Monday, 23 November 2009

The Lord of the Rings-the Fellowship

12.00 My prologue added after the writing in much the same way as the prologue was added to the Lord of the Rings at the end of their creation. After a short period of hesitancy I decided to undertake the experience I have planned for several years, that is to watch the three extended versions of the Lord of Rings Films in one sitting with appropriate intervals and written commentary. I have the full dramatization broadcast by the BBC radio, the books and the theatre editions of the films. I also have three of the pewter goblets Frodo, the Ring Bearer, Gandalf the wise wizard, such I my appreciation for the original works and its translation into sound and then vision. It is a work which satisfies at every level of my experience and imagination because it can be enjoyed as a fantasy adventure and as struggle between the forces of light and dark in the universe within societies and the individual human being. The films as theatrical experiences are special because of the way the story has been brought to life in a believable reality achieved first because of the inclusion of major acting talent such as Sir Ian McKellen, Peter Cushing, Ian Holm, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler Viggo Mortensen and John Rhys Jones, with new talents Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom with the most extraordinary of cinematography, music, make up and visual effects. The trilogy was nominated for 30 Oscars, winning 17, with the best picture for the final film recognised as a proxy for the series, where all 11 nominations won awards for the Return of the King. There was but one unsuccessful acting nomination but Visual Effect was awarded the Oscar for each of the three films. The three films were conceived and created over the course thirteen months 1999-2000 with 274 days of shooting using 150 locations in New Zealand and seven units as well sound stages in Wellington and Queenstown. Because the Hobbits had special feet and ear the actors were on stage no later than 5am for the two hours of make up which involved standing for over an hour while the feet set and then over an hour at the end of the day as the feet casts were unglued. What aggrieved one of the Hobbit actors is that on fifty of such days there was no actual inclusions of the feet in the scenes shot during the day. However what the average cinema goer never appreciates unless they stay for the credits in the number of component specialists involved in very scene so that one failure of a camera, a light, an actor being late or not ready can mean a hold up for several hours, costing tens of thousands of pounds. To do anything well in life let alone striving for perfection involves preparation, preparation, and preparation. When the actors had gone off to their restaurants, to relax or to prepare for the following day, Peter and the editing team would assemble with the film shot during the day, usually a half an hour task but in this instance for three to four hours. The films use real set creations such as Hobbit Ville, created in a hill side, and bigmintures, scale models bigger than usual in the greatest of detail to stand up to close and prolonged camera work. A major feature of all three films is the contrast between the size of Hobbits, Dwarves and Elves from four feet and smaller to the Men and other human size creatures. This was created in two ways. There were Physical frameworks so that the interior of Bag End Hobbit home was created adult size and Hobbit size with the Bree Pub created at Giant size and human size. There were then three heights of actors. Four feet actor stand ins, some experienced actors and others children who were shot in scenes with movement involving human sized actors, sometimes with synthetic faces made from the actors, to giant size figures created by a specialist actors wearing a special stilt outfits which enlarged the body in all dimensions. The actual shooting varied from traditional forced perspectives where the two actors are distance separated proportionate to the size difference required, to filming the same event two or more times, involving actors using the two differently sized sets and then brining them together. There was much blue screen shooting for the actors when the scene involved the miniatures and much computerised creations of monsters and especially of Gollum where every body part movement was recorded individually and then recreated on computer in the consistent form of the being. Because the Director wanted he atmosphere of the film to resemble an ancient time, Middle Earth, about eight to ten thousand years before now every shot was digitally worked on using colours and light effects to bring the images of the book into being as reality and not as a comic or cartoon and the music was created mope as an opera than a film score and when the shooting ended the work began to created for the theatre films work which would engage and move anyone without any knowledge of the books and audio series and not alienate the majority of those who ere familiar. Peter Cushing who knew the original author of the work had read the books once a year since and jumped at the opportunity to be involved in anyway. Such was the approach to the making of these films and the confidence of the studios and financiers to several million dollars, that there were subsequent shootings over the next three years until the three were released in theatre and then the DVD extended editions were worked on. This was not just adding deleted scenes but creating new scenes with new music scores integrated into the whole adding about half an hour to the original length of three hours. For the first film The Fellowship of the Ring half the original scenes are extended and there seven new ones and at the end the addition of a new credit sequence in which every member of the official fan club is listed! For me the great joy of the DVD’s is that there is not just one sound commentary but four, starting with the Director and writers and the last, that of the Actors, Thus if you wish you can watch the original films shown in theatre 3 hours x 3, the DVD versions 3 x 3.5 and then the commentaries 3 x 4 x 3.5 about 60 hours for the films and then the extras which amount to another twenty hours of visual and audio material and then as long as you want to take over the photos and paintings. They are a model and university for anyone wanting to have a life in the film making. It has the same philosophy as I have for contemporary visual and conceptual art.
13.00 The first film is underway accompanied by a glass of Grand Lescure 2006 Comte Tolosan in South West France, a collective of some 400 members today Cane de Fronton. This wine comes from Jean Paul Chanteraud is the wine maker with Jack Verdier, its Director, name after the English Officer parachuted into the family’s back garden during World War 2. The meal was roast chicken with stuffing, mini sausages and nine small pieces of roast potato.

14.30 the first part of the film, The Fellowship of the Ring has been re-experienced in which the history of the Ring Prologue is extended although as which much else in the films is an approach to the depth and integrity of story in the books. There has been much speculation about the meaning of this fantasy adventure with its forces of evils appearing to control the fortunes of creatures for long periods until the those of innocence and faith, with a love of life and human failings, but great heart, decide to confront where most turn away in fear or perish. Thousands of years ago in Middle Earth before the story of the work begins, the Dark Lord Sauron forged the Great Ring of power and which can only be destroyed within the fires from which it was created. The Ring carries the power of invincibility destroying and enslaving anyone who opposes the power of the wearer. However the Ring has a life of its own enslaving any other wearer to its forces, thus it is so with the use of any forces and the misuse of power which is not dedicated to the service of others. Sauron also had created sixteen other rings of lesser power subject to his overall control. Nine he gave to the Nine Kings of Men, human beings who were corrupted over time and become the undead or Ringwraiths, but some Men remained free and opposed to the rule of Sauron. Seven rings he gave to the dwarf Lords with three coming into the care of the Elves who came under siege from Sauron but with the help of the Men of Numenor they defeated Sauron and took him prisoner. There was then a comparative short period of some 100 years during which Sauron turns his captors against each other, until what became known as the Last Alliance of Elves and Men defeated Sauron’s armies in his land of Mordor. The One Ring was cut from the finger of Sauron whose spirit fled to recoup his strength. There was then opportunity to destroy the ring by taking it into Mount Doom the volcanic fire from which it was created. Alas it was not and eventually after a battle with the Orcs the ring was lost in the Great River Anduin for two thousand years. The Ring was then found by a Hobbit, Deagol but his friend and a relative Smeagol kills him for its possession and after fleeing to the Misty Mountains Smeagol turns into a loathsome slimy, treacherous creature called Gollum. Sometime later another Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, on an expedition adventure encounters Gollum’s cave, takes possession of the ring after finding that its wearer becomes invisible and ageless, but without understanding its significance. The three books of Lord of the Ring are themselves divided so that in total there are six, making the six parts of the three films. The story and the film opens as Bilbo Baggins is to retire to the Dwarf Kingdom of Rivendell to complete his autobiography and holds a great party with fireworks, alcohol, food and merry making at which his long time friend the wizard Gandalf join him and where the decision is taken to leave the Ring behind for Frodo his adopted heir. Gandalf having been shown the ring decided to investigate its significance (this in the book takes nearly two decades and his return coincides with the recovered Sauron having captured and tortured Gollum learning that it had been taken by Bilbo Baggins back to Hobbitland, so he commands the now undead former Kings of Men who go in pursuit. The films take a number of story shortcuts from the book even the extended editions and this has so upset the purists, that some have got together and created an eight hour version by deleting all the additional scenes or changed scenes from the book. In the first part of the first film Frodo is asked to take the Ring to Rivendell for its future safekeeping and to first meet up with Gandalf along the way at the village of Bree. Gandalf goes to consult the head of his order about the discovery, this is Sauruman, a more powerful wizard by Christopher Lee, only to discover that he has become an agent for Sauron, and is therefore able to temporarily imprison Gandalf during which time the Orcs, a race of underworld creatures and allies of Sauron uproot the great old oak trees of the forest in order to create new weapons and a new hybrid fighter with a view to assisting in re-conquering Middle earth land once the Ring is repossessed. The first film is about Frodo played by Elijah Wood, asked to take the ring to Rivendell, He is joined Samwise Gangee, in the film a simple but honest and loyal Hobbit Friend. And then by two other young Hobbits who in the film are drawn as carefree characters with at tendency to unintentionally cause mayhem and unleash dark force by their pranks (Pippen and Merry.) The four are rescued from the undead former Kings of Men at Bree by the lone searcher and defender (a character which I suspect was used in the space adventure series Babylon Five) and which in the Lord of the Rings becomes Aragorn, the deliverer, played at short notice by Viggo Mortensen. These Five manage to make their way to Rivendell although Frodo appears to be mortally wounded at one point but is rescued by Arwen the daughter of the Elf Lord Elrond, and she is also the lover of Aragon although they are rarely together. As Frodo recovers in Rivendell he finds that Gandalf has also come there apologising for his failure to meet at Bree and explained what happened to him. The decision is taken to call a meeting of all the interests threatened by the re-emergence of Sauron when it is decided that the Ring has to be destroyed and cannot be kept in Rivendell as the Elves are moving on. As a consequence the Fellowship is formed to accompany Frodo and includes the Prince Elf Legolas, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys Davies as a Dwarf Gimli who dislikes Elves and Sean bean as Boromir a prince of the Stewards of Gondor, each with their own backstory.

15.30 A change of plan from first experiencing the three films in day. I realised that there was a programme I wished to see this evening a new Sky One Terry Prachett, the Colour of Magic then there is the opportunity to view the next episode of Lost on its release date and then the cricket where the continuation England’s Innings is crucial if they are to win the Test series. I also decided that I wanted to go through each special edition in their entirely, which is major undertaking as there are not one but four complete audio commentaries so that if you with you can view each film five times, six if you begin with the cinema edition, then the extended version, the Director and writers commentary, the design team, the production and post production and finally the cast. As the theatre film lasts three hours and the special edition another half hour, this will take over 20 hours for this part of the special features by which time you should have a good idea of how the film was made and why various decisions were taken and which serves to draw attention to the limitations and inadequacy of some many other DVD’s including special editions.

17.00 The second part of the first film involves the journey of the Fellowship to Mordor where they are forced to go underground into the Mines of Mori as their journey over the Mountain Caradhas is stopped by Sauruman. However their passage through the mines is held up by confrontation with the Orcs and a Troll and then as they are about to escape they are challenged by a kind devil, an enveloping being of fire and darkness which was very similar to my recollection of the waking dream devil demon which I experienced in childhood when I was ill and which has remained a vivid memory. Gandalf appears to perish stopping the demon as the other escape. They find shelter at the elvish realm of Lothorien where the rulers Galadriel Cate Blanchett and partner Celeborn help prepare them for the trials ahead, giving them gifts of use in their quest. Arriving at the Parth Galen having travelled the river Anduin Borodin seeks the Ring for himself believing this is the way to protect his Kingdom but Frodo seizes it back reaching some enlightenment that he must complete the task on his own, leaving Sam for a time, but he later reunites and they set off together, Meanwhile the others minus Gandalf become involved in a fight to death, which sees the end of Boromir and capture of Pippin and Merry. Faced with the breaking up of the Fellowship Aragon showing his natural leadership leads Legolas and Gimli to rescue Pippin and Merry. The first film ends here. There are seven additional scenes in the extended version Concerning Hobbits at the beginning after the extended Prologue, At the Green Dragon Inn, The Passing of Elves, the Midgewater Marshes, Gilraen’s Memorial, the Departure of the Fellowship, and a list of everyone in the official fan club as final credits. Half of the original scenes are extended, some substantially. The film has grandeur of landscape and a transcendent beauty which is significantly enhanced by the evocative score created by Howard Shore and with two original songs Aieon and May it Be which was sung by Enya. The four academy awards achieved of the 13 nomination were for Music, Cinematography, Visual Effects and Make up. White it was given a Bafta for best film and for Direction. It was an expensive film to make around $100 million but grossed over eight times making it one of the top ten grossing movies worldwide. I watched it in theatre one evening in a packed cinema, fearing the experience would spoilt by a very noisy audience, but within moments there was a shared silence as everyone became engrossed with a sense of awe responding to the some of the more emotional moments with, especially when the Fellowship having bonded with each other and the audience is broken up. Even with the extended edition liberties are taken with the epic nature of the book in terms of time. The seven year backstory siege becomes one battle and the seventeen year search for the origin of the Ring by Gandalf is compressed while the preparations for commencing his journey appears to occur in one day, whereas in eh books it is a matter of months. One positive change is that the Director decided that the characters should evolve rather than remain evolved as they tend to do in the books. There was one link which I was only reminded of when watching the film again is that the Hobbit Ville reminded me of TeleTubbieland.

At 18.00 I watched Sir David Jason in his new role in the bringing to television of the Colour of Magic. This is a three hour adaptation shown over two evenings This is the first the Discworld series of books but the second Sky shown work, with The Hogfather last year. This work is made up of chapters which form mini stories, The work features Rincewind the trainee Wizard at the University of the Unseen, expelled because he has failed to complete level 1 after 40 years. After his departure he encounters Twoflower a tourist from a small nation which underpins the great nations and which reputedly full of gold, a point well made when the tourist attempts to pay with currency from him his country which the is found to be pure gold compared to the theoretical gold coins of the currency. Sir David is offered the job of guide for two of these coins a day and is given four days upfront whereupon he attempts to leave the city with his wealth, but is held and required to fulfil his task and ensure that the tourist comes to no harm. Meanwhile the sub plot involves Tim Curry as the villain after replacing the University head and behind the departure of Sir Davis who he fears will get in the way of his bid for power, Christopher Lee plays the voice death adopting a voice which is strongly reminiscent of the depressed electronic help in the Hitcher Hikes Guide to the Galaxy "Marvin" Jeremy Iron plays the Patrician. I have no idea how far the TV production follows the book but it was splendid Bank holiday fun

I had a tin of sardines with crackers for tea and a salami salad with olives and banana around 19.00. Around 21.00 a bowl of light cereal but this was not enough so at 22.30 a cheese sandwich and coffee.
The new experience of significance on the day is the pre Spring break episode of Lost which centre on the return of Michael who has made it home with his son but is tormented by having had to commit two murders to free his son and is now instructed to destroy the freighter as the means of saving the other survivors of the plane crash and redeem himself in this way. However Sayid does not accept Michael’s version of events and discloses the situation to the Captain while Ben urges his daughter her lover and her mother to go to the secret destination where the others are located but on the way the lover and the mother are killed and the daughter surrenders herself.

22.00 I watch the football as Man U beats Liverpool after they go down to ten men following a stupid piece of persistent commenting to the referee, and Arsenal with going 1 up at Chelsea lose after a couple of substitutions which did not humour the crowd. In the cricket England look well set to make another big total when Petersen was out after a brilliant instinctive low stretching catch. I have worked out how to switch to the 3 pence per text option on the phone but progress has been slow.
23.00 I watch more cricket, have the salami sandwich and strong coffee, check out MySpace, play lots of chess.

00.30 I write some.
02.15 To bed
05.00ish another waking where I was too tired to check the time and returned immediately to bed and guess the hour from my memory of the level of light.
08.00 Again the change in the number of wakings and I begin to think that the switch from tea to coffee may be a factor. I debate whether to continue with the decision yesterday to work through all DVD’s rather than see the film stories and decide on the DVD’s so that I would for once concentrate on the technology of acting and film making rather than the emotions and coherence of the story. O8.30 The first DVD extras is about the Actors coming together for the first time and then the involvement with the film. The content is such that it quickly engages my full attention as I begin to understand the enormity of the undertaking. I wake this day with another blue sky morning aware from the news when switching on the internet computer that the death toll of USA service men and women in Iraq has reached 4000 while because of a different intensity of commitment significant progress ahs been in he search for a cure for Parkinson’s disease. I will return to the impact of the Fellowship creation DVD after watching the highlights of the after tea session of the third Test in New Zealand. A country where there has been no inclination to visit, in terms of elsewhere in the world. The switching of attention is worthwhile as Strauss powers ahead to his 150 and beyond and the team approach the 500 ahead score with 5 wickets remaining. A judgement will have to be made over night whether to continue in the morning and for how long in terms of giving Strauss the opportunity to make a double century, a possible decision from awareness that should New Zealand avoid the psychological effects of the situation and bat strongly such a total is not out of reach given two full days, therefore continuing for the morning and increasing the score to 550-600 ensures that a home victory is out of the question, However a draw is not the objective in this situation and we need to win to win the Test series and therefore we need to ensure that New Zealand make some attempt to win and rather than playing for a draw.

9.00 One new fact about the film is that Viggo Mortensen who plays Aragon was not the first choice but only a couple of days into shooting the Director and writers realised that the original choice, Stuart Townsend had been cast too young and he was released while a search was immediately made for someone appropriate. Viggo was considered the man and available and was suddenly confronted with the offer to pack his bags and in effect spend the next year of his life in New Zealand which would have implication for contact with his son aged about 11 or 12, my impression is that he was separated from his wife and the boy’s mother at this time, He had achieved an impressive body of film work about a third of his films I have seen but he had not registered with me in terms of an identifiable face and off screen personality. By one of those coincidence connections… watching the Third Test and decide to play go through the 21 Lord of the Rings DVD’s, Viggo completed A history of Violence as his second major film after the Ring cycle was finished and The History of Violence is one of the two DVD’s sent this weekend by the DVD internet postal club. He had no knowledge of the books when he received the phone call from Peter Jackson and only had a couple hours to decide but his son knew he book and immediately told him to take the role, it is said. It is evident from the information gained from the DVD and the internet hat he had he not achieved success with his acting he has had other creative means to fulfil himself having published eleven books of poetry and photographs and of his paintings. I will leave interacting with other actors as I work through the DVD’s during what will be now the rest of this week.
9.30 The second feature looks at the film making process in the life of the four Hobbits in the Fellowship which involved getting on set at 4.30 5 to have their Hobbit feet stuck on and their ears as well as other make up a process which took two hours during which they were required to be on their feet so that the foot additions dried in the right way. There was another long session at the end of shooting. One of the actors worked out that although there were required to go through this process on 275 days, on fifty the feet are not shown on camera. In addition the creation of their physical appearance and the learning of what was involved in each shoot, which could involved being transported by helicopter to the various locations throughout New Zealand with some fifteen being used, they was also the work with blue screen and with their doubles who were under five feet. These were used for movement scene with normal height and extended height characters as one of the main ingredients of the film is those involvement of little people, the Hobbits, the Men and those of Height. Some times the juxtaposition would be achieved by shooting the same scene with the two actors or actors separately and then bringing the two together through the computer. I have watched the work on Gollum before which involved filming the actor and then transcribing this into computerised movement to creating the on screen character and much computerised.

Das Boot at Easter

12.00 The priority of the day is to sort out a new mobile phone. It is not used much but I need it work when required and over past ten days there have been growing problems. I only need an inexpensive pay as you go with no fixed monthly payments. I do not need most of the extras which make a phone a mobile communications system for listening and downloading music, using the internet, hands free wireless, taking and storing photographs and mini videos and whatever else can be thought of to increase the amount of monthly subscriptions and special add ons, except when I am travelling which is not a regular occurrence. If my financial circumstances were different then I would become a user of the latest technology because it is at the core of being a contemporary artist, but this is something for the young as I have always found the understanding, handbooks and explanation leaflets confusing and time consuming, and the process of trial and error, potentially disastrous in terms of what can and has gone wrong.(Little did I know how things would develop).

13.50 I had lunch early, a cooked meal of beef stir fry, after completing the third volume of the self employment records from the years 1992 1994 set numbers 9810 9814. with the last set having 36 cards, These sets mean that I have reaching a daily average of 4 , which is still below the 6 reached in the second year, and will endeavour to continue at this level and get a good start for next month taking time to get my main sub project work underway in terms of a first draft. I have made the decision to write what I need to write regardless of the quality of the writing or the structure and focus. Get what I need to say or paper and then work on it until it as I want others to read. I have been anxious that if I do this and something happened then it will be regarded as the best I could achieve hence the inclination to get a little right as perfect as within me at a time and then even if it is incomplete, I will have demonstrated something of my capacity and which will then enable everything else and the way the project has developed to be placed in perspective.

Time to go and look at a new mobile phone having discovered there is network shop locally. It is typical that I have passed the store on now countless walk through the town centre not connecting (clever) that one of the three may be four stores included my own network

15.50 It is perhaps too soon to be triumphant but so far the day has gone well as I now have a new super phone for far less than anticipated and with various possibilities, and my existing number with credit transferred. I was in the midst of buying a phone marked £50 when I was able to upgrade to one with greater specifications for the same price and would usually have cost £50 more. However I have so far been unable to find the model on the internet either under the network or the make which explains that it has been superseded rather than there has been a problem, There is now a cheap mainly text option at 3p per message. The camera will be useful if I encounter any incidents as in the past, or do not have my camera with me. Similarly the internet could be useful especially when I am on the move and especially if I an connect phone to lap top with the wireless connection. It will take the rest of Easter weekend to work out, if not longer but I am determined to master before the day is done, so to speak. Meanwhile there is the football after what could have been an even more disastrous Test match which I blame myself for forgetting to tune in last night when I am sure we would not have lost the first three wickets for just four runs.

16.45 Phone being charged and still amazed at what the technology will do at the price, Newcastle are now 2.0 up and wait for it Sunderland are 1 up away from home I will repeat that, Sunderland are 1 up away from home, both matches are being listened to on the radio. One on the TV radio and one on the Staples. The Boro are also 1 0 up yes we have won our first away game of the season. Newcastle have won for the first time in 13 matches. For the first time since the commencement of the season I look forward to watching the replays and this time there are two to enjoy.

19.30 I listened to the euphoric supporters across Tyne and Wearside as everyone senses that today’s wins open a gap sufficient to make relegation now unlikely, but one more win, two would be better, or one win a couple of draws should see the teams safe and everyone begin to think of next season, such is the nature of the belief, the hope and the commitment. No where else outside of Merseyside does the success or the failure of a team would affect the whole community. I remember the days when walking to Roker Park from my home and people in the houses would come out to their gates to ask about the result and the game. In the office after derby games victorious supporters would had out printed cards offering their commiserations for the defeat! I have reviewed my writing for the past 24 hours and published. I expected it would bed time before the battery on my new phone was charged up but I checked and it is ready so I can begin to learn. I have some free send picture credits, use of internet and other freebies for a up to ten days with the new phone and continued connection but first I need to finding my way around the system checking that my numbers have been transferred or set them up, credit also been passed over and so .. embarking on all things new. I will also watch the football replays and some cricket although two new subscription DVDs arrived in the post I am still set on a Lord of the Rings Day but the DVD’s and Lord of the Rings will now have to wait. There is the Grand Prix .

17.35 There are important features which I had not previously identified such a voice recorder and the taking of short videos as well as photographs. There is also synchronisation with windows media player, direct printing and a radio. I have moved into the future the 21st century has arrived.

20.30 Watch replay of Newcastle V Fulham. Not as a convincing first half impression from radio commentary, admittedly in the background to that for Sunderland. Strong snow storm which I did not notice if it also came to this area.
22.00 Michael Owens’s goal which secured the victory for Newcastle was excellent but it was a nervous time for much of the second half when Fulham refused to give up There was little time between the end of this game and Sunderland’s where the odds were much stronger against any result, and the team was without the striker Kenworthy which resulted in more balls to feet than to head and with playing two up front there was more prospect of making the few opportunities to score count. Both teams had their chances and at one point the general consensus is that the Villa goal keeper handled the ball outside his area. The Chopra goal was extremely well taken and the response of the away supporters who have seen so much failure and disappointment was understandable euphoric. Having made the journey to and from Villa Park in a day, I know the contrast between the two feelings so well. With one you are drained and tired and the journey seemed to get longer with each mile while with the other you drive hard to get home in time to watch the replay on Match or the Day, or the ITV alternative in the days before Sky did the full length or longer length replays. The only regret about this win is that my one friend who is also a football fan supports the Villa, however the Villa did give the Toon a good going over.

23.00. Earlier for the evening meal I had salmon sandwiches, followed by some grapes and coffee. I made some progress with the phone but decided it required my full attention and left until the morning. I used part of the time watching the matches to photograph the completed volumes of self employment receipts 1992-1994 which amounted to some 700 pictures. It was earlier when I was looking for my magnifying glasses that I discovered the missing set and a half of MySpace Blogs which I could not find about a month ago. This resulted in finishing the Development Volume, as it seemed appropriate place to include the duplicates, the first occasion that I have intentionally duplicated work in this way, and while I have avoided including copies in the master work, but historical habit of making mistakes when not concentrating has to be shown in the way the work is constructed in addition to reporting and commenting on my experiences in that first job writing motor vehicles licences and registration log books. The consequences is that in addition to finishing the set which completed the volume the first set of the new volume is completed but I will leave adding these to the records for Sunday.

00.15 I have been watching an interesting German film on BBC2 , made in 1981, Das Boot, the boat may well be the most authentic portrayal for life in a submarine in war time that has been made, although it is an odd feeling watching them hunt British Merchant vessels and evade Allied destroyers. The horror of war is real to both sides. I do not watch the film in its entirety because I remember about eh cricket and there has been an amazing turn around. It is Kevin Petersen rather than the constantly injured Flintoff who is showing that his first performances indicated a major batsman who will stand the test of time. Without his century and support from bowler Broad, England’s total would have been under 100 whereas they reached just over 250 and then Sidebottom, a new face at this level, performed brilliantly creating a collapse of the home side after they had a promising start, taking seven wickets with Broad taking the other three, completing the demolition after tea with a lead of some 80 and then the opening batsmen redeemed their previous efforts and were 90 for 2 at the close.

02.30. I went to back to the film after watching the cricket a little. It is not entertainment in its strict meaning as the men undergo much hardship, fear, guilt and remorse at what they have to do and being in constant peril. The films shows men working mechanical miracles in getting the vessel off the seabed at great depth after a series near successful depth charge attacks by the allies. However the boat is repaired and makes it way home to great acclamation only for the allies to mount a major bombing raid which sinks the submarine and many of he men who endured and overcame the hazards of the mission are killed or badly injured within minuets of arriving home

06.00 This is a guess because it was light when I needed to rise.

09.25 I get up after a struggle in which I was awake for what seemed sometime, But the significance is that there was only one getting up, the second night in succession that I had long uninterrupted sleep and the first time of two nights in succession that I can remember for at least five years although I have not kept records in the way that I am now doing.

10am I have played some chess to game 25 of the present run 479 wins of 489 played over the past three weeks with ten draws, and then I work on this writing before beginning the phone which requires full alertness. In switching to check the score I find that the Asian Grand Prix has been run and that Lewis did not make the podium and this therefore alters my approach to the day. I will have some coffee and concentrate on the phone. I listen to the Papal Easter address and watch the Blessing as torrential rain sweeps Vatican Square. Such is the nature of faith. I wish sins could be swept away as easily as with a Papal Blessing for those who are fully repentant. It is a comfort that many others are healed and this helps their attempts not to sin again which has a beneficial effect on society and counters those who once in sin accept the situation and progress deeper into the abyss, This is what the Lord of the Rings is about, although it should be enjoyed as brilliant fantasy adventure, with the books red first, then the radio series and the talking books, then the three films in theatre, then the special extended version with extended scenes, new scenes and a new score, plus all the extras on the 12 DVD version.

Borat and Jeux d'Enfants

12.00 I make up just under fifty artman glitter cards while watching Prime Minister’s Question Time. For once the Liberal democrat leader was the most effective with a question about the position of the Ghurkhas, an issue where I expect the government and the rest of Parliament to give in, if there is sufficient public support, He was also powerful about Iraq but covered old ground and would have been better to have pressed home the case for the Ghurkhas, where significantly they also featured in the time of the Prince in Afghanistan. David Cameron started with a question about Tibet, expecting I think for the Prime Minister to be more cautious in his approach to raising the matter with China and hesitant about seeing the Dalai Lama, was evidently put out and only able to congratulate the PM when he replied on the action taken and his proposed meeting. Later Mr Cameron decided to repeat questions where he had some success over the past weeks in a Pre Easter break knock about and ended by mentioning that one of the PM’s support team has written a book about the problem of leaderless organisations, His party are leading a debate about post office closures in the afternoon.

12.30 I watched the latter part of Bargain Hunt where the main curiosity was the eccentric husbands rather than the exhibits.

I investigate the latest Staples on line offers and where there is a Clock Radio CD player gift on orders over £39 ore VAT. I must check out the deals on at the nearest store first. I need some more glitter glue from Wilkinson’s.
13.00 The second volume of the Chris Barber Lost and Found series features some Sonny Terry McGhee studio recordings which we not part of their tour followed by Champion Jack Dupree whose record long play I have from this day, there is also Muddy Waters, Otis Spann and Louis Jordan along with the Barber Band and Ottilie Patterson. There is already a volume 3 to add to the list.

14.00 I listen to the new CD while sort out work and in-tray papers with the consequence that as the afternoon progress I am able to complete the minimum target of four new sets plus two others, although not in relation to the second Volume of Annual accounts and master records.

15.00 I watch Borat DVD and have a mixture of emotions and will need time to reflect before commenting. Decided to the put the DVD’s back in the post go for some supplies taking the rucksack before shops close. This will provide the opportunity reflect on the film, the character and work of this genre which sets out to offend as many interests groups and individuals, religions and races, and nations as possible in a humorous way.

17.00 I go to the post and find the late afternoon is not unpleasant walking which is just as well as my destination is on the side of the shopping centre to Wilkinson’s where there are seven packs of the Glitter now only £1 each and which are just as good as the more expensive £2.50 from Staples. I also pick up as pack of crayons although I only need black. Decide to collect some washing up sponges with scourers at one end pack of 20 for 99p than they are disposable, also an inexpensive pack of two kitchen rolls. The town centre is almost deserted at this time of day with most shops closing at five and some for the mid week half day. Wilkinson’s as with other supermarkets stays open late. On the way back I consider getting more of the canvases Given the impact of the black and white trials on the four purchased to date I am tempted to use these as backgrounds for the with the white for the black and white photos and the black for the white photo paper with concepts of my life. I drift off in further thought about this. The walk back up the hill underline the need for better fitness and less weight. I return around 18.00

18.30 Some games of chess, some checks on the internet I listen to the tracks of a new music "friend" Annalee and like her version of summertime. I have also looked at the Sky free games which I have enjoyed playing in the past. Boys will be Boys. I have not done this for several years and therefore this is first large screen experience. I came to this by accident search for what was on TV this evening and there is a Manchester U V Bolton game which I might have as back if I continue feel like working. At this point I decide on the evening meal which as to be the lamb in red sauce with roasted potatoes.

19.00-19.30 I am so lost in thought about the work that I forget meal which is ready but it is not overcooked, tasty with the wine, salt and sugar content although a small portion it must be regarded as the treat of the week. I have stopped drinking the red wine having anyway shifted from a bottle a week to one lasting two. The next quarter’s arrived this afternoon and I am yet to work out where to lodge them. I must cancel the next quarter. I switch Gibraltar Radio as I always enjoy their selection of records. I can say it is the best I am yet to encounter, never disappoints and enjoy the local news during the day and the objective approach to world and British news. The station celebrates 50 years this year and should be considered for some awards and awards go. A good time to go over yesterdays writing for publication.

21.45 The football did not interest so I continued with Gib radio and working until a few minutes ago, rechecked the football and then discovered that there a Marian Cottilard of La vie en rose film at 22.00 tonight and provide the opportunity to catch of a set from REM, It has been a good day for music with the Chris Barber CD and Gib Radio,

However it is time to put finger to key for Borat Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. First the story. Borat is in his home pigsty of a village where everyone is anti-Semitic, take young girls as wives when they are children, and then keep them as domestic servants, are not adverse to incest, and will do anything for some consumer goods. Understandably the official folk in Kazakhstan were not thrilled with this film which commenced life as a series of interviews with native Britain’s and American’s in the Da Ali Show on Channel 4 TV in the UK The film is a spoof documentary in which some people were persuaded to participate unaware of the nature of the film or the experience which they would endure and this had led to a number of lawsuits. The film has obscene moments, is crude, insulting humiliating, and disrespectful as well as lampooning and disrespectful and genuinely funny. I liked most his persuading a southern redneck country crowd that he was fully behind the boys in Iraq and getting them to cheer his wildest urgings to destroy every human alien to America, but their enthusiasm is shortlived when he sings his own version of his national anthem in tune with that of American. How fickle is the mob! The other escapade is when he tries to engage in conversation, kissing and hugging strangers on the Underground railway system, getting a very different response from those participating in a Gay parade. Nothing in the film is as it seems with Borat talking a mixture of Hebrew with phrases from other central European Languages. The public response has been amazing worldwide. The film cost 18 million dollars and has grossed over $128 million in the US with One and half million admission tickets being sold in Germany. I did not like the film and its popular support reveals the worse side of humanity, and while I would not go to the barricades in its defence, it is a powerful statement against Western hypocrisy which pretends to be Christian in behaviour and beliefs, democratic and caring, and would never do what the Nazi’s the Stalinists and Maoists did to their own people and to others, have we? I appreciate the sensitivity of those in Kazakhstan but I thought Borat is not saying what this home country is really like, just how the media and general public perceives the population to be in general rather than a minority. In my work I came across isolated cases of exceptional domestic squalor and an situations of incest which must be described as cultural among uneducated and poor whites, and we would incensed if this how the rest of the people were viewed. Most of the USA targets in the film have been covered in documentaries, news items and Hollywood, but not as outrageously accumulative. Many will be shocked by the crudity of his references to sexual body parts but this is no different from that which I encountered when I took a bus filled with factory girls as a young man in the early sixties along Clydebank or from young women in care during that same decade some four decades ago. I fear this film is closer to reality than many will care to admit to, hence all the law suits.

23.30 In many ways more outrageous and likely to shock is the Marian Cottilard film Jeux d’enfants 2003 which has an extraordinary song theme given subsequent events. The dying mother of the male in this story of true love sings to her young son La Vie en Rose, and the song taken up by the young girl he befriends and the Louis Armstrong version ends the film. Marian will never have dreamt that some four years later she would not only walk the red carpet at the Oscars, as a nominee for best actor in a female role, but win. In this film she is an orphan in so far that when summoned to school she appears to be brought up by her sister and subjected to constantly bullying and humiliation by other children as a dirty Pollak. The two children develop the kind of bond which few human beings attain, equals, who will carry out whatever dare the other asks without concern for the consequences for themselves or for others. There are some deliciously outrageous moments with the best the swipe taken at all those young women who think they are being daring and challenging the conventions of their parents by showing a little underclothing, the bra strap, or under skirt, so she accepts a dare to wear her bra and pants outside her dress for an important oral examination at high school. Cupid’s arrow rather than any sting is in the tail of this film which is a nice counterpoint to what develops between them beforehand with perhaps its final message, it is never too late, . Mind you the film is not for children, adolescents and most young men and women that I know given that these two do what they do without the use of alcohol, other drugs or other artificial stimulants.. Their philosophy would be fatal for the majority of those out adventuring on a weekend of drink, drugs and clubbing.

00.40 I work on some writing
02.40 Work completed for day.
03.40 Bed.

08.10 Wake after an unusually long session of sleep and find returning to sleep difficult, needing to turn away from the light coming through curtains. I did not think I had gone back to sleep until realising I must have as the sound of my loud door bell reached my sleepy consciousness and had obviously been going for sometime as it stopped while I wrapped a jacket round me and searched for the tracksuit bottoms with one leg while rushing downstairs, unshaven and hair standing on ends, making sufficient noise to make sure the postman could hear and not depart given I was making such a brave effort. I was not anticipating a delivery as the Chris Barber’s had arrived, as had the Antwone Fisher, although a book about Gibraltarian Scandals due for January had been held over until Feb and March and looked as if it had been stopped. My package was a great unexpected surprise and I went back to bed and sleep until around 10.30 when I had risen when the mobile which is temperamental with a loud ring started and would not stop or be turned off.

11.45 Postman arrives with normal post early, usually later and I take the rain has stopped, the sky is great but the house does not require heating although the daffs are flapping madly suggesting a cold wind. I have drunk a hot cup of Java Lava without sugar and could be tempted to visit Staples to see if there is a sale on later, but more likely leave till Saturday or Sunday, or Monday. It does not look promising for any kind of walking.

The Devil wears Prada and They made me a Fugitive

12.00 Decide to have the first of the M and S Seafood salads and discover that it is on a bed of spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce. Stick to portion size with two slices of Brown bread with Flora proactive cholesterol lowering spread. Play game of chess at same time to reduced speed of eating and improving chewing.

12.10 This works but only to a degree as in taking time on food and paying attention on what I am eating, I fail to concentrate on the chess and have another draw. Things on my mind, but not trouble remembering the Ottilie Patterson Chris Barber number.

12.30 Lunch break over, win a couple of games of quick chess 384 of 391 in this series now nearly two weeks in the going. Commence set 2 vol one but will also watch Bargain Hunt, final part after a banana.

13.45 Steady progress with Vol 1 set 2 completed 19621 19622 started but is incomplete for income tax return and associated info this year and next. 19623 kept blank and commence 19624. Decide to watch 1947 film noir British Film They made me a Fugitive instead of Carmen Jones which was re-seen last year.

15.55 washed shaved and ready to go out later for a walk and buy some bread and fruit and to the post box.

I have completed the volume 1 of Annual master household records in so far as I leaving sections for ongoing information over the rest of this year and next. The activity took longer because of also watching the film which starred Trevor Howard, a most excellent actor, who plays the former airforce World War 2 fighter and a POW for the last two of its five years and then on demob could not find a situation and became involved in the black-market, but then was caught up with a gang whose leader turned to drug pushing so that when Trevor refuses to participate he is framed for the death of a policeman and commences to serve 15 years for manslaughter with the one burning ambition to escape and obtain revenge. During his escape he breaks into the house of a married woman who offers him shelter if he kills her drunk of a husband which he refuses but leaves his prints on her gun so she carries out the murder and blames the escaped convict. He also has to rough up the driver of a lorry in order to make his way to London. It is here he meets again a chorus girl who had a fling with the gang boss who framed Trevor but he then looked elsewhere so she visit Trevor in prison to join forces on getting revenge by persuading the man who carried out the act of manslaughter under direction of the gang leader to turn King’s evidence. While Trevor rejects her plan on this visit he turns to her for information and help when on the run and they develop a romantic attachment which he understands has no future. Although by the end of the film the gang leader is dead and his men captured, and alas also dead the one witness who could help obtain a pardon for the original conviction, although by helping the police as a snare, Trevor has earned Brownie points re the escape, vehicle theft and assault, The detective already has reservations that he was responsible for the killing of the drunken husband. However although the police give some hope of a pardon if the case with evidence can be presented, they and Trevor are not optimistic and he advises he girl to forget all about him and move on. Present and recent generations have no idea about the extent of the black-market during World War 2 and its continuation until after food, clothing and petrol rationing ended. Although the government learnt some of the lessons of World War 1 and did not immediately discharge all those who had been called up without any hope employment and housing and did so over a couple of years, may have been longer for some, thus those not discharged were still on the payroll and did useful work with those single living in barracks, many found getting a job difficult to impossible and adjusting to civilian life after the adventures of the war, the travel, the witness of its horrors and to captivity. You were a man and you were expected to cope without the support structure of today and which is itself often criticised. This films had one aim which is to warn the men and their families that continued involvement in the Black-market was wrong in itself but also was dangerous because of the situations you could quickly find yourself in. Given that Trevor had served his country and if his involvement had only been with the Black-market it is unlikely the frame would have stood the judicial system had it happened in reality. While the villains, the street walkers and the low life haunts were of 1940’s mode and therefore somewhat caricatures, with Trevor Howard and others such as Maurice Denham, the film is slightly better than the average B feature of the time.

16.30 two slices of Leerdammer on one slice of toast followed by cup of tea, couple of games of chess before going out.

17.00 It is not as cold as anticipated but glad it is only to the post box and the supermarket. I tried the do it yourself check out for second time at the Asda, discovering that it also weighs and price The art is to do things quickly and place in the provided carriers. Sorting out into rucksack slows down sufficiently to mess up the system or so it seems. One gets the price of things on screen as they pass through. I will get better. Buy last two Leerdammer packs at £1 each which is 30% discount, Bread £1 one of the cheapest Brown but looks good quality, Some shell on prawns, grapes, bananas and a beef stir fry and goodbye a tenner, Have the rest of the salmon Italian tonight, Omelette tomorrow, Singapore noodles Thursday Bream Friday Stir Fry Sat the MS Lamb Sun, Chicken Monday. There are also Salmon Fish cakes and some vegetarian type burgers/ more like fish cakes and some other fish available so ok with main courses, vegetables but will need more salad and fruit before Tuesday. I’ll do shop over the weekend

18.00 return and have cup of tea, check TV evening, and emails. Decide to have on as background a Movies for Men piece of nonsense Airboss 3 where anti Terrorists replace the cold war baddies. Not in mood for second volume of Annual accounts Master, but will make the effort later,.

19.00 decide to do the Salmon, Orange fruit juice drink ?, do the fresh pineapple. Vegetables. The film has an interesting twist as it is an FBI operation to capture a required individual for rendition from foreign soil and is not Military special ops which could be regarded as a war like act. I wonder if the subjects and he countries concerned appreciate such fine distinctions.

20.45 The main film choice of the day is The Devil Wears Prada the kind of DVD which includes adverts for Sky HD, I was tempted to leave this film and Borat for the weekend but I will have a day off and watch three Lord of the Rings DVD’s extended version in one day followed by all the extras.

22.30 The film was significantly better than anticipated although I had to wrestle justifiable prejudice to reach this conclusion. The puritan and fundamentalist within me ranks the fashion industry along with motor racing, contemporary professional football, the popular music industry, and Hollywood as activities which are only justified if we lived in a world where the is no war, starvation, involuntary homelessness, racism, collective violence against others and individuals, gross inequality in education, cultural, social and economic experiences and status and the collective behaviour of human beings is not threatening the premature survival of the planet as a habitation for future human being. Anything which does not have these objectives as its primary purpose is immoral and it is interesting that recently it was alleged in one newspaper, echoed in others that at a high level Catholic event it was suggested that the 6th century mortal sins of lust, gluttony, avarice, anger, sloth, envy and pride (matched by holy virtues of chastity, abstinence temperance, diligence, patience, kindness and humility) should be updated to include genetic manipulation in human beings, the excessive accumulation of wealth together with causing social and economic inequality, environmental pollution and drug misuse, the violation of the fundamental rights of human nature and morally debatable experiments in general. This is not an argument for or against capitalism as such but against its distortions in the same way that because of the behaviour of some Muslims or Christians one should not argue that the Muslin and Christian faiths are fundamentally flawed. It is always easy to poke fun at those who take their work so seriously and become so absorbed that they rarely switch off and become boring even to others within the same industry or profession. This is something which the film does not do and when the new second assistant (to the woman who not only runs the most important fashion magazine in the world but whose words can make or break anyone working in the industry world wide), laughs at the absurdity of debating which of two similar coloured and looking belt are appropriate to go with a particular dress, she is explained how anything and everything we wear is dictated by such magazines and individuals, however bargain basement and out of fashion the garment has become, or inferior its quality of material and production. Similarly Meryl Streep, as the head of the enterprise, is first presented as a bullying, blackmailing, ruthless, egotistical, rude and insensitive anachronism, and she is all of these things, but she is also more. The film makes the point that along the journey she choose to get and remain at the top and to develop a way of life to maintain that position, she becomes more and more alone, loses husbands and buys the affection of her children by getting them prepublication copies of the latest Harry Potter. However while she and her magazine provide the behind the scenes reality look into the world of the fashion magazine this is no more than the frothy backcloth to a more traditional growing up first timer working in New York film The main character takes on the job as second assistant in order to pay the bills and as a stepping stone to a job in journalism about issues that really matter. Gradually under the challenge of winning the approval of her boss she becomes seduced by clothes, the make up, the society and by one its favourite sons, losing her long standing friends and live with boyfriend. Then when she receive the ultimate seal of approval, "I see in you what was in me when I was your age, she walks away back to her friends and her true career and no doubt in a generation she will become exactly like the woman she walked away from, becoming the editor of a national newspaper, for such is the nature of such positions in whatever field of enterprise is your medicine and your tipple. The film has no big message other than be true to your self and your dreams, but for those of us in the know of the way world works and how people change over the generations we see her as just not being ready to take up the torch of individualism and leadership, and needs to feel herself to be the dutiful daughter, romantic and faithful lover, with it modern mummy, and successful journalist praised by her peers before moving on to help in running her country and the world. I had one irritation at the film’s assumption that New York is the capital of the world, let alone the fashion world, although this is not to underrate its importance, But just as with Rome, London and Paris, it can seem to be if you have the wealth and social contacts, a good cultural education to appreciate what life can be.
00.05. With the longer sleep and late start I am not ready for bed yet, but uncertain what I will do. I have watched some of extras on the DVD and decided to continue with some chess for a while. I nearly forgot to mention how wonderful it was to have a film open with the familiar from childhood Twentieth Century Fox just as the J Arthur Rank gong, RKO Tower and Warner Brothers launched so many wonderful experiences which have become wonderful memories.

01.30 Some chess and some correspondence and a raw tomato but I may need another in bread if I am to go to bed and sleep comfortable. I resist well done.

02.00 I always go through my Spam file before deleting because occasionally something important slips by as in this instance when a response in Spanish to my request for any info about my Spanish Great Grandmother. Alas it confirms that because of the Civil war 1936-1939 records going back were destroyed. I will have another go in due course whether there is any record of cave like dwellings which my care mother said my Great Grandmother mother inhabited when she visited her, having to travel by donkey to get up the mountainside.

02.10 I go to bed having won 400 of the 407 level one chess games played in this cycle of two weeks

03.21 The first waking when I had forgotten how late I had gone to bed.

05.30 This was a better period of sleep

06.10. It felt like an instant when I woke again and needed to rise.

08.50 I needed this further sleep which ended with lots of dreaming about achieving perfection.

09.15.I play a little chess before working until midday to observe the last democratic political process before Easter. The sky is blue clear above me and feels warmer
09.35 I had the coffee with a kick last night Java Lava and found it enjoyable but need something milder now to get me going.

9.40 I begin work. Hooray. It is not that I do not want to. I am eager, driven, but I am not mechanical. This is important to remember. As I find the confidential cards file I decided to bring the computer clock in line with the mantel clock in this room but postpone those in the other rooms which are all showing a different time within 15 minutes.

09.45 Go to documents, go to Signature cards 2007m go to confidentials, go to file 19601 19700 go to file 19721 19739 and raise card 19627. Update the card to 19628, the volume from 1 to 2, the individual card run from 471049 to 471072 and the artman glitter card to 107501 set 4480 and the signature card to 107502 and I forget the to change the date but do so on the next card which I would other wise left until indexes the 24 individual cards of the set. First I take the printed card to a small table on which there is a raffia matt. It is coloured red but this is incidental. I decided on a blue and orange crayon wash. This is achieved by rubbing the crayons sideways lightly over its surface on top of the raffia mat . I forgot to mention that the heading of these cards is TheRecord andtheWitness to remind of the dyslexic aspect of my work and of me. I will sign when the cards have been listed although I do not list usually but photograph later as single cards and double cards.

10.30 Signature card signed and list of cards attached with appropriate withholds. 19628

001 Copy my Birthday certificate dated 26.09. 1957 photocopy

002 as above

003 Copy my Birthday certificate dated 9.2.1999 photocopy

004 As above

005 Copy certificate G C E O levels 4 subjects 1955 summer

006 Copy Certificate G C E Advance level one subject 1958

007 Copy Certificate Local Government Clerical Exam 1958

008 Copy Oxford University Certificate Diploma Public and Social Administration 1963 Ruskin College

009 Copy qualification certificate Central Training Council Child

Care Birmingham University 30.9.63 to 5.9.64

010 Copy University Birmingham course completion certificate.

011 Confidential

012 ..
013 ..
014 ..
015 ..
016 Copy Passport pages
017 Copy Passport details
018 Copy Build society book page
019 Copy Building society entry page
020 Copy Building Society page
021 Copy Henley course certificate 28 09.1984.
022 Copy Driving Licence showing no Endorsements
023 Copy of reverse of above
024 second copy see vol 1 MOT certificate until October 2008

10.40 set 19628 is the 7125 set completed bringing the total number of cards in the work to-date 17100. I go to laptop to see Emails. Two personal’s and of the others I like the one from the USA offering me a teaching degree and new career from my home. Another offered to help me through writing procrastination and bursting through the writer’s block. The New York Times Headline is that the Fed has cut rates again, after the need for the USA Treasurer to intervene with a good old fashioned socialist measure to save a bank and its system. Look briefly at the Baghdad Blog and what Barack has said. E Booker offers me hotels for 99p Staples have a 50% sale off their own brands this weekend only while stocks last so I must attend to this in a moment delaying actual work for work supplies. Tchibo offer kitchen supplies. Nectar points are changing their email address. Northern Stage remind of their current productions which includes Uncle Vanya and A Dolls House I know the Chekov and Ibsen too well to consider, but will take another look at the Doubtful Guest on a Winter’s night.

11.20 decide on early salad lunch with bread and watch the build up to Parliamentary Question Time. Will watch DVD this afternoon. Need to do second batch of 50 artman glitter cards after lunch and but also must complete three more work sets before the day is done and ideally one or two more. Get on with it lad.

11.55 Enjoyed salad lunch with the shell on prawns and two slices of brown bread, followed by a banana and will have a drink in a moment. The twp political issues of the day were the closure of sub post offices where in the last ten years just under half have been or are planned closure and where there can be little support for those which cater for only two or three customers a day, but other where there is commercial use as well as individual remains questionable. There is a belated proposal where local authorities are expressing an interest. It is difficult to square a number of reductions in services for economic and efficiency reasons, local police stations, local hospitals, local post offices, local primary schools, with the wish to sustain and develop a sense of local communities in the age of the motor car and the internet. The other subject was the peaceful protest by Ghurkhas about their right and those of their families to live and participate in the UK after their period of military service is completed. The present government to its credit has made two changes which has significantly improved the position, granting British rights after four years of service and also granting full rights to those who joined after the date at which the Headquarters of the regiment was moved to the UK. The question now is retrospection for those who retired from the service before 1997, especially those who are resident in the UK.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

House of Intrigue, Sahara and the Butterfly Effect 2

I realised soon after the House of Intrigue commenced that I had seen the film before. A dramatic creation out of a true event of World War II when German intelligence achieved a significant and substantial success over the allies as a consequence of which some fifty allied agents were dropped over Holland and immediately arrested. What is horrible and a damning indictment of the British authorities which has never been adequately explained is that the British Special Operations Executive, the SOE, continued to send Dutch intelligence agents back into their homeland despite knowing that something was not right

What happened is that German counter intelligence captured the first agents and then for the greater part of the war in Europe communicated with the SOE headquarters in London using the code system which meant they were able to apprehend agents as they were sent together with supplies and information. Major Herman Giskes of the Abwhr controlled the system which was named Operation North Pole - Unternehmen Nordpol or Englandpsiel.

What is inexcusable is that the head of codes at the SOE, Leo Marks stated that he had become suspicious of the situation because the messages were sent without mistakes and which were planned as security checks. In others words the British authorities had forethought the likelihood that agents would be caught and their code for messages broken when tortured, and therefore decided that the message would be full of mistakes pre arranged mistakes. Because of his suspicions Leo sent an indecipherable message which an ordinary agent would not be able to translate and therefore concluded that the system had become compromised. From the information available it is not stated to whom Marks reported his discovery, how far up the chain of command the information went and the time table when his concerns were being reported. No action was taken and it was Major Fiske who revealed the deception as the war ended.

This was bad enough but in 1943 two Dutch agents managed to escape from captivity and returned to the UK where they advised that the operation was compromised but they were not believed, arrested for counter espionage. I do not know what happened to them. In the film one agent escapes and is charged with being a counter spy and sentenced to death as a consequence of further action by the head of the Operation, called Colonel Bernes in the film

Confirmation that they had been telling the truth only came when Major Giskes sent a messages to the SOE in such a manner to leave in no doubt that German intelligence was North Pole.

To the SOE section chiefs Messrs Blunt, Bingham and Successors Ltd. You are trying to make business in the Netherlands without our assistance. We think this is unfair in view of our long and successful cooperation as your sole agent. But never mind whenever you will come to pay a visit to the Continent you may be assured that you will be received with the same care and result as all those who you have sent us before. So Long”

Both the Major and Leo Marks published books about their respective roles after the War with the Major London Calling North Pole and Mark’s - Between Silk and Cyanide, A Code maker’s Story, written in 1998 and presumably with the approval of the authorities some fifty years after the events themselves. According to Wikipedia the failure was not an intentional political or strategic military decision as the allies did not want the enemy to know they knew Germans security had taken over the operation so they could provide a mixture of accurate and misleading information to draw attention away from more significant allied plans and actions.
The allegation is that there was rivalry between British and Dutch intelligences and between the Secret Intelligence Service “C” and the SOE which had been created out of “C” and that any admissions of failure would weaken their respective positions. There were similar problems between the Army, Navy and Airforce which only appear to have been resolves over recent decades with the establishment of one head of all services within the UK, although one suspects that such divisions and rivalries continue to exist in NATO as well as within the service arms as lower levels..

At the end of the War Major Giskes was held in Camp 20 Iserlohn when he was interrogated by the war Hero Captain Robert Maxwell MC, the colourful and larger than life owner of the Daily Mirror and head of he Pergamon Press whose headquarters was at Headington Hall Oxford which I used to pass when walking into the City from Ruskin during my first year and where if I had not been engaged in a practical social work placement I would have joined the group of students he employed to help win his first Parliamentary seat. Among his many international interests, he was Chairman of the Commonwealth Games held in Edinburgh and which I attended on the spur of the moment and was allocated a ticket to sit behind her Majesty Queen Elizabeth with only a few rows held empty between us.

What happened to the captured Dutch agents is also not stated and this brings me nicely onto the film.

Understandably it is not a story which the British want publicised and the film is Italian made and released in the USA in 1959 with Kurt Jurgens playing a Colonel Bernes and Dawn Adams the Dutch agent, Mary, who plays the girl friend of an agent who escaped and returned to the UK only to be charged with treason and sentenced to death. The films suggests that the German intelligence framed the boyfriend as a traitor by releasing five captured allies with the information that the boyfriend had turned traitor. To make the frame authentic Jurgens accompanies the men into Spain where they are passed over to Mary for their return to London. Mary spends an evening with the Colonel and he becomes romantically interested in her.

Following the conviction and sentencing of the boyfriend Mary bullies her superiors into sending her to Holland to try and prove his innocence. She insists that no one in Holland is advised of her arrival. She narrowly escapes capture when her first point of contact turns out to be a German security agent. She then contacts the head of Dutch intelligence who is portrayed as a lecherous man who is prepared to identify the members of the underground in exchange for the release of his young brother. He also provides information on the allied landing at Arnhem in order to gain the release of the relative and then betrays Mary to the Colonel who only finds out that she is known to him when he arrests her at Ballet where it was arranged for her to meet the Dutch contact who organising the radio contact with London.

In part because of their evening together but mainly because the captured agents are taken out of his custody on orders from Berlin and he deposed from his position, he provides Mary with safe conduct back to the border to get back to the UK and to save her boyfriend. The film suggests that the Colonel is a humane man loyal to his country but opposed to Nazi methods and is himself arrested as a consequence. The films also suggests that the captured agents which he protected are to be taken to be killed.

Branding the head of Dutch intelligence in this way is unusual without some foundation. Research so far suggests that there were four separate underground resistance movements in Holland which built up slowly during the war in addition to the Communist led movement which is thought to have been greater that the rest put together. So far I have established that the Parachute Regiment making the Arnhem landings had received inadequate intelligence about the strength of German forces but the Invasion command was aware of the location of the Panzers but did nor disclose the information to them. I also have a memory of at least one other film in which the existence of a traitor within the resistance and involving the Arnhem battle is featured. There is also the film The Black Book which does cover traitors with the resistance movement and back market profiteering. I then found out that a Dutch resistance worker had changed sides and betrayed information about the allied landing at Arnhem but the article suggests that the German HQ discounted the information. The man in question committed suicide while his trial after the World War ended.

After such serious historical concerns I will admit to have devoted time to keeping one eye on the film, Sahara while I played Luxor on Sunday night. Sahara has the distinction of being one of the great Hollywood loses makers of all time. It cost 160 million US dollars and lost over 105 although this was then lowered to 78.3 million when accounted on the basis of total estimated income of £202.9 against total expenditure of 281.2 the latter figures include distribution and publicity costs as well as production and became available to the public because of a lawsuit in the US.

The film has a ludicrous plot which the actors do not take seriously from start to finish and is in the manner of the Indiana Jones series. Even the appearance of Penelope Cruz in a leading role fails to raises the standard beyond that of a Saturday Children’s show adventure.

The story is a weird one in that it features a mock up of the Confederate States Ship Texas and all ironclad twin propelled ramming ship with armaments which historically was completed and launched in 1865 but was captured intact when the city of Richmond fell and was formerly taken into the US Navy but saw no service and was eventually sold to private company in 1867. The film pretends that the Texas was used by the Confederacy to escape the blockade by taking prisoner President Abraham Lincoln together with Confederate gold coin and documentation and crossed the Atlantic until grounded in a branch of the river Niger where natives realising the vessel contained gold, blockaded it, starving to death the President and Crew. Whereas the 1992 novel by Clive Kessler concentrated on the story, the film becomes all action with few breathtaking interludes.

In the process of securing the Treasure the adventurers become involved with Penelope Cruz, a World Health Organisation Doctor who is investigating the spread of illness which is eventually tracked down to polluting nuclear waste. The most spectacular construction in the film is not the Texas and the all solar panel disposal unit in the middle of the dessert. This developed a problem which caused the waste to buried underground seeping into an underground river which pollutes the water supply bringing the disease and death.

The secret plant is provided by an international corporation, of course, with the connivance of a corrupt military run government and much of the action centres on the efforts of the regime to capture the adventurers in extended Bond like sequences. In a scene reminiscent of several Bond films the adventurers manage to prevent the head of the corporation from blowing up the secret facility in order to remove evidence of their activities and responsibility for the contamination. In the final scene the adventures become surrounded in the Texas as government forces surround them and just when the end is sight the forces surrender for no apparent reason until the heroes emerge to discover the surrounding hills covered by local warriors reminiscent of the film Zulu. They are able to continue their adventures supported by the treasure. However the financial failure meant that no sequel was ever made.

Last night I watched the Butterfly Effect 2 which is an unrelated follow up film to the Butterfly Effect. While the first was covered by the critics there is only one review of the second and this refused to load which suggests it may have been withdrawn by the author. Both films, and I understand also the third which is also unrelated to the previous two, are about time travel.

The main subjects have blackouts caused by situations of intense stress and this enables them to return to before a previous situation of disaster. In the first film while in therapy and reading his diaries from an earlier time the hero finds that he is able to relive previous experience in such ways that he is able to alter what happened. However what happens never works out as intended.

In the second the hero is a successful young man about to get engaged who becomes involved in a fatal road accident in which his fiancée and two friends are killed but he survives. When he returns he tries to change what happened but on each occasion the outcomes are always different. Part of the reason why the second film bombed is that it played with format of the first and the main character is not likable. It with him dying rather than his friends or girl friend and she has their child who she has named after him.

All the films are based on chaos theory with the Butterfly concept that even the fluttering of the wings of a butterfly in one place at one time can have consequence which leads to events occurring half way around the world and therefore time travelling back to change outcomes in a particular way will never be successful. I do not pretend to understand chaos theory but believe that all events have a history of complex causation which can be unravelled in retrospect depending on the level and extent of information available. This is the principle upon which all science is based in that given the same set of steps, interactions and interventions the outcome will always be the same or substantially similar, I thought the first film was watchable although the storyline had several weaknesses. I thought the second film was awful and will avoid the third if it comes to screen. When it comes to sci fiction one of the best first films of a Theatre and TV series was The Planet of Apes which was shown on terrestrial TV yesterday afternoon and will be written about later.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Dangerous Life of Altar Boys and my film world

Until five year ago I experienced films emotionally, and sometimes the impact lasted for longer than the next thing that engaged my attention, and sometimes I continued to think about aspects of the film for days. I rarely considered how the film was made, or systematically reviewed the acting performances, or would be able to recount all the relevant details of the story. My only preparation was to read about the current films being shown in theatre or the briefest note on what it is about which can be found though the Sky information button or the brief one line description in a newspaper listings. I liked the weekly film programme on BBC1 which is the only programme of its type aimed at intelligent adults, especially the eras of Michael Parkinson and Barry Norman. I cannot stand the conceited approach of the ubiquitous Jonathan Ross but if I remember and am in a position to do so, I listen to Dr Mark Kermode on Five Live because I rarely disagree with his assessments, and more recently if I miss the programme I listen to an on line recording

For about ten years I have followed up my visits to the cinema or watching a film on television by downloading a film review from the On Line Film Critics Society to which I attached the retained portion of the ticket, or a note of when and where the film was viewed, and then periodically I would add the information to an alphabetical list on the computer. There were and remain two reviewers that I read first, if available. I rarely disagree with the descriptions and assessments of James Berardinelli and I also usually like the slant of Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat who write from the perspective of Spirituality and Practice.

About three years ago I recommenced visits to live theatre after a break of several years and started to write up the experience and this was extended to the films of Ingmar Bergman, Almodovar, Fellini which I was watching on DVD, and this in turn led to the practice of making a note on every film viewed, sometimes more when writing my pieces for MySpace which commenced in February 2007. I no longer created the master list, something which I regret, although the reading of some reviews afterwards has continued, using Channel Four for British Films not covered by the OFCS and more recently Wikipedia.

Throughout all the recent decades of film experience I can become so fully engaged with a film that it is only afterwards that I relate chords from my own experience, or begin to examine the work more critically. Sometimes as the full credits role or the full credits are included on the index, where most films ever made have been included, I debate the justification for the involvement of so many and the overall production costs and one such instance is that of the film The Dangerous Life of Altar Boys which I watched yesterday on DVD where the eighteen listed actors are supported by a direction, writing and production team of 150 and where three production companies, 12 distributors and four other companies providing special effects and others are listed. One had one asks how can all this effort, involvement and expense be justified to create a work which most people will experience for only two hours of their lives and then forget? One recent film cost $2 million and grossed at the box office over $25 million, another cost $80 million and lost over $10 million at the box office. Film making is therefore a creative, sometimes artistic, industry on whom tens of thousands of individuals and their families depend and is an important part of the economy of nations especially those where heavy industry and the manufacturing of material goods is increasingly passing on to new developing economies where the energy, the raw materials and the labour is significant less expensive and in plentiful supply.

Occasionally (because of the careful selection of films that I see) I question the value of the enterprise, and consider that a proportion of the output, primarily intended for the weekend entertainment of young people is harmful to them individually and society in general. Sometimes a film goes to the heart of my own experience that everything else planned for that day, days and weeks changes. The Dangerous Life of Altar Boys is film which I consider to be harmful and which also touched many aspects of my past life and I am still digesting and considering what to say some twenty four hours later.

When the DVD arrived I had no memory why it had been added to the list other that from its title or that Jodie Foster was playing the part of a nun who is satirised in an obscene and profane way by one of her adolescent pupils in a created underground Comic book fashion, as Nunzilla. Because of my reaction to the film I read as many reviews I could find printing out those from Berardinelli, the Brussats and Dennis Schwartz to remind of specific points I knew wanted to mention. It is Schwartz who makes the point that although the film was released in 2002 when public interest and concern was at its height in relation to sexual activity involving priests and nuns with under age young people and children the film is more about a coming into adulthood of young people brought up in a catholic education and church environment and although some critics describe the approach of the nun headmistress as strict and rigid there is no suggestion of physical violence and all she does when the behaviour gets totally out of hand and acceptability is advise that she proposes to contact the parents and announce their expulsion from the school. I would also have expelled them and called in the police.

The two main adolescents, plus two others, like to see themselves as hard done by victims and film sets the tone when the main two use geometry o work out the direction and position where a telephone pole will fall after hey cut it down with a chain saw. By coincidence I was listening later to a radio programme about woodland management where before the process of any tree felling is completed the site is inspected by a safety officer to ensure that because of the age of the tree, the nature of the wood and its location there is no risk to those doing the felling or standing by. The film treats the action of the boys as an escapade that all boys growing up will do.

They then steal a large statue from the church where they are altar boys and where the priest also coaches the boys in a team game. The statue is removed from a tower and again because of their calculations it falls within inches of smashing on the ground because of the selected length of a rope. They refuse questioning by the nun and a plea by the priest for its return before calling in the police, and they respond to this by send in part of a hand which has broken off when the statute is being hidden away.

One of the boys takes up with a young girl who shows an interest in him, and during a sequence when he visits her home when her mother is away, and although it is sensitively and not graphically portrayed the viewer is left with the idea that they have had full sexual intercourse, and we learn that the girl has previously tried to commit suicide, believes she is seeing a ghost and that she has been having ongoing sexual relations with her brother. When the boy tries to raise these issues (it can be assumed) with the parish priest the benevolent advice is to follow the teaching of the Church but also to listen to the nature of body (my interpretation of words in the film not noted down at the time)

However it is their final action which amazingly some reviewers call a teenage prank which I found the most reprehensible. In retaliation to being told they are to be expelled three of the boys decide to carry out something which has been considered beforehand. This is to sedate a Cougar by breaking into its secured location and transport to the home of the Nun headmistress to give her a fright, putting on the least of the potentially criminal outcome. The plan looks as if it will succeed until one of them is killed when the mate or companion of the animal comes from nowhere in the darkness. In real life the other two boys involved will be charged with the manslaughter of their friend and attempted murder of the nun. But in the film one boy is given the task of a reading at the packed church funeral attended by the parents of the boys and the girl, an who I would have at least investigated for parental negligence. This is the context in which some reviewers appear to condone the boys behaviour because of the stance of Jodie Foster as the Nun Headmistress when she expels the two boys for producing their own underground adult comic book, one as graphic artist and the other as its listed editor.

The overwhelming majority of those who have seen the film will have accepted the presentation that this is normal growing up behaviour of young people brought up by parents who exercise little or not control, by a too rigid and doctrinal religion, and over influenced by underground Comic books. To say underground is misleading in this context because film shows them reading the comics obtained from an open public selling stall and where one of them is handed a selected edition to read by its owner.

An aspect of this film is bringing to life some of the comic characters into a mini story interwoven with the rest of the film to make the point how a combination of a fertile imagination and a drawing ability can take over the minds of young lives and lead them to act out fantasy in reality with disastrous and in this instance fatal consequences reminding of all those young people who now play with real guns and live ammunition.

Some reviewers suggest that this is all superficial, and misunderstands what the film is really about . Schwartz points out that film draws on the work of William Blake which the headmistress forbids him to read, but where the priest allows him to read The Tyger from the Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. The central idea being that in the world there is lamb innocence and the Tyre experience and I am told that the poem asks the question of how a God which made the lamb could also made the Tyger? A question asked of every parent who has to bear the illness, disabling accident and death of a child, those raped, slaughtered in war or through starvation, or imprisoned after false accusation, manufactured evidence and an inadequate judicial system.

A different approach is taken by the Brussats who in their usual eloquent way explain that Christianity "is a religion which makes enormous demands on the human capacity for faith in the unseen and the non rational. It asks believers to acknowledge their limitations in the face of the unknown and to surrender to the ministrations of a loving God. To adhere to this world view is to sail on a sea of mystery and to cherish imagination as a divinely instituted faculty." It is my understanding that the writers then argue that is the way religions, and in particular Christianity become fixed and rigid faced with the changing knowledge of the universe and our understanding of human behaviour has led to the predicament of youngsters such as those in this film which leads to the sins and to the crimes. However although much of Christianity is still left within me I cannot share their belief that the main character in trying to come to terms with "eros, rebellion, anger, pride and creativity," that he consequently can be shown as someone who when tested is able to deal with the situation in a constructive manner and continue onto a Christian based loving and constructive life. There are too many gaps in our knowledge of the young man, especially his parental upbringing and genecology to be confident of this, and from his behaviour in the film I would suggest a future life in which he will find it difficult to strike a balance between his imagination, his creativity and conventions and rules of society and similarly in his personal relationships he will find it difficult to impossible to maintain any relationship which does not attain the levels of those of his creations and the fantasies of others.

Spanglish and Today we live on Budget Day

A long and eventful day draws to a close and which included two contrasting male film personalities. Today we live is a 1933 released film of a William Faulkner story, set in England in the first World War, of love and heroic self sacrifice starring a young Joan Crawford, a mature Gary Cooper with Robert Young and Franchot Tone. Joan Crawford, as Diana, has grown up with her brother and his friend, played by Robert Young. They have been and remain inseparable and as the two men go to war as sailors piloting a small, one torpedo, motor boat, back and forth across the English Channel, she agrees to become engaged although this is more as caring best friends rather than lovers, and her fiancée thinks it is odd that they should start to kiss as a consequence of the development. For some reason, during a few minutes when I needed a quick break I missed why Gary Cooper took over the family home resulting in Diana moving into the gatehouse with her brother, as the death of the their father is announced on the day of Cooper’s arrival.

The couple, Copper and Crawford quickly fall into unstated sexual love and after wrestling with her conflict over loyalty to her friend and to her brother, and her feelings for Cooper, her fiancée becomes blind as a consequence of a daring and successful raid on an enemy vessel. She decides to go with her sense of loyalty and long standing friendship. This is a decision which Cooper understands because he has been cast from the same oak, and which perhaps is why he volunteers for a bombing flight where in the unlikely event that he survives, he will receive a medal. Such is the power of love in all its many forms, for on arrival in the UK Cooper declares his neutrality when asked which side he is on, and then quickly decided to volunteer as a flier after meeting Diana, brother and friend, and amazingly the three men appear form the core of a special ops unit, so that Diana’s brother is present when Cooper is advised that his mission is essential and suicidal. Out of loyalty to his sister the brother decides to put to sea in the motor torpedo boat and try and sink the enemy ship before Cooper can take off on his mission. Diana’s fiancée, although blind insists on partnering in the venture and they discard the rating who usually travels with them, knowing from the outset that their chances of survival are slim. From the previous mission we learn that the torpedo launch mechanism is temperamental and this time it fails to work so the brother decides to accomplish the mission by becoming the second World War era kamikaze. As Robert Young refuses to leave his friend by taking to a survival craft, the two comrades power into the enemy just as Cooper arrives in his plane. Cooper and Crawford are free to get together to live happy ever after, honouring her brother and his friend although in reality the guilt flowing from the voluntary self sacrifice will haunt to the detriment of their future relationship. Given that the film was made six years before World War II it is significant in preparing people for the self sacrifices that were to come. It is something with a chunk of the youth of to-day have no idea and I fear they would not be up to the task if called upon.

The three men and Diana are mature and heroic figures who put their principled beliefs before the individual needs and feelings. Cooper in particular is a man few words, and none of them are expressive in the modern manner. This contrasts with the sensitive and understanding Adam Sadler in a surprisingly well written and acted warm hearted, comedy Spanglish written and directed by James L Brooks whose previous work includes Terms of Endearment. Sadler plays the only male of significance in the film and his character is that of a sensitive, empathetic, intuitive, understanding and caring chef and restaurateur, and despite the picture being presented as a comedy and primarily about the problems arising when a Mexican woman who only speaks Spanish works as a general factotum in an only English speaking household, this is also a film where the three main adult characters put their marital and parental responsibilities before their natural feelings and interests, and where the level of performance, and the a script have greater depths than Today we live, with truths about adult relationships and parenting popping up all over the film, and foremost how an intelligent and sensitive child, and then young person can often see more of situations than the adults around them.

I was tempted to view the film when it was released in 2004 because of the Spanish English theme and the Gibraltarian Spanish English language of my childhood. The film is reported to have lost over ten million dollars, having cost $80 million to make and I suggest this is because of the miss selling trailer when in fact this is a powerful film about the complexity of love and sexual relationships as couples become over familiar with each other and lose their separate identities and then becomes attracted by new faces which appear to meet the voids that have developed in their lives. The film is very funny but as one contributor to the DVD extras rightly describes, it is always generous and tender and I would add full of exquisite nuances. Adam Sadler mentions that he lives in the same neighbourhood as Brooks and met him when out one day and the film maker was deep in contemplation while writing his new film, He hoped there would be a part for him and suspect, because I cannot remember his other work, that Brooks wrote the part with Sadler in mind because what we saw of Sadler on screen is what he is like in real life, he had a part for him in mind. In fact the screen character is good version of Adam Sadler being Adam Sadler.

The story of the film is that a Mexican Spanish woman (actress Paz Vega) enters the USA illegally with her daughter (Shelbie Bruce) and after living and working in two jobs, one at night, in the Hispanic community of Los Angeles, decides she needs one better paid day job as her daughter reaches adolescence and attracts the interest of young men. Mother is taken to the American English only speaking family help job by her bilingual daughter and together they charm their way into being offered the position which pays fifty percent more than the previous two jobs together. Because Sadler’s wife ((Tea (accent over the e) Leoni)) has always lacked self confidence and is of low self esteem, and loses her day job she finds being a full time housewife a challenge and despite having a live in mother (Cloris Leachman), needs the home help to make coffee and carry parcels and provide care for her daughter (Sarah Steele) who is overweight and wear teeth braces, and a younger son with a preference to staying in bed. Over a short period Tea appears rejecting of her own daughter as she is, and takes up the impressionable and ambitious daughter of Paz Vega and then commences an affair at a time when her husband has been declared possible the greatest chef in the USA and their daughter needs understanding and reassurance if she is not to grow up like her mother. Paz also intervenes in the dynamics of the family, first in relation to the daughter and then providing the understanding and emotional comfort to the husband that he desperately needs and is no longer able to get from his wife. At the point when marriage is about to end, Sadler and Paz hold back and Tea being warned what will happen by her mother, moves back from the brink, but by nature has to confess everything and to know everything, and for once the two are forced to talk and to listen to the reality which their marriage has become, and which in truth was a point that had to be reached if there was any prospect of its survival. The solution is one of reality in that Paz and her daughter have to break from the family which has offered and provided so much and we are left with the understanding that Paz will go back to work hard within the Hispanic community while her daughter will also grow up within the umbrella culture of her mother until she can attain independence and greater fulfilment. The film opens and closes with the daughter’s application essay for a scholarship to Princetown University on the subject "Who has been the most influential person in your life?"

I was puzzled by the fact that Adam Sadler was familiar to me except that I could not remember specific previous performance but on checking his background the one that comes first to mind is the Wedding Singer. He has written film scripts and produced and is a recorded musician and someone I will now pay closer attention

Sadler’s wife in the film is played by Tea Leoni was born Elizabeth Tea (with the accent over the e) Pantaleoni and her parents and relatives are exceptionally well connected with one, the musician and Polish Prime Minister Jan Paderewski and her paternal grandfather {(Former President of UNICEF for 25 years. She has a difficult role in the film as she is the least likeable character but in part because of the writing but because of her acting skill she draws sympathy because we understand her predicament. The other noteworthy thing to mention is that she is now married to David Duchovny, the star of the X files

For me the star is Shelbie Carole Bruce who was only 12 when the film was released in the USA. Her maternal grandparents are/were Mexican and Spanish and from her father’s side she is part Indian, part Scottish and half American but considers herself Mexican American. The fascinating aspect of what appears to have been an exceptional childhood is that she has been home schooled and was trained as a child model and she already has her own jewellery and perfume selling brands. I hope I will hear and see more about this extraordinary young person who is not yet sixteen.(Perfume branded Mr and Mrs Beckham is for sale at the Asda Lottery, Cigarette and newspaper counter so she is in good company).

I bet no female adoring person can help but become infatuated with the Spanish actress Paz Vega who comes from Andalusia. My understanding is that she was still a Spanish speaking actress for the film and had to have an interpreter with her. She had established herself in Spanish theatre, film and TV for about eight years winning several awards including one at Cannes and many nominations, before this first film in which speaks some English and became a Hollywood sensation. I hade immediately recognised her, one seen always remembered, although I could not place the role until checking that it was the Pedro Almodovar film Hable con ella (Talk to/with her)

Cloris Leachman, as the grandmother, was also a familiar screen face who in a career of sixty years has appeared in some seventy screen films and some seventy TV programmes and series, winning an Oscar for supporting actress in the Last Picture Show in 1971 and bearing four sons and a daughter from a marriage which lasted 25 years, with her husband known as a ladies man with the most talked about relationship with Joan Collins. One of her sons is the second husband of Sharon Stone. She became a friend of Marlon Brando who she met in the 1950’s while studying with Elia Kazan and her husband who became a close friend of Brando wrote a book about his friendship.

I also felt the performance of Sarah Steele was remarkable for its sensitive understanding of the plight of a daughter wanting to find and be herself and not become a creation of maternal frustration and ambition. She was only 15 when cast for the film and although she has since appeared in two films and acted off Broadway, she is presently concentrating on studies at Columbia University and is another who I say I hope you have a fulfilling life with as little unhappiness as is ever possible and I hope I have sufficient more life and improved memory to learn of your future screen progress not to miss them. Perhaps I should create an index of those who I should check their biographies in five to ten years time, but I already have more than twice enough to do that can be fitted into my long days leading to exhausted nights times.

Yesterday my new refrigerator arrived and is all that I had hoped for it with lots of usable space on the door and taller but with less depth than the one it replaces. Alas the delivery men immediately decided against trying to take the old fridge freezer, a problem made difficult by the new laminate flooring, and therefore a longer term problem and which makes me apprehensive about my two other outstand repairs which are now the priority. I previously mentioned that forecasting there would be a problem I brought back in the on last legs refrigerator which is being used until later today when the one will have completed the standing time and cold down. I then sped off to make a couple of visits which included taking the printer, scanner copier for a service. It had no problems other than reaching the counter when surplus ink needed to be drained away. Previously the cost was £25 for less than fifteen minutes works but this time because of the combination unit it was £40. While waiting a young woman arrived at the speaker controlled door and the upstairs receptionist misunderstood and had to explain that parcel deliveries had to be taken and signed for at separate entrance. There was a vicious wind and earlier I was not been able to hold the car door when opening but fortunately there was sufficient space between vehicles. In this instance the combination of the wind and a temper slam of the door created such a bang that I feared the glass would shatter and remain amazed that it did not.
I also received yesterday from America a copy of the Antwone Fish autobiography, Finding Fish which I aim to have read between now and Easter, taking precedence over what has become a substantial pile of books to read, some partially read such as the George Melly and the La Carre.

Yesterday was also budget day and such was my lack of attention that I only realised this was so when switching on the car radio. I might not have bothered in terms of the any narrow personal position gain or loss as the only change of future interest as an increase in the Winter fuel grant from £200 to £250 to those over 60 and from £300 to £400 for those over 80 with in total less amounts where there are more than one eligible adult in a household, The state pension notice for next financial year has also arrived showing a small increase which is just as well there is the occupational pension.

I also checked to see when Barnsley Wembley Cup tickets might be on general sale, if any are any over from other supporters as 4 are being offered to season ticket holders although for some reason the £9 anywhere offer from National express rail had been placed directly in the spam file and was out of date when I went to check and clear