Monday, 7 December 2009

Above us the Waves and Flame of the Barbary Coast

A week ago I was enjoying a later three course prix fixe meal at the Cafe Rouge Victoria Station food concourse. Today I settled for roast chicken and baked potatoes with a banana and later a small soup, a salad and grapes. I have just about caught up with myself and the work and revived to face a busy week.

For the greater part of the last two years I have abandoned listening to Gibraltar radio and AOL radio for the French station Deezer which enabled one to listen to the last albums of the likes of Duffy and Amy Winehouse as well as the catalogues of Dire Straits and Louis Armstrong. It was possible to do this because there was no downloading and the site performed as a request radio, Then the big boys stepped and while it was possible to continue listen to the latter, the former were blocked although you could download from i-Tunes, Suddenly MySpace has announced what is correctly described as a revolution in going beyond what Deezer achieved and combining the ability to listen as well as pay download through i-tunes. I am yet to explore or create a play list which can be added to my site.

I enjoyed watching once more the John Mills, Donald Sinden and John Gregson 1955 film Above us the Waves. The film is an accurate account of the development of the human torpedo and midget submarines. The dangerous and unlikely objective was to sink the German battleship Tirpitz at its base sixty miles along a Norwegian fjord where every defensive precaution was organised. The first attempt using the manned torpedoes called Chariots ended in failure with all the craft damaged or lost on the voyage over as they were towed across the North Sea on the underside of fishing vessel with false papers. The craft was scuttled and they then had a long trek over the mountains to get to neutral Sweden when instead of being interned for the duration of the war they were allowed to have a flight home arranged.
For the second attempt x class mini submarines were used towed by British submarines as close as possible to the coast with a temporary crew and then replaced by the trained teams for the action. In the film only two of the teams were successful in placing their craft filled explosives beneath the battleship with the third damaged and was blown up as the crew were attempting to escape. One of the craft narrowly missed disaster when it became caught up with sea mine. In the film the German navy behaved impeccably as the surviving crews were taken into custody.

In fact the battleship was not destroyed but rendered inactive for six months which helped to prevent even greater loses among the convoys bringing supplies to the UK from North America. In fact the raid was part of a combined operation-Operation Source in September 1943 in which six of the Midget submarines were used to attack three heavy battleships known to use the fjord as a base. They were towed by a group of submarines. It is not known what happened to the lead craft in which the operations commander served and the he and the crew were reported killed It is thought they were by hit by gun fire from the Battleship.

All the Crew of four of X6 received awards for gallantry including the VC, as did the commander of X where two of the crew were killed. X9 was lost in transit with all hands and X8 had to be scuttled with the crew recovered. It is heart warming story of courage which filled cinemas for close on two decades after World War II ended.

A very different kind of film is Flame of the Barbary Coast which is about San Francisco and not the North African coast. More precisely is about a small area of the growing city in the mid British Victorian era 1848 1858 gold rush which was the home of adventurers, criminals gamblers, drinkers and prostitutes. Howard Hawkes made a film called Barbary Coast but this 1945 released film was directed by John Kane and stars the great John Wayne in his stock role as a masculine adventurer who calls in on casino music Hall owner to reclaim money lost by his foreman. The owner is a cultured and politically ambitious criminal unlike with the others owners of similar corruptly run joints, supported by muscle men and hired killers. In order to attract the punters the owners compete to put on sexy floor shows and owner Tito Morrel has the Flame of the Ivory Coast, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship as she is a great flirt with almost all the city’s politicians and business men offering to marry her. It is during one spat she takes John Wayne -- in the film he has the name Duke Fergus, with Duke Wayne sticking for the rest of his career, or just the Duke-- on a winning run around the gambling houses using fixed dice and stopping others from fixing the results. He wins several hundred thousand dollars which is then won back from the drunk Wayne. Instead of learning from his mistake and going back to his ranch Wayne returns determined to get his own back and win the heart of the Flame. He studies gambling with the help of an expert and gains a substantial amount of money building his own establishment which is to be run honestly and which gains the support of many of the established community leaders who are looking to clean up the city. Just when he is about to achieve success the great earthquake occurs and his is one of the establishments severely damaged. The Flame is severely injured and may never walk again which leads to her abandonment by Tito and who only expresses interest when she is able to walk and sing again. However she has set her heart on the Duke who first has to stop Tito and his political supporters from fixing the Mayorial elections. It sounded as if the Flame wanted return to his Montana ranch and play happy families but the having stopped the election being fixed Wayne appears to decide to stay and become the leading citizen leader. Ah they do not make films like this any more.

Talking of films the new super Odeon will open at the Metro Centre on December 16th and in addition to 3D will have an Imax cinema.

I decide to watch the semi Finals of the Celebrity Dancing competition on Saturday which as with the X Factor the voting public can be perverse supporting personalities and entertainers rather than the best dancers, The judges, all five with the addition of Darcey Bussell, the former Ballerina clearly agreed on who the best two were with the third edging from a fourth interms of performances on the night. However the voters disagreed and placed the judges third choice second thus forcing a playoff between the best danger throughout the series and the fourth. The judges then had their way.

This is not possible with the final stages of the X Factor where the public vote governs. Three of judges have contestants in the last four with every one wanting to get one over Simon who has two. Everyone agrees that Joe from South Shields is the best and most consistent of the singers and should be in the final two but will the public agree? The discovery of Saturday night was to find that the Jewish lass from Essex has a younger sister who has the same personality. I am not sure she did enough to oust one of Simon’s remaining two singers from the tripartite final next weekend. At the weekend the BBC sporting personality of the year will be settled and this year there are a number of potential worthy winners for the main trophy, via the public vote.

Then it was time for the X factor results which took 50 mins of various reprise and guest appearances from the sister of Michael Jackson, someone with no distinctive talent which at least Michael had although while I understood his notoriety I never understood his popularity. There was one surprise in that Ollie who also has no distinctive qualities beat the other Simon contestant who is a better performer but did not endear himself to the general public Stacey and Joe made it which greatly pleased me and should create enthusiasm in the Town this week. Where will the party be held. I will invest in the Shield’s Gazette if I remember among all the things plan to do over the next couple of days. I watched the first part of a play this evening about West Indians in the UK before and after the war. The works special attention next weekend

I listened to Newcastle struggle for a two win at home and then Sunderland misfire for the first half in their away game at Fulham. They have performed badly away from home most of the season. I enjoyed the late recovery of Everton against Spurs in early evening as well as the highlights of Saturdays games later in the evening. I am continually impressed and a little envious of the many of those selected to appear on the Antiques Roadshow and who produce items of sentimental value which proved to be worth thousands, or were bought for coppers many moons ago.

I listened some records of Placido Domingo. Duffy‘s Album twice, and two full albums of Chris Barber and the Amy Winehouse Back to Black on My Space music. An initial search suggests that major performers are opting out or not yet in Bruce Springsteen being one.

Over the weekend I have completed the registration of 33 sets for the month and they a ready for photographing. I may be out of the large Blue lever arch files and coming to the end of my supply of the Wilkinson albums which take three sets in black for creative work and blue for events including Meeting Sophie Calle at the Whitechapel.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Return of the King , begins

14.00 The brilliance of the Return of the King, the third film in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, is that it will remain an engaging spectacular and satisfying fantasy epic adventure for several generations of filmgoers in the future who may have not have first seen the Fellowship and the Two Towers, either the original theatrical productions, or the enlarged special editions, or who have appreciated the drive for perfection by every department of film making which led to more Oscars and other awards and nominations than any other trilogy series, (and whose work can be experienced through six DVD’s created during and after the film making), or who have not read the separate three volumes as originally published or the one volume editions, with or without the remarkable illustrations which became the basis for many of the sets.

14.30 In my instance deciding that I was ready to watch the extended version again this afternoon, I was pleased to find that experiencing beforehand the eight DVD’s covering the first two films, and watching three of the eight commentaries available and undertaking research, primarily through Wikipedia, had heightened my expectation, and which far from anti climatic disappointment, was rewarded beyond measure. The film gripped attention to an extent that it was difficult to keep up with multilevel references bombarding at various levels throughout, and while like the great symphonic works there are slow movements the film, even the 250 minutes extended version is a galloping crescendo from open shot to finish, in which all question are answered, mysteries resolved, and where the prolonged series of endings, although significantly shorter and less of an emotional rollercoaster than what happens in the book, nevertheless achieves that mixture of victoriousness and survival, mixed with intense moments of great loss at fallen heroes, and the inevitable breaking up of the Fellowship, knowing that some will never be reunited again, coupled with the reality, in particular for the Hobbits of returning to their homes, knowing that will always be separate from those who have not shared their experiences and that while will continued to have its highs and its lows, it is unlikely that individually they will experience the same testing, stretching and sense of achievement, or of being part of great enterprise in which each was to play crucial roles without which there would have been no triumph of the forces of good over evil.

15.00 I had a later lunch around 2pm which enabled me not to feel the need for food until the evening meal and because I was not going out or expected any callers I left washing and shaving, and bed making also to early afternoon. To undertaking some research and some level two chess before giving the film the attention it merited.

15.15 As confirmed in the subsequent Director/Producers and writer’s commentary the opening sequence was not the original intention and arose from a combination of wanting to have something different from the first two parts and to bring back the focus on to the ring so it brought a unity by beginning with the close friend and relative of Smeagol finding the ring, as Hobbits on a fishing expedition, to killing of the friend, and the gradual impact as Smeagol changes into Gollum, to having convinced Frodo that he is the master and that his objective is to facilitate the return of the Ring to volcanic fires of Mount Doom. In the absences of the Director on another part of the film making, the scene was produced by his partner and co producer writer Fran and he gives credit to Andy Serkis (Smeagol Gollum)for self directing the scene because of his absence. Fran half heartedly made the claim that the opening close up shot of a worm being prepared to be tied to the fishing line was an intentional reference to Paradise Lost, rather than after thought for the commentary.

15.45 I suspect that most children, adolescents and young men, some not so young, will see themselves as Frodo, the Ring bearer, an ordinary guy who is called upon to undertake the heroic and the extraordinary, as many young men do when they are called up in times of war; some who are by nature fun loving, partying and preoccupied with love and sex, will hope that if called upon at a time of emergency they will conquer their fear and inexperience and rise to whatever challenge they are called upon to meet: the more mature and self confident activist will see themselves as Aragorn, the selfless risk taker on behalf of the great cause who triumphs over every obstacle and adversary, finds the love of his, or anyone’s life and achieves his ultimate ambition; those with an intellectual and creative spirit will hope they will also prove themselves under fire but be able to successfully return to their chosen role life as Legolas; while those whose young nature has always been that of the warrior, with strong feelings for and against will see themselves as skilled and successful in battle as Gimli; there are many young women who in these contemporary times will rightly identify with Eowyn who chooses to prove herself as being more than equal in the fields of men, and who is also able to find a partner worthy of her love and respect; also suspect that many a young woman, along with some young men, will have recognised in themselves much of Samwise Gamgee, loyal, trustworthy and selfless whose only interest was to achieve their set task in life and be rewarded with a partner to share experiences within the structure and enjoyment of a family and a community. When I was younger I would have been inclined to see myself as Frodo and now in my three score years and ten I would like to see myself as Gandalf, and the aspects of him within me, but when I look into the mirror of my life the one who I really see is Smeagol who changes into Gollum although I hope, as did Frodo that it is possible to fight enough to complete the task and then gladly pay the price of doing so without clinging to some worldly passion only to perish in some eternal fire.

17.00 Having set the scene of the forthcoming struggles within and between Gollum, Frodo and Sam there is a return to Isengard in the extend edition, in which we find Pippin, Peregrin Took, Hobbit and Merry, Meriadoc Brandybuck Hobbit, stoned after their triumph over Sauruman and the Orcs when confronted by Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. It is at this point that the decision of the Director to shorten the ending by the killing of Sauruman and Grima Wormtongue occurs. This would have upset those with a close knowledge of the books if included in the theatre version and will do when they experience the extended version, but it is part of achieving the feeling that everything is explained and settled for those leaving the theatre or making supper before bedtime after watching the DVD extended version film.

18.00 I have a glass of red wine of a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from the latest quarter’s case with a portion of salted peanuts. It has taken fifteen minutes to work out that that wine is substitute for that listed, the first time I recall that happening. It is enjoyable. Usually I but the smallest quantity of Asda brand peanuts a 21 p dividing into three or four portion dishes. The remaining packets have been bought or cleared as the new supply was into large packs one of £1 and the other of £2 which means that I have to be careful to continue to make small portions. Later around 20.00 I cook three small pieces of smoked haddock with a packet of frozen mixed steam fresh vegetable followed by than before some unsweetened grapefruit segments and a coffee, with a portion of grapes for my supper.
19.00 I need to plan for tomorrow as it will be five days since attempting to raise and lower the garage door since doing so for the refuse and then going for provisions later in the afternoon. I will first load up the cardboard boxes to take to the environmental centre and attempt to take out the car and park on the roadside. If there is a problem I can then plan to make my way by bus. If I have the car and prepare early enough I may also combine the refuse centre with checking if Asda Bolden has the transparent pockets. I will prepare a sandwich lunch and have placed a can of Pepsi in the refrigerator having disciplined myself only to do this once or twice a week and I will not renew the supply in store when it is used until I have achieve a weight reduction of a stone. I will also brew some coffee. I have not worked out how many mugs of coffee I obtain from the Taylor’s of Harrogate, Yorkshire 227 gram packs for the special rate of two packs for £4, I am sure I get over 10 brews a pack which means a price of less than 200 compared to that bought out which varies from £1.25 for a carton on instant to £1.95 for something more comparable with a mean of around £1.50-£1.60. Tomorrow’s game could make premiership football next season that much more likely and affect the decision whether to renew seasons tickets, my own and the majority, Newcastle plays at 3 on Sunday and the Boro in one of the televised games which clashes with a Wembley Trophy game for the also rans.

21.00 I decided to watch the Idols result’s show although I know who receives the lowest public vote from the internet. There was an interesting up date from someone who came third in season 2, who obtained a record contract, had major success with the single and did well with the album and then decided to fulfil a different ambition by investing in the creation of a successful restaurant. He second album is being released and she performed the single for the live show. Perhaps the most telling indication of making a life changing experience a continuing positive one is that she transformed her appearance from a gawky overweight lass lacking self confidence, into a polished mature self confident woman with a figure to match.

21.30 I must record to having broken not one but two dishes today, a small floral bowl used for peanut portion which is not a problem but a Denby Dale Brownware small plate from my birth and care mother’s kitchen. I need to consider whether I should store and use for special occasions.

23.00 I do not feel like writing more tonight about the return of the King and attend to Myspace and my email, sort general sorting of work and playing xchess against the computer at level 2. I start with a good run sixteen games before the first draw and then a run of 12. I play carefully for another hour before going to bed just before 1 am. In morning when I first rise I bring the total streak this time to 15 before and then leave.

06.30 I have a long for uninterrupted sleep of over five hours although I remember not settling when I first went bed. I hen woke after eight.

09.00 Having played some chess, washed up, and me, and loaded the car with cardboard boxes I test the garage door which appears to eb working normally as before. It is a glorious bright blue sky morning with almost no cloud, so I decide to do the trip to environmental centre. The sun glistens on the river and I am reminded that on returning from a walking shop earlier in the week I turned a corner to see the Scandinavian Ferry tower by the end of roadway in the distance on its way to the mouth of the river for the evening sailing. It remains an awesome sight. There are plenty of shoppers about and people using the environmental centre.

10.00 Unexpectedly there is a knock at the door on return and I struggle to find the key. It is the postman with a small package which he realises during the wait is not for me. He takes it away to return to the sender. I do some writing and find that two slices of brown toast is not sufficient so I have some cereal and a second cup of coffee. I decide on tea.

11.30 In the original film Sauruman does not appear at Isengard after its falls and two of the Fellowship parties meet up again to form the seven. The scene, the voice of Saruman is a new one created for the special edition. The return to the Rohan Palace Edoras is also an extended version which includes a drinking competition, which the Director alleges is the National sport of his homeland There is a short scene where the jounrey of Frodo, Sam and Gollum is issued to show the increasing effectiveness of Gollum in dividing the two Hobbits and therefore making Frodo an easier prey. The film then comes to the first turning points where the celebrations for the victory at Helm’s Deep become quickly overshadowed by the continuing peril of Sauron . First there is Arwen’s Dream. A real dream of Tolkien which the Director suggests reflected the sense of powerlessness he experienced as a child. I know that feeling and those dreams only too well. And the there is the great mistake, or so it appears as the curiosity of Pippin is such that he cannot resist the opportunity to examine the palantir, the rounded stone, rather like the crystal ball which sees ahead but which in this instance is a direct link into the being of Sauron so that in know his mind he know you. This this is but one of seven such object which existed over the Ages of Middle Earth, the Orthanc stone which enabled Sauron to capture the being of Sauruman and which now threatens to Pippin. However its coming into being alerts Gandalf that Sauron’s next move is to use his own first army to attempt to destroy the capital fortress of Gondor at Minas Ithil. There is some juggling with the original story as the Fellowship is again divided with Gandalf taking Pippen with him to warn Minas Ithil thus separating him from Merry for what is the first time in their lives and marks their growing up into young men about to face the reality of battle which was to lead to Men and not other creatures coming to have control of the Earth planet, to whatever extent Man has ever been in control. In Rivendell Arwen convinces Elrond to re-forge the broken sword which cut the Ring from the finger of Sauron in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and Arwen through seeing a vision of having a son with Aragorn makes the decision to remain rather than go with the other Elves to the land of the undying. It is noon but I decide that this shall be an extended day I need to prepare for the match as the skies darken with grey cloud and I will need to check the weather forecast before departing. Then I go to sleep at my desk

18.30 Although this is an epic film depicting conflicts involving tens of thousands of beings, it is so much more with one strand the need to prove oneself and the other to gain love admiration respect of one’s parents, regardless of who they are. In the trilogy we have already witnessed the blinkered view which the 26th steward Gondor has towards his two different sons, Boromir and Faramir, and now mourning the confirmed death of Boromir, he rejects Faramir declaring that the wrong son has died and sending his son into certain death my pressing him to lead a suicide mission to try and reclaim the Gondor military settlement of Osgiliath, With the death of his favoured son he concentrates first in trying to maintain his position and running Gondor regardless of the intentions of Sauron, refusing to send for help, and then when Faramir is returned to him barely alive he decides to treat him as dead and attempts to burn both of them rather than give his son give medical attention or attend to the welfare of the people of Condor. The part is played by the Australian Actor John Noble whose face seems familiar although I cannot recall the circumstance. It is Gandalf and Pippin who lead the way in rousing the defences and setting off the beacons for aid. Meanwhile Aragorn Legolas and Gimli set off with as many men as possible under the ruler of Rohan still find it difficult to accept that he became under the spell of Sauron and nearly delivered his Kingdom to the Dark Lord. By his side is his Ward and Merry, who are to be the catalyst with influence on the course of the battle. Realising that the odds of defeating Sauron’s army are hopeless, and under the influence of the Elf Lord of Rivendell, Elrond, the father of Arwen who in the film version delivers the sword, he also reveals that he should take the Paths of the Dead to seek the assistance of the Army of the Dead. These are creatures similar to those in the Pirates of the Caribbean, skeletal figures doomed to an eternity in hell, in this instance because they refused to honour an oath previously given to fight against Sauron in the previous war with him. The legend is that they will rise up to redeem their historical failure if asked by a descendent of the ruler of Gondor. In the book Aragorn, succeeds in gaining the support of the Men the dead with the promise to free them from life in Hell and leads them against the Corsairs of Umbar, former Men of Numenoreans who have turned to their dark sides and consequently muster their fleet of fifty large ships and countless others to join the fight against Minas Tirith in the large plain beneath. They are contemptuous of the order to stop the advance up the river Anduin from its estuary ad he stands alone with Legolas and Gimli until the Men of the Death appear in their multitudes, take over the vessels to become the second army which ultimate will lead to the annihilation of the Orcs and their devices and weaponry. In the film many of the crew join in this additional feature for the extended version and the Director is the Corsair shot by Legolas arrow. For a time it appears that they will arrive too late to save the city as first the defensive forces to begin a retreat from level to level upwards. Even when the King of Rohan arrives with his army they are significantly outnumbered and there is need to draw on their courage to enter a battle where they know in advance they are likely to lose and most certainly die, and this is shown vividly in the fear of the Ward Eowyn and of Merry, especially when the enemy who turn to face them and start to retreat call upon their herd of Oliphants, monster size Elephants with large flexible tusks which can cut swathes among any forces in normal battle lines an who have such a thick skins that the only way you stop them is to penetrate their bodies through there eyes. It is at this moment that King Theoden of Rohan, Bernard Hill becomes mortally wounded and passed the sword of freedom to Eowyn and where she with the help of Merry is able to kill the Witch King, the Lord of Nazgul and leader of Sauron first army. This is because he is invincible in the field of battle to Men. His death, the arrival of Aragorn with the Men of Death complete the victory and Pippin who goes on to the field of battle to search among the fallen and wounded discovers Merry alive. Bernard Hill,The seven of the Fellowship are able to briefly celebrate the saving of the city before the continuing growing power of Sauron appears to herald the failure of he mission of Frodo, with the assistance of Sam

the Two Towers and music

12.40 25 March 2008 Real time. Time for Bargain Hunt and the News, a wash, finish the sorting of the supplies and sort out the order for another batch of card which involves my second supplier although I believe the same top management covers both, given the similarity of goods and prices.

14.00 I have a salad with shelled prawns and a banana and commence some correspondence, one of which takes a long time and make the mistake of not saving, losing the text by a single key stroke, and not realising until saving a couple of paragraphs later thus losing over an hour’s work. It is very frustrating and I have no heart to rewrite again from my poor memory. I know if it was worthwhile being said the first time it will be recalled, and written better. I listened to Volume 1 of Chris Barber Lost and Found again although my concentration was such that it was mostly background sound. When I awoke this morning what struck me was the absence of noise in what is a concentrated built up area of tall and narrow terraced housing with small yards sufficient for a car and a little more depending on its size on its size, no gulls, no vehicles, but in this silence the smallest outside sound carries. I hear a plane on its flight path from Newcastle airport away over the north sea, to where? So many people always travelling so it seems?

16.00 I take a break for this and that including a coffee and single slice Leerdammer cheese sandwich. Do Leerdammer make anything other than cheese?

16.20. I will do some more work on the Lord of the Rings and then rewrite the lost letter. Having looked at Elves and Orcs, the Ring-wraiths and the Men of Numenor it is time of Dwarves and for John Rhys Davies as Gimli who had the most painful of the prosthetic faces to endure, Tolkien is said to have been inspired by Nordic tales of dwarves of those in Brother’s Grimm Tales and at first he saw them primarily as evil beings who employed the Orcs, who were involved with mining and underground places, and with liking for loot. He changes his approach in the Hobbit and the Lord of the Ring books into honourable, serious at time over serious, proud people, sometimes comic and bumbling. It is said that Tolkien also drew upon the historical role of Jews as people dispossessed of their homeland but willing to work hard and to create, including wealth. Traditionally the Dwarves are enemies of the Elves but in The Lord of the Rings, Gimli save his warrior inclinations for the Orcs and establishes a close relationship with Legolas. Only a proportion of Elves marry so the ratio of male to females is two to one, and the females also have beards. Dwarves do not grow their own food from living underground. During the second Age seven of the rings were given to the seven heads of the Dwarf Clans and they fought in the Sauron War. Later they retreated behind the doors of the their kingdom which the Elves name Moria, the dark chasm. Unfortunately as a consequence of their excavations they released the last of the great fiery demons the Balrog’s and those who were not killed escaped moved first onto the Misty Mountains, then the Lonely mountains, then the Grey mountains and during this era there was war between Dwarves and Orcs which led to about a third of all Dwarves perishing.

17.00 Community police call if I had heard anything as overnight there had been an attempt to take a car parked in the street near by. Alas no as I am at the back of the house during most of the day and hear little of what happens in the street outside. I tend to draw the bedroom curtains when it gets dark and I am already on the stairs for another reason although before I draw them I do tend to see what is happening in the street, which is usually nothing with no vehicle movement and no pedestrians and I commented earlier that on waking this morning and although it was late I noted how soundless it was.

17.10 Gimli is a lone dwarf who joins the Fellowship and we first encounter his former people when Gandalf decides they need to journey three days going through the Mines of Moria after Sauruman stops their efforts to cross over the Misty mountains. The film recreates something of the great halls that formed the world of the Dwarves but as the Fellowship make their jounrey they encounter the Orcs and a Troll who now inhabit the Mines and then the Balrog which appears to have destroyed Gandalf. It is said that over a thousand years into the fourth age, that as it after the events of the Ring, and which includes the death of the Balrog following the epic battles with Gandalf, from which he becomes the Gandalf the White, and the subsequent defeats of the Orcs, the dwarves were able to return to their former homeland which fits into the theory that Tolkien drew about the history of the Jewish people when he wrote of this race. It is also recorded that Gimli is the son of a former companion of Bilbo Baggins and a remote ancestor of one of the Royal lines. When the Fellowship enters the Mines of Moria Gimli is enthusiastic because he hopes to find a colony of his people but they have been killed by the Orcs, and the Trolls and the Balrog. Disappointed Gimli remains a loyal member of the Fellowship and we learn later of his reward in the Return of the King. John Rhys Jones had a very difficult task in this film as he is over six feet tall and dwarves are small creatures and he also had to wear a prosthetic which caused him much discomfort. His stunt double had an important role, so much so that when the others in Fellowship decided to get a special Tattoo which says the nine written in Tengwar he gave the honour to the stunt double. He first came to national attention in the TV film series drama I Claudius and has a number of roles in action movies as such as Indiana Jones, Star Trek Voyager and a James Bond film. He is known for his distinctive deep Welsh voice and has a good career in voice part roles, he plays Treebeard in the Two Towers. He has strong political views which changed from left to right over his life.

17.25 I decided to go out on foot to the post box and the supermarket for milk. Checking out the transparent pockets there is only one pack left and as there is no film of interest showing at Bolden, adjacent to the Asda, checking out the position there is not a priority. I will decide if to make a special visit on Saturday/or Sunday when I go to the football. I decide on a Beef stir fry which later I add a whole yellow pepper, and have some grapes. Even later some cereal with a coffee in between. I have cold water rather than open a new bottle of red.

19.00 It looked as if I was to miss the final episode of Martin Chuzzlewit which commences at seven with American Idol at 19.40, but it is still episode three of four. Hopefully this is a reminder showing for those who missed before the next showing, but when? American Idol was not as disappointing as last week and when the female rocker Amanda Overmyer was voted out.. There was one memorable and outstanding performance that of David Cook singing we are the Champions of the World. David Archuleta is not delivering nor is Jason Castro, who have also unique great performances although the former Australian Michael Johns and the Irish singer Carly Smithson were up to their high standards and one young woman booked her place by singing one of the American national songs.

22.00 Much of the evening was devoted to redoing the letter which had been lost at a key stroke earlier in the day. It was a better result as my second drafts always tend to be.

23.00 The evening political programme focussed on the visit of the French President who is talking the talk and has a beautiful young wife, former model and singer. The talk of the day is the overheard comment of the Queen that the Prime Minister has got lost in the Castle and was therefore not at the top table where it looked as if Jack Straw had taken his place. Although the episode has been dismissed by number Ten saying that the PM followed the instructions given to him there is something off about what happened. The Queen appeared gleeful when she told those around her of the situation.

24.00 I do some work but not much and I listen to the Queen’s welcome at the dinner to the President of French Republic, his reply and excepts of his address to the two houses of Parliament earlier. It was funny that the Queen’s toast referred to the French Republic but everyone refers to the two democracies as if there is no difference between our own revolution and that of the USA and then the reinstate of the Monarchy is the UK. It is the character of the Queen which is the significant factor as the value of the monarchy as a tourist attraction is doubled edged with the need to present ourselves at the forefront of technological, commercial and financial innovation. It is of interest thought in one of the most modern of buildings in the city, an historical Hall has been rebuilt by carefully dismantling the originally from its former location. Shush have we got the balance right?

01.00 I make it to bed and sleep with one rising during the night and then waking early I decided to say up about 7am.

07.46 My research this morning led to Wikipedia information about max gross films which is very different from great films although that the greater proportion of the film going world goes to see a picture together with those who only go rarely does make the use of the term great appropriate. It is also debatable to make a distinction between great and artistic as all those who achieving max grossing have many artistic and creative qualities. Distinctions such as populist and artistic and between films that change film making and influence lives are important. Inflation of the past decade also accounts for why there are only half a dozen films in the top fifty which were made before 1999, although the most successful nearly grossing 2 billion dollars was Titanic made in 1997, with the Lord of the Rings , the Return of the King $.1119 million and Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead men’s Chest $1.066. Those who broke the mould are Jurassic Park 1993 10th at $914 million in 1993, 18-Independence Day 1996 $816million 21-ET £794 million in 1982 , 22-The Lion King $783 million in 1994 24-Star Wars Episode 4, $782 million in 1977,, 29-Forrest Gump £677 million 1994 and 47- Star Wars V 1980, I have not seen a dozen of the top fifty, all but one family films of recent times. The is only one film I have never heard of called I am a Legend made in 2007 and number 412 on the list. However the real money is to be made from series with Harry Potter already had with $4.69 million followed by James Bond at $4.3 billion and where new films will be made as possibly 5th the Pirates series at $3.5 billion and Spider Man $2.49 billion Star wars at 3, The lord of the Rings at 4 Jurassic Park at 8 and the Matrix 1- had probably had their day. The others in the top ten are Shrek and Batman. The issue of inflation excludes films like Gone with the Wind, the Sound of Music and Jaws, and the one Supernatural Horror the Exorcist. One supernatural film with the greatest twist of an ending of all time is The Sixth Sense at number 30 and the most interest and some will argue the 1most significant is that Passion of Christ is at number 37 grossing $611 million.

10.00 I decide to attend to communications and new order of card after a phone call from the supplier reminding my log on information. The online catalogue does not include the special offer so I find the weekly edition and the product number registers as does the free attach bag from a different edition. It is worth about £10 and as something I need occasionally it brings the cost down. I remember to ask for Monday as the earliest delivery date. This reminds that I have until a week Friday to decide about a season the season ticket renewal for Sunderland at this year’s price.

11.00 The Two Towers was title which had to be thought about post 9/11 and in the film One Tower is interpreted as the Orthanc of Isengard, built by Numenoreans of Gondor, but located in the north west corner of Rohan and at one point was regarded with hostility by the Rohans because raiding parties were based there. Eventually what was thought to be a peaceful solution was for Saruman to be installed there as warden on behalf of Gondor, for he was regarded as the head of the peaceful order of Wizards. Then Saruman took over the tower as its Lord, formed an alliance with the Dark Lord of the One Ring and used the surrounding area to create the great pits to breed the Uruk-hai Orc warriors, and provide them weapons using the ancient trees for fuel, cut down from the surrounding valley. He and Wormtongue were then kept prisoners in the tower by Treebeard after he and the other Ents and the rest of the trees destroyed the pits by flooding from the dam and then killed Orcs there and deployed at Helm’s Deep. The second Tower seen across a vast distance and also with its fiery and all seeing eye, across a vast distance a vast distance is the Barad-Dur, deep in Mordor, the Tower of Sauron great fortress which took 600 years to build and was intended to hold the One Ring. It was destroyed during the Last Alliances of Elves and Men but because the foundations were immovable it was quickly rebuilt on the return of Sauron one thousand years later. It said to be a building with a succession of lower towers topped by the Dark Tower and its eye of Sauron. In the film the model was designed to project a height of over 300 metres 1000ft.

11.30 However these are not the only towers in Middle Earth and for some readers of the books Tolkien intended the title not to communicate the two towers of evil forces united and preparing to take over Middle Earth and destroying all opposing forces and their people, but could be taken to mean the Tower of Sauron confronted by the Towering capital city of Gondor, Minas Tirith a city in white standing for over 1000 years, where Aragorn is the rightful King but where the Steward, mourns his son Boromir and Faramir has been rejected for his part in the fall of Osigilath. It is important to understand the geography of the area and the routes .which were taken by the Fellowship members and where the battle were fought. A vast distance greater than that between Isengard and Barad-Dur was from the Shire of the Hobbits, to the township village of Bree, to the Rivendell of the Elves, over the Misty Mountains or through the Mines of Moira to reach Lorien, the second Elven city, bypassing the Fangorn Forest if using the Anduin River to then reach Isengard which is to the west of the Forest and where nearby is the Rohan stronghold of Helm’s Deep and then the mountainous capital of Rohan with its Great Hall. Separating the Rohan Capital from the Ash Mountains of Gondor and Sauron’s Dark Tower are the Dead Marshes either side of the Anduin. It is here to one side of the White Mountains that there are the twin cities of Minas Tirith and what has become known as Minas Morgul.

12.00 The Gondorian capital city of Minas Tirith was built on seven levels each 100 feet higher, and topped by the T Ecthelion, which brings its height close to that of the Dark Tower. It was considered defendable against siege with the first level surrounded by a black wall and the others by white walls This is becomes an important part of the Rteurn of the King. Across from Minas Tirith was another Gondorian City Minas Ithil in the Mogul Vale, however it was captured by the Black Riders, the Nazgul and renamed Minas Morgul with its Tower of Black Sorcery. For a thousand years the two cities faced each other in opposition, one guarding Gondor and the other Mordor. During the Two Towers film Gollum takes Frodo and Sam to the mountain side overlooking the Cirith Ungol with is formidable great gate, built originally by the Numemorean Men of Gondor as the first line of defence before their cities of Minas However the fortress was vacated by Gondorians after the great plague decimated large parts of the population an control returned to the power of Mordor and the remerging power of Sauron. To reach the Tower fortress you pass through the pass of Cirith Ungol, the Greater Spider. This Tower fortress is to play an even greater role in the Return of the King, which follows.

The Two Towers and A History of Violence

12.00-10.30 23 March 2008 I like the idea of prologues and epilogues combined as I am already looking back on yesterday in which I tried to absorb myself in the created mythology of thousands of years ago, to my years of childhood and then was required to deal with the realities of the present time. The two extra DVD’s with the Two Towers special edition continue to add knowledge to crafts of the film making and I am struck by the excellence, the skill, the patience and dedication of those involved and the way in which the personality of Peter was able to inspire everyone to stretch themselves to their individual and the collective limits and beyond. It is evident that the DVD’s are have been created with the same attention to detail and comprehensiveness, so that while they do not repeat specific details or aspects covered in the first specials and no doubt this will also be the position with the third, the format is similar so that anyone acquiring only this special will feel they have been through the journey of the film and the journey of the film making, and those who have experienced both will feel more of being part of this team which was an adventure and self revelation and was a different experience from what they done before whether it was the 200 films of Peter Cushing or the first major film of some of the Hobbits, or some of the creative artists and crews it will have been their first film making experience, and rather like the sixteen year old who scores a hat trick in their first match whether for park team or country it is then difficult to repeat game after game but this is the nature of being. The aspect of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy which I have not covered is the range of cultures and their armies which are translated in the film by different looks down to heights, facial features, body armour and swords. Thirty stunt doubles, one of whom was a woman, were brought together and trained into a team who then worked with the individual actors, some of whom attempted to live their roles on and off screen until the job was accomplished such as Viggo (Aragorn) who went everywhere with his Heroes sword, the full weight main sword rather than the lighter or the dummies, or the actor playing Wormtongue who maintained a perfect English accent until his final shot when he became Brad the American It must be difficult to live with someone like that. I decided I had to learn before writing and it was soon time for an early salad for lunch which included more of the pre roasted ham joint with a banana and then around 2.30 a cup of coffee. It was the first of two stretched meals although looking now back I eat less than for many months which was very good, and to be repeated.

12.01 Usually Parliament has a two week recess over Easter, but because the religious and secular holiday has come at the earliest possible date this year, there has been no recess with today the focus of Prime Minister’s Question Time was the economy within a European, North Atlantic and world context, and the visit of the new French President. Given that PMQ’s remains a political joust between leaders of armies indistinguishable from each other, I gave today’s match a draw. The Prime Minister having been Chancellor for a decade is in his most comfortable territory, in command of all the positive aspects of economic management of his reign and able to draw attention to all the individual failures and accumulative disaster of the end of the last Tory era. However he was matched by the official Leader of the Opposition who was able to highlight genuine shortcomings in the present situation, some of which have been due to the approach of the PM since he took office. The arrival of the French President may provide the opportunity to rebuild what has been a series of severe chinks in the Entente Cordial since De Gaulle said Non in gratitude for our liberation of his country and providing him a war time shelter after some of his countrymen embraced Nazi rule, and the more recent torpedoing of the attempt by Tony to achieve a North Atlantic and UN involvement in Iraq from the outset. When one of vision has to stand alone everyone falls, unless the falling of the one is part of the vision.

13.00 I have reached 91 games of level one chess and propose to move slowly forward. I watch the first extras DVD of The Two Towers. I decide on how I am going to research and write up the battles between the kingdoms and forces of Middle Earth and this will involved reorganising the existing research material. However even to do this I need to a first understanding the beginnings and something of the length of time of the three ages which cover thousands of years during which some beings continue to exist, Sauron the Ring Creator who is said top have stood at the beginning of known beingness, and who was not fundamentally evil at that time. His struggles to become the ruler of Middle earth,, replacing the original Dark Lord, who he served, are chronicled in the Silmarillion and where the creation of the Ring does not take place until the Second Age when he changed his appearance to become Elf like and goes to the Elven smiths of Eregion where he persuades them to forge the great rings of power and having learnt their secrets he decides on the creation of the One Ring from the volcanic heart of Mount Doom which will enslave the wearers of the sixteen Rings of Power to his Will, However he was not originally aware of all the rings that were made by the Elf smiths with three which finding their way to the immortal to the immortals Gil-galad, Galadriel and Cirdan (although they can be killed with Sauron killing Gil-galad during the battle outside the tower of Mordor during the last great alliance of Elves and Men. It is Galadriel who with her co ruler husband of Lothlorien (created inside a giant treelike structure for the film), who uses her powers to show Frodo one perspective of his future. She knows something of the power of the One Ring and is momentarily tempted take it from Frodo. Thus while Sauron is one the earliest beings in the world of Middle Earth, the fairy Elves have become one of the most important peoples with their sense of beauty, learning, mystical powers and immortality. They can also fight being most skilled with the use of the Bow and arrow. The son of Tolkien has thoroughly researched his father’s work producing a twelve volume history of Middle Earth which commences with the Book of Lost tales. The mythical Elves have been thought of in a variety of forms from the tiny to the human size and shape and in the Lord of the Rings there are two centres, Rivendell where there is much learning and cultured living under its master Elrond (a role which Davie Bowie was interested in playing but said to have been rejected by Jackson as problematic) and where Frodo recoups after his near death experience and Bilbo goes into retirement to write his autobiography of adventures. Arwen (Liv Tyler) who rescues and takes Frodo to Rivendell is the daughter of Elrond and the lover of Aragorn. It is here that the Council is called and Frodo makes the decision to take the Ring to Mount Doom for its destruction with the help of the Fellowship and from where they make their way to Lothorien. In the Silmarillion, the original Dark Lord Melkor captures some wandering elf creatures, mutilates them into beings who become the Orcs, but later Tolkien decided on a different origin for these horrific baddies. The elves commenced to control the realms of Mirkwood, Eregion and Mirkwood but when Sauron replaced his former master as the Dark Lord and holds the Ring of power he seeks to enlist the Numenoreans to help defeat them. Numeneor is a kind of Atlantis concept of an Island race rising from the sea and which for a time among the Men (human kinds) of Middle Earth were powerful and who took against the Elves jealous of their immortality. However there was also a time when they joined the Elves against Sauron, taking him prisoner. It was later in the history of Middle Earth they founded Condor.

17.00 I have listened to the CD of the music of the film Hilary and Jackie and the Mass for Peace, the Armand Man. Karl Jenkins while I work. They are both important music works and I will return to them on another listening, I have reached game 95 level chess and drank two thirds of a glass of orange juice with a vitamin tablet. The supplies have not been delivered although I expected as much given the volume which would have built up over the holiday with an offer of 50% off their own brands. The life of the Elf is interesting in that they marry early and for love and are monogamous. They bear a few children and marital discord is almost unknown and equality is an inherent characteristic that has never been an issue. Living for ever can become tiring even with a love of the arts, of food and each other, so when this happens they go off to the undying lands where they can die from weariness, or grief, unless they die prematurely in battle. When this happens they go to a kind of limbo before becoming spirits unseen by the human eye. I think I would like to be an Elf especially as they are also tall and thin

18.00-22.00 The supplies arrive, six boxes and I am the midst of unpacking when I receive a telephone call which lasts long and affects the rest of my evening. I then continue with the unpacking and sorting and then it is time for England away to France at football. The game does not go well and the goal keeper gives a penalty. Another disappointing English Performance England in France losing 1.0 , although there is a sense of organisation and team and not individualists. The reality is that some of those involved are not just good enough. David Beckham plays his 100th game and there with all his family and friends. The evening meal was stretched with a glass of red and some salted peanuts, and then a couple of vegetarian hamburgers on their own, some grapes and a coffee. The thing is that because I was involved in everything and feeling under pressure I was not aware of the need for food. If I can add exercise to this then I have a recipe for reduction.

22.15 I decide to watch A History of Violence which I have seen before in theatre, in 2005 when it was released. I do so to remind myself of the performance of Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) whose performance was excellent except that I had not connected with his name. I experience the role and not the actor which is always the mark of greatness in the making. I once bored everyone by repeating as a mantra "what you say and do and who you do it with or say it to, lives with you and them for ever." Thus it is for A history of Violence, just when you have made or yourself the kind of life you always wanted, you have no choice but to act in a certain way which will you know will have consequences that will make everything different and prevent you returning to where you have reached because of what was done before. Because of his background, the character, played by Viggo, has created a new, simple, normal, American, family life, running a small town diner contently for close on two decades, when two most wanted interstate killers call late at night, threatening staff and customers and when appeasement fails, he has no alternative to apply previous skills, killing the two attackers, with the consequential local acclaim and wider notoriety. Then figures from his past come alooking and he is left with no alternative to fight for his life, and that leads to his son having no alternative but to kill one to save his father. This leads to having no alternative but to accept the invitation to go to the fortress home of his brother and again to kill or be killed. A total body count of eight or nine. But each killing is not of his own immediate making and this is not a film about killings but about living with our past and he extent to which it is possible to build a family life with a partner, their relations, and then with children who may have no concept or be able to call on any experience which can relate that hidden or simply part of another life. I think all those who have been to a war on another land and return home know this feeling. In the History of Violence the young child a daughter of primary school age is the first to accept him back, then his son and then perhaps in time, his wife, although they both know what they had together cannot be recaptured. It cannot be said to have lost because it existed once, was real and meaningful. The film end in reality. If we do not get on with living as we become then we do not live.

00.00 I return to digesting and integrating into my awareness more of the people and the battles which are fought. Following on from the involvement of Numenor, three of their Lords become joined the six other Kings of Men were first given the rings of power before being controlled by the One Ring of Sauron and turning the Nazgul, the Winged Nazgul the Ringwraiths, the Ring-Wraiths, the Black Riders, and the Dark Riders or just the Nine, as they can be called, and like Sauron they cease to have a physical form other than defined by their black clothing, and the red reflection in their eyes which in rage seems hellish fire. The Nine wield swords, but their leader is shown with a knife, a long sword and a mace. Their presence causes terror and their breadth is poisonous and victims were thrown into despair, nightmares, unconsciousness and death. It is not always immediately appreciated that there are nine heroes in the Fellowship to mirror the Nine principal servants of Sauron.

01.00 I have been watching the second DVD and marvelling at the dedication of the stunt men and one stunt woman and also of Gollum, who was filmed going through the coldest of waters on the coldest of days. Everyone filmed for weeks over months throughout the night in created or natural rain in a quarry with few level surfaces where the fortress of Helmsdeep was created at different levels or safety reasons

01.30 The other first creatures of evil we experience in the first film are the Orcs sometimes written as Orks and who are said to have been first referenced in Bewulf The early approach of Tolkien was to use the term goblins but by the time of the Twin Towers those who serve Sauruman are named the Uruk-hai with a greater stature, slant eyes, thick legs and hands armed with short bladed swords and not the curved scimitars as used by other Orks and who were also able to use bows similar to those of Men. They are generally smaller than Men, ugly and filthy, with monkey, ape like qualities and the blood is black and sour. The Uruk-hai used by Sauruman are different from those of Sauron who we first see at the Black Gate in the Twin Towers. The Orks like to use poisoned bladed swords and poisoned ended arrows., They are always hungry and will eat all kinds of flesh as Merry and Pippin are threatened, who as Hobbits are smaller than Orcs and in the Twin Towers are carried on their backs as they head apace back to Sauruman, chased by Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas.

02.00 To bed feeling better having got back onto the groove again and completed 101 games of chess without a draw once more, the 550th of the 560 with ten drawn accomplished during March. This was the intention, but it was close to three for one reason and another.

07.00ish I did check the time but forget but it was a good sleep of around four hours after some difficulty in settling when I went to bed over tired and actively brain working

09.45 I struggle up bleary eyes, decided to do a text message which takes ten times as long as usual, to write and then make the effort to make coffee, such is my condition. My network has confirmed that I am not eligible for the special welcome pack which includes £5 worth of internet exploring and £1 of photo messaging as I have transferred existing membership. This means I can get to know the phone at a slower pace which is OK as long as I do get to know and do as is normal learn sufficient to do what I want and then get on with everything else, learning new aspects only when I need to. This is a sensible approach for me because I forget if I do not use something or do something on a constant basis and have to relearn and re-educate from the beginning when need arises.

11.30. I will continue the background work tomorrow leaving experiencing the Return of the King when I am fully prepared. I nearly forgot to mention that in the special edition Boromir appears, (Sean Bean) leading the fight of the Men of Condor when all appears lost and the city resembles that of some German cities at the close of World War 2, before he is sent of Rivendell. Sean Bean was given the same look of Aragorn in the films, but he is one of those actors where the essence of Sean Bean is always there. Sean grew up on a Council estate in Sheffield and his father became a comparatively wealthy man after setting up a steel plating business with a colleague, employing 50 men and owning a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, but not moving from the estate because he wanted to remain close to family and friends. His early life also reflects this background, leaving a comprehensive school with just two O levels in English and Art, doing a welding course and then turning to an Arts course, to drama, and getting a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. I became an admirer of Sean through his two hour films as Sharpe the man of the Ranks who becomes an Officer at the time of Peninsular Napoleonic wars. These are very good films in their own right but have the added advantage of being partly set in Spain thus providing some of the background to the family life of Calne where later in the century was to join the Army, and I was researching what it would have been like for him at that time. He had appeared in several big films before the Lord of the Rings starting with Caravaggio, Patriot Games, Lady Chatterley, Golden Eye, Anna Karenina, and Ronin. It would appear to be a Man’s Man." He has been married four times, divorced three, with three daughters, but describes himself off screen as quiet relaxing with a book, listening to music, gardening, welding and sketching. He is also a fanatical supporter of Sheffield United Football Club ( which I have visited for a Bruce Springsteen concert, but also for football although because Sheffield Weds has a larger ground it was used for FA Cup semi final games for many years, along with Man U and Aston Villa. He has a tattoo 100% Blades on his left shoulder

The Two Towers, T Rex

12.00-24.00 I watch the Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers with the consequence that the greater part of the day was filled with serious intense application and for light relief I had my evening meal accompanied by T Rex- Marc Bolam in a Top of the Pops special, and then rather than watch the cricket I turned to Little Miss Sunshine, which was featured on the Devil Wears Prada film and which in turn gets the long trailer treatment on Little Miss Sunshine. I am back to the cricket and amazingly Sky decided to show a little film about Cricket in England later this summer and decided to play the highlights are being shown against the Hair number Let the Sun Shine In which is even more amazing because less than fifteen minutes beforehand I decided to reorganise my writing of the day under the same title. The experience of the day, only half way through its twenty four hours, confirms it is possible to move between contrasting emotions very quickly. From a foreboding that darkness was inevitable to belief I would find my way out of the valley up to a spectacular viewpoint.
16. 30 The experience of watching the Two Towers is complete. A cup of tea and a tomato, some basic project work and I put on the actor’s commentary, which I can listen while continue working, looking at the screen if what they say is of interest. The commentary is designed for fans whereas the other three will be of direct value to the student and professional film maker. My overall reaction to the film today is no different from that experienced in theatre and when viewing the original two disk version. There is the overall sense of darkness descending over the earth, of loss, of things never being the same. Goodbye childhood hullo reality. In some ways I suspect the original two film approach may have achieved a better balance because sense of doom and darkness throughout The Two Towers is not relieved by the victories or the moments of humour. It is also a more difficult film to understand by those who have not seen the Fellowship or read the book and digested the story line. While the main story of Frodo’s struggle to take the ring back to Mordor for its destruction is kept to the foreground, there are a number of sub plots and interactions which command attention and the emotions, with only a few lighter moment introduced by Merry and Pippin as they are shown to grow up as they realise that although the inclination is to take flight, back to the security of their homeland, if they do not fight, there will be no homeland to go back to. But I am ahead of myself.

17.30 Earlier I discover that Wikipedia has a whole manual of film making and script writing and this leads me into rethinking how I will write about my birth and care mothers, returning tot eh original conception in which I try to find out how others saw her saw her, how she is likely to have viewed me, together with something of her life in Gibraltar and her family roots. Do we ever get to know and understand our parents until they are dead?

18.15 I am lost in thought and in sleep. It has become that kind of day but at least the garage door worked when I went to bring the wheelie bin back inside, having strong doubts that it would after this morning’s experience. My typing is much rougher than usual. The Two Towers begins with a flashback to the moment in the previous film when it looks as if Gandalf the wizard has perished as he is whipped off the narrow bridgehead by the fiery monster of the depths, as he bids the rest of the fellowship to make their escape. Later in the film we find that he has not only survived but has become Gandalf the White instead of Gandalf the grey and becoming the leader of the order the wizards that he had anticipated Saruman to have been before he joined forces with the Dark Lord owner of the Ring with both beings occupying dominating towers with all seeing eyes and empowering prenuclear energies at their pinnacles creating The Twin Towers of the fires of Hell, and spiritual darkness. We are then quickly introduced to Gollum, the former Hobbit , Sméagol as he finds Sam and Frodo on their journey across the mountains and ravines in the journey towards Mordor. I know now, but not when I first saw the films that the technology was developed to film every separate body movement of the Gollum playing actor so that while the cinematic creature is smaller, impish and more wiry, his movements are those of actor, as is his voice. It is soon after they meet that Frodo explains to Sam why he wants to keep and use Gollum, because of the hope that it is possible to return to normality after being possessed by the ring. If there is no hope for Gollum then there is no hope for Frodo. It is this hope that enables those who fall deeply into the abyss to believe they can survive however impossible their circumstances have become. That redemption is possible appears to be one the fundamentals of the film.

19,30 I make an omelette for my meal of the day, using small chunks of ham cut from a small pre cooked joint purchased yesterday evening. I watch a special programme of Top of the Pops appearance of T Rex, Marc Bolam. I have a CD of all his successful records with the Children of the Revolution a favourite together with Teenage Dream and Get it on. His unique look and voice were quintessential symbols of flower power psychedelica although later he was part of the Glam response to punk and hard rock. Like me but a decade later in terms of respective experiences he was drawn to the coffee bars of Soho. I once cleared the tables and kept the sugar containers full doing stand in shifts before doing the long stretch. It is ironic that never learning to drive, despite owning cars and with a fear of crashing he died at the age of 30, a short distance away from his home. hitting a tree in a car driver by his lover, a backing singer, on their way back from a restaurant in Berkeley Square where I had spent a month on sales training course run by British Olivetti in 1959. Neither wore seat belts and the trees has. become something of a shrine for his fans. His marriage had ended by then leaving a widow and a son.

20.00 Meanwhile we move into the Kingdom of Rohan where Saruman’s forces are already creating a terror with the objective of destroying all opposing life. Two children are sent away by their mother towards the mountain top stronghold of their king and we, the audience, fear she will not see them again. This is the time for self sacrifice as it is always for the just and righteous in the time of war, especially when the enemy is at the door. Pippin and Merry, prisoners of the Orcs, are being taken to Saruman’s stronghold because their leader believes they know the location of the Ring, but they are nearly killed and eaten when the Orcs rebel. They are being followed by Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn, three against many. And the King of Rohan? He has become a feeble shell of his former self taken possession by Saruman with the help of his steward Grima Wormtongue whose features have links with those of Gollum. Wormtongue coverts the ward of the King who is fearful at what is befall them all as King’s son has been banished for opposing Saruman, Grima and what has happened to his father. This son leads a small band who destroy the Orcs as they are about to eat Pippin and Merry, who in turn manage to escape to Fangorn Forest where they encounter the Ents, tree like creatures with the oldest Treebeard who has been put on his guard to look out for them by the renewed Gandalf. The remainder of the Fellowship then run into the King’s son who give the impression that Pippin and Merry must be dead. Frodo, Sam and Gollum then go through the dead marshes where Tolkien is said to have tried to recapture his experiences of the trenches in World War One when men drowned in the mud their eyes looking up into you as you came across their faces emerging from the brown grunge. The film moves to Fangorn Forrest where the new Gandalf rejoins Aragon, Gimli and Legolas and then explains about the threat to Rohan and the need to try and stop Saruman’s and Grima’s influence on the King. Frodo and co reach the Black Gates of Mordor and realise they cannot progress that way. The film then appears to have a break from the gloom as Pippin and Merry enjoy life in the forest and attempt to persuade the Ents join in the fight while Gandalf and Aragon rescue the King and banish Grima. However the sense of winning is short lived as the Ents who have existed for hundreds of years and who have seen it all happen before decline the intervention to intervene, and the King decided to move his people to an impregnable fortress built into the side of a mountain except that Grima has reached Saruman and we learn that there is way through the defences and an army of ten thousand has to be resisted with a force of 300 mainly old men and young men who are children at heart and in body. How many Spartans were there?
22.00 Last week I when I watched the Devil wears Prada there was a trailer for Academy award winning film Little Miss Sunshine which I have wanted to see for sometime and it was a pleasant surprise when the film was included in those sent to me on return. It is a clever, witty and serious slice of American family life and the absurdity and potentially dangerous absurdity of aspects of the American Dream. As I cannot think of ways to improve upon the Wikipedia summary of the plot, I reproduce with slight amendment with thanks. Sheryl Hoover is an overworked mother of two, Her brother Frank is a homosexual Proust Scholar living at home with the family after a suicide attempt. Sheryl’s husband is a motivational speaker and life coach who has put his future in the publication of his flawed life plan for success. Her son by the first marriage is a Nietzsche reading teenager who took a vow of silence nine months beforehand until he can accomplish his dream of being a test pilot for the National Airforce and Alan Arkin award winning Oscar best support actor in a male role plays the paternal grandfather who has been evicted from his retirement home for snorting heroin, chasing the ladies and a love of earthy swearing and of soft porn magazines. The couple’s average looking and slightly overweigh weight daughter with glasses wants to become Miss America and has been suddenly awarded a finalist place in the Little Miss Sunshine contest held in California 900 miles away after being the runner up in a state Competition. The combination of you can be a winner if you try father and a supportive follow your dream mother is that the disparate family embark on the journey in their old Volkswagen people carrier which fails in first gear soon after starting and they decide to follow the advice of the mechanic that it can be used to continue their journey if jump started and kept in third or fourth gear. The journey continues the disharmony, the frustrations and unhappiness with their lives. While it is correct, according to Wikipedia, that the failure of a love relationship between the scholar brother and a pupil precipitated the chain of event which lead to his suicide attempt, the major cause is the recognition as a published Proust expert of his intellectual rival who runs off the student object of his desire and who he encounters during the trip. In the film the brother explains to his nephew that an essential aspect of Proustian philosophy is that one only becomes a person of integrity and depth through hardship, suffering and lack of contemporary recognition. This is no consolation to the nephew when he discovers he will be unable to fly jets because of colour blindness. The husband who appears to have given up his paid teaching work to disinterested students in order to become a big time celebrity of his nine point plan learns that there is no interest and therefore no market however good his plan, because he remains unknown, a swipe at all the celebrities who publish their diet plans and how to be a success recipes after they have become internationally known figures and those peddlers of gambling and stock market systems who need punters to make a livelihood. The hard pressed wife feels trapped and cornered having to cope with her brother, who cannot be left on his own even at night, her husband with no future income, her son who says he hates her, and her husband’s father who likes to tell everyone, including her daughter how things really are. He, the grandfather then dies in his sleep and confronted with the bureaucracy involved in securing release of the body for transporting across the state lines, which will mean missing the pageant, the family is persuaded to remove the body and arrange the transportation after they have arrived in time at the hotel for their daughter to be registered as one of the finalists. The makers of the film hired successful child pageant winners to perform in the film, and the bathing costume made to look and walk like adults followed by the singer, dancing, gymnastic talent show competition illustrates that the children are unaware of the sexual and paedophilic undertones of their performances. Unbeknown to the family, grandfather has shown their daughter a new routine to the tune of Rick James Super Freak, a burlesque routine with frilly knickers which incurs the wrath of the organisers and the mums, underling their blindness to what they are doing to their daughters. The one exception appears to be a male watcher who appears to be on his own. The film has a good and enjoyable ending. I say this because the DVD includes the four other endings considered including running off with a trophy several times the size of the daughter. The film cost a tenth of the making of the individual Lord of the Rings films, and won awards in several countries and states in addition to as many unsuccessful nominations. The film brings home the risks, however unintentional, parents can place their children, but more importantly the harm that involvement in events like this can cause by promoting false attitudes and beliefs about what makes a good self image and does so more effectively than most serious documentaries because of its charm and its humour. One of the remarkable aspect of the culture of the United States is the ability for self scrutiny and self criticism and to make lots of money out of doing so.

02.15 I go to bed, stagger is a better description and sleep immediately waking over four hours later. I wake again around seven to eight but although a little uncomfortable do to rise and return to sleep, getting up at 08.30. I am encouraged by this change and debate how far it the result of the switch from tea to sugarless coffee, to have a light snack before going to bed if I feel the need, or to keeping a record. So far expressing concern at the gradual increase in weight this Winter has no resulted in the trend being reversed but I have decided to recommence daily weigh which might help control the quantity as well as the content of what I eat. The weather remains bitterly cold. I know I am spending too much time at my desk, but the sense of achieving writing and work targets also contributes to deep and restful periods of sleep.

09.40 coffee time but do the washing first and after the hot drink I will get myself up although driven to complete the writing of The Two Towers, but knowing that my work supplies order could arrive at any time during the day have received the on its way notices. I have achieved a run of 85 winning games of level one chess and know that unless I resist the temptation to rush onwards I will crash out again in the 90’s as twice previously since the last instance of reaching 101. I reach 89 games, send a text and go for my wash and to remake the bed.
The creation of Middle Earth the first appendix DVD begins with the relationship between Tolkien and C S Lewis and one of their early agreements was that unable to read works what they would like and therefore decided to try and created their own worlds. There are four aspects of the second part of the Twin Towers which appealed to me. Pippin or Merry, I forget which hit on the idea of persuading Treebeard to drop them off on the other side of Saruman’s tower who when confronted by the vast area of destroyed trees, abandons the usual Ent caution and prolonged reflection to shriek out a call to the trees and the Ents, the guardians of the trees into battle. Saruman has developed the original underground industrial furnace to produce the vast quantity of armour and weapons, destroying a vast area of ancient trees and which appealed to in earlier times given my William Morris, anti industrialization back to nature period, until I came to understand the nature of human beingness and its inevitable progression of choice between the constructive harnessing of invention and discovery and increased power and opportunity for self destruction of everyone and everything. It is of great significance today that I is the forces of nature, the trees symbol of survival through time and the power of water which destroys the industrial creature made world around Saruman’s Tower. The second interest is the way the book and the film especially show understanding, pity and compassion towards Gollum. After all we are shown the Hobbits as mini human beings with all our strengths and weaknesses, the liking for parties with fireworks and for adventures, Pippin and Merry are introduced stealing vegetables from a neighbour and Bilbo’s relatives are after the home which he leaves to Frodo. The ring brings out the worst not only in Man but in any creature, and the only difference between creatures and individuals is their inherent goodness or otherwise. Frodo is serious and good and therefore his struggle against the evil nature of the ring is one he can win, but he needs help and support, while Smeagol who has succumbed remains tormented, a split personality which is dramatically but sensitively portrayed in the film. This reflects the Catholicism of Tolkien echoed by the writers of, brings it to an end with the words of Sam that there is some good in the world. The third aspects is the role of Aragorn as the traveller who has lost his homeland and found love with someone who not only lives geographically distant from wherever he is, but knows that if she is to share his love and his life it will mean she ceases to be eternal and will experience all the horrors and unhappiness of humans, particularly that in normal life one partner will leave the other through death.

The fourth area is also one of relationships rather than epic against the odd battles. This is the relationship of Boromir, who dies at the end of the Fellowship, his brother Faramir and their father, their father the Steward of Condor the other Kingdom of Middle earth and the homeland of Aragorn. It is only in the extended edition that we learn of the relationship between the brother and their father, He sees Boromir as the successful achiever and entrusts to him the task of getting the One Ring to be able to defend Condor against the new rising of the Dark Lord and his empire, hence sending him to Rivendell. He regards Faramir as a failure who has made their situation worse. In the books Faramir is a one dimensional character, but as the acting playing him ..appreciated when he studied the original text, the filmmakers decided to develop him during the film, as they did with several other of Tolkien figures. I identify much with Faramir because he is regarded as weak, a failure and outsider, and in terms of what has happened in his life this is so, yet he persists to prove himself to his father and to himself and thus capturing Frodo and Sam and then Gollum he has the capacity to listen and hear what is said to him, and instead of take the Ring from Frodo to achieve the ultimate recognition for his father, he allows them to continue with the task, even if this also involves the release of Gollum.

Tolkein, The Fellowship Dr Paolo Baldi, The Colour of Magic

12.00 19 March 2008 I decide to write a prologue for my Blog of yesterday and then make the changes and corrections as well as checking up on certain facts which takes all of two hours. However I feel it begins to convey something of my response to the individual extended film, the DVD additions and to the rest of the 24 hours of experience. It is now time to begin this first of three parts and which will dominate this week, having completed the viewing of the two DVD’s with their seven hours of descriptions and explanations and thousands of stills. Which make up the set of 4 with the first two the films and the four commentaries. This is very much a film maker’s edition and a tribute to the talent of the New Zealand film industry, so it does not surprise that when the film opened in Wellington, the whole of the city lined the streets to celebrate the making of the enterprise and the kudos it would bring to their country. Yesterday I was enthusiastic and impressed while today I am awe of the vision and the execution of the Lord of the Rings as film.

In the first extras DVD there is systematic analysis of the of how the various components were brought together. the actors, the locations, the sets, the make up and costumes, the photography, the music and the sound, and the post production work, finishing with something of the immediate public response. The second DVD, also has its own rational structure commencing with Tolkien and his creation over 15 years of actual writing and a lifetime thinking about and English mythology that was taken away when the French came over in 1066. He purpose was to create an intellectually coherent believable epic of immense detail, often beautiful detail despite its blood thirsty battles, and the long periods when darkness controlled the known universe of those involved, He created an essentially English and Celtic prehistory a world of Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, Goblins and Trolls, Orcs and Men, and while his writing may have been influenced by the events and culture of his generation and while the work covers fundamental aspects of behaviour and interaction, it was not written to communicate messages, other than we have past, as well as a present and a future.

He allowed his story to unfold without any master plan or design other than the experience, the knowledge and the imagination accumulated in his lifetime. The books are about The Ring and its power, posing the question. Does the Ring stand alone with its power independent of the control by creatures in which instance it can be said to represent forces in nature which beings can never control as it inevitably take possession and control of them, or does control depend on the strength of character and will of beings who take possession? How ever unintended does Tolkien pose the conflict all human beings face between the good and evil within and that whatever the good intention or good intrinsic values of objects, there is always also the potential for evil and destruction, which it is within beings to control or not.

14.00 Time to get myself up for the day ahead and then have some food and then go for some shopping as the cupboards are getting bare, comparatively. A simple salad with one slice left of Leerdammer, a banana and a coffee, after washing me and washing up. I also washed and dried clothing must be two days ago still waiting to be ironed which I will combine with a vacuum and dusting but when? Must be this week though.

15.00 Change of plan about going out mainly because I became interested in a radio detective mystery play set in Ireland and involving a Dr Paolo Baldi, a Franciscan Priest, philosopher and amateur sleuth, friend of a police detective and which followed on from the Archers, the farming country life soap which I first heard as a child after World War 2, and where I some times listen to the Sunday repeat of the weekday programmes. The radio Detective mysteries are challenges because there are only audio clues. In this episode it was evident who were the main suspects when an aging environmentalist is found dead in suspicious circumstances. There were several red hearing to confuse but the outcome was predictable but a stayed listening to confirm my predictions.. This is one of six plays by Peter Devlin(?)

16.00 After publishing yesterdays writing there was one longish communication to make for MySpace and an E mail about what happened to my great grand mother and great grandfather. My aunt visited what has become the now beautiful white building mountainside village about 30k from Ronda in Andalusia and from where I recently received confirmation that records had been destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. My aunt visited her when she was said to have lived in a cave like dwelling and seeking confirmation that these existed is still to be obtained. She made the journey by train and then partly on foot and using a donkey but there is no memory of who she made the visit with or when although the circumstantial evidence is that it was sometime in the mid 1920is when my aunt would have been a teenager. Later she came to England with her elder sister to look after her sister’s two boys, returning when her mother died. She then returned to England living close to another sister but again had to return to Gibraltar when her father died. She then came to England in 1939, after I was born, because of the British Government requirement for all those not directly involved with the port, airfield and military base to leave, never to return because of the discovery of my existence and the requirement that my mother should not go back. The location of the burial place and date of my great grandfather is also a mystery with no record so far despite his being a Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner and having to confirm his identity and whereabouts to be able to received his pension. My care mother believed he had come to England after going blind. He was not admitted to the hospital at Chelsea as been believed but he may have been accepted at a specialist facility for the blind and this is still to be checked. The couple were married in Gibraltar and one area of interest is whether her father owned or managed a riding establishment there or in Spain.

16.45 Having checked the closing times of Supermarkets today and the blizzard stopped again I have decided to go for a shop but take the car hoping it will not be too crowded still being late in the day. The car park was emptish and store quiet with an hour to shop I could relax. However I did forget something, I always forget some things and I have now forgotten what I forgot. This irritates me.

18.00 The second part of Terry Pritchett’s the Colour of Magic was enjoyable, especially as the Conen the Barbarian is an old man in his early eighties who pulls an attractive young woman in her twenties. The Troll is the films could have created from Lord of the Rings. I make progress with learning about the new phone but am doing so slowly. Tonight I registered on line and enquired if with transferring the phone to the new one I could still claim the free extras when I topped up. I drank a glass of red wine with 7p worth of peanuts. I note that I have not listened again to the Chris Barber Lost and Found DVD’s or completed the Classical music programme planned for Easter, the Completer Finisher within my nature demands that I do so before moving onto something knew. I should have realised the nature of what would be involved with the decision to re experience the Tolkien and the Peter Jackson and it is significant that Peter introduces his films under the banner of Tolkien rather than himself. After seeing a stage production of Gormenghast, I was in contact with one of his sons, who had attended the same school and whose home I had once visited when a young man and it is evident that there is rivalry between the supporters of the two works and the two film works, with the difference the conceptual imagination of Peter Jackson and the commercial and artistic vision of New Line compared with that of Miramax.

20.00 I continued to watch the final part of the 4th Fellowship of the Ring DVD and enjoyed a cheap curry sauce using the rest of the chicken breast joint from yesterday with some steamed long and slender basmati rice with sundered tomatoes passata and red pesto followed by some green grapes and strong coffee without sugar Peter saw the 1978 Cartoon version which only dealt with part of the story and where finance was not made available for the story to be completed much to the disappointment of many a teenager and their parents, although it lead to acquiring the books and the audio tapes. Peter assumed that someone would someday make the films which he would go along to experience with everyone else, and this expectation increased as cinema techniques developed with the use of electronic graphics to replace the traditional twenty four hand drawings and paintings to create the standard second of on screen film, 86400 for each hour length feature. Creating fewer frames or more creating special effects. In the instances of Lord of eh Rings when Peter decided that as no one else had or was contemplating making the film he approached those holding the screen rights to the books and obtained the funding from the distributors, Miramax to develop a script and treatment. On the basis only of what is said in the DVD’s and Wikipedia my understanding is that he developed the usual one scene per paragraph note book of how the books could be brought to screen, with the usual 25-30 page treatment extended to 90. Usually this process will include visual work. Peter uses the story board approach where individual scenes are hand drawn and then brought together cartoon style to create a treatment which can often then form the shooting script, although the order of shooting is often dictated by production questions as the availability of actors, locations, scenery and props. I am not sure if it was at this stage or later that he visited the Star Wars set up in the USA and was generously shown the latest technology which enables electronic three dimensional representations to be created but when he, his partner and other co writer went to see Miramax with their proposal for two films they are said to have spent 15 million dollars in pre production work only to find that Miramax only were willing/able to fund a one film production cost which the presented scripts were then estimated to total $150 million. It is then my understanding he was given a limited amount of time to find another distributor. And at this point New Line stepped in and suggested a three film approach in accordance with the structure of the books and then found the funds to commence the project in the way it was put into effect. Whether it was the New Line management or Peter or a combination of both they had the brilliant foresight to understand that only bringing together the best people at all levels and using the latest technology together with the tried and tested and setting the highest standards would do justice to a work which had become part of the psyche of many people. Peter also had the foresight to assemble production heads with whom he ahd already worked and who knew the strengths and talents of those available in New Zealand or where to go and get them as many who became involved in the 300 strong creative design and production teams had not worked previously on film. When their co writer could not proceeds because of together commitments, with Peter having the visual abilities and his partner the words, they were joined by Phillipa Boynes, previously a playwright but with an long term interest in Tolkien’s work. They not only re wrote the script to make three films were constantly reworking on a daily basis, incorporating not only their own ideas as the shooting progressed but those of the actors and production crews. Because of the number of location used and the shooting of tall three films at the same time over 275 days and 15 months of chronological time, several units had to be established with 3000 individuals involved. As the pre production work of creative design, shooting location, scenery creation, costume design, the armour the weapons and creature construction got underway. Peter decided that it would enhance the project if he could involve the two world regarded illustrators of the Tolkien books. Alan Lee and John Howe. Alan who lived in England where there was no phone number known but an address, soy Peter and his partner arranged a special delivery of his two recent films he had made, plus his intentions for the films, and they were able to track its delivery to the time when their package was signed for with a covering letter, I am Peter Jackson a film maker in New Zealand, I attach copies of my most recent films and I am making a trilogy of Lord of The Rings. They now know that he immediately sat down and watched both films and then rang Peter to say yes please. It was in the middle of the night that John Howe received a telephone call from New Zealand and he said he sat there waiting for Peter and his partner to reach the end of the end of the selling pitch so he could also say yes please. They would become creative concept artists ho became involved with every aspect of the production such was their enthusiasm matched by the commitment of everyone. Another example of the sense of mission to create something Tolkien would have been proud to have been associated with is the appointment of Richard Taylor to lead the workshop of young New Zealand talent, many who never worked on a film, to create objects from the 1800 pairs of the Hobbit feet, to 500 bows and 10000 arrows, to 18000 facials and over 1000 body suits the large to scale models and full size art works which totalled some 48000 items. The quality of the weapons tailored to the individual users, with the delight of the sword maker able to go beyond his previous dreams and imagination to the chain mail maker, joining tens of thousands of light weight rings all coming forward to talk about their experience of a lifetime and the life long friendships that were established. The second DVD includes and interactive map which video clips to remind of what the location looked like on film as well as interactive index of content and where the stills are arranged according to actors and places.

22.00 I catch up with the Test match. Alas Strauss was only able to get 10 177 but England continued for a short while longer closing 552 runs ahead and the last is that New Zealand are 101 for 1.

23.00 I watch a Douglas Family Films with Kirk Michael, Cameron and Diana, It runs the Family. There is a great finale as Kirk persuades his estranged son Michael, in giving his brother a Viking Funeral on the nearby Lake. Grandson Asher is then busted for growing pot in his flat and his young brother, skips out of the school dance with a girl wearing Gothic Black and a ring through her nose for his first kick and a fight with lads twice his size. There is a great moment when the three generations go fishing on the day of the funeral of Michael mother, Diana Douglas, Three men in a boat. The film was made after Kirk suffered a real life stroke which he also carries into the film character.

0.50. Glass of orange juice and some chess, although must be careful as up to game 57.

02.10 win game 60 in un of 520 with ten draws and bed

07.21 I wake after a longer than usual sleeping session

08.45 I get up and remember that my first task is to put the bin out, It is very cold and I have great difficult in closing the garage door which suggests that either the cold is having its effect or more likely I have a problem which is going to cost money!

09.30 I am ready for the day as it possible the first of the two Staples deliveries will arrive today, I then decide to reconsider the work on The Two Towers and discover the amount of information on filmmaking on Wikipedia and become engaged with this, although then decide to postpone a full study until later. I add Peter Jackson’s films to my DVD subscription but this does not include Heavenly Creatures which I think I have seen but I am not certain. I plan the rest of the day.