Saturday 23 October 2021

We're back - at least for now.........with my take on 'NO TIME TO DIE'.


Won't bore the pants off you - so skipping details, I'm back for a while using temporary keyboard until shop gets new missing part. Then on its arrival shouldn't take long to fix. So enough of that!

Thanks for all the messages on my last two posts which I hadn't seen until this morning. All are now acknowledged and/or responded to.



I'll keep this more brief than some I've done.

My first cinema visit in over a year, and this I just had to see - though it turned out not really to be what I'd been hoping for to mark Mr Craig's swan-song appearance as 007.

For a kick-off I found the film far too long - by at least a half of its close on three-hour length - to sustain a keen interest in its extended stay, well mine at least. And such a convoluted plot too, needlessly so - SMERSH organising blood injections and DNA manipulations for the entire global population from a Japanese island whilst establishing a 'poison garden' - surely a none-too-subtle nod to 'You Only Live Twice', the original Ian Fleming novel, not the film - but why?  Oh, please give me a simple. old-fashioned, blow-up-the-world, nuclear bomb, something we can all understand, even if we now yawn at it! But that's probably too passe for today's audiences.  

Rami Malek, as this meandering tale's arch-villain-in-chief is just adequate in the role, though no more borderline scary than most of Bond's weaker adversaries of the past. Malek sports facial pockmarks and grazes to indicate to us that he's a real bad 'un, a pukka swine! But this actor himself being so young, seems to lack the unquestionable authority which marked out other more memorable villains in the series. I just couldn't see him as the biggest threat the world has ever faced. Christoph Waltz in a one-scene reprise appearance is much more impressively menacing and authoritative. Having said that, Malek's character really does display a hideously vicious level of nastiness well worthy of such a contemptible figure. 

I thought the introduction of a female 007 (Lashana Lynch)  to replace Bond when his disappearance at the start of the film had led to the assumption by 'M' (Ralph Fiennes once more) that he must be deceased, hopelessly unconvincing. Aside from some efficient swimming and being able to ride a motorcycle in a chase with Bond hanging on to dear life as pillion passenger, she didn't seem to possess the exceptional survival skills which had marked Bond out sufficiently to merit his inclusion in the '00' licence-to-kill category.

This is the most episodically stop-start-stop-start and relentlessly serious of all twenty-five films in the series, practically devoid of all humour, though the odd 'aside' might just be caught by perceptive ears, including from Ben Wishaw again as 'Q', in that role's most substantial contribution yet. 

I've already mentioned the allusion to one of Fleming's original novels. There are a couple of more direct references, aural ones including over the closing credits, to a certain eartier Bond film, in my books easily one of the best ones, if not the best - despite having one glaring 'thumbs-down'! 

This is only the second film from director Cary Joji Fukunaga which I've seen, the other being his 'Jane Eyre' of ten years ago with which I had been mightily impressed, awarding it a rare for me rating of '8'. I rather think he's hit the buffers with this latest of his. 

The reviews of 'No Time' which I've seen have been overwhelmingly positive, many of them giving it their maximum number of stars. Fair enough, even if I beg to differ greatly. I thought that over his five Bond outings, Daniel Craig has made a highly admirable Bond. all his films bar one deserving a second viewing, or even more - that is all except this very one, which left me, quite uniquely for a Bond film, with a nasty taste in the mouth...................5/10.


If I do disappear again in the next few days it shouldn't be for too long. Now I really must go and start catching up on all other blog-pals' postings I've missed. 

Monday 18 October 2021

Another pause coming - now it's laptop problems.


I'm having major keyboard difficulties. Hard to type replies - and mighty slow too - to all your nice comments, but thank you anyway. Will be back when fixed or keyboard replaced.

Saturday 16 October 2021

'Me-at-75' pics loaded.

 After much faffing around with my camera of yesteryear, I finally got to load the pics I wanted to include on yesterday's post.

So this my 2021 birthday shot -

Puts me in mind of Shakespeare's version of King Richard the Second being deposed by Bolingbroke - who was about to become Henry the Fourth - when Richard calls for a mirror which, on arrival, he berates it for not showing up the furrows in his brow and face brought about by his cares, so he then deliberately drops the mirror to shatter it. Although I didn't bust my ancient camera by letting it fall to the floor, I do know just how Dickie felt. Similarly, but much more modestly, this pic gives no indication of the turbulence going on underneath. Deceitful camera!

I've also managed to update my profile pic, of which the following is a contemporary alternative version taken this morning..........

 And finally, for good measure to raise a smile, possibly, Patchie (the 'Boss'. my junior by sixty years!) on my lap a few hours ago...........though please don't dwell on the hideous tummy bulge! (Mine, not his!)

That's all for now, folks.


Thursday 14 October 2021

On having reached a significantly numbered age.

Yes, I'm still here - if anyone was still wondering. Three-quarters of a century old today and, boy, do I feel it practically daily! (Afraid that without a 'smartphone' I don't have the wherewithal to post, hassle-free, an up-to-date profile pic of self like I usually do on such anniversaries, which may be just as well, being that my more haggardy looks could well reflect current pressures. But I'll persevere on an attempt).

Today, Fri., is also the b/day of our considerably more youthful blogpal, RTG, famed in his own right of course, though also for many years spouse of the late and enormously missed Warrior Queen, Anne-Marie. Do please pay his blog a visit -


I wasn't really of a mind to do a post this morning, but rather just to let the day pass over me in my seclusion. However, since it's getting on for five months since I last blogged, thought might as well at least let it be known that we're here and surviving, though currently in a rather prolonged trough of despondency which has been continuous for about a month. I'm not  going to list assailing troubles, aware that some of you are going through, or have experienced, far worse. I'll just say that health-wise things could be better, even if nowhere near as debilitating or critical as for some, so must be grateful for what I do still have.  

Quartet of pussycats are all fine, they being, in terms of physical presence, my sole friends in the entire world - and all of them oblivious to the severe bollocking I've had from my landlord who's reminded me that I'm not supposed to have any pets at all. ("This whole fucking place stinks of cat!"). He's been here nearly every single weekday for several weeks now, currently having removed my bathroom sink - and more recently the toilet too, now replaced just yesterday by a more water-efficient one. (He put in a new shower some time ago - and it's really good). He's hoping to install the new sink later today. For ten days now I've been trying to cope without that bathroom sink as well as having put up with four days without my own toilet, necessitating use of that in the vacant ground-floor flat, now in a disordered state of being entirely renovated and re-constructed - builders' tools, planks, plaster and paint tins all over rhe place, creating an obstacle course which I've had to negotiate, most riskily in the dark carrying a torch - not easy when I need to have a wee several times in the night. And each time waking the cats who then expect to be fed.......But here I am going on about my troubles when I wasn't going to - so I'll cease with this litany of woes.

Anyhows, I do still daily read most of your blogs, even if not commenting as regularly as before. But if and when things start to look up again I earnestly hope to be back. Maybe when I get round to seeing the new Bond, now booked for next Thurs - which is going to be my first cinema visit in well over a year - I might even do a blog post about it. Who knows?! 

Sunday 23 May 2021

Eurovision 2021 - U.K. upholds tradition of finishing LAST!


And not only did we finish in last place - for the third consecutive time - but now for two years on the trot, with the dreaded 'nul points'

This was the first contest since 2019, last year's event being cancelled due to Covid. Even though in the huge Dutch stadium the socially-distanced audience was limited to just 3,500, their loud vocal enthusiasm more than made up for their depleted numbers


Winner was the bookies' favourite of Italy, the group 'Manneskin' with 524 points for what was described as a 'hard rock' number, though I wouldn't have called it so myself. It not only left me cold, but if I'd put all 26 finalists' songs in order of preference this would have been near or even at the bottom.  Defeats me to see any merit in it at all, though that's also been the case for all but a couple of the winners of at least the past 30 years.


Second was France, then Switzerland - both being solo ballads, with pared-down arrangements and staging, female singer for former, then male. I thought both were no better than middling. 


Our own entry was by the infectiously jovial, portly James Newman, sporting one of the disappointingly very few beards on display this year. His self-penned song, 'Embers', never appealed to me since I first heard it, though some had predicted it would be a 'sleeper' which would come out strongly in the voting. Even commentator Graham Norton said he had a 'good feeling' about it. Fat chance, as it turned out! But Newman was a good sport in taking his resounding defeat in good part, giving a thumbs-up sign despite his crashing failure - and at least his smile was a winning one.


My own phone vote went to Malta for its toe-tapping, up-beat pulse, sung by chubby teenager, one 'Destiny', who looked seriously miffed during voting on realising that she wasn't gong win, though eventually coming in at a near-respectable 7th out of the 26.


I'd have given second place to Iceland, the only act who couldn't perform live as they had to isolate, one of the group having tested positive for Covid, so a film of their rehearsal was used, which was still pretty good. Full marks for the song's originality, even if the act itself, with semi-circular keyboards being carried and danced around with was a bit distractingly bizarre.


Third I'd have placed Lithuania [coming in a not-too-bad 8th place], and fourth, Germany [finishing second from last with an unfairly dismal mere 3 points]. These were by far the two campest entries this year, both quite jolly songs, Germany having its plain daft but engaging dancing 'victory' hand.


And in fifth place I'd have put the super-suave Portugal, finishing halfway down the field in 12th place. Good staging of a rather haunting song.

Both Australia and Ireland [the latter still holding the record of having had the most wins] had failed to make it through the semi-finals.

The four presenters, maddening as usual with all the usual needless filling-in of blustering, delays and teasings we've come to expect - "Are you ready?" - Cripes!  Just get on with the darned thing!  - included this year a trans, Nikkie de Jager, who uses the name 'Nikkie Tutorials' - don't ask me why. I won't reveal as to which of them was trans though all I will say is that as far as performing her designated function was concerned, she stood head and shoulders above her other three co-presenters.


So that's it for another year. Not one of the best Eurovisions I've seen, though still a disturbingly compulsive watch, and I do think the quality of songs presented was, by and large, better than some years past. The big question for 2022 in Italy is - will the U.K. ever manage to break out of its sequence of humiliating defeats in the lowest circle of Hell, and if so how - and with whom? Last time we won was 1997. More than high time we recovered some good ol' British 'oomph'!

Friday 12 March 2021

Women being safe from men.


This is the current hot topic in our news programmes, following the discovery of a body in Kentish woodland, now identified to be that of a 33-year old woman who'd been missing for several days after failing to return to her home from visiting a friend in South London. She'd been last seen on her homebound 50-minute walk after 9 p.m. some days ago. Two people have been arrested under suspicion, one an acting London police officer (off-duty at the time of the woman's disappearance), the other, his wife, suspected of helping to conceal his involvement, if any, in the crime. The occupation of the person being questioned - already named by most of the tabloids, plus some others - makes the story even more sensational than it otherwise might have been. In addition, there's now the revelation that a very few days before the woman's disappearance this suspect, then in civilian clothes, had been reported by several members of the public for having flashed himself in some fast-food establishment, an investigation of the incident not yet having been followed through. 

Of course the event of a woman going missing, then found having been murdered is, sadly, very far from unusual in any country, but this time it's brought the issue to national consciousness to an extent that we haven't seen for many a year - namely, that we are still living in times when a woman's safety in public, no matter whereabouts in this country, still cannot yet be taken for granted. Far from it.

It brings to my mind an incident in 1991 shortly after I'd started to live in Hounslow, West London, which for me turned into a 2-year stint there. I wasn't as yet familiar with the area, and on one occasion in full daylight, I found myself lost on a moderately busy road. Looking around for someone nearby to put me right, I saw that there was a lone, young, black lady, probably in her early 20s, following a few yards behind me. I began "Excuse me, can you help m......." Her reaction was alarming and unexpected. She'd stopped and she was staring at me - then started shrieking "Aieeeeeeeee......." at the top of her voice and began to run away back in the direction she'd just come from, looking behind her nervously - presumably checking if I was coming after her. Of course I was just standing there in shock. At least she hadn't been calling out "Help!" She stopped maybe fifty yards away and turned, watching me. Meanwhile, having just got over my initial surprise there was an oldish couple coming towards me, with whom I was able to enquire as to my whereabouts. They must have seen what had happened but were quite relaxed about my asking them for help, which they quite pleasantly gave me. While I'd been talking to them, the young woman had walked forward and passed us, giving me a wide berth, but she must have heard my genuine enquiry and may well (I'm guessing) have felt rather abashed at her behaviour. When I was alone again I can't recall now if I'd been directed to the same direction she was now going in but I'm sure that if I had been I'd have given her plenty of time to get well ahead of me. 

I don't blame her in the slightest for anything at all, my being more perplexed than offended. After my initial surprise I must have assumed that she'd mistaken me for someone else with whom she'd had a bad experience - an assault, or even more than that, only worse. Or perhaps it was more general. Maybe she'd been subject to some traumatic event which made her suspect any and every man who approached her, so badly that it had affected the rest of her life. Whatever the cause of her behaviour it's profoundly and sadly disturbing - especially so if she'd understandably been reliving her part as a victim of some horrific act. 

There must be an untold number of women around like this, women who are daily living out their deeply unpleasant experiences, or just the threat of such happenings, but in such a way as to affect their regular conduct with the world, including the thought that potentially every man has evil designs on her. Sometimes, indeed, their fears may be quite justified, as proven too late to the unfortunate recently murdered woman. 

What a truly sad state we're in - all of us! 

Monday 8 February 2021

One jab done, one to go.


I'd known that nausea was one of the possible after-effects of getting the Covid jab but hadn't expected it to be as marked as it was. All the following day, yesterday, could eat hardly anything at all and spent about 20 hours in bed (with several cats) just waiting for it to be over with, as well as feeling all-over creaky and somewhat painful to move. Now this morning, although that has definitely subsided, though the sore arm is more evident, there's still the feeling that any moment a rush to crouch over the toilet may envelop me. 

But still, at least it's done. Meanwhile in the news now there's the scarcely encouraging daily info about how the Oxford astrazenaca vac (if that's the one they gave me, as is likely) offers only "minimal protection" against at least one of the latest newer strains. Oh well. What else can one do? Heigh-ho!