped down the catwalk in an LBD, courtesy of NBC, and, after a VAC, went home for a NLS


* Though 'skimpy' is already part and parcel of the 'L' of LBD. More asutute readers may surmise, then, that it does not represent London Bomb Disposal, Lesotho Bisexual Dilettantes, or Liverpool Ballroom-Dancing.

** An amazing acronym, not only because the words 'and' merits a letter of its own (after all, it was WMD, not WOMD (which might have been mistaken for WOMB, I guess)), but also two categories of women in a relationship (with a man) are brusquely yanked together!

In fact, though celebrities are not, of course, unfaithful or promiscuous, X's WAG could also be (in the other capacity) Y's WAG - KK, for example, is shown dating other men when, as far as I am aware, the man whom she married, and who alleged just weeks after that she had not been sincere in marrying him, has not yet been announced to have divorced her.

Monday, 14 May 2012

The motto of Cambridge Drawing Society

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15 May 2012

It would be much funnier to have a Drawling Society, where you could hear a good Jimmy Stewart or even Tom Hanks (as a modern-style Drawler), but we have what we have.

A few things puzzle me about its recent publicity material:

* It begins by saying 'Art Exhibition / At the Guildhall / Cambridge Drawing Society / 1882 - 2008', but I cannot construe the dates, which appear to suggest that the Society has been disbanded several years earlier: overleaf, we are told, no more helpfully, that members 'are proud to maintain the century-long tradition of annual exhibitions in Cambridge'*

* The motto of the Society (at the top of that side) is given as Nulla dies sine linea

* Even if one could misconstrue dies as in apposition to lives**, not as a Latin word that is probably best known from Carpe diem (a phrase re-energed by that otherwise regrettable vehicle for the largely regrettable Robin Williams), it is clear enough what it means

* So to render it Draw a line every day oddly turns it into an instruction, when the Latin is clearly a statement, and, to my mind wrongly, focuses attention on the act of drawing, whereas the sentiment is one about time and of maintaining a habit, day to day, and one has to infer that line is to be made***

* The flyer directs us to Apelles, quoting a story about him that, maybe, I searched long enough to find, but hiding behind pictures in his shop-window to hear comments from passers-by, amongst the many anecdotes and accounts of him and his great technical skill (as no work of his survives the intervening 23 centuries (and we do not know definitely, except by reference to his having been said to be at the court of Philip of Macedon, when he lived), does not seem the best to have chosen to illustrate the motto****

* It seems that Pliny who is the so-called Elder is a major source for knowledge and appreciation of the abilities of Apelles, since we cannot see them displayed in any work: writing around the time of Christ, he would have spoken Latin, but I doubt that the motto, if authentic, would have been in anything other than Greek originally (Apelles is said to have been from the Greek island of Kos)

* It, too, expands the text, but what the Wikipedia® entry gives as a translation is, all in all, more accurate: Not a day without a line drawn

You never know, it could also apply to blog postings!


* Actually, for what it is worth, I overlooked this comment: The first public exhibition took place in 1906 in the old Guildhall.

** As one teacher of English was said to have done with the Beckettt title Malone Dies.

*** The Wikipedia® entry goes into detail about a cobbler, one of whose comments (about how a shoe had been painted) Apelles heeded and remedied the mistakes, but whose subsequent comment about a leg earnt him a rude and surprising rebuff from the hidden painter.

**** Not least not to introduce, as if in a non-sequitur, the observation that visitors can write comments in a book, and vote for their favourite picture

Indecent haste?

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14 May

Ever wondered why all sorts of biographies (whenever they were written) seem to be in the bookshops so quickly after this or that prominent person's death?

Well, for one thing I think that it is to try to capitalize on the moment, and we must all surely know, at some level, that - death being a certainty - many newspaper obituaries have been prepared and are kept ready for the next edition after the subject's death in which they will appear.

Just imagine that someone, a bit like the guy who (on a machine that moulds the plastic) makes the piece that you take off the back of your phone to get the battery out and change the SIM card, has the job of maintaining a library, archive or database of these pre-written death-notes, and others of writing, refining and updating them!

For another, a person's death marks the beginning of open season in the UK: alive, that person could claim that his or her character has been defamed by what you wrote or said, but, rightly or wrongly, the law of England and Wales says that the right to defend one's character dies with the person who possessed it. (Some other claims can be brought (or continued) by a person's estate after one's death, but one for libel or slander can no longer be commenced.) As I have said, open season - and all the competition in the world to get to press ahead of with this or that juicy anecdote or revelation.

It may not just have been weeks apart, though it seemed like it, that, hard on the heels of the death of Samuel Barclay Beckettt, Cronin and Knowlson's competing chunky books (one approved by the Beckettt estate, but I forget which) joined the only one thitherto, Deirdre Bair's from the 1970s, to make three.

What I wonder is this, because I am not aware that any other title with such pretensions (come to think of it, both titles are, actually, pretty pretentious) has appeared since: if the publishers had not raced to produce their authors' view of Becekettt, would we have a better or different one from the one only now starting to emerge with the publication of the second volume of his letters?

Is all this just inevitable, or would those books, if not available so seemingly soon after 22 December 1989, have benefited from the delay? I should, I guess, look to see if they have been reissued in a revised or new edition, but maybe you will, and let me know...

Sunday, 13 May 2012

What do we mean by 'an industry'?

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13 May

I have been listening, with half-an-ear, to a programme on Radio 3.

It is clear that they now talk about the heritage industry, by which they mean organizations such as The National Trust, not those consumer outlets that sell replicas of items from a previous era.

Now, I concede that the word 'factory', as used in reference to trade in India, may only have come to mean a building where something is made through the process of industrialization, but this is a little too close to contemporary, a little too much of turning everything into an industry.

We have the film industry, the porn industry, the hospitality industry, probably the industry industry, and what industrial archaeology looks at seems oddly divorced from all these usages, in its concern with engines, pumping-stations, cotton-mills, and - dare I say it - other factories.

Perhaps it will end up with a section of activity looking at these selfsame redundant meanings - or maybe already has one...

The Janet and John books

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13 May

Those of a certain age may be familiar with - the existence, at any rate, of - this pair.

If so, their names - in that order - will be as locked as Jack and Jill, but what is the appeal?

* Unlike Jack with Jill, John is courteous, and lets Janet go first

* In both cases, there is the - almost necessary to observe - catch of alliteration

* If John did go first, how would it sound, with the falling notes of 'Janet' finishing the phrase, as against the ruggedness of John, a syllable that one has to go out of one's way to prolong, and which provides a solid close?

* But what about Jason, Janet and Jason?: if we could delve into the minds - or, better still, working papers - of those who designed these books, what prejudices about class or even perceived sexual orientation might have militated against Jason

Paula and Peter, anybody...?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

I was once (nearly) a steward at Cambridge Wordfest... (3)

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13 May

Of course, come the full Spring Wordfest (13 - 15 April), I received my reward:

* First pick of which four- to five-hour stewarding slot I wanted to fill, which meant that, by being present at three events in a row, I could guarantee hearing those speakers who most interested me

* Two complimentary admissions to events when off duty

* Free tea and coffee at the bar

* Extra discount on items boought from the Wordfest book-stall

* A refund of around £9.00 to reflect my travel expenses on the night of the 'wasted' training last year

Or maybe that is what would have been nice to be offered, rather than just sent an unitemized amount that did not even compensate me for not hearing the speakers at the events in my shift, and getting to go free into those during the rest of the day that had not sold out

Monday, 7 May 2012

Video: Kim Kardashian shows off beach body

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7 May

Another meaningless phrase!

Not 'Kim Kardashian', which denotes something, but 'beach body':

Does KK have a different body, when at breakfast (probably in a bikini just at the moment, since she is pictured in Mexico), only employing this one at the beach - a bit like a stunt or body double?

The clothes that she may wear for Cancún, lunch at the Bowery, and the red carpet may differ, but, hour to hour, I suspect that it is the same body, just as it is for that infamous photograph of Daniel Craig at the seaside, or even the likes of Neil Kinnock stumbling on the shingle, or for the gaga lady.

As for Kim, when she appeared with fewer clothes still in Playboy, what sort of body was that, by this 'beach body' reckoning? A glamour body, bimbo body, or unbashful body?

PS Just so that Kim doesn't feel left out (or unwanted), here she is with that body on a beach:

Pork and beef on the same plate

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7 May

According to the BSE* story (which some may remember: that health-scare before the next one brightened our days), what was supposed to everyone who had ever eaten a burger - and befell only the unlucky few who developed CJD - was the result of mixing pork and beef.

I can still think of few places where they meet - or where a T-bone steak could have a bone - except: certain sausages, a mixed grill, and those carveries where one can have (usually by paying slightly more**) lamb, beef, turkey, and pork (or some subset thereof) for one's roast meal.


* Of course, our press and t.v. being what they are, the abbreviation of a scientific term to BSE wasn't good enough, and we had to have mad cow disease instead as their preferred term. (I used to abbreviate it to MCD.)

** One such place used to call it The Full Monty.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Setting what text to music?

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7 May

Well, I have heard, in the last week, Mark Padmore's choice of a text, which Jonathan Dove turned out to end up setting several years later, and now more in the collaboration between Jim Tomlinson, Stacey Kent and Kazuo Ishiguro in a song (to whose words the link takes you) called Postcard Lovers.

Honestly, I cannot feel that either poem was worth the attention, and it puts me in mind again of writing about Elgar putting together his own libretto for The Apostles...

Russia ahead in this blog's Top Ten

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6 May

In terms of page-views, Russia is now well ahead of the UK [now updated on 18 May]

1,191 Russia [1,480]

866 United Kingdom [889]

579 United States [625]

116 Germany [117]

53 Brazil [55]

43 Ukraine [46]

36 Australia

32 France

27 The Netherlands

18 Japan

And page-views since The Agent began all this Unofficial Cambridge Film Festival business?

Well, 3,333 of course!

What Paul Said to Whom and Why

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6 May

Perfect for all churches, congregations, chosen and cults - bulk ordering advised!
Paul's Epistle to the Swedish

Those who care to preorder this title (as, according to Amazon®, the word has it), can do so at in the knowledge that, whether it is a gift for others or for themselves, they will make someone very happy.

Buy 10 copies and receive just eight - NB limited offer

If you don't know Tahiti, I'd be very glad - for a fee - to show you around...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Pasta made from durum wheat

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5 May

Perhaps we have become accustomed to this assertion

I don't doubt its truth, but - except through familiarity with the fact that pasta-packets usually make it - I have no notion what it means (and so wonder whether that might be true of most of us), any more than if it stated, with just as much specificity*, made from wheat grown in Co. Durham (or in Dumbartonshire).

Unrelatedly, a woman from The Czech Republic** gave my parents what my mother called 'a peck on the cheek' - not spotting that it could have been descrbed as a Czech on the peak, if they had been on an eminence.

And what about the word surreal (or even surrealist)? I do have to agree with what was mentioned in passing yesterday in that day's issue of The Guardian***:

'I feel the word "surreal" has been totally overused as a fancy word for weird'

For, having read a fellow writer's piece about surrealism in films, which was pegged almost entirely (for factual basis) on the well-known collaboration that was Hitchcock / Dalí (and with scant, if any, mention of the other collaboration, Buñuel / Dalí****, or of the former's significant career as a director), I despaired at what the author went on to identify as evidence of surrealism in more modern (but mainstream) cinematic works.

That said, there seems to be as little chance of stopping misuse of this word***** - so carefully employed to be in opposition to the boring or bourgeois - as of its beleaguered friends random, manic, psychotic, and (surely not for want of anything better to say) like.


* A word that - I am led to believe that - T. S. Eliot, if he did not revel in it, used more than others did.

** My mother and father both resolutely, because instinctively, used the name Czechoslovakia in telling more about this woman.

*** g2, p. 8.

**** If Dalí is to be believed, that should be Dalí / Buñuel, but, it any case, they gave us, of course, A Dog and a Toilet (amongst other things).

***** Except, of course, by seeking to impose a totalitarian regime (one with a competent secret police!).

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Dave-ings of an Arranged Mind (2)

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4 May

[Very much] following on[, going forward,] from the first piece [of its kind] in this series - which is no more one for having the same title than constituents of many a t.v. series - here are more [random] jottings that nevertheless cohere (or do they?)

What do all or any of the items in this list have in common (if anything)?:

1. Frank Key

2. The Florida Keys

3. Sarah's Key

4. Gonville & Caius

5. Frankie Goes to Hollywood

6. St Peter

7. Sara Keays

8. Key to the door

9. Major Keys

11. Sarah Keay

12. Alicia Keys

13. Aldous Huxley

By all means submit your answers - on a postcard only* - whilst waiting my inventing some...


* Submissions (or falls) by any of the following means will, in especial, be harhsly punished:








psychic transmission

Zen's Reunited



smoke-signals from St Peter's

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Tally for the day

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2 May

So far, Haydn pronounced as if he were Charlie Haden, and an Agnus Dei that sounded like Agnes Day*

Naming no Radio 3 names, but, respectively, before Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 this evening, and during this afternoon's episode of Arvo Pärt Total Immersion


* Not as bad as it could have been - Angus Deayton, anyone?

Trout-fishing in Essex

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3 May

Sorry, I keep getting that one confused with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011), for a screening of which on Thursday afternoon I have a ticket: worryingly, if only for the publicity employed by the film's distibutors, searching for it on Google® by typing in just Yemen brings up no immediate results.

We shall see, and at least it's not

* Fishing for Cod Russian in the Quietly Flowing Don

* Dolphin Fishing in the English Channel

* Tuna Hunting in my Kitchen Cupboard

* or even Catching Red Snappers in the Bedroom

All a-titter

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2 May

Cousin Marmaduke has just - according to your preference - twittered, tweeted or twat - again, according to your preference - about, concerning or regarding* drugs offered to him by Barney Strong:

It seems that - word is on the street - they will, if he takes them, 'wake the beast' in him

But he's never liked Mark Rylance that much**, so why would he want to?!


* Not to mention 'anent' or 'abune'.

** And hated La Bête.

Medium* comment: TULISA CROWNED WORLD'S SEXIEST WOMAN (according to AOL®)

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2 May

As I am sure that the authors of this item well know (i.e. it is tongue in cheek, but in such a way as to appear 'dumb'), this caption to the headline is an absolute non-sequitur:

Singer proves that sex tape scandal hasn't hit her popularity

No, and nor, with any relevant electorate, would circulation - and even rating - of the said tape**! (I wonder if it has an entry on IMDb...)


* As opposed to media.

** According to AOL® (again) on 4 May, Amanda Holden told Alan Carr that she watched it.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The possibilities for confusion in enthusiasm

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2 May

Giving effect to what it says, how would you summarize the following*?:

Warlock's cycle is a monument to an idiosyncratic composer whose career was cut off too soon by his tragically short life

It is possible to read these phrases quickly and seem to understand the message, but I suspect that it may not really be self evident, even in context, that an idiosyncratic composer and Warlock are one and the same person (deemed to be writing his own monument in the song-cycle being discussed).

My own feeling is that the writer of these programme notes, at or around the time of compiling them, may have been overeager to say several things and have conflated them:

* Warlock died early

* His career - not surprisingly - died with him**

* It was regrettable, in terms of that musical career and what Warlock might yet have written, that he died when he did

* Whether it was seen as - or intended by - Warlock as a monument to him, it is suggested that it is one

* The work itself may be idiosyncratic,

* Presumably one can infer that it is, if it is a monument to Warlock, and if he was an idiosyncratic composer

For me, rather too much message for just 21 words, and in danger of being radically incoherent, when notes of this kind should ideally open up easily to examination in the concert-hall


* Taken from notes (by Jo Kirkbride) in a concert programme.

** However, I do acknowledge that, in the case of a composer in the position of Delius, it was his health / incapacity that threatened to cut short his career (or cut it even shorter***).

*** More shortly?

Vaughan Williams and Blake

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4 May

[For what it is worth, Wikipedia® would probably call this posting 'a stub']

After a performance, earlier in the week, by Nicholas Daniel and Mark Padmore of Ten Blake Songs by Vaughan Williams, and as someone who enjoys the composer's music, and is interested in the painter / engraver / writer's works, I wanted to know more about the genesis of these settings.

It is clear that I shall have to borrow an authoritative and detailed biography of VW to know more about the subject, but, in the meantime, the notes that appear on a page on hyperion's web-site are a useful starting-point.

What's the difference between a t.v. celebrity and a judge? (2)

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May Day

The last posting seemed popular enough - maybe even with those who Interpret Acts, as well as with those who appear to be dozing when they are being shown something - so why not some more...?

What's the difference between a judge asleep on the job and a t.v. celebrity?

* With the t.v. celebrity, the performance does not improve

* The judge is just taking judicial notice of sheep, but the t.v. celebrity mistakes them for adoring fans - and acts accordingly, claiming to be too busy to sign autographs

* In one case, the lack of movement increases the resemblance to a sheep. In the other, you realize that you can say something without being interrupted


NB These jokes were part of the VE Day celebrations, but, under the agreement reached at Yalta, it was agreed that they could not be told again until a 65-year exclusion period had expired