Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Black Narcissus, Into the Blue and Garden State

I woke this morning rudely with a hazy awareness that the door bell was sounding. I grabbed some clothes and staggered downstairs and to find it was the Royal Mail package being delivered at 7.30 am. The package was marked documents enclosed but inside was a precision made indoor radio controlled Micro Helicopter described as not a toy and not suitable for those under 12 years. This gift was expected, but not at 7.30 in the morning or to have arrived without the ten black printing cartridges which had been the purpose of my internet placed order on Wednesday. I was later reassured that the cartridges were coming in ordinary postal packages. I have previously mentioned that my internet based supplier in Jersey with an factory in the West Country, provides cartridges at a fifth of the cost of brands by a combination of reduces prices for quantity and frequently 2 for 1 offers. Usually they offer lap tops at discount and free printers if you start off with some branded cartridge. The precision indoor Micro helicopter, "that is not a toy" is in lieu of a 2 for 1 offer which I would have preferred. I have obviously missed out on these offers in the past have bought in bulk when the opportunity arose and my circumstances permitted as I use about £50 of print cartridges a month which at brand prices would cost £200 and more. I started with brand cartridges and some of these formed assembly sculptures representing my dependence on the electronic communication and print era, then I moved to refills at a local store and to the internet regret each time that I was not alert to the additional savings. It has also been so with photographic paper. Just as well I am not expecting any financial return and the way I look at it I am contributing to the financial welfare of those who work in the cartridge, photographic paper and white card manufacturing, and those who invest for profit to use on creating work and profit for others to create work and profit, the chain can be endless and which is the difference between those in westernised economic and those who do not, Dictators tend just to store their wealth for when they cease to be dictators or need to buy weaponry to sustain their position. I can understand socialists who want to over create a different economic system to capitalism but so many are so wrong in not understanding if you are not going to going to do this you have make capitalism work as effectively as you can for the benefit of as many as possible according to whatever religious, spiritual, or ethical standards you live by. I am sad by those who hate, and create more hatred, much as I do professing Christians who do not practice what they say they believe in.

Two thirds of the ink cartridges have arrived in two packets, Going back to the special gifts economy which I suppose is a bribe for those who place orders in businesses, rather like air miles, or other offers which come along with expenses, I have acquired quite a collection of such gifts from my stationary supplies where I tend to alternative between the 5% discount by going to their local stores, especially for their offers on white card, (and on transparent pockets until recently with those at Asda competitively priced and better quality). Let see I have a collection of travel bags which are very useful when going on mini trips or during the time I kept my mother's London flat going enabling me to visit her in the mornings, helping her with lunch when she went through a patch of leaving it, or only eating half leaving the rest for me or her sister. I would eat a similar meal with her to avoid this problem but she would forget if I eat he meal quickly as I like food and drink to be hot, so the problem remained. What else have we got that has been useful? One of two radio's I have in this room for listening to football commentaries that are not on TV, visual or audio and a mouse mat with a calculator which goes on the blink for weeks at the time. There is a digital camera and a film camera, a coffee making machine, a good pair of binoculars and an over shoulder picnic set.

It felt a good start to birthday weekend although I shall now concentrate on getting a new fridge. I thought the inherited "with house" fridge freezer was working and attempted to get my old one of some fifteen years into the car to take to the council recycle centre, but then decided to see if the Council collected, which they do through a company who try and repair and sell second hand rather than take to land fill. Then I found the inherited with house fridge compartment ponged a little and the Too Warm sign had not disappeared although the motor was working and freezer compartment was cold as was the lower salad containing drawers to the fridge. I decided to revert to plan B. The exercise bike which I am not using, bad old man, was moved into the downstairs hallway and the old fridge from my former home was moved back into the day room where the exercise bike has been were it worked better than ever but there has been leaks and other evidence that its time for the knackers yard had come. I do not want to disturb the new arrangement of video cabinets, black filing cabinets the freezer and the spin dryer and which enables me to get into the under stairs cupboard easier and to use the adjacent gas fire, should the central heating fail.

I then bought from Curry's on line, a new large fridge larder which will provide lots of easy access room and a door for all the bottle, cartons and the like. It is almost the same size as the existing inherited fridge freezer, so in theory those delivering will remove the old and replace with the new, although I have a plan C which would see the smaller Freezer moving to the kitchen and the old fridge freezer space after I have fitted laminated flooring in the vacated space, hence keeping my last legs fridge going, not in the kitchen but the day room. This will involve placing the new Fridge temporarily in the day room until I can move the freezer into the kitchen after the additional laminated floor area is completed. I will not purchase the laminated floor in case the new unit will fit in the cleared space. Plan D involves also keeping the working last legs fridge going and then getting the Council to remove, if the delivery people will not take the two units.

I am also impressed by the internet provided information on delivery, returns police and after sales service where as with Amazon and E Bay you can print copies of everything as you go along, and get confirmatory e mails of the order, and then later on the same day, confirmation of delivery on the selected day. I need to phone the day before to confirm the time and will then check about taking away one or to machine, having decided my best option at that point. So much for practicalities, I will now spend the rest of the weekend on communication with friends, TV, football commentaries, going to football, food and bottle of wine with fizz.

The first delivered DVD was odd as I could not understand why I had added it to my list. This was a twenties something glossy adventure Into the Blue about looking for treasure off the Bahamas, but going astray when they discover a downed plane with £100 million of drugs on aboard and unintentionally try and sell some to their owner, who is not best pleased and kidnaps the girl friend to ensure the rest are delivered. The couple and friends make amends with lots of dangerous adventuring which sees the baddies killed and their haul of drugs destroyed and are rewarded by finding legitimate treasure, This is really an advertisement of a picture for diving for treasure and true love in the Bahamas, closing with the information that there is an estimated 6 billion to be found on the ocean bed. Alas few have taken the advice and continue to invest in transporting drugs to be sold to the children, other young people and some of their parents. It amazes me that authorities have proved so incompetent about ending the production of drugs that are grown, and the failure of most European nations to be more effective in stopping production in Afghanistan and elsewhere suggest complicity if not corruption at the highest levels, but then governments all around the world did nothing for half a century after they knew cigarettes cause cancers and which remains a greater killer than most grown drugs, where the problem is the criminality involved in supply and paying for the usage. We, especially the USA fail to learn the lessons of Alcohol Prohibition. How do they all sleep at night?

After kippers for breakfast and a salami salad for lunch time with banana I was uncertain about what to have for the evening meal, having eaten fish yesterday, a delicious bream, and only then remembered the packets of instant Tilda rice I had bought perhaps a fortnight ago and chose one Fiery chipotle Chillies, smoked paprika and pinto bean blend with finest Basamati with what also purpose to be a hot chicken curry. It was enjoyable but not hot. I knew some grapes for dessert would not be filling so had a medium portion of breakfast cereal, crunchy oat clusters with dusting of banana chips, raisins, pineapple coconut, hazelnuts, papaya, sesame and sunflower seeds in minute quantities.

It made me feel very tired so I dozed through part of Black Narcissus which at one level is a film about what can happen if you find yourself on a high without adequate preparation. I had seen this film soon after its release in 1947, a study of a group of nuns sent by their order to an old building high in the Himalayas to bring education and health care of the people at the request of the "local lord of the manor." with a son (Sabu) destined to be educated at an English university and a British agent. The young Sister in charge was played by Deborah Kerr, hiding a lost childhood adolescent love in Ireland as her intended left her to find adventure and fortune in the USA, with Flora Robson as an older nun and a troubled Kathleen Byron who breaks down with dramatic consequences. The nuns are warned they have an impossible challenge as a group of monks failed in the same task after five months and they quickly find the heady atmosphere with its vista across mountain tops penetrating the hidden reasons why they have chosen this life, despite their order being one of work and social activity rather than cloistered meditation. This is another form of bad trip into the past, induced not by LSD, but irresponsibly sent by their order into a situation without adequate preparation and understanding.

The clue to understanding their predicament is the holy man who sits high up in the open in all weathers at one with his environment. They are aliens however well intended, and they leave humbled, which at one level is the point of the film made just before the British left India to its initial terrible fate, the price of the failure, Nehru, Jinnah and Mountbatten and Gandhi despite their best of motives.

This was also one of the four films released in 1947 in which 18 year old Jean Simmons had a role, as an advanced for her age lower caste girl brought to the nuns for guidance by the British agent and she then has a fling with Sabu who ought to have known better than give her Black Narcissus perfume, and does when the damage is done. Jean Simmons commenced her film career at the age of 14 and came to national attention in her fifth film, the Way to the Stars and her eighth at the end of 1946, Great Expectations, In Hamlet in 1948 and then in the Blue Lagoon in 1949, when I was only ten years of age, marrying Stewart Grainger the following year but continuing to capture my heat in a number of Roman/Egyptian epics including the Robe, the Egyptian and Spartacus. She has made over sixty films, two thirds of which I know I have seen, with the last How to make in American Quilt. I saw many of her films with my mother and her two sisters at the Odeon Wallington, and I also watched a TV showing of Narcissus with two of them or did I, perhaps I am confusing with the Thorn Birds the mini series about a priest where Harriet had tears in her eyes, and I know this was over a decade before I learnt the info about my origins.

The sandwich between this and the last film of the night Garden State was the Girls night and results shows of American Idol with the Boys show the previous evening. Simon Cowell was being grumpy but honest and accurate and many of the contenders come across as being overwhelmed by the situation they are in. For once the boys out performed the girls although David Autchuleta was not as brilliant as the previous week, with the honour going to Jason Castro, whose surname could be a problem if he reaches the latter stages. Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is one of my favourite songs of all time, Kate Voegoele, a MySpace music friend has a version on MySpace videos which is marred by the chatter of those drinking around her. I bought a CD of Kathryn Williams " Relation" after hearing her version on the radio, but I have not heard one better than that by Jason Castro. Even Simon Cowell declared it brilliant. I can across an unknown version on MySpace video having misspelt Hallelujah as Hallalujah and have added this to my profile. I have decided to end now rather than go on to the Garden State because I found so much more from this film than on first showing in theatre, and will therefore leave until the morrow

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