Thursday 31 December 2009

End of year quiz

HERE IT IS !!!!!


You can't say that this blog doesn't deliver it's promises!!!

Most of the answers can be found on the blog (questions 2 and 8 are exceptions) so ......

Click on the link, do the quiz, and Happy New Year!!

Click here to take survey

ps There is a prize for the winner - along with fame and honour there is also a very fine bottle of red wine that will be sent to you or delivered personally depending on who you are,

Wednesday 30 December 2009

To be or not...

Coming back to England is strange for me now after so long and spending an afternoon with my 90 year old aunt makes it even stranger.

Driving through dark, wet, narrow country lanes to make that possible gave me a chance to visit dark, damp corners of my own psychosis.

I’m not sure I will be able to share much of the darkness I have visited in the last few days, I’m not even sure I am ready to face them directly myself, or even if I want to articulate them yet.

However, yesterday I went – with my closest - to the Globe theatre in London.

And that was brilliant.

When I lived in this city the Globe was simply a plaque on the wall past which I cycled occasionally. Today it has been rebuilt and stands amongst converted wharf and riverside.

I had hesitated before buying tickets between sitting on a bench with or without a blanket and standing among the “penny stinkers”.

The Globe has no roof – a significant oversight some might say, but historically accurate my friend Dave says.

Dave has recently converted to a radical and extreme branch of Buddhism so what he says should be treated with divine interest, but on this occasion I think he is also correct.

My own assertion – what’s the point of doing a show INSIDE a theatre if the theatre has no roof – was quickly ridiculed as, despite the pouring rain that has lead to the damp recesses I have been driving through, I had a brilliant time.

Tuesday 29 December 2009


My daughter dances, the local cinema was showing a film called La Dance – so we went.

The film is a sort of fly on the wall self-congratulatory celebration of the Paris Opera house and the ballet school housed therein.

On a Sunday afternoon at five o’clock we swapped some euros for some pink tickets, gave them to the man on the door and entered the auditorium.

We were surprised to find almost all the seats full – with four and five year olds.

“I think they might find this film a little boring,” I whispered to Minnie as she tried to open a packet of mint chews without making a plastic crackle.

“They are all dancers” she replied with an assured professionalism that surprised me.

The mints came out the lights went down and the word ARTHUR appeared in the middle of the screen, followed by – ‘et la vengeance de Maltazard.’

One hour and thirty-four minutes later it was clear that we were not being treated to the clips for “all next week”.

Arthur, if you don’t know – and I did – is a sort of elves, fairies and nasty things animation and although I have the DVD of the first film in what looks like becoming a very long series, I would not have chosen to spend a Sunday afternoon watching.

But I did.

The next evening, despite the late start, two hours thirty plus running time, school and work the next morning, we returned, gave more euros for some pink pieces of paper and took our seats in a cathedraly empty and silent auditorium.

When I lived in London I periodically – once a year – thought I should go and see some professional dance, in the belief that the “cultureness” of the event would be good for me.

I was often – though I stress, not ALWAYS – disappointed.

La Dance was a mixed experience – everything I love about dance (tutus, points, leaps, twirls, pony tails) and everything I hate (unnecessary posturing, intellectual abstraction, leotards).

The filming was amateurish -problems with focus, too many arty shots of empty corridors (several of them repeated) and much, MUCH too MUCH of the pompous director listening to herself talking to herself.

I also learnt that ballet dancers have to be skinny – I pointed it out to my daughter as she finished the mints – she relied that she didn’t want to be a ballet dancer.

After 105 minutes she leant over and whispered – I’m not sure why we were the only people still awake – “are you bored”?

Isn’t it odd how you can be enjoying yourself up to the moment when someone says that and then suddenly your chair becomes SO uncomfortable that no position will satisfy?

We stayed to the end, I’ve only ever left the cinema once before the film ended – though I tried again recently during a David Lynch film but was physically restrained by Krissie.

As we left Minnie confided – “I preferred Arthur”.

Monday 28 December 2009


At the beginning of the Month, my daughter announced that she was going to see the film – Paranormal Activity – with her friend, Charlotte, who had seen the film the day before and had scared herself so silly that she had to go again.

My daughter is not renowned for her capacity to remain indifferent to cinematic scaring, something she has inherited from her father who jumped quite recently watching Harry Potter, and so I asked her if she thought it wise.

She did.

The next day I picked her up after breakfast to take her to ballet and I asked her about the film, and she gave me a very detailed scene-by-scene description.

In fact I haven’t heard her speak so much (she’s 14) to an adult, without stopping for breath, since .

The film sounded terrifying, I even jumped at one point in her description.

“ Were you able to sleep after that?” I asked, amazed.

“ Yes, but I had to put my feet under Charlotte's.”

Sunday 27 December 2009

Ere we go, ere we go!

On December the fourth as evening set in - after finishing work on animating my t-shirt and a pair of orange socks - I set off to the nearby town to collect my son on his return from a week of hard schooling.

As I drove through the forest the car radio crackled into life bringing me live coverage, and a lot of static, from Cape Town - South Africa, where the names of 32 nations were being drawn by chance and calculation to form groups for next summer’s Football World Cup.

I have always found the world an exotic and mysterious place (an atlas an invitation to dream) so driving through the late autumn night in a French forest and listening to intermittent speech from a summer’s eve in a contrary hemisphere on a continent I have never really set foot on was very, very exciting.

All the more so when words like Cameroon and Mexico tumbled together through the crackles.

North Korea and New Zealand.

Argentina are going to play Nigeria, how exciting is that!!?

I think I have written elsewhere that one of the best things about the world cup is/are the flags, and Argentina’s is one of the best.

But Nigeria’s is cool; beautiful in a classic way.

And I was particularly tickled to see that my prediction – made in these pages – is still potentially accurate.

So, what has all this got to do with December 27?

Nothing, sorry, just trying to catch up after 24 days of silence.

Saturday 26 December 2009

Smashed Meercats

On December the 16th the car thermometer told me the temperature was minus 2, on the ground there were puddles refusing to freeze and in Copenhagen world leaders were meeting to discuss climate change.

Something weird had to be going on.

I thought water froze at zero and that if the temperature became minus then we were below zero; apparently not.

I checked the puddles, yes – water, though by the colour it could have been coffee.

The car could be wrong, I have had it a while, but if not the folk in Copenhagen have more to worry about than they think.

On December the 26th, it’s raining – here – though this morning as I ran – er plodded – along the beach the sky was clear and I could see right across the estuary to…, well, …., er, some big white things.

Copenhagen meanwhile is over, well , the conference is and I can’t work out from the headlines if something happened or not.

The guy in the pharmacy this morning told me that Christmas was over too –done and dusted were his exact words.

But judging by the photo I took above, Christmas spirit was over way before today.

Friday 25 December 2009

Happy Christmas

Who bothers to write their blog on Christmas day?

Er, me.

I've opened my presents - used one already and am wearing another - there is someone obsessed and organising in control of the kitchen so i think i'm off for a run down by the sea.

But before i go just a chance to write a few words.

Today marks the official end of a run of 24 previous posts that constitute the 2009 BitsnBobs advent Calendar.

A friend wrote mid-advent that he “didn’t get it”, which seemed a bit weird because all it was meant to be was a door/ a surprise.

Later on music became part of it too and I promised to give a full listing of tunes involved.

Here it is.

A day in the life. Beatles (Sgt Pepper)
Sing Sing. (Ultra Orange)
It never entered my mind. (Stan Getz)
Crazy Love. (Van Morrison with Bob Dylan)
A rainy night in Soho. (The Pogues)
Dialogue extract from Casablanca.
She. (Charles Aznavor)
Pink Moon. (Nick Drake)
Most of the time ( Sophie Zelmani)
Northern Sky. (Nick Drake)
Within you without you. (The Beatles, Sgt Pepper)
Into my arms. (Nick Cave)
All along the watchtower. (Jimi Hendrix)
Redemption song (Ziggy Marley with the Chieftans)
Friday I’m in love. (The Cure)
Thunder Road (Bruce Springsten)
Man in the mirror. (Michael Jackson)
Every Beat of my Heart. (Rod Stewart)
Then I kissed her. (Beach Boys)
The Shipping Forecast. (BBC)
Couldn’t Love you more. (John Martyn)

Some of the information here might be useful for the GREAT END OF THE YEAR QUIZ that is coming soon. (at the end of the year probably)

The filmed blog advent calendar was intended to be viewed as separate items but there was a vague plot running through it.

It was – man wakes up, brushes teeth, gets dressed, checks his mail, sets off, eats, gets lost in a church, finds his wife.

I think a good advent calendar contains something more than a piece of chocolate and I think this one contained, at least, …..

Oral Hygiene, The Sword in the Stone, A dog, A dance, a Journey (subtle link to the Three Wise Men), Snow and Love.

Not a bad Christmas.


Who bothers to READ my blog on Christmas day?