Sunday, 30 December 2012


Electric Cinema

I would like to make a complaint please. The cinema this year has basically been rubbish. It has, really, you know it has. I mean for normal people, it has been less than inspiring. It has been fine if you like films where people get their brains pulled down through their noses with grappling hooks or films where people dress in costumes and brood in the dark a lot. Also ubiquitous were films where people drink loads and burp for twenty minutes. There was also a lot of Michael Fassbender's man parts. (and he did a lot of brooding in the dark and drinking as well  so congratulations Mr Fassbender. Value for your money there, everyone.) But what about normal films? What about Rom-Coms? Who is writing scripts like Nora Ephron? Certainly not the "genius" behind The Hangover 2.  I am a miserable crow but you already knew that. There was a time when the Oscars were due and HOH and my good self would have seen all the main contenders and have strong and loud opinions about who should win. This year it was sort of "meh" which was only confirmed by "The Artist" (a Singing in the Rain rip-off) being treated like it was as original as something from Outer Space. I suppose my film choices are influenced by my faith but it would be a mistake to think that this makes me a big girls blouse when it comes to the movies. I don't like screen violence or cruelty but I do like sharp satire and emotionally intelligent films. I think these were thin on the ground this year but for what it's worth - these are my top six

Young Adult 
Charlize Theron acts mean and nasty. Superb performance. No learning curve at all. Bleak yet funny.

The Cloonster playing fat and against type. Best Dad run ever in a movie. Hawaii is gorgeous of course but not in a picture book way. 

Ben Affleck - secret agent. Based on a true story. Bottom clenching tension at the attempt to get American Embassy staff out of post revolutionary Iran.

I know it's men in costumes but it's funny and sharp and Hulk is amazing. A family film as well. This is not a bad thing.

A bit like Woody Allen never went woossy. Delpy and Rock are nice and confused and her family are suitably French. 

Just really funny. That is all.


Saturday, 29 December 2012

My TV 2012


This was the year that HOH and I kind of split on our TV preferences. I am not sure if it is my age, the menopause or failing eyesight but I find that am unable to cope with any screen violence these days. I have never been very good at it. I barely made it all the way through Goodfellas without throwing up but I have become even more weak and feeble in this area. This means that it is HOH who is the cool and funky one when it comes to TV. If he were writing this blog he would recommend Homeland 2, The Fear, The Killing 3 and The Bridge. All critically acclaimed, all beloved of Guardian readers and all full of people getting stabbed in the eye.
We did agree on a few things. We both initially liked Borgen - the politics were interesting I thought. I lost it a bit when I found that I was already writing it in my head before I saw it. (Successful happily married lady politician, has to make bad integrity choices, husband feels threatened, plays away from home, children start wetting the bed, etc etc) Will probably come back for Season 2 though.
The Thick Of It finished. You cannot watch this with your maiden aunt but Malcolm Tucker is a genius creation and no modern politician could feel safe in their ridiculous spin while these script writers were around. Malcolm, I will miss you.
2012 was also unmissable. Only slightly undermined by the real Olympics being run very well indeed. Jessica Hynes created a PR monster who managed that rarest of things - giving us sentences that are still being used in day to day conversation. "like, totally, so here’s the thing" No? Just us then.
Parade's End was lovely to look at and to listen to. It wasn't the easiest follow but I loved the density of it. I loved not being treated like an idiot for once. Cumberbatch was ace but Rebecca Hall was outstanding. Also loved The Hollow Crown. Lots of Shakespearey stuff surrounding it was great as well. You really could just sit and watch it, as a rattling good set of stories, a drama and it was gripping. Ben Whishaw, playing Richard the Second as Michael Jackson was excellent but I don't think there was a duff performance in any of it.
I enjoyed The Hour 2 more than the first one because I got the hang of it a bit more. I prefer it to Mad Men because at least SOMETHING HAPPENS now and again.
Kind of lost Doctor Who but came back for the demise of Rory and Amy which was done really well and made me sniffle. Sherlock. I know. I know. But it is extraordinary. The writing, the design, the music. It makes you go No! Really? and makes me want to sit and hug myself at the sheer inventiveness of it all.
My main TV highlight though was a one off. The Olympic Opening Ceremony was truly a thing of awe. From the sloe eyed Cumberbach looking at camera and growling - "Let the Games Begin" through to the panning back to reveal the amazing fireworks. The whole thing was amazeballs. Even nasty pieces of work like me did smug little jigs in the living room singing the highly catchy "We have the NHS. Thank you Lord for living in a place where health care is free at the point of delivery." and " My country is ace. We are a bit frayed round the edges but we are blessed."
I expect I have missed a lot out. As you can see, I don't follow any soaps so apologies if I have missed something important there. (Have just realised - didn't include Bake Off or Strictly - sorry - loved them both) Am off now - next - my year in film. (Sound like Barry Norman)


Friday, 28 December 2012


And she's back in the game. What was that? Oh yes. Christmas. All went very well thank you. These are the various bits and pieces for you.

Family loved Muppet Christmas Carol. FOW1 was a little concerned when the people giving out the tickets at the Art House were doing it with the help of glove puppets. There were are lot of kids in but also 6 ladies who had come straight from the bar and enjoyed it enormously, if the swaying from side to side was any indication. Took Mother and Liam to Plymouth Gin Distillery, so Liam sorted lots of presents out - bottles of gin and the like. I stood around with an expectant face and got nowhere.

Sunday night was the Candlelight Carol Service. FOW played in the band and they funkeyed it up a bit. Could actually have done without whatever it was that was set to the tune of Ould Lang Syne but you know how I am. Some controversy when FOW's friend tried to get his attention after the meeting by lobbing a paper cup from the balcony and it missed my mother by a fraction of a millipede. Decided to go with good will to all men vibe. Especially as she didn't notice and it was quite funny.

Sorted beginning of Christmas Dinner myself on a wing and a prayer - no one rolled on floor clutching belly so ok. I put my foot down when Mother tried to start Christmas Dinner with speech about how our numbers for the meal are dwindling as people are dying. Smallest Jack Russell has taken against her for no reason as far as we can see and retired to our room for the week. Found kids working up said dog up by whispering "Where's Nasty Beryl?" and making grrrr noises.

Loved the Queen's Christmas Speech. She talked about Christ and Christmas and Jesus being the Son of God sent to save the world and other not "right on" things. Awesome Queenie! Think she would be a good bishop. Oh wait, they don't do lady bishops do they?

I forgot to put ham in oven on Boxing Day so resorted to turkey, leeks, mushrooms and leftover veg stir fry thingy. Went down better than Christmas Day lunch.

Dragged under protest to sales. Got some stuff for work but the older I get the harder I find shopping for me and my saggy body. Settled for series Two and Three of The Mentalist instead.

I appear to have eaten my own body weight in peanuts.

Watched Doctor Who and it was brilliant. Thought Royle Family was very disappointing.

Read "The Hour Before Dawn" in two sittings.

Settled down with FOW2 to watch DVD of last Harry Potter for umpteenth time. Love it, and level of absorption in the film may have had something to do with peanut eating incident.

Mum has gone home today. Booked ticket on train First Class. Thank goodness. Floods, fire and pestilence on the railways led to general chaos and changing at New Street Birmingham. Booked assistance for her to help her at change as New Street is a complicated station if you aren't familiar with it. Nice lady with wheelchair turned up. Mum doesn't need wheelchair but it was handy to carry suitcase and her "small" shopper. First Class at least guaranteed her a seat. Everyone else on the train seemed to be recreating the scenes at the end of Titanic.

Anyway back to work for a few hours tomorrow. I live to serve and all that. Have enjoyed writing again so will probably be back tomorrow for round up of cultural highlights of 2012.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

No Words

BBC News
There are times when it is right to speak and to debate. There are times when it is right to have balance in our thoughts and to think on all the good that there is in this world, despite everything.  However, there are times when an event, when the evil that men do, is of such magnitude that it is almost if our brains cannot compute what has just happened.
As I sit in my cosy living room with my family, with our Christmas decorations, I am shaken to my very core by the events at Sandy Hook. That a teacher should have to tell children to "close their eyes" for fear of what their little faces would alight upon as she led them to safety, is almost too difficult to bear.
There are no words of comfort and, as I pray for those affected (what an inadequate word that is - "affected") all I can do is commit the whole thing  to the God who digs down into the depths of our souls and ask that, somehow, he finds a way to touch and to minister. I can think of nothing else to do.

Monday, 10 December 2012


Apparently, this is the last month that we are to be graced with the presence of the big wheel on the Hoe. Depending on which of our esteemed news outlets you believe, the company that owns it has either gone bankrupt or fled the country or both. I shall miss it if it goes. I have never actually been on it - do you think I'm crazy? I just like it as part of the landscape. I think it looks great. That is part of it's problem I suppose, if everyone else is like me and just admires it from afar, then its downfall  is inevitable.

I am not what you would call a natural limelight seeker. A part of me has always longed to enter a room like Streisand in Funny Girl. Arms out wide "Get ready for me world ,cos I'm a comin'" but it is never going to happen. And, whenever I see someone do that, another part of me is also slightly horrified. It would, I feel make life much easier sometimes. I wonder if some people are just born confident. This week we went to see our daughter pick up her GCSE certificates at a ceremony at her school. Each pupil had to wait in the stage wings until their name was called. Then they would walk across the stage with a camera trained on them. Some kids strode onto the stage just a nano away from singing - "Another Opening - Another show!" Some were so shy that they managed to get on and off without actually speaking to or making eye contact with the nice man who came 14th in "The Voice" who gave the prizes out.

Can I digress here? Can you stop me? No. So, call me old fashioned but if the idea was to inspire the young people to work hard, continue their education, formulate a career plan and generally get their lives onto a mature footing, then why choose  someone who quote - "Just went for it, man. I emptied my bank account, bought an old car and just hit the road y'know?" And, while we are at it, I think maybe his choice of song for us, "Ohhhh, this SEX IS ON FIRE",  may have been a little ill advised, that's if the Chair of Governors' face was anything to go by.
It is hard, for me anyway, to get involved, to grab hold of confidence, and to just do it. But if I don't join in, get involved and generally contribute to the society, church, community I live in, then that community may suffer because, the fields are, as has been said by a very wise Son of God, white and ready for harvest. It becomes more and more obvious to me that if I don't pull my weight and jump in, then things will not be happening that should be happening. My lack of confidence remains one of my biggest challenges.

HOH was in the basement and came across some old books of mine. In 2003 I had a book published. "What Do You Want Woman?" It was a short, evangelistic book, written in my style. I was fortunate enough to sell about 2000 copies, partly because some churches gave them out at women's meetings and some used them in Ladies Groups as light-hearted look at Christianity. I am banging a few copies on Ebay for 99p and 70p for postage. This is because I think P and P and the listing fee will be about £1.70 ish.  They are a bit dated so I wouldn't charge full price. If you are interested in a copy, this is the link. If you are interested and you live somewhere that is no longer a part of the colonies, then please get in touch and I will work out postage. Don't feel pressured or anything. Just would appreciate any opinions. Carry on, as you were then.


Sunday, 2 December 2012


Matthew 7 v 7
"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn't a cat-and-mouse, hide and seek game we're in."

So when I pray for something (If I actually get round to actually praying rather than talking about it, resolving to do it, thinking how good it would be to do it etc etc)  I usually start off trying to talk God into being on my side  by explaining why I need what I need and why despite my obvious faults  it would be better for everyone concerned if God actually came through for me. Blah blah.

I really love this translation of Matthew 7. First of all it makes it clear that the Christian life is for grown ups. This is not a game. We are meant to be straight with God as he is with us. What do I need? What keeps me awake with worry? Whose story have I heard that I have no power to change myself? Who do I love so much that I want to commit them to God's care? How do I deal with that impossible situation? Apparently it is simple -  I need to ask God.

So then what happens?

If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for a fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing. You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

I don't want to go all mega church about this but - do I dare do this? Do I dare live this? I think this is flippin MASSIVE. If I could live like this all the time, where as I asked God for my needs, he then responds as he promises to - as someone who has my best interests at heart - and someone who is able.

This has really challenged me this week and also made me feel a lot jollier. Do you ever think that when we finally meet God, he will say "It was all meant to be so much easier for you. I told you what to do, I told you how loved you were and you would never listen." I'm thinking it may just be me and you have this sorted. It wouldn't be the first time that I was just one step behind. Never mind eh?

Blogger Template Created by pipdig