Tuesday, 28 September 2010

La Noche De Los Girasoles Carry On Behind

A Bruce Springsteen song comes to ear, Heavy Heart and a commercial featuring a clever conjurer, Paul Daniel and heavy heart and conjuring trickster sum up my feeling this morning.

My level of incredulity has been stretched over several decades but it reached a new high or low, I cannot be bothered to work out which by two events yesterday evening through till 4 am, after what had been a reasonable day.

However I begin by talking about two films experienced over the past twenty four hours while I collect my emotions to find words appropriate to express anger on one hand and disbelief at the black being described as white at the Republican Convention and the departure of Kevin Keegan as Newcastle Manager, the club issued a statement which has fooled no one and I only have one word to say but I cannot write it for to do so could provoke litigation.

The first film sums up one aspect of the British character and humour, the love of words which have more than one meaning, usually connected with sex and other bodily functions. Carry on Behind could have been also titled Bottom up or Upskirts, if it the intention was a soft porn production, whereas Carry on Behind is more about words than visual treats. Then film opens as Archaeology Professor Kenneth Williams introduces a film of his work at what appears to be a village hall and he describes his latest finds under mounds and penetrations at lower levels at the same time as a film of a young woman in a two piece bathing costume is shown prior to stripping off further clothing, by mistake. The double meanings are never subtle, always full frontal and in your face and the visual humour appears to be aimed at five year olds. Sadly this was one of the Carry On films in which Barbara Windsor did not display her twin charms.

The second film is intended to be a more serious drama showing cause and effects as members of small community disintegrate into killings and cover up after a different kind of archaeology explorers comes to a small Spanish village shortly after the sexually assaulted body of a young girl is found in a field of sun flowers after going to a disco, having had a row with her father over where she was going and when she would return. The night of the Sunflowers (La Noche De los Girasoles) was not an enjoyable or very engaging interesting film but its theme is a good one. A man in the village discovers a cave and the explorers are called in to investigate if there is anything original or valuable below ground. While the husband and colleague investigate, his wife goes to wait for them to come out, with the car, taking a book to read. An aging randy commercial traveller tries to pick up a girl walking at the roadside, who we quickly learn has walked away from the car driver by her boyfriend after a row, and then he, the boyfriend persuades the girl to rejoin him. Later the men meet at a bar and the boyfriend tells the industrial vacuum cleaner salesman of a quarry business near a village where he is sure there will be interest in the product. The man follows the instructions against his better judgement and finds he has been sent to a deserted village and a deserted quarry. On his return he spots the wife of the explorer, assaults and attempts to rape her, but she manages to stab him in the hand and locks herself into the car until her husband and his colleague returns. They come across an old man who lives in the deserted village and mistaking him for the attacker he is killed in a fight and then their car breaks down as they set off to tell the police what has happened.

The village policeman is married to the daughter of the local chief of police who is due for retirement when he hopes they will be free to move to a better place, and then his wife reveals that she does not want to leave nor does her father, so when he comes across the explorers who own up to the mistaken killing he decides on a plot to hide the body of the man and pretend that he has left the village but to do so in exchange for their life savings. However the plan does not work out as the father in law's suspicions are aroused and he also decides to go along with the plot swearing everyone involved into silence and burning money that was used as a bribe. The film is shot in a different way to this chronological account of what webs we weave when we deceive and where justice is sometimes best served through silence.

The greater part of the day was spent at cricket after preparing a lunch of salmon and cucumber sandwiches and a flask of orange fruit juice. Alas there had been torrential sheeting rain the night before with pools of water all over the ground so the start was delayed until after lunch at 1.40. This provided opportunity to have a good haircut in Chester Le Street and to buy some fruit and vegetables. I had a very good afternoon of cricket with some excellent company, a regular member to one side and economist from Newcastle University on the other. The cricket was also first rate as William Smith got another 100 and captain Blenkenstein 50 before tea time and rain clouds assembled. Before leaving I enjoyed a large plate of freshly cooked chips, having earlier had a coffee and a chunky Kit Kat. On returning I went to Sunderland to Staples to buy a replacement desk chair as the existing one was falling to bits because of my weight and hard handling, however although I commenced dissembling this to fit into the car I left assembly of the new one until the following day. I had a pasta bake with a glass of wine later and some snap crackle and pop cereal before going to bed for the second time in the early hours after listening to the acceptance speeches of the Republican Party choices for the President and Vice Presidency.

Before then I attempted to grapple with the news that Kevin Keegan had found the situation impossible to cope with and had left of his own accord, apparently having negotiated a situation where he was not required to pay the club compensation. According to the Football manager's Association the main concern had been the recruitment of players he had not wanted. Because this is a company and because of the usual restrictions on non disclosure of circumstances by the parties concerned all we were given were formal statements.

On the assumption that the club is not immediately sold or Alan Shearer confirms his spokesman's comments that this is not the time for him to express an interest, I anticipate that around half the usual number of spectators will stay outside ground even though a good percentage of these are season ticket holders, particularly because it is a game against Hull. How many will protest outside the club on the day of the next game or enter and make their protest that way remains to be seen. My concern is the risk to public order that is likely to arise. The concern is that any trouble will not only affect the lives of those participating but could affect the position of the club's long term, if there is trouble within the ground. In the eyes of the majority of those who support the club and I speak with the experience of being involved in the community and with football clubs in the region for over thirty years, the Owner, the Chairman and Mr Wise will be regarded as traitors and enemies of the people. They are yet to reveal whether they are also cowards.

I am unsure what to make of the two acceptance speeches at the Republican convention. I have already expressed concern at the organised tribal behaviour of the crowd which would have made Hitler, Goebbels and Stalin proud, although it is of a similar order to partisan nature of football crowds or those attending a rock concert. and although the Republicans have controlled the White House for eight years and there was a sense they some were trying to out do the Democrats in displays of fervour and enthusiasms for the party's choice of candidates. I have two general observations to make in terms of policies and performances The approach of most of speakers at the Republication Convention was similar to that of the National Front and the United Kingdom Independence Party, with both Labour and Conservatives polices considered as being to the far left of the Democratic party. The great slogan of the two nights was USA, USA, USA, and the proposed change advocated by Senator McCain was back to right wing conservatism of Ronald Regan, and down with all liberals.

So given this back cloth what did the Governor of Alaska have to say apart from describing her family and rise to power? She was anti corruption and had taken action in this respect. She wanted political leaders to set an good example and she demonstrated this by defeating a leader in her own party who she did not believe had set a good example, selling the governor's private jet on E Bay and dispensing with paid help in the Governor's Mansion. She had declined the offer of Federal money to pay for a bridge which went nowhere, adding that if the state need a bridge the state would fund it. She was also clear on her position regarding abortion, on government expenditure and taxation in general. She would reduce both as much as practical. She was not sympathetic to the traditional ways of politics and her one objective was to serve the people of her country rather than set out to gain the support of the left wing media which appeared to cover everyone except Fox TV. On the issue of energy she was in favour of off shore exploration to reduce the period of dependence on overseas imports but which also recognised that it was essential to focus on other energy sources. She came over as strong and purposeful although a little nervous, inexperienced and overawed. I was not convinced by attempts to make her out to be an ordinary hockey mum although I have no doubt that she was one, along with hunting with her dad and the other aspects of being an ordinary person growing up in the culture of Alaska. This changed when she became Mayor and even more so when she became Governor and would change even more so when she became one heart beat away from being President.

Last night I was also up to hear what Presidential nominee John McCain had to say, and because I was tired and had to doze I watched again during Friday. So what did I make of what he had to say?

First I liked his own definition of Maverick as someone who goes their own way and I had little quarrel with most of his sentiments and beliefs about how human beings should behave and take responsibility for their own lives and of any dependents. It was also evident, as he has demonstrated in the past, that he sits uncomfortably in the adversarial political party system with his memorable statement, "I would rather lose an election than my country lose a war." No one is in a position to question his personal courage, demonstrated as a long term prisoner of war in Vietnam, My personal problem is that his political views are similar to the Conservatism of Margaret Thatcher two decades ago, before Britain became a multi culture grappling with the problems of finding its place in the ever complex world of today. Senator McCain also demonstrated his party to be hypocritical in presenting themselves as a Christian based God fearing party and then stated the new administration would cut their overseas aid to countries who did not like America very much. So there you have it, you get money not because you need it, not because it is the right thing to do, or even because it is also in the best interests of the USA, but on the basis that you pass some test of appearing to like the USA according to the defined test of a Republican Administration. Put this another way you get money if you then do what we say.

I had the impression that the Democrats were going through the obligatory motions of finishing and ending everything proclaiming that America was God's chosen country and the best in the world. This approach is not only unchristian but demonstrable nonsense and shows confusing power with moral righteousness. What was evident over the last two nights is that the Republican delegates actually believe this.

What was also evident from the filming of delegates is the disproportionate numbers of whites compared to the position of the Democratic party. However also evident is that the Republican Party represents a vast chunk of opinion in the USA which is what a democracy is all about and that there are major differences between the policies of the two parties on major issues such as the level of taxation and public expenditure, instead of the manufacturing of differences here in the UK and where moral issues and matters of conscience are not treated on party political lines. There is still some two months to go and I conclude that the outcome is still too close to call and therefore the party creatives will be desperate to find some dirt to give to the media.

the Silent Barricade

My concern with the Republican Convention made me forget about the prospect of flooding in Texas from hurricane Gustav, or to check if the autumn like weather blitz we are experiencing in the UK is connected to the hurricane build up in the Atlantic. After three months where we did not experience consecutive hot days and there were only two, possibly, three spells of consecutive days of sunshine without rain, we now have torrential ain from dawn to dusk and throughout the night. Because the ground has not dried out from what happened two years ago the risk of flooding is always there and while some of the new or improved defences created from two years ago are working we are experiencing local flooding with last night two severe warnings issues and forty others placed on alert.

It rained all day yesterday, Washing out cricket at Durham, elsewhere and this morning although there is no rain at this moment more is promised which not only ruled out play today but possibly tomorrow when an important 40 40 match was scheduled.

Yesterday's rain dampened the level of protest outside the Newcastle football stadium but this did not prevent the future of the club and the impact on the region dominating local news programmes, filling the back pages of national newspapers where previous managers and players are all give their viewpoints. Because of the resignation at West Ham for similar reason this appears to have become a crucial time for the balance of power between Managers, players and the clubs, as understandably if players know that it is the owner, chairman or director of technical services who is controlling movements in and out they will talk direct and by pass managers thus further weakening their ability to manage the players and build them into a team.

While Mike Ashley the billionaire owner is alleged to be partying on champagne in New York, the most important of players in Newcastle's recent history broke silence and explained why although he would love, really love, to become the manager of Newcastle Football club he would not do so unless he was able to manage the players and just be the head coach. So far there has been only snippets of the interview with Alan Shearer which is to be shown on Saturday on BBC1 where he is already contracted as a football pundit for the weekend review of Premiership matches with highlights. What has been shown is sufficient for everyone to know that he considers the situation which Kevin Keegan found himself as unacceptable. The full interview will be shown tomorrow. There was also an interesting statement from the Football managers Association on what happened when they assisted Keegan at meetings and found they there was not one spokesperson for the club but three, presumably representing the owner, the chairman and Mr Wise, all outsiders to the club and the local population.

Clearly there is concern about how the situation will develop a week Saturday when Hull make their first visit as new entrants to the Premiership. It is important that any demonstrations inside and outside the ground are peaceful and this will be difficult with genuine protestors mingling with serious trouble makers and those wanting to protest within the stadium or just watch a game of football and the world's supports news media in attendance. My own view is that a boycott would be more effective and avoid trouble. I was unsure by what a fan's "representative" had to say in terms of everyone supporting team inside the ground unless he like me is concerned about what will happen if supporters stay outside the stadium while the targets for the protest stay away. He was accompanied at the interview by a well known vicar wearing the Newcastle shirt who previously had sang abide with me in an effort to unite everyone behind the team. My view is that only if one hits Ashley in his pocket will he decided to sell up and which in turn will lead to a new chairman and a director of technical services selected with help by the manager to ensure that they will be able to work as a team and that the manger will have the last word.

Usually they kind of story lasts a couple of days and the media move on to the next big thing, so that events at Man City or Man United only a weekend ago have become history. Conveniently the Manager of West Ham also resigned over the same issue of players bought and sold without having the final word. This is a great coincidence and smacks of the Premiership club owners having got together and developed a policy for the future designed to take control away from manager who will be renamed head coaches. Clearly something had to be done be following the scandals and allegations of Mangers and Clubs involved in bribes and back handers to secure the transfer of particular players but tit is one thing for Managers not to be directly involved in the negotiations about price and player wages and perhaps to have someone separately heading a team, identifying players to be brought into the club in the future. The situation has to change so it is time to man the barricades, metaphorically of course.

The film of the day, The Silent Barricade, a film which I can find nothing about on the internet and which looked as if it was produced during the time when Prague was part of the Russian Communist empire. The film is about the rise of the communist/trade unionist/people against the Germans towards the end of World War II creating barricades and defending them with limited weaponry with the focus on one family where both the adult daughter and teenage son join their father against his wishes and perform heroics, the sun blowing up a tank. Just when the ammunition ends and the German's bring big guns to destroy the barricades and the human resistance, they withdraw. The Russian Tanks arrive to general acclamation.

In the evening I watched the last part of the X Factor preliminaries just as a sixteen year old girl sang a version of a Damien Rice song and got herself into the next round and there was also another young women with great looks, personality and voice who struggled because after practicing for two months she had strained her throat but also impressed. In between here was he annual collection of awfuls some duly primed to behave badly. Big Brother House is reaching its ends of days after a series which failed to create the kind of public interest achieved since it was established. This time there were some redeeming features with a visually disabled participant taking the second prize and the winner a modest and kindly, but determined young woman who nevertheless will disappear from public view along with the £100000 cheque.

At last I had Saturday to look forward to, cricket at Durham if it stopped raining; the Belgium Grand Prix Formula One time trials for the last 5 places on the grid then 11 to 15th and then first ten; Andrew Murray in the Semi Final of the USA open, The Opening ceremony of the Paraplegic Olympic Games; Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England all playing in their first qualifying matches for the World Cup in 2010; and a box office Boxing night if all else fails; and of course I could receive that phone call to say I had won all or a share of the 92 million on offer in the European Lottery.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The man who knew too little and 10.50 Apocalypse

Saturday 30th August has been a non day, mostly of my own making. It was a day lacking in energy and enthusiasm, with an hour's sleep during the afternoon.

There was one moment of brightness and even then I managed to turn a discovery into potential disaster, given its triviality in the great scheme of things, given what has been discussed over recent days.. I begin with this because it has had a satisfactory ending. On my recent visit to London I was upset that I had been unable to photograph the statuesque figures posed by young men and women along the embankment as I had made my way to London Bridge Station after attending the free concert at the Royal Festival Hall. I have seen such figures before, usually around Leicester Square. They require considerable expenditure to cover the body, clothing and skin in such a way and then to stand motionless for periods perhaps only responding when someone delivers an appropriate coin. What had surprised me with the number of the young people involved and the variation in subjects. The atmosphere was truly magical and not one which I had experienced in London before, since perhaps my youth and visiting the world of Jazz clubs in and around Soho as a teenager.

I had been taking photographs using the memory stick on my digital movie camera for the earlier trip to the Dome development at Greenwich and to see the new digital film experience of Journey to the centre of the world and then moved to the Royal festival Hall for the free concert in the early evening. I could have then journeyed by underground to Soho in an attempt to recapture some of my feelings from that time, or travelled to Victoria for a train back to East Croydon and to write up what had been a very interesting day especially the great boat trip at speed between stops and the sights along the river bank which were so different from when the trip was made before. It was a warm and sunny evening with several hundred young people assembled outside enjoying an early evening drink or walking along the river so my first instinct was to visit the book sellers outside the Heyward Gallery, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the National Film Theatre, stopping awhile to watch the youngsters on their skateboards under the concrete supports of the main building structures, and once also used for the homeless, the drunks and the druggies. An then I spotted the first of the statuesque which I had photographed only to find that the photos were not on the memory stick when I return to the Travel Lodge and transferred the photos to the laptop computer. I had remembered stopping by the booksellers to check the position after the finding that the memory stick was full with only 150 photos taken having unintentionally used the remaining space for another 150 by switching to film record. The odd aspect is that I had then photographed the statuesque and back at the Travel Lodge I had assumed that I had forgotten the problem with the memory stick. I therefore decided to return to the embank on the Saturday before going to the concert at the Royal Albert Hall and had been disappointed that despite even greater crowds there were no statuesque's and only one entertainer had been encountered at a different location.

Then to-day I decided to photograph completed sets while watching Newcastle play badly and lose heavily at Arsenal and got the second memory stick as I had used the first for photos of my patio plants as they approached the end of their season. This also registered that some 100 photos had been taken. What were they. Loo, they were those of the statuesque figures revealing that I must have found the second memory stick. The feature of memory sticks I have never understood is that they contain channels and that if one is used regularly it appears to switch between channels progressively only showing when new and then increasing to two, three and four. This is irritating because one then has to check each channels to find the most recent photos and it is has not been unknown for a switch between channels during one shoot. I can only assume that when I checked both memory sticks on the Friday evening that I had missed the channel on which the photos had been stored and remained over the days since returning. It was a wonderful find so I divided to immediately transfer to the location with the photos and then create new files under My Photos in order to create two new series of 101 photos for MySpace. This involved reviewing each photo, dividing them into the two series one exclusively the river and views from the speed launch and the other of the Dome area, the statuesque and other river bank shots. This took time as I also attempted to then place the photos in some kind of order. Then to my late night hotter I could not find the file containing those of the river transferred from the main file and I assumed I had managed to delete after going through all the main photograph files and then the document files and then those on the computer not once but twice. I became tired and was ready for bed but continued knowing that I would not rest having made the discovery and then lost some of the more important shots taken from the launch, and then I found it tucked away in another file and which had been overlooked on the two previous searches. It was time for bed but I was able to go content, to a point, but annoyed with myself for not checking properly on the original Friday evening or subsequently and then for getting into such a pickle after discovering them now. Needless to say I did not photograph the completed set work or watch the film which had also been an intention.

I did watch two other films. 10.50 Apocalypse was not a two part four hour epic I had seen before. I tend to the view that once you have seen one disaster epic you have seen them all, unless the latest technology creates a different experience and certainly I look forward to seeing what is accomplished using the 3 D dimension. This film was worth staying with in order to see the scale and nature of destruction which includes the breaking of the Hoover Dam, a Volcanic explosion in Sun Valley and the destruction of Las Vegas as everything sinks below the surface. The cause of these events in a sudden movement of the plates beneath the earth surface and which created the original continental break up and drift. The proposition of the film is something causes the dramatic sudden reversal of the drift with the outcome of changing the geography of the States with disastrous consequences for the populations of the area involved, the western plains and mountains although by the time the first part ended there was an accelerating movement into the central states. I am unable to say if the area between California and Philadelphia becomes a great lake because the second part is not being shown until Sunday afternoon when I shall be at the football. I was surprised to find a review on the On Line Film Critics Society by Scott Weinberg in 2006 which provided the information that this is a follow up to 10.50, an earlier epic. I thought the President was a familiar face and he also revealed that it is Beau Bridges. I was truly amazed that the President appeared to have personal knowledge of the heads of the Federal agencies involved in the film given that on any one day there are some four hundred Federal agencies at work in addition to those at State. It is because there are so many interests cutting across the departments of Cabinet members, those run by the Congress and those by individual States that ensuring there is in fact a common approach and a chain of command when civil emergencies take place, I sat this as the latest major hurricane of the season appears to heading in the direction of New Orleans again, which if is the situation will be interpreted by some religious groups as God giving Bush and the Republican administration a chance to redeem themselves after the last disaster, and enabling the public to include the event in their assessment before voting in November. The whole things lasts 169 minutes and be a good reviewer the writer omits to reveal how the things ends as if we did not know that the man rejected by the agency because his theories were too wild comes to the rescue and provides his daughter now the Presidential Chief Adviser with the solution, but is this before after half of he USA turns into a great lake.

I also watched for the second time in memory, the Man who knew too Little the Bill Murray 1997 comedy caper in which in unknowingly, the original American innocent abroad, prevents world war three breakout as he singled handedly prevent a plot between elements in the Kremlin and While Hall London from blowing up the Russian President and British Prime Minister, from signing a midnight peace accord to end the cold war. You get the spirit of this film when I say that the Russian hitman is called Boris the Butcher Blavatsky (Alfred Molina) and that one of his assistants specialist torturer is Dr Ludmilla Kropotkin, while Richard Wilson plays Sir Roger Daggenhurst and Johns Standing Gilbert Embelton the two British Whitehall plotters.

Only few days after taking out membership of Newcastle Club enabling priority ticket buying before the general public and on the day the club had sold James Milner, a moderate winger, for £12 million to Aston Villa where he had been on loan in a previous season, I watched in a horror show in which Arsenal played brilliantly after their debacle against Fulham the previous week. The next few days will show whether Newcastle is again in serious trouble as the new player buy period comes to an end and the auction between clubs for the best players and potential best players closes until the New Year. I like the look of what Sunderland and the Boro have done to-date but as for Newcastle alas all is woe again.

I only managed to catch the end of Last Choir standing and will watch the two programme son video, but I did enjoy a Morse which I had no memory off although I cannot imagine I have not seen before about the machinations at the top of an Oxford College with its high powered connections in Whitehall.

I had a pork roast with roast potatoes for lunch and a vegetable pasta for tea with a glass of red wine, two lots of toasts, a couple of cups of tea, one of coffee, the second portion of fresh pineapple and a can of rice pudding eaten cold from the tin and tea time snack of two slices tomatoes with olives dripping in olive oil.

The previous evening I had watched Cornelia Parker, the installation artist whose work was one of those which had great impact when I visited Tate Modern for the first time, introduced the architectural programme about modern China and its impact on the future of the planet, before a film about the bipolar Nina Simone whose records three Long Plays I had once managed to find in a Woolworths sale for between 10 and 20 pence or 5 to 10 cents today.

I also completed some research on the present structure and working of the American presidential a Federal system but will need to read thoroughly before claiming to have a better knowledge, but it does confirm my understanding that President although having import executive roles is nevertheless firmly influence by his party and its funders, his cabinet and their departments and agencies, by his personal Whitehouse administration and that of the Vice President, by Congress and by the Governors and their administration of the individual States. Given the limited time available in each day the extent to which a President can become involved in any issue will be defined and will be limited. The individual is not just a figurehead, a concept and a symbol as the Queen or King of Britain has become but will have les power to directly change a country than everyone appears to be hoping for in the current election.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Sherlock Holmes and the secret weapon

Throughout Wednesday the hints of a sore throat the previous day grew more stronger and I suspect the usual approach of warm and cold drinks and Scotch whisky would not prove a remedy, I went to bed expecting to have a rough night.

The day had been devoted to the Olympics, watching, researching and writing until early evening. We did not win another Gold Medal so there was a sense of anti climax, but in fact there were several good moments as two British young women came second and third in the long two hour swim which they led until the last few metres and in the 100 metre hurdles an older athlete Tasha Danvers aged 30, a mother with a four year old and coming to the games without great expectation ran the fastest performance of her life to win the bronze medal which nearly catching the silver medal runner in the final stages.

For me the moment of the day came in the BMX bicycle competition as the women competitors made to individual runs of the course with the fastest of the two runs determining their position at the start of races in which eight riders competed in one race over the course where the slightest error can result in a crash and injury. In this instance the British world champion, a twenty year old young woman fell on first run and took a lump out of her arm. When I was about the same age I had been thrown up into the air and down on a hard surface but because I had been prepared for the possibility of the experience, I did not experience pain or injury and it was only later that I realised I was badly bruised and felt any effects. This contrasted with the recent experience of the fall in the local shop when I hit my head and damaged my nose. Yesterday the young woman picked herself up and continued to complete the course, then gathered herself to make the second run with the consequence that she was able to chose the second racing position for the semi finals which were to be held on Thursday, although because of rain the event has been postponed.

There was a time until past decade or two when all International Football matches played by England and the other home countries would be shown live on BBC television. Then Sky Satellite entered and other channels bid for friendlies and the BBC lost its monopoly. Last year Satanta Sports, an Irish based company gained a foothold on televising Premiership matches having gained control of the Scottish premiership previously. This year it has widened its involvement with some 80 premierships games live and last night the friendly before two of the World Cup qualifying rounds matches over the next three weeks, Although the game was drawn two goals each it was one of the worst and most discouraging displayed for decades, and there have been some bad ones. In the week where Britain is holding its head high with the results in the Olympics I can image the chorus of disapproval which will greet the performance in the morning newspapers.

I was able to undertake preliminary work with material from my recent visit to London, on the Olympics and other work areas which continued through the recent week and was able to develop over the past two days since returning home. I also watch two films. The first 100 days in the Jungle was loosely based on a true event when workers for an oil company were taken hostage on the Ecuador- Columbia border area and demanded twenty million dollars ransom for the seven Canadians and one US Navajo. They were taken on a forty day march through the Amazon jungle before arriving at the insurgent camp. The Canadian Embassy was sceptical about the situation and slow in promoting negotiations between the old company and the captors. Eventually money was paid and the men released and according to the film were able to return to their homes in time for Christmas in 1989. There is also a book about the event which I understand happened although I have been unable to locate a news report.

Earlier I watched one of the original Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce which was produced in 1942 and set in wartime England involving a battle over possession of a bomb sighting device after Holmes had brought the device and its Swiss inventor to London, the inventor is kidnapped by arch enemy Professor Moriarty, long believed dead by Inspector Lestrard of Scotland Yard, played by Dennis Hoey for the first time. The film,

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon uses the Dancing Men code originated in Conan Doyle story, the adventure of the dancing men although apart from the code there is no other relationship between the two stories.

I also watched a French film about the relationship between two teenage girls, one of whom loses her father while the other commences to experiment with relationships with young men. The film has a profound twist at the end which whether intended or not makes the point that teenage emotions can lead to explosive and devastating consequences. I did not make a note of its name except that it was shown on the World Movie channel.

I had no worked hard although I had worked and the energy level dropped rapidly as the day progressed. I had the fresh sardines, baked, for lunch, and these were not a success. I enjoyed more the salad with salmon in tomato. I had both a port with ice and a Scotch with ice for medicinal purposes and eighteen hours later it still had had some positive effect on the sore throat.