Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Return of the King and some Leerdammer

15.15 The Return of the King merits undivided attention, especially after a blank 24 hours, but for some this day I will continue to function at multi levels within several dimensions. Even comparatively simple activities such as spelling testing the last version of Blog of the Day does not go well , nor did transferring to DVD, loading to Internet computer, uploading to MySpace and printing out an edition for my creative records, printing drafts for development sets. Some times there is a technical quirk in that the addition to the copy DVD does not register until I reset the internet computer which adds another 15 mins or so to close programmes and reboot. Loading My Space this occasion I find new messages and new general comments and one Blog comment. The general comment is from a friend I did not know that I had which is interesting. The Blog comment is from a friend who has been trying to find a rental copy of the extended version of the Lord of the Rings. Alas it was not created as a rental edition, at least my edition has a notice at the commencement advising that it is a private sale edition. I buy few DVD’s these days except for those given free with National Newspapers although when I first moved from the video tapes to the DVD I did look out for the special offers which meant being able to buy at a third of the original price, but several years after the release, The Lord of the Rings Extended edition was the exception with orders placed in advance of their official release such was my interest, and having already acquired the cinema theatre editions. I also saw the film on the first weekend morning of its release to a packed auditorium.

15.45 It is also football afternoon. The Boro lost 1.0 to Chelsea but from the little I saw had chances for a draw. Newcastle was losing 1.0 but also had a couple of chances to take the lead, but I turned off the commentary to watch the Cycling World Championship. I have previously written about my joy at getting the cerise bicycle, while still at school and that through use I gradually built up my leg and general body strength so that I achieved a respectable position in the annual school cross country run and was selected to represent the house in the 200 yards in my last year. In part this was due to joining a Catholic cycling club and making trips of 100 miles on a Sundays. Once I got up early to officiate as a marshal in the area of Box Hill in Surrey just after dawn but this was the closest I came to a road racing event. I was never a fan of indoor racing until the British Team commenced to win several medals at Olympic and World events but these championship everything has come together in an exceptional way so my priority this afternoon has been to watch the last day of the event where there will be a re run of the gold winning races

16.10 So far after the wake up coffee I have only felt like a couple of slices of Leerdammer cheese and the last three or four slices of salami followed by a glass of red and a few peanuts. Now I begin to think of an early evening meal of the roast pork joint which will require over an hour perhaps hour and half, so I had better do this now.
14.30 The roast is in and the potatoes will go in in half an hour. I check on the Newcastle at Spurs and amazingly they are winning not 2.1 but 3.1 with goals from Butt, Gerome and Owen. While they back ahead of us in the table I am thrilled with the result really and will watch the game on TV tonight. Martens gets the fourth to remind the away supporters of the days of Keegan’s wonderland. Although I lit the oven and set the timer for the fist half hour before putting in the potatoes I forget to put in the roast so it is another 90 minutes. Silly me.
14.35 On Friday and Saturday morning I took the story of the Return of the King through to the successful defence of Minas Tirith and the defeat of Sauron’s first army with the combined effort of the 6000 horsemen of Rohan and the several thousand Men of the Dead. Given that the six of the Fellowship have been involved in two major battles at Minas and at Helm’s Deep, with Pippin and Merry involved with the destruction of Saruman’s base and several other fights it is understandable that it was difficult to rouse enthusiasms for the battles ahead before the war could be said to have been won. After the death of the King of Rohan Aragorn assumes overall command although he is yet to be crowned King of Gondor. Some of the force are left for the continuing defence of Minas Tirith and 3000 are sent under the Rohirim with command of someone who does not appear in the Peter Jackson film to tackle another of Sauron’s armies. Aragorn suggests that they should attack Sauron’s army holding the Black Gate entrance to Mordor to distract attention from Frodo’s taking the Ring of One to Mount Doom. Aragorn has some 6000 men on foot and 1000 cavalry and the intention is to daw the main Sauron army while Frodo destroys the One Ring at Mount Doom. However when they see the extent of the army, with endless lines of Orcs after the Mouth of Sauron parades Frodo’s protective shirt pretending that he has died after suffering great torture, they become afraid as significantly outnumbered and with the power of the Ring their tasks now looks hopeless. This sin when Aragorn shows his right to be the King and inspires Legolas and Gimli, Gandalf, Merry and Pippin to charge towards their certain deaths but calling the name of Frodo as they do. It is a great moment of honour, comradeship and integrity. It represents those who have gone into battle, on land, at sea and in the air, knowing that they are likely to perish, and many do, knowing what they do is right, even if no one will know of their individual action, especially in situations where the immediately outcome is a triumph for the dark.

17.30 However this is not my most memorable scene from the three films and I join the Director in saluting the scene when the Witch King is about to end the life of Eowyn and she takes off her helmet to reveal her gender and declares, I am no man as she strikes through his face and we all celebrate his shock and terror as he is condemned to hell. On the first morning of the film’s release at Bolden I had gone first thing and succeeded in getting a ticket for a later show that morning and then spent a couple of hours having breakfast and doing some shopping at Asda. I was amazed to witness coachloads of mainly young people arriving and filling the auditoriums, as there were showings of the film on several screens throughout the day, and subsequent days, and weeks. The excited anticipation was palpable and I have not witnessed such audience participation since the days of Saturday morning children’s cinema half a century before. However the greatest cheer was for Eowyn’s strike which probably did more to convince the biologically female that their time had come than all the protesting of the previous century.

(18.00. It is time for my roast dinner which is enjoyable. We did not get that tenth cycling gold medal)

Meanwhile the action sequences of the film are cut in to follow the journey and travels of Frodo and Sam caught up in the complex machinations of Gollum whose purpose throughout is to capture the One Ring for himself. The struggle is a very Catholic one, and of Christian fundamentalism, with its commitment to all life and belief in the possibility of redemption for every soul, irrespective of all that they have done before if the remorse is genuine and the willingness and ability to change is put into immediate practice. In the film Gollum is successful in driving a wedge between Frodo and Sam by destroying food, placing crumbs on Sam’s clothing and claiming he been looking after his own welfare at the expense of Frodo. This enables Gollum to lead Frodo into the lair of the great spider and to Frodo being taken prisoner by the Orcs in a cocooned state and taken into the tower of Cirith Ungul. Sam, who at first accepts being sent home by Frodo, decides to try and find his friend and follows Frodo after his capture, taking temporary possession of the One Ring so that although Frodo is stripped of everything by the Orcs on the orders of Sauron they do not have the Ring, and which Sam restores once he has recovered and in a position to escape while the Orcs fight among themselves over the possession and the body. This however is only the end of the beginning of their ordeal as they have to make their way to Mount Doom. The irony of the situation is that Aragorn has chosen to attack the Black Gate in order to make it easier for Frodo to reach Mount Doom, but their escape is hampered by the thousands of Orcs being moved to the Black Gate and because they are wearing Orc uniform and battle dress they are thought to be stragglers at one point in the extended edition. There are 78 scenes in the extended version third film and of these about 25 are extended and 15 are new but significantly Peter decided to lave the last 10 as they are, perhaps because time ran out, There is already talk of a 21st or 25th celebration edition using existing material as the principal actors will have aged too much make pick ups difficult.

19.30 One scene has the great title I can’t carry it for you but I can carry you which although this refers to the one ring its wider significance is for all those who understand that we all have to carry our individual burdens but the help and support of others can make all the difference. As the film reaches its action climax Gollum who has survived for this moment bites the ring off the finger of Frodo and falls into the fire of Mount Doom, and in that instant the world of Sauron collapses and his armies self destruct.

20.00 The film could have ended at this point proving just the sense of the task completed and that everyone was to have a happy ending. The books, for the story of some of the characters continues after the conclusion of the Lord of the Rings, do reveal than many do have a satisfactory ends to their lives while for others their experience is bitter sweet, but what happens takes place over along period of time and a time of continuing struggle. The endings in the film begins with the reassembling of the Fellowship. Although it became eighth with the death of Boromir it became nine once more through then involvement of Faramir and shortly before their final battle with Sauron and his forces he develops a relationship with Eowyn the ward of the dead King of the Rohans and the fighting heroine of the film. She has realised that Aragorn can never be her man because of his unrequited love for Arwen the daughter of the Elf Lord of Rivendell. As the film ends we know these two will be united. The film has already revealed that Arwen has accepted all that goes with giving up immortality and when Aragon is crowned king by Gandalf, with the acclaim of his people, the Master of Rivendell is there to present his daughter to gibe away his daughter with his blessing. And the Hobbits? Frodo returns to Rivendell once more with the Hobbits and others and Bilbo who has finished his writing passes to Frodo to being his writing of then adventure. Frodo is already being affected by his injuries and the struggle to return the ring to the fire where it was forged. San is shown as the first to settle quickly and is shown as the first to catch the eye of a lass from the shire, to marry and to have family. At his wedding there is also the hint that Pippin and Merry have grown up and will follow Sam. The film ends when the time has come for the Elves to leave the world to Men and for a time to Hobbits, and they take with them Bilbo and Gandalf, and Frodo on the last ship, There may be something in the film about Gimli but I cannot remember, although his story is to continue.

21.00 There are many additional parts and stories to original published work. Aragorn makes Faramir the Steward of Gondor and a Prince of Ithilien. Aragorn and Gandalf set off to find a sapling to replace the dead White Tree of Gondor in the courtyard of the Palace at the highest level. It is Midsummer’s Eve when Elrond, Galadriel and Arwen arrive for the marriage with Aragorn. The company then ride to Rohan to bury Theoden and to celebrate his life with a great feast. They then move on to Isengard where they find that the Ents have replanted the trees but they have released Saruman and Grima Wormtongue out of pity as Sauron has been defeated. Saruman refuses to repent which is a bad omen for what is to come. Galadriel takes Gandalf and the Hobbits back to Lorien and then Gandalf and the Hobbits go to Rivendell to see Bilbo who is aging. They then return to Bree and stay at the Prancing Pony where the news that Strider is Aragorn the King of Gondor has spread and Gandalf leaves the Hobbits to go and see Tom Bombadil, who is a central character of the text whose absence from the film outraged so many fans of the books. The Hobbits return to the Shire to find all manner of trouble and Merry and Pippin help rally the good Hobbits of the Shire against the half Orcs and marauding men of Isengard who have taken over the running of the Shire. The Hobbit’s the find Saruman and Wormtongue are in control of Bag End and that the Shire has suffered much ecological damage from its industrialization created by Saruman. Saruman tries to kill Frodo who is saved by the mithril coat and it is at this point that Grima kills Saruman and Grima Wormtongue is killed by archers, as happens in the film but years after and at the doorstep of Bag End. The imprisoned Hobbits who resisted the darkness over the shire are released and Sam discovers the gift which Galadriel gave him and uses the dust in the box to replant the Shire. It is only after several years pass and Frodo begins to feel unwell that the journey begin again and everyone meets up eventually the elves, Gandalf Bilbo and Frodo set sail. We then know that contrary to what is said in the film the boar returns once more after this for Sam, who has married and has a daughter and then comes to the end of his life, so the boat returns to take him to join Frodo, and the love he showed as the most trustworthy and loyal of comrades is rewarded. Is Sam the real hero, the normal man who does the extraordinary and then gets on with normal living? This only completes nine tenths of the work!

22.00 I watch the football enjoying Newcastle’s win at Spurs and where Barton and Viduka had near miss goals and which all augurs well for the future and makes the forthcoming derby with Sunderland that much more interesting. I also enjoy supper a brown bread sandwich with slices of salami between slices of Leerdammer.

23.00 Tolkien then adds to his book lots of information and guidance giving the background to the Men of Numenor and the development of Gondor. He provides a family Tree for the Hobbits and then the Time periods and then much on Languages Spelling and the writing. Then there is the index with Songs and Verses, Persons, Beasts and Monsters, Places and Things There is also so much more to come in terms of information about what happens to individuals, the making of this final film and the series in retrospective and how participation has changed the lives of the Actors, the creative works and various crews, affected public awareness and interest in New Zealand, and why when I say final film, I mean only for now. And with the coming of the end of March I decided to finish this writing this writing around midnight but with one more day to complete the task of my homage, for now. I will listen to the audio tapes when I convert them to DVD in the future, if I am able to do so.

Goal 2 and BLack and White Acrylic

Today Thursday 28th of February has been a day of pure self indulgence about food starting with Baxter's Minestrone soup with two thick slices of Brown bread, for tea, a cup of coffee and a chocolate wafer biscuit and for evening meal a prawn from shell sandwich with a large glass of Open Basket Australian Shiraz Cabernet as a starter, half an uncooked red pepper as a second course, then a plate of Heinz baked beans followed by two grilled Lochmuir Salmon fishcakes. The two should have been eaten together but I mistimed the cooking, and the meal ended with four buttered crackers two thin slices of mild uncoloured Cheddar cheese, and a dozen red and white grapes with a large cup of percolated Columbian Supremo ground coffee without sugar.

I broke off from the writing to watch the 10pm news, primarily to learn if there had been any progress in the investigations in Jersey, only to find that for 10 weeks the third in line to British monarchy, Prince Harry, the second son of Prince Charles and his former wife, Diana, has been fighting in Afghanistan, and that an agreement had been reached with the British and significant other foreign press to keep the information secret in order to protect the Prince and his military colleagues from becoming the primary target for Taliban and other forces. Since his disappointment at being pulled out of going to Iraq I guessed that something like this might happen and for once it is to the credit of the Media that the agreement was kept and that it is on the internet that the story was broken. As a consequence it was previously agreed that film of the Prince serving on the front line would be released and my reaction on viewing is that it will enhance the Prince's standing with everyone except the entrenched anti Royalist and those opposed to our original and on going involvement in Afghanistan. I followed on this news with Question Time and the political magazine programme this week and my mood until the news changed and I had to reappraise my day. Three cheers for Harry and King George.

It has commenced after a good sleep and some dreaming, and another clear blue sky morning, with later the information that this has been the sunniest February since records commenced another indication that the weather has changed, whether from human activities in one form or another or from changes the consequence of extra terrestrial events. I completed set work for the month, some 120 additions, bringing me close to the average since August 2003 of 125 a month, approximately 4 a day.

This afternoon was devoted to a visit to Sunderland which included a leisurely cup of coffee and a wafer biscuit looking through various brochures obtained from the Sunderland City Information centre which is truly the best I have seen anywhere in the UK. I was interested in three types of information. There was bus information for those going to Durham City, Middlesbrough and Carlisle as well as into parts of Northumberland. These are long hall day trip although the trip to Durham City from Sunderland is forty five minutes and there should be a similar time taking trip direct from South Shields. Some of the trips were from Sunderland Newcastle and onward so it will be possible for me to take the short in time route by Metro to Newcastle central bus station and from their or from other metro stops to Northumbrian towns such as Alnwick and Warwick. One issue is that with people like me travelling outward from 9.30 there could be homeward congestion so it might be risky to leave departures until the last buses. The second kind of information was on places further field where I have booked accommodation this summer, including Oxfordshire and Yorkshire. There was also some local event information although from previous experience the city library across the way has the more comprehensive range of cultural event programmes.

I rarely give way to day dreaming about situations which are unlikely such as what would I do if I won the European Lottery in a week where the fund had accumulated, but today as I set off to buy some canvasses, I indulged and continued with the concept when I returned home.

My priority would be family interests followed by supporting charitable and cultural interests as I am only able to do now on a very modest scale. But then everything else would be used to build and equip a black monolith building on Tyneside, hopefully planning permission would be given here in South Shields. A six floor structure clad in black polished stone with black glass. Thus recreating the black monoliths in which the main confidential component of the work will be housed. (Not everything treated as confidential will be secured beyond human curiosity, I have decided with red display units full of boring stuff house receipts and household communications suggest bank statements, income tax accounts gas and electricity accounts which could be displayed and become public access after a period of years after the security information contained in them no longer mattered and the names of employees identified no longer mattered.)

The argument being that only some material is never released to the public by the state such as on the workings and activities of the security services, especially those involving covert operations. I was amused by the outbursts of righteous indignation about the collusion of the media between the media, the Government and the Palace over the deployment on the front line of Prince Harry, although George Galloway on Question Time was consistent in his true colours defending the actions of Castro who imposed censorship and curtailed human rights because he regarded his country as being under constant attack by the United States, which it was of course, and where in 1939 we had to impose similar restrictions while we waited for the German onslaught on our people and their shores. The suspicion I have about George and others on the far left and right is that for them the control of the media would not be a short term expedient born of necessity but become a permanent way of government. This has been the evidence of all previous situations. Was Mr Galloway also beings serious when he appeared to be giving support for the way of life of the Taliban, while in the same breadth defending the high expenses spending life of those dependent upon public funds, on the grounds that those part of capitalist enterprises were able to use used business funds for lavish expenses approved lifestyle. This is class war hypocrisy George and the sin of all those prepared to misuse public funds. Mind you there is also just as much hypocrisy on the part of the unfettered capitalist who exploit the poor and uneducated.

I am presently set on my building having six floors to create a separate areas for guests which would be excluded from the 24 hour on line surveillance, recording and broadcasting system of everywhere else, except for bodily function areas. Within the edifice the rooms would be similar to those I have experienced during my life, in terms of size including height and recreating how the presentation of the work has developed as well as the work itself combining the routine daily living experience with the ongoing working activity. Retirement is only a concept for those who do not like or enjoy their work or wish to have greater financial.

If the amount was truly huge I would incorporate into the adjacent land area of the site, a restaurant cum bar, with facilities for music and song performances restricted to jazz, especially traditional jazz and the blues and a small complex of art studios and accommodation units to enable individuals to work and live while they attempted to establish their work. Dream on Dream on.

The second purpose of the trip was to purchase of four double primed, medium grain and hand made canvasses 16'' x 16'' to become part of the Black and White project which so far includes 101 copies of my 400 page autobiographical creative statement with 101 photos, which have been separately framed full size in Black and White and the first edition of 101 selected statements which are to be framed for display when the final version have been decided edition.

There will be 104 of the canvasses created, 101 for display with three reserves to complete four sets of 24 plus the 4 artman glitter and artman 100,75 project registration cards. Each Canvass will include an actual black or white A 4 size card, although I am yet to decide on the proportion where the card or photo card will be viewable or where it will have been submerged by acrylic, including acrylic representations of black and white cards. Pastel, crayon, pencil and watercolour will also be among the material used in addition to photographic montages, but while there will be a black and white A 4 size space, the surround will be worked in other colours.

Each canvass will be numbered within the creative sets where the range is 4001-8999, cards 96024-215976 as they will contain an actual card, and in some instances the painted representation of the card, or the additional photograph of the card which it covers. Although I am not a numerologist, the work will commence on the 69th anniversary of 9.3.39. I wonder what are the odds of a lottery ticket comprising 3. 9.12 36 39 42 or 3 .6..9 12, 15 etc?

My evening meal was shared with a second viewing of the first film in series of three Goal 1 where I recently I Goal 2 for the first time. I saw the first film in theatre at its North East Preview having attended the two games at St James Park, against Chelsea and against Liverpool which are included in the film and interestingly only recently stood waiting for a bus opposite the Tynemouth terraced housing overlong the beach included in the film after my visit to the Church of St George at Cullercoats. The order of viewing the two films on DVD was set by the service supplier and it was consequently interesting to find what I had forgotten and to learn that the three film scenario had been agreed with FIFA and FA from the outset, concentrating on a British Premiership club in Goal 1, the European Club competition in Goal 2 and the World Cup in Goal 3, although getting Mexico, the USA or Spain to be the World Cup winners for which the star could be shown to have become eligible will be interesting. Newcastle was selected not just because the club had become internationally known with the first Keegan era, but because the ground is located on a peak of the hill which forms the greater part of the city, if filled to capacity with 52000 supporters and has the greatest night life on par with any other city in the world in a concentrated area from the Bigg Market in Grangertown down to the quayside and where between the High and Low Level Swing Bridges and the Millennium swing Bridge there is the Contemporary Art centre and the Sage Concert Halls and other developments on the Gateshead riverside.

Although the intention was to show modern football and its impact on cities, Newcastle and Madrid so far, the film is also about the impact of the rocketing economic and social status of becoming a international football star with the family (the Mexican father grandmother and brother of Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker) becoming USA illegal economic migrants in California where he is discovered by a former Geordie players and scout on holiday is given a Newcastle Trial where the International sounding Manager reminds of the new English Manager, and he hooks up with the goal scoring aging playboy Gavin Harris played by Alessandro Nivola and meets his future live in girl friend, who has the film name of Nurse Roz Harmison, (Anna Friel) which interestingly is the same surname as Durham and England Cricketer and Newcastle fanatical fan Steve Harmison. I had also missed the first time round the segment of the film on what it is like to play in the cold with driving snow and gale which is a features of playing and watching football in this region, and elsewhere of course but where here some male fans strip to the waist. I enjoyed the film even more than the first occasion.

I was disappointed with the second round of male performers in American Idol except for 17 year old David Archuleta who brought floods of tears to just about everyone from Paula Abdul, to his mom, and me, even Simon looked moved with his performance of Imagine, with Paula saying he was about to become a superstar. Simon's comments that there were now 19 other depressed contestants was not the kiss of death with the public as only David himself can prevent his otherwise inevitable success.

The Day they robbed the Bank of England, Honey Pot and Foreighner

Wednesday was a day where I never got going because of three news items. The first was the radio heard information that there had been an earth quake although it later in the day before the impact on people and on buildings was understood, No one was killed or badly injured so too much cannot be made of the event but it is evident from those living within 50 miles of its epicentre that it was a terrifying experience of both sound and movement, as has been shown from a CCTV. As I was tired when I went to bed it may be that I slept through anything felt here or the impact was less because of additional distance. My thoughts are with those who were understandably upset. It brought back memories of the understanding I had about the impact of an atomic and then nuclear weapon which led me to take action in later 1950's and early 1960's and where later in the 1980's I attended the national civil defence centre for training and understood the reality from the perspective of dealing with the aftermath of an attack in one city. On one hand there was that moment of horror and helplessness as the impact was reported on a part of the city where family, friends and work colleagues were resident, but the next there was a raft of decisions to be taken such as the conservation of immediately available and uncontaminated food for use by those with a chance of survival, while but excluded those who were dying.

In a throw back to those days, a small group of young men and women queue to attend a morning committee debate, apparently had a warm drink in a cafeteria, which I always believed could only be used with the assistance of a Member of the Lords or Commons, or a member of their staff, and then took a lift to the top of the building and on the roof above the main chamber of the House where the protest continued for three hours, including the period of Prime Minister's Question Time. It is noteworthy that one protestor was able to handcuff themselves to the roof and that a spokesperson confirmed that prior to the visit they had obtained the relevant information about how to reach the roof. A police spokesperson also confirmed the assumption that these individuals had inside help, wittingly or unwittingly, This story is yet to unfold as the individuals have been arrested and are being held overnight while further enquiries are made. The right to protest is fundamental to the nature of Britishness and is separate from the war on terrorism.

I set off to make a purchase in Sunderland and to then post in order to reach destination before weekend and I had travelled four fifth of the journey before it hit me, I had left my credit cards at home. I had sufficient cash to make a quick visit to the Aldo supermarket before deciding to make a further journey early on the morrow. It was that kind of the day. The Prime Minister held the upper hand throughout Question time with the Official Opposition Leader not on form and appeared to have been badly briefed. The new Liberal Leader has no Charisma and everyone other that his own group enjoyed poking fun over his behaviour yesterday and at one point the Speaker warned that he was straying close to jeopardising his position once more. It struck me the man would be more comfortable protesting on the roof than trying to mix it with the big boys in the Commons.

I watched three unmemorable films while sorting out the in tray and then attending to some communications. It is difficult to say which was the worst. The 1960 film The Day they robbed the Bank of England was released while I was in prison and was set during the time when pressure was being exerted to introduce a Home Rule Bill for Ireland. The film is about an IRA plan to steal all the gold in the vaults of the Bank of England and bring in a an expert mercenary from the USA to mastermind the venture. His approach is to befriend one of the senior officers appointed to supervise the round o'clock military guard and the level at which the man gives away crucial information and provides a tour, together with the failure of the local authorities to check and locate the potential point of entry appeared risible at the time, but then of course four decades later some young people get on the roof of Commons with their banners.

I had a little interest in this film because the senior officer in question, a major, is played by Peter O'Toole and it is alleged his performance led to his internationally acclaimed role in Lawrence of Arabia, a film I like to watch once every decade or so. I also have a copy of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. At least the Honey Pot or Honey Pot was never intended to be taken seriously. This 1967 UK film version runs for two and half hours, that in the USA about twenty minutes shorter. The plot is based on the Ben Johnson play Volpone, regarded as the best Jacobean comedy, set in Venice where a Gentleman pretends to be on his deathbed in order to dupe and test out those seeking to inherit his fortune and who arrive with appropriate gift to ingratiate themselves. In the film the oldish gentleman is played by Rex Harrison and the three aspirants are each former mistresses, one lived as his common law wife. The ladies are played by Capucine, the former French 17 year old who was discovered and became a model for Givenchy and Dior and later played with Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films. Susan Hayward was an outstanding actress of my generation with five best actress nomination and the award in 1958 for I want to live. She performed in some seventy films from 1937 until 1972, living longer than predicted until 1975 after diagnosis with brain cancer. She was only 57, a Catholic convert, who outlived her second husband and great love of her life by some nine years. I have seen a large number of her films with the most memorable Beau Geste in 1939. Reap the Wild Wind, Jack London, Smash Up, the story of a woman, My Foolish Heart, Rawhide. David and Bathsheba, With a Song in my Heart, Demetrious and the Gladiators, the Snows of Kilimanjaro, I'd climb the highest mountain and I'll Cry tomorrow. Others which I have seen but have no visual memory are Valley of the dolls, Back Street, The Conqueror, Soldier of Fortune, Our leading Citizen, Untamed, Thunder in the Sun, The fighting Seabees and A letter from Bataan. I adored her, as did my Aunt Harriet. She was given the name, as close to Rita Hayworth as the studio thought they could get away with. Rita Hayworth has never had the same effect on me. The more I look at the list of her films, their names seem familiar and yet her films are rarely shown these days. The individual whose role and performance rivalled that of Rex Harrison was not the third mistress but another great actress Maggie Smith, now Dame Maggie Smith, known today for her roles in the Harry Potter films but who has a list of memorable performance second to none and whose work will be covered another day. In this early film she is the only one who makes her role credible. The film is shot in a Venetian Palace. Anne Bancroft was due to take on the role of the third mistress but perhaps she read the script.

The final film was the Steven Segal piece of nonsense called the Foreigner in which he is paid to collect and take a package with the consequence that several buildings are spectacularly blown up, about 100 people are indiscriminately murdered for being in the wrong place and the wrong time, and the only regret is that not everyone ends being slaughtered by each other, especially Mr Segal. He was at the box office and by the critics.

The main reason why I had the TV on with these films as background was because I was giving thought to the latest disclosures about the former Child Care home on the Island of Jersey where the police have been investigating a large number of complaints of physical and sexual violence going back fifty years with the assistance of the NSPCC and where sum forty individual member of staff have so far been identified together with the skeletal remains believed to be of one young person and where the specialist dog searcher appears to have identified other areas meriting investigation.

This is the latest of similar investigations regarding significant sexual and physical violence by staff and other senior people within the child care system within the United Kingdom and its associated territories which first came to attention in the 1980's and which reach its peak in the 1990 when police carried out investigations in the majority of social service child care providing areas and where investigation were also carried out in homes managed by religious bodies, particularly those run by the Catholic Church. I mention associated territories because Jersey is a Crown Dependency for the purpose of providing protection for its borders and its people from external aggression. It is however not part of the UK or the E.E.C with its own internal police and judicial system. It is also full of British and French Tax Exiles.

There are two differences between this and previous investigations on he UK mainlands. The first is that remains on a young person have been identified and that there is a strong suspicion and some preliminary indication that other remains will be found. The second is that the Island's police force at its highest level is being open and direct in a way which indicates, as has been stated on camera, the former children who have complained have been believed, this time. It is understood some 80 have come forward with specific complaints, making reference to some forty different individuals.
Their cooperation with media questioning and interest may be that they are only too aware how difficulty it has been to bring and succeed with criminal prosecutions in the UK without which the victims are ineligible for state compensation, and that without someone from within the system providing evidence of corporate negligence individual authorities, public and private, are unlikely to be persuaded to make voluntary compensation payments, and where even in the few instances where this has happened, there is no public or private admission of liability. This has left the victims without having achieve a meaningful sense of justice. It is hoped that the investigations and the publicity has resulted in improved selection and monitory of staff and the system. Throughout the period when the crimes against the children were committed there was supposed to have been an effective government system of inspection and which led one Government Health Minister in the days of the first Tony Blair Government to go on record to say that had it been legally possible previous administrations should have been prosecuted for criminal negligence.

I still spend time asking myself if I could have done more than I did in the decade to 2003 to help the victims who came to me for assistance. One issue which I continue to feel strongly about is the tendency to refer to physical and sexual criminal violence against children and young people as abuse. I find myself still talking of abuse. I suspect that referring to sexual and physical violence against children and young people as abuse has contributed to Government, the judicial system, the media and society somehow treating these crimes as being less important than those against adults.

There will be Blood and politics

I like to write first thing in the morning but today Wednesday my attention was diverted first by hearing on the radio while getting up that around the time I went to bed there was the biggest earthquake in the UK with its epicentre in Lincolnshire but with people feeling the ground move over 100 miles away. Apparently twenty five years ago there was one more powerful. This surprises me as I have no recollection.

I switched the television on when coming downstairs only find that media attention has changed to the roof top of the House of Commons where protestors about the proposed third runway at London airport Heathrow had got into the Houses of Parliament with large banners, had a cup of tea in the cafeteria and then taken a lift to the roof, all without being checked, especially as there were half a dozen of them now communicating with the media through their mobile phones. There will be a monster row about security at a time when the Commons has become preoccupied with the use of expenses. Is this some orchestrated plot, perhaps officially inspired by interests who believe there is the need to tighten security? My problem is knowing whether this is legitimate because the terrorist threat is real and people are not willing to switch into a total war mode unless the troops are at the door or there are a series of terrorist atrocities as developed in Northern Ireland, or if this is part of a plan to push the nation into accepting a tighter control over individual liberties by those who need such control in order to govern. One would have to be in higher echelons of internal security system to know, and given the Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister programmes one wonders if this was so, would Ministers know anyway? However it is more likely complacent laxity by officials coupled with the genuine desire to enable the public to visit the Commons for debates and to lobby their Members of Parliament.

I once promoted a lobby of Parliament by social workers in favour of the creation of one system of public funded social casework practice in the UK rather than the ad hoc developments as local politicians and Medical officers Health found ways to try and thwart the abolition of the posts under reorganisation proposals for the National health Service. The organisers of the march and lobby decided to issue a press release saying that I was leading the protest and which had an amusing by-product. I had written to my Member of Parliament for area of Teddington when I then lived and his secretary had replied sending his regrets that he would be unable to see me because of another commitment that day. Clearly his secretary had noted the reference to my position in the morning press and advised him that it would be expedient for him to see me. I was unaware of this and on after walking around Parliament Square Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament to queue for entry in an orderly fashion, technically it was a walk because a march was not allowed while Parliament was in Session I entered the central Lobby with colleagues who I joined whoever their Member of Parliament responded to the submission of a card advising of their arrival. I did not submit the request having received the letter in the post saying he was unavailable. One of the leaders of a committee of senior representatives of social work organisations, who was a little put out by he publicity given to my limited role, drew my attention that the Member of Parliament was looking for me, unaware of the letter I had received. Eventually I found the man who obviously had come away from a long lunch with alcoholic refreshment and I then had one of those conversations worthy of a comedy sketch in which one sober and serious individual attempts to explain issues to an inebriated 'what am I doing here' politician. Fortunately a group of professional colleagues had surrounded me for the exchange the exchange and were able to bear witness to the surreal event. The press the following day were impressed by the number of social workers who participated, as were the organisers, given that it was the first event of its nature and that those participating represented the full range of social casework interests and had journeyed from all parts of the UK, and they had also commented on the way we had conducted ourselves and therefore gave our arguments and concerns sympathetic coverage, which in turn helped the government and other party political leaders to understand and give attention to our position. Sometimes there is a ritualistic reality about what happens in Parliament and British Politics, with today's Prime Minister's Question time a good example, but at other's it can be indicate the open nature of British politics and the responsiveness of governments and politicians to a good case made in the right way.

I like to write for as long as possible when I wake, in my other period, late evenings, after I have my evening siesta and recovered, the output is less and inevitably requires rewriting and correction, especially when the recovery is limited, I quickly become tired again and have to go bed. If posted at night I usually have to reedit when the piece is checked.

Previously, only a matter of hours in fact, I expressed surprise that Not a country for Old men won the Oscar as I did not consider it to be a great film although the subject was of interest, and this was the only film of those nominated I had seen. Yesterday afternoon I experienced There will be Blood. I had not considered the film a priority after seeing the trailer although Day Lewis was heavily tipped for the Oscar Best Actor award, his fourth nomination for such a role in his short film career to-date. What tipped me into seeing the film were the comments of Mark Kermode who had experienced the film three times in order to understand its cinematic significance and overall effectiveness. I have only seen it once, read some of the reviews and reached roughly the same conclusion as Mark. It is an interesting way of telling a particular story and communicating something about the forces at work in society throughout time. The story of the film is the reality of the development of oil exploration on mainland USA from just before the turn the 1900 until the great stock market crash at the end of the 1920's. It is the closest I have experienced so far to what it must have been like to have been one of the first vertical shaft prospectors, initially for precious metals, and then for oil. Some ways of dying are worse than others and dying down a vertical shaft, especially if at the time you were working on your own and fatally injured, must have been a horrible experience. It is however only one of many.

There have been other films about the early days of oil prospecting in the USA, with the most memorable James Dean in Giant, and also other films where the problem of putting out a well on fire has been a feature, and many of us retain images of what happened in the first Gulf War.. Another aspect which struck me is that in some respects this is a film which starts where the Coen Brothers (previously misspelt) have left off, as they become more mainstream Hollywood.

Paul Thomas Anderson who directed, produced and wrote the script of There Will be Blood, loosely uses ideas and concepts from the Upton Sinclair 1927 novel Oil. Born 1970, he was only 18 when he made a 30 mins film about a well endowed porn star which nine years later he turned into a successful full length feature called Boogie Nights with Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg, and making Julianne Moore into a an A list star. It is difficult to judge, I saw Boogie Nights several years ago, how much the interest was because of the subject and how much because of his skill and approach to film making. It was only with Magnolia when he tackled the interaction between seven individuals in a day, using the familiar to him territory of the San Fernando Valley, that this work achieved international recognition with over 100 critics putting the film in their top ten list, achieving three academy award nominations with Tom Cruise for best support role as an actor. This is his first film for five years. He has had 5 nominations for Oscars so far, 4 for Baftas, wining 2 of three nominations at Berlin and 1 of 2 at Cannes covering three of his five full length feature films.

I can understand why Daniel Day Lewis received the acting Oscar. Day Lewis was born into a creative family with his father the Poet Laureate and his mother the daughter of Michael Balcon, the film maker. He was a conventional unconventional youth, unruly and self determining with an early passion for acting and for working with his hands in wood, and at one time he considered becoming an apprentice cabinet maker. In1989 he won his first Acting Oscar for his role as disabled Christy Brown, in My Left Foot, insisting on remaining in character in his wheel chair through every day on set. For his role in the Last of the Mohicans he went off into the wilderness and learnt to live of the land, camping hunting and fishing, including the skinning of animals. For his role as Jim Conlon in the Name of the Father he spent time in a prison cell, kept his Irish accent on and off the set and insisted on being physically abused as the character was in the film. For the film the Boxer he trained for two years with Barry McGuigan, the former world Champion. For a time he disappeared in Italy, where in Florence it is known he worked as an apprentice to a shoe maker. After a gap of five years he returned to the screen with Gangs of New York, receiving his third Best acting nomination and the British Bafta title. He was then offered a role in a film directed by his wife, the daughter of Arthur Miller the playwright and because it concerned the tale of a dying man with regrets about his life, he separated from his wife to experience the loneliness and isolation of the role. In addition to his two Oscars he has won three Baftas. One Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild. He has become the finest English speaking Character Actor of the present generation, to be compared to the great greats of the past.

In several of his roles he has played men of extreme violence and in There will be blood he also ends his life in the film in isolation madness, reminding of Citizen Kane. There is also the brief suggestion in the film of an underage sexual relationship with the daughter of the family with whom the greater part of the film is built around. After achieving success in oil drilling as an independent operator his reputation is such that he approach by the son of the Sunday family who live in the middle of nowhere on arid land that is only fit to graze goats and where the land will not sustain wheat so there is no bread, only potatoes. He pays some money up front for information about the land with oil underneath and keeps a promise to pay a total of ten thousand dollars if the information proves accurate. He then buys out the land of the Sunday family as a prelude to buying all the land over the field with one exception which he puts to one side. The obstacle to his success with the project in the second twin son of the Sunday family, a self proclaimed preacher of the Church of the Third Way and faith healer. First the young man requests an additional payment for his Church on top of the money offered to buy out the land of his father and then he asks to bless the first drilling rig. In both instances the admitted competitiveness within the character resists the young preacher, until Day Lewis forced to go through the motions of accepting the role of the preacher and to become baptised when he needs to take a pipeline through the one piece of land he did not originally buy and the owner is a member of the Third Way Church. He also gives the 5000 dollars to the young preacher who then goes off to make his fortune as a radio priest and healer.

The main character has also adopted the son of a colleague who accidentally dies in the early days of prospecting and in an accident when the first rig strikes oil on the Sunday land the boy goes deaf and is eventually abandoned to a special school. As part of his deal to secure the pipeline he brings his son home and later the young man marries one of the daughters of the Sundays, so that the preacher becomes his brother, returning to beg for money when he loses his investments in the great crash. What then happens ends the film and brings point to the film's title.

At one level this is therefore a study of an ambitious and competitive, ruthless and violent, man who degenerates into madness, who dislikes talking about himself but occasionally does so admitting he likes to win, and hates the rest of mankind. He is a typical adventuring capitalist, always looking for the best deal and prepared to go to any length to achieve his objectives. He parades his young son as a way of connecting with families. There are only hints about his background and the relationship with his own father, with the unstated indication that he was abused, perhaps sexually abused, given his lack of interest in adult women throughout the film, even when he is hugged and fondled by women when he is baptised. He has no redeeming features much like the Xavier Bardon character in No Country for Old men. In fact there are similarities between the two films as a struggle between good and evil, although in There will be Blood it is a struggle between a dubious evangelical Christianity and Capitalism. At the end of the film the preacher brother church admits that he has sinned possibly to the same order as the Day Lewis character. The Day Lewis Character responds to his brother in law as he did when someone posed as his biological half brother. The Day Lewis character longs to have a close relationship with someone, but then destroys when it does not measure up to the beliefs and hopes of childhood.

Perhaps this in fact a film about the reality of being human and the issues which arise from being open and honest about ones view of the world, driving everyone with the truth, ending life in isolation and madness, and also about the hypocrisy of some of those who profess high moral values but fail to practice what they preach. The Day Lewis character responds to the offer of becoming a millionaire and selling out his oil find from Standard Oil by saying that he only knows oil exploration and the Spartan life with goes with it. When he stops doing this and tries to enjoy his wealth he falls apart. Similarly the preacher is very successful when he has a small and poor congregation but becomes the being he detests when he seeks the trappings of success.

There has to be one final word about the Radiohead music score which many will hate, but which is effective in creating the mood of this film.

As antidote to the seriousness of all this I watched the third in Dirty Dozen series over my evening meals of a mixed vegetable starter with half a glass of red wine followed by a baked sea bass with Italian herb seasoning, followed by green grapes and strong unsweetened rich percolated ground coffee. Later I watched the missed episode of Lost which takes us no further except that the helicopter with Sayed is said not to have reached the freighter and a fast forward reveals that Kate has had a child by Sawyer which means that Jack although speaking for her at her trial for having killed her father to save her mother, for which she only receives probation when mother refuses to give evidence against her, cannot demonstrate his continuing love for her while she has the other man's child. I went to bed and missed the earthquake. I slept long and dreamt long on waking, feeling some of the images still

Oscars and Baftas, Politics and Social Work Services

This year I watched the short hour length Oscar show, preceded by half an hour of introductions and red carpet interviews from the British viewpoint, and which underlined that apart from individual shows, the Oscars is regarded as the make or break fashion event of the year. The British perspective, for those who appear to be more interested in who is wearing what, was presented by the gorgeous and empathetic Kate Thornton who came to the fore, first with the pre and post competition shows of British Idol and then moved onto becoming the main show presenter. I felt I had contributed to her rise to fame by sending one of my appreciative emails to her management. She then disappeared from within the range of my periscope and then within the last month she was doing the red carpet outside the Baftas and the Oscars.

I mention this because it emphasises that once you get your break you have to give yourself wholeheartedly and without reservation to whatever it is you wish to succeed at and this usually involves being accepted and appreciated by the tribe of interest. My own experience centred on the child care social work tribe in the middle to late 1960's when I was taken up by one and then other influential and well connected individuals, thrust onto the activity stage, took full use of the opportunities and soon became known, developed a constituency and then found myself in a world where your accumulating record became your entry into more and more spheres of activity and influence. I then dropped out of this scene in order to learn and survive in the new world of social services management which was created during a period of five years when there was open and covert warfare over the future of social work, the personal social services, the health services and social security provisions in the UK, and reorganisations of local government, first in greater London and then throughout the whole of the UK.

While there was at times heated disagreement about the structure of Local Government, the National Health Service and the Social Security Services, there was general acceptance that there should be a national government run universal system for the provision of financial support to families and individuals divided between entitlements applicable to everyone, such as state pensions from the age of 60 for females and 65 for males and child benefit allowance for the first and subsequent children irrespective of financial circumstances, together with a range of financial supports based on individual assessments but where there was national policy, payment criteria and processes, which meant that you followed the same procedures and were assessed and awarded the same amounts wherever you lived with the consequence of fair system for everyone

This was also broadly the same approach in relation to the National Health Hospital Service which was divided between medical consultants and administrators, with nursing doing the work but having little say on policy and organisation, and where forty years later and twenty and more management restructurings and attempts change the balance of interests and power between doctors, nurses and the organisation and management of computer programmes, everyone from Prime Minister to ward cleaner has not worked out what works and what does not, despite the growth in people employed, and in other resources, and despite improvement is many aspects of heath care. The arguments about organisation and management continue, and between a public funded and the private service and on the mixture of the two.

In social work the dilemma was whether to bring all the different public funded social casework work services, there were eight, into one professional and management system, or leave this to be decided by the local authorities with responsibilities for the majority, but where probation and prison work was part of the judicial system where it remains in England and Wales and within hospitals and other health services, which was subsequently brought under social services, and where there were also those who functioned within the charitable and non statutory section, provided by religious based bodies, and a plethora of individual bodies, some international, while others restricted to an area and sometimes employing one individual with a committee.

The decision was to bring everyone, exception probation and prison after care, in England and Wales into one training system and to call everyone a social worker, and leave it to employing bodies whether they continued to specialise in their chosen interest, or commenced to become Jack's and Jill's of social work practice as they were being trained to do. The problem was that a bloody war, in terms of job power and survival developed within the health services which led to the abolition of Medical Officers of Health and their powerful role within local government and to the abolition of the Hospital Administrator, subsequently, from which the Chief Executive was created, as someone with generic management skills and increasingly a capitalist commercial background, and which for a period of two years led to an unsuccessful attempt by local authority medical officers trying to hijack the local authority social services, including those of social work, and an equally bloody power and position battle between Children's Officers and Adult Welfare Service Managers where those behind the proposed creation of a combined social services and social work department within local government assumed the increasingly professionally qualified but small Child Care Service would predominate over the largely unqualified, except in the fields of mental health, but administratively larger, adult welfare service, when what happened was the effective and immediate destruction of the qualified and specialist child care service within local government.

The abolition of the Local authority Medical Officer of Health was a profound mistake and nothing will shake my belief that although you need to have a Chief Executive who is administratively and managerial competent and capable of operating in a business like way, he should be first and foremost a medical man or woman. You do have the best legal firms in the world run by people who did not train and practice as lawyers.

I had played a key, a pivotal role in preventing the take over by health of social work, not because it was a bad thing in principle, but because Medical Officers of Health and their employers were doing it for the worst of possible reasons, and had no idea about the nature and need for social casework, especially in relation to children and in the field of Mental Health. There were eight or nine different variations of reorganisations within local authority social services at the time and those of us directly involved in influencing and advising government were warned that unless this situation was stopped in its tracks it would be impossible to persuade parliament to introduce one system for England and Wales. I was put in charge of a committee to do that and within months we did.

However I was then frozen out from being directly involved in the subsequently battles for the nature of social work training and the organisation of social services within the local government structure because of my stated opposition to the formation of one social work organisation and to generic social work practice.. I was one of three votes cast against the abolition of the child care body and its absorption within the British Association (similar to those who see Britain being better outside of Europe unless it is able to maintain control over some fundamental aspects of Britishness). There were those who thought I was just peeved because it meant I would not move from Vice President to President, although I was to become the first chairman of the Family and Child Care section within BASW, whereas I could foresee this was no more than a step towards the deplorable and disastrous loss of skill and expertise and which it then took three decades of child deaths and child abuse within the new care system before government and the local authorities realised there was no alternative but to go back to having two structures, one for children under or allied to the education service, and one for adult social services allied to health.

There was another reason why I quickly dropped out of national involvements, I had to learn all about the services for adults, their needs and wishes, the professional policies and procedures, including the legislation. On day I was involved only in child care and the very next with services for the elderly, the disabled and those with mental health issues and where I had no training or previous experience, thus it was so for everyone, but with the difference that I held a management post with responsibility for devising the working arrangements to implement national policies as agreed and interpreted by my local authority employers, and at a time when my job, as with all jobs in England and Wales outside of London was to be abolished in three years with the creation of a new Local Government and Health management system, and where the local government and health systems were not to be coterminous.

What most of the general public did not understand, and I suspect together with many of those in Parliament without a knowledge of how local government works in practice, is that even if you have legislation introducing one pattern of services or one policy covering all local government provision of a service, the practice will vary between types of local authority structure and between authorities within the different types of authority. Indeed it was evident that within social services there were departments where thee was little or no change in how things were organised or in the levels and quality of services between 1971 and 1974 and I also got to know of situations where this was largely the situation two decades later, despite the changes in titles and defined written roles. This was not a surprise to me as I had previously joined one the biggest children's department in the UK where things had not changed for the better for two decades and some appalling care and practices had been allowed to develop.

It took me a decade to sort myself out in the new situation before I decided to accept invitations to participate in national activities and matters of national influence, and then restricted to a subject which I had come to know something about through personal experience and study. Then just as I had become confident and useful I learnt of proposals to change the Child Care and Adult Services in a fundamental way again and to do so in manner which would replicate the chaos and mismanagement of thirties year before. Although I attempted to respond to the national policy challenge and personal occupation challenge, combining my previous experience with that gained subsequently, I failed, in part through my own fault, although only a further decade was to pass before others decided that I had been right in the late sixties and early seventies as well as in the late eighties and early 1990's and commenced to make the essential changes. During those years I had learnt one important fact about myself and the system. It is easier to have an influence if you separate presenting and achieving the idea from oneself. If the objective is to stop something bad happening or change something for the better then personal gain and recognition should always be secondary and in most instances unnecessary and undesirable. Get others to do what you cannot do yourself.

This is not so for the stage and film actor and the makers if theatricals and films. Once you have made it you have to keep yourself at the forefront of attention within the profession and in the public eye, such is the competition and the difficulty achieving a comeback. It can be done, but it is wise not to take the risk, unless you are confident in what else you decide to do. These thoughts came to mind as I watched with frustration while one third of the Oscar's programme was devoted to the red carpet.
For the first time in several years I failed to see the films where the critics suggested film and acting performance could put them in the running, and even the announcement of nomination did not drive me immediately into the cinema, although I hold a fist of free seat vouchers. I plan to remedy from today or tomorrow. I also did not watch or listen to any news bulletins or magazine type programmes during Monday so that there would that mixture of emotions as the awards were announced. The Cohen Brothers received three Oscars on the night (to add to their previous one), for the best film, best direction and best adapted screen play from a published work. No country for Old men also resulted in an Oscar for Javier Barden as supporting actor, who together with Daniel Day Lewis and Marion Cotillard transformed themselves beyond facial recognition in their respective roles. Admittedly Day Lewis looks like his character from Gangs of New York and I was surprised that the film did not sneak in as best film given the praise from Mark Kermode although he does advocate seeing the film several times and being able to move around during the three hours of the film which I hope to see tomorrow. I was also interested by his comments about Juno to add the film to my list for which Diablo Cody received the award for original screen play.

Michael Clayton did rather well with Tilda Swinton replicating her Bafta for supporting actress and much nominated Atonement received one award for Music, while the Bourne Ultimatum got three in the area of sound and its editing, and for film editing. The importance of the Oscars in the world of world film box office is such that everyone nominated attends and everyone receiving a high profile award last year hands over awards to this year. Your future career depends on it.

Before the Oscar ceremony there was time to see the first 90 minutes of the original Howard Hawkes 1946 bringing to the screen of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, a film declared culturally, historically and aesthetically significant in 1997 to become part of the National Film Register. I have seen this film at least twice during the past decades, together with To have and Have not, made in 1944 which made her into a star when aged 19 having been a fashion model, and was drawn to the attention of Hawke's wife who showed him her photograph. She met three times married Humphrey Bogart on set and despite the restraints on and off the screen at that time, it is evident from their performance together, and subsequently in Dark Passage and Key Largo that this was to be the love of their lives. Two more films which I see again and again from time to time. The Hemingway novel based To have and have not has several echoes of the role which Bogart, (together with Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henried, Claude Raines, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet) made into my at least once a year re-experience best film of all time, Casablanca. The Big Sleep has a complex plot which makes two viewings in quick succession to ensure one understands fully and some knowledge of the book is also helpful because a key issue in the film is blackmail over a pornographic photo, which has to be adjusted for what was allowed on screen, just as in the book Lauren's character strips naked and into Bogart's bed in order to bring him on side for her version of events, whereas in the film she is sitting dressed in his room in a chair. In the Michael Winner, Robert Mitcham version of the same film, the issues of pornography and homosexuality are raised openly, and there is nudity, but this adds nothing to the strength of the original production. Great is a generally misapplied expression, which I am as guilty of using as everyone else but great is what Humphrey Bogart was in all his work with Casablanca and the African Queen my two favourites. I came to see Lauren Bacall from her later work and it is only when viewing again those films made in her twenties does her young beauty combined with a worldly charisma hit you. She sings and swings a jazzy number in the film which emphasises her multi talent and it is easy to see why Bogart was swept off his feet and you can feel the enduring love when she speaks of him now in her eighties.

In contrast to the weightiness of the winning films of the Oscars and the Big Sleep, I have been enjoying reliving the first seven episodes of Yes Minister commenced in 1979 but held over until 1980 because of the election that year, There were only seven episodes in the three series of Yes Minister and 8 in each of the two series of Yes Prime Minister. I have the edited scripts in the form of dairies for the first series of both. There is not one programme which does not contain memorable insights and exchanges about the reality of politics, management, making change, making change work for the better. What amazes me is that even if Prime Ministers and would be Prime Ministers and Cabinet Minister do watch all thirty eight episodes before taking office, they do not appear to learn the lessons. In the opening episode as Jim Hacker comments on his first day at the Ministry of Administrative Affairs, a non existent government department and Cabinet post at the time, he writes of being warned by a colleague that the DA is political graveyard, along with the Home Office. On arrival finds everyone helpful, providing him with his ready made diary of meetings and visits and his boxes of papers requiring his personal attention. In reality a Cabinet Minister will have a team of Ministers and each will be supplied with background information papers on the department, its functions, its staff and its budget and the time table of ongoing commitments, the most important being Parliamentary Question Time, one of the Ministers will be a Member of the House of Lords, for the Department, and the Cabinet and its sub committees for the Cabinet Minister and a whole range of inter departmental committees and sub Committees for the other Ministers and where each activity will have an appropriate civil servant preparing or reviewing the Agenda papers, and preparing information and accompanying the Minister as appropriate. For each Committee or official meeting there would be internal briefing meetings attended by members of the Ministerial Team and Members of civil service at appropriate levels of seniority, although some of those involved will be quite young and comparatively inexperienced. There will also be official political advisers to balance the advice of officialdom. There are two types of Minister and senior Public servant. There are those who are interested in holding the office with its power, status and financial rewards and will fit into the system and carry out the political and managerial policies and practices determined by others, and those who see the position as the opportunity to pursue their political or managerial policies and practices and the best situation is where Chairman and Chief Executive, Minister and Chief Civil Servant, Local authority Chairman and Chief Officer each fall into one of the categories but not both. It does not matter in practice which role is performed by who, as long as the two roles are covered. If both are just interested in their position they are usually skilled in protecting themselves and therefore their department but from the public viewpoint this usually means that nothing will fundamentally change but everything will have the appearance of change and in stable times this can be a good thing, but hopeless in a crisis. If both want to do things and change things themselves then there is usually war and chaos and nothing gets dome and things go from bad to worse as they each concentrate on getting rid of the other. However if they at the same mind and outlook they can implement a revolution. Best therefore is a combination of the two.

I resist the temptation to work through the rest of the first episodes and the others as it would lead to my spending the rest of the day and week, and month, which is not bad idea, but will leave to those days when nothing come immediately to mind. I will also leave until later in the week, commenting about the horror story emerging from the Island of Jersey with the discovery of the remains of a former child in care following complaints about what happened some fifty years ago, and the announcement that other body finds will be expected. Today a former Minister says he will provide information about an earlier cover up. I am an expert on the way things can be covered up for good and for bad reasons, and the Yes Minister and Prime Minister series and books also explains the reality. Hollywood has also been very good at revealing the truth, although all this knowledge has no affect on those engaged in the covering up except to persuade them to become better at it.

Fall of the Roman Empire and Deep in My Heart Brucie

One of my other preoccupations is the nature of Government, democratic or dictatorship and the impact of capitalism on both forms of government. I therefore decided not to look again at those participating in Actor's Studio programmes this afternoon and experience another showing of The Fall of the Roman Empire, the 1964 three hour epic whose cast include Sophia Loren, Alec Guiness, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, Mel Ferrer, Omar Sharif and Finlay Currie. It is such a long time since viewing this feature that a hour passed before I began to remember some of its other aspects and perspectives. Apparently the twenty million dollar epic was a box office failure, which is surprising because of the scale of film, the spectacular sets of Roman, the crowd scenes and the battles. I suspect because the film is dark and bleak which long stretches set in Winter and triumph of evil and suffering over good most of the time.

By the early 1960's there were already several important academic analysis of why the Roman Empire declined and fell, ending perhaps with the spectacle of the rulership being auctioned to the highest bidder, similar to what the UK is doing now with its land, properties and football clubs. The film telescopes many of the important components of the decline and fall around a decade after the death of Caesar, Marcus Aurelius.

I begin by joining those who point out that the decline and ending of Rome was an entirely good thing notwithstanding the achievements emanating from individual Romans, because of centuries of savage killing of people in their hundreds of thousands upon hundreds of thousands, the slavery, the corruption and all aspects of immorality. I would like to believe those who argue that one contribution towards its end was the peaceful and socialistic nature of Christianity, and no doubt many individual Christians lived up to their beliefs, but as subsequent history has shown nations espousing Christianity have proven to be just as bloody and corrupt as those who do not. The films does contain a tiny number of advocates of the Christian way of life who perish, while the majority succumb to the bribes and the immoral pleasures of the corrupt.

I like the comprehensive review of issues provided at, which covers the decline in morals and values, environmental and public health problems, political corruption, unemployment, inflation, urban decay, Inferior technology, and military spending and if all these sound facility to the West and to the United States in particular, the analysis was presented in the form of a contemporary examination question about the position of the US.

As for the film, it fixes on a period of thirteen years at the end of the second century and has a story very very very loosely based on some factual people and events. The Caesar , played by Alex Guiness was rumoured to have been poisoned and "his son", Commodus was also rumoured to have been the offspring of a relationship between his wife and a gladiator and factually Commodus fought like a gladiator and liked and used gladiators. As the film ends an attempt is made to bribe the military to into choosing the next Caesar and in fact three months after the assassination of Commodus, Didius Julianus bribed the Praetorian guard to make him Emperor outbidding Claudius Pompeianus. He was not shown in the film but he actually married the daughter of Marcus Aurelius who in the film first married the King of Persia against her wishes as a consequence of an alliance negotiated by her father. The film closes as she runs off with "Able" after he has slain "Cain" in a fight to the death, and who then when offered the crown decides to go off with his love of life to try and live happy ever after, but you know the relationship with not last beyond the next frame, given all that has gone before. To its credit it is not the kind of film which fills you with optimism or faith, given the reality of the next 1800 years.

Earlier I had written that I envisaged a quiet day of writing,100.75 working, a roast pork Sunday lunch, and lots of TV, including the first series of Yes Minster on a DVD. There was lots of good TV to watch, some at competing times with Fred Dibnah taking precedence over the second part of the Politics Show. I am never up and focused for the early morning Sunday current affairs programme which was a must when conducted by Sir David Frost. Over lunch in addition to the showing of the Fall, there was a remake of the Father of the Bride II where the original film with Spencer Tracey, was part of my childhood visits to the Odeon cinema, although I believe it first came our when I was a teenager, such does time become condensed.

I expected that The Happy Birthday Brucie would take precedence over this weeks Ice Dancing competition. How Harriet would have loved the Brucie programme and the Ice Dancing. Then Lark Rise to Candleford was a must and I decided to watch the new two Oxford based episode Lewis who has carried on the Morse police detective programmes, where I am looking forward to spending a few days this summer. I assumed there would be a multiplay showing of Lost and planned to book the 11pm slot only to find this was not so as everything was being geared up for you know what, which means I then have to keep the TV and Radio off from all news and chat programmes until the evening for the special, and thus also miss the second showing of Lost,. There was back to back repeats of American Idol throughout the day, Queen, the group seems to be permanently appearing in Rio and there is a return of the South Coast yacht series Howard's Way on BBC 4. There was also a whole afternoon devoted to the Actors Studio, from Barbara Streisand, Jane Fonda and Al Pacino, previously seen and Forrest Whitaker who played Ida Amin, and where I managed to catch glimpses while I gave my attention to the Fall and other activities. I quick flick through the flicks did reveal a showing of Noel Coward's Private Lives this afternoon, which I regret I missed.

There was not much physical activity apart from getting up, washing my hair after its cut and putting in the Sunday roast, without spuds. The roast was a chunk of pork with crackling. I kept an ear open so as to watch a programme feature about the introduction of the UK the England, and I presume Wales, free bus travel pass in April, (Scotland already has). The problem is that some local authorities, and the Brighton area was featured, are claiming that they are not likely to receive adequate compensation from the government. I was delighted to hear that I am not the only one contemplating longer trips, and one couple interviewed planned to travel around the coasts. As the programme pointed out the attitude of local authorities is myopic because it fails to allow for the reality that this will mean the over sixties making more trips, spending more money, keeping fitter and healthier and therefore making less demand on the national health service and local authority provided social welfare provision. I was also right to watch Fred Dibnah because he started his programme with a look at the forts of Hadrian Wall, moving on to the Canals. This two for £6 offer of the Pork roast was covered with crackling rather than filled with stuffing. I forgot to mention that the previous day I tried the deep frozen Lobster for the evening meal and discovered why it must be years since I first tried one before and found that the quantity of flesh which can be eaten is small and no more tasty than white meat crab claws where the value is significantly better and more enjoyable. I suspect it is similar to caviar and other posh nosh where preparation and presentation is the what you pay for.

I had mixed reactions to the celebration of the eighty years of age celebration of Bruce Forsythe, given that he was performing during World War II and still managed to hold his own in a tap dancing routine at the start of the programmes and participated in a vigorous Come Dancing finale. He has been part of my childhood with Sunday night at the Palladium, and then series after series of game shows, coming to his own again with the Celebrity Come Dancing series. As the programme revealed he has not been elevated into a national icon in the same way as Lord Dickie Attenborough and Sir Paul McCartney. The feel good factor departed from Lark Rise to Candleford as this week the subject was the impact on a marriage when an otherwise good man drinks to excess and strikes his wife, and then is unwilling to agree to total abstinence as the terms of withdrawing her legal complaint towards him and which sends him to prison. The programme always contains several ongoing stories in addition to the focus of the week, and the level of writing and acting is such to add to accumulating admiration.

It is a notable achievement to be able to enjoy Lewis without giving a moment's consideration to Morse other than to remember the death of a great actor whose work continues to delight as episodes are repeated on one Sat channel after another. Given the recent involvement of a Ruskin College School of art student in the Big Brother Celebrity programme, there was added interest that this episode featured a household of students from the college, one of whom was skilled at drawing and painting the reproduction of scenes with a photographic memory living in his own world, and one, his only friend in life, is one of two murder victims whose definition contemporary art, like my own, is all of life, but whose ideas are outside the box, bringing her into conflicts with society, and to her premature death. It is always a joy to see scenes of the city and the Oxfordshire villages. Those whose everyday working environment is one of the colleges and who are able to enjoy a detached home in a village and who also contribute to the wider society.

It was not until this afternoon that an entertainment film came closer to the reality of my experience Deep in my Heart is an extraordinary film because of the acting, its subject and my experience. It is the story of three women who loved a child born as a result of a rape by a black man of a white woman. The woman, played by Ann Bancroft, is a married catholic with two children in a white neighbourhood just before the assassination of Martin Luther King and her first reaction is that she does not want the child, despite the immediate acceptance and faith of her husband and she remains uncertain until the birth when she decides to place the baby for adoption in the hope that she will find a home and a life of love and acceptance which she knows is not possible in the segregated community in which she lives. They are the kind of couple who marched behind Martin Luther King. The child is brought up by a divorced black foster parent for the next seven years and both she and the child make the assumption that the placement has become a permanent one. Then a new social worker is appointed who arranges and insists on making an adoption placement given the foster mother and child a few days notice. It is the kind of thing that still happened in the USA in the sixties and in other parts of the world but through the creation of a care service created in 1948 and the gradual development of social casework practice, had been largely eliminated by the mid sixties in England and the rest of the UK. By that I mean the quality of decision taking by child care social worker and the courts. The seven year old child would never have been removed from the foster home in such circumstances and all my former colleagues would have fought to have ensured that the situation remained so, for our problem was the difficulty of finding foster homes, let alone adoptive home for black or mixed race children. The child who had been raised in segregated black community is placed with a liberal white woman who is married to a white man who goes along with her enthusiasms, the decision not to bring an additional child of their own in the world and to adopt a child, a half white child into a white middle class background. The couple have no idea about the loving home she had and the brutal way she was removed from it. The adopting woman is also portrayed as a loving woman who tries to reach out to a child where there will always be a barrier, and her efforts to create a mother and child relationship leads her to moving two a black and white mixed neighbourhood, where the child finds she is rejected by both communities, called nigger by the whites and by a name which I cannot remember by the blacks. Between the age of eight years and sixteen she has not friend. The woman's husband refuses to move and she is forced to go to work and to evening school in order to support the two of them. All this could have led to tragic life and the story would never have been told. Then good fortune came the way of the young woman in that she met a Christian young man with an extended family and they married and four boys a girl, then she developed asthma a doctor asked about her background and this led first to finding the foster mother and then her birth mother , and returning to confront her adopted mother. The brilliance fo this film above the previous two of last week, The Lost Child and Antwone Fisher, is degree of truth about those meetings and the disclosure of the fears as well as the hopes, the creation of separate lives and the failure to ever bridge the void that was left when mother, in this instance three, were separated. While the reasons for the separations was due to the colour of skin and the way society thought and acted about colour and race, the film also revealed more fundamental truths, This was the reaction of the brother of the birth mother, who had been told along with to other relatives that the child had died without disclosing she had been raped and the father was black. Everyone will know you were raped he said, not how dreadful for you, what a burden you have carried. The film ends with a gathering of all three families in which the innocent victim of what could have been such a tragedy has a sense of being whole, and of being fully part of a world of black and white, and brown and grey, of yellow and red. At the age of thirty four, it was not possible to wipe out the void there had been, but she was unusual in not experiencing the sequence of damage events which the majority of those who were part of my working life had experienced and would haunt them for the rest of their lives unless they too, found exceptional humans to provide them with love and support and enable them to cope even if they are never able to fill the void

Kinky Boots

One of my preoccupations is the nature of time and the ability to switch from one reality into another outside of what is usually understood as time. Time then is an agreed form of measuring between one moment and another and normal time is the awareness of time that we develop in adulthood which enables us to make an approximate judgement - of the time of day, or how much time has elapsed or remains if we are asked, or ask ourselves to make a judgement without having to look at a watch or clock. However when we are engaged in something which we find interesting or pleasurable it can appear that time is moving fast and too quickly while in moments of boredom or when we are looking forward to future event it can appear that time has slowed down. Both states are real to us although they may appear very different to any other person standing immediately next to us.

It is when one attempts to defining reality that the description is more complicated. Look at a photograph of a place which you have visited and what do you see, think and feel? It will not be the same as someone who has not visited, or who has visited at a different time than you or is from a different land culture, or generation. A young person who passes by the site where the twin towers stood before 9/11 in twenty five and fifty years time will not be emotionally upset by the experience, as someone who watched with helpless horror as the second plane hit and then saw the towers collapse. I found it difficult to go and see any of the films about that day because I thought and felt what it would have been like to have been involved and I thought of the pain of their families, friends and work colleagues. I remember without difficulty who I was with, what I was doing, what I then did, what then happened, the reaction of school girls on joining my train into central London as they talked together and on their mobile phones, to the atmosphere in the restaurant compared to previous visits and watching 24 hour news programmes from both sides of the Atlantic when I return to the home of my mother and aunt, staying up until the early hours.

As a consequence of 9/11 some people have developed a concern about being in a tall building and one has only to see the security measures at Canary Wharf to understand the impact such an event can have for decades afterwards. Yet when before Christmas my motel room was in the centre of a city on the seventh floor, I did not make such a connection, even when at one point I went to Canary Wharf en route to cinema for which I had a free voucher. I looked out of my window several times and what I saw was different, not because of the impact of different times of day or weather because I could see where I had worked for two years as a young man, the road which I also walked on many occasions after midnight when visiting jazz clubs in central London and I missed the last train to my nearest home station and then walked the six miles from East Croydon station, and I also kept seeing images from the film Lost in Translation, looking out for a hotel in the sky over a city full of life from which you were separated. As I switched between such thoughts, memories and images, my experience of reality would have been different from anyone looking out at the same moment, even if they had also experienced the things I remembered at the same time, If two people sat in adjacent rooms looking out of their windows with phones or recording machines describing what they could see, it is unlikely they would select the same parts of the image at the same time. I can see a double length tram cross over the junction, which I would miss when I focussed on the further education college which O attended for evening classes for a local government examination, Even descriptions of static objects are likely to be different, such as the height and width of buildings and their colours. Both sets of experience are real to the two individuals describing and to anyone else looking out of the 50 to 100 windows with the same broad perspective but they would be different

An interesting example of the question, was do we mean by reality happened on Saturday through the 2003 Richard Donner film Timeline whose actors included a subdued Billy Connolly as a Scottish archaeology Professor excavating a site in France where in the 100 years war a young female aristocrat was hanged by the English in view of her countrymen thus enraging them sufficiently to achieve victory which otherwise would not have occurred. The Team included the son of the archaeologist, a bright and creative young women and a French speaker afraid of his own shadow. The team become concerned when the archaeology Professor disappears and they only learn where he is when taken to the experimental laboratory of the organisation sponsoring the dig. The organisation has mastered the ability to breakdown matter into the smallest particles and reassemble, but unlike beam me up Scotty, which is from one point to another in an instant, the device is so far only able to transport back and forth to a specific point in time on the Dig, to the ruins of the village of Castlegard and the nearby La Roque Castle in 1357. One unusual aspect is that the film takes the aside of the French against the English, what interested me most is that of one other member of the group decides to remain, because of a relationship established, and its subsequent outcome. The films experiments with time and each of the four characters who survive being in the same war and events possesses very different form of reality and as someone with a vivid imagination, I was able to transport myself in time with them, but also stand back and observe what took place and the different perspectives. The film was enjoyable as a film with the careful reproduction of the period, knights fighting, a besieged castle, individual heroics and romance, and Anna Friel, last seen a few days ago in Goal 2 as Geordie nurse. Earlier I had switched from a Newcastle humiliation by Manchester United to watch Bridge of Time in which an aid and peace Worker, who is also a published humanitarian and philosopher, is hijacked en route to a mission in Africa and taken to a Shangri-La. I would have not switched films had I not seen and critically enjoyed this film before.
A second preoccupation of mine is the interlinking of people and events and the previous night Alistair Campbell, known as former Prime Minister Tony Blair's spin doctor visited a family in the North East who when several decades ago. a daughter contracted leukaemia and died as a child, they decided that they wanted to do something to further the understanding and treatment of this killer disease and set about fund raising for what has become an internationally recognised charity and where from 20 to 30 percent chance of survival with treatment, the odds have increased to more 4 out of every five. As some 24500 new cases are diagnosed each year, that is still nearly 5000 individuals who do not survive. The parents who first started the fund raising have died but a sister was able to talk on camera about her family and the fund raising.

It is easy to be cynical about the involvement of politicians, sports personalities, film and stage actors and other personalities who have a high profile involvement in charities. Long before Alistair Campbell feature daily in the media a close friend of his died from Leukaemia and then the man's daughter and Mr Campbell has been actively involved since and with his national position became one of the celebrity faces of what has become the main fund raising for research body in the UK. In my previous writing I mentioned that over the past two decades Sir Ian Botham has walked, twice from Lands end to John O'Groats, once over the Alps with Elephants and his most recent effort was to walk through 15 cities in 9 days at average of 4.5 miles an hour and walking a marathon every one of the days in order to raise millions, some ten, for Leukaemia research. However his efforts are just one many of celebrities, some like Gary Lineker, were directly affected when his eldest son was diagnosed 15 years ago, while others do it because it needs to be done, as do all those families of the survivors and those who do not. Their efforts and the successes and the tragedies ought to be a constant reminder of the fragility of any belief in the ongoing nature of our physical being and of any time of happiness, achievement, wealth and power we might inherit or acquire. We should always enjoy and appreciate the great and wonderful times but never assume their permanence, or that such moment can be recaptured in the same way, although contemporary photos, films and subsequently created, writing, poems, music, films, theatricals and paintings can provide an approximation.

My immediate response to drafting the above was not to seek my cheque book or resolve to join or become activity in a charity but to give the kitchen a thorough clean for the second time in a month, as the precursor of a house clean and dust also for the second time in the month, to make a good salad lunch with the remaining King prawns, with two slices of bread and watch the film Kinky Boots on DVD. Kinky Boots has to be compared with the Full Monty, the tale of a group of men on the dole as the core steel goods industry of Sheffield downsized in the face of international competition and changes in public consumer demand. I had been thinking about the decline of the Sheffield cutlery making industry earlier after looking at one internet firm in the city and also looking up the Hallmarks for silver plate in order to try an establish the value of a remaining 81 place set which my mother and aunt had provided at least three decades ago but which were only used when they visited at Christmas or Easter. Where are the missing three items?

Kinky Boots is about a 4 generation shoe factory in Northampton which faced a loss of international and home demand for its products and decided to experiment with a lime of erotic footwear for men who like to dress up in female attire and those who perform as drag Queens. The culmination of the Full Monty is when the men make their first full strip on stage and fitted into the development in the eighties and nineties of men stripping exclusively for women which started with small shows in public houses and led to full shows on theatres. The development demonstrated the change in social attitudes and acceptability between the days when only stationary nude posing was allowed on the London stage at the Windmill Theatre and the widespread development of licences strip clubs, sex shops and those selling erotic wear and goods prominently located in town and city centres.

I know a little about the shoe and boot industry over the past 150 years because my maternal great grandfather is known to have been a shoe maker throughout his working life who with one of his sons recorded in one census the change to making boots and other goods from leather imported from one area of Spain as first industrial processes were introduced in Northampton and other Midland towns. His son became a rural messenger and postman but the trade of shoemaking was continued by the youngest son in a neighbouring county town. Some of the main features of the film are factual in that the firm was a four generation enterprise in Northampton. The change to making the erotic footwear occurred by chance with an enquiry from a fetish shop in Folkestone which selected the factory from a list obtained from the Footwear Federation and the company was able to develop and expand the range after attending a footwear show in Germany, the film ends with a show in Milan. The actual firm became the Kinky Boots Factory, after the BBC gave the name to its programme Trouble at the Top. The basic facts do not make a full length fictional story so the film tackles the issue of sexual orientation and identity by also focussing on the life of one drag Queen performer who is transported from Soho club land to becoming the creative designed for the factory and its Milan collection. The film does overlook the seedier aspects of the lives of those who enjoy thigh length boots with a whip built into the side of one so that it possible see such wear displayed in the High Street, just as the growth of public stripping, including persuading several hundred Tynesiders to strip off for contemporary art photographs, overlooks the recruitment of young middle European teenagers into sexual slavery as lap dancers for capital city centre clubs. It also led to members of the Women's Institute in Yorkshire stripping off for a Calendar to raise funds for Leukaemia Research, raising over £1 million for the same organisation of which Sir Ian Botham is the fund raising President.

I mention this fact because to launch the film premier in London, the film company, Buena Vista International who also created the Calendar Girls film, held a charity Kinky Boot auction on behalf of the Elton John AIDS Foundation with a host of celebrities contributing designs, including Cher, Joan Collins and Elton, plus e the original boot designed for the Folkestone store and those worn in the film by its Drag Queen Lola. Ok so some of my links are flimsy but who is to prove that my perception of time and reality is less closer to the truth than yours?