Showing posts from February, 2011

Epitaph on a Tyrant

It maybe slightly premature but Nicky Campbell quoted this short poem this morning on Radio 5...

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

W.H. Auden

One Day...

Another day, another review... This time a book - "One Day" by David Nicholls. It's one of those "have you read" word of mouth hits, and follows on from his "Starter for Ten" which he then adapted into a successful screenplay. I have no doubt given the structure that this was always the intention for this one too (and given that he started as an actor, and became a screenwriter before becoming a novelist that is hardly surprising) and I see that the film is due for release in September this year (not July 15th - bad promotional trick missed there). It also follows on in that it touches on some of the issues raised in the previous novel/screenplay, especially the idea of the social interface/encounter made possible in university... but it moves the focus on to the post-university world, starting with the graduation of the main characters Emma and Dexter on 15th July 1988 in Edinburgh... and tracing their story by taking a snapshot of their lives on tha…

Paul... not the one from Tarsus

There may be dangers of this becoming a review site given the number I've posted recently, particularly film reviews, but I tend to just comment on what strikes me rather than offer any profound critical analysis of the films that I see... which is a good job when it comes to reviewing "Paul" the latest offering by Frost and Pegg, as there isn't much profundity to be had in it.
Two trips to the cinema in a fortnight to see vaguely adult films almost speaks of a social life. But the rating is where the overlap between "The King's Speech" and "Paul" ends, and I won't try to compare them. I've reviewed "Paul" through LivingSocial on Facebook, so if you can be bothered with what I think about it you can check it out there. All in all it's an amusing but relatively "safe" "slackers-do-sci-fi" comedy, taking potshots at fairly obvious targets. And as I noted on the review, on of their targets is (and this is …

The King's Friend...

Well, it's coming to the peak of the film awards season and in a year where every second film is in 3D the 2 most lauded are avowedly 2D, and focus on word and relationship rather than action and CGI. I haven't seen the mind-bending "Inception", nor experienced the feathers flying in "Black Swan", and I am hesitant to go see "True Grit" as I feel I would be betraying my mother who was John Wayne's No 1 fan bar none, but I have seen both "The Social Network", written and directed by the peerless Aaron Sorkin, and more recently "The King's Speech" and in my humble opinion, the latter deserves all the plaudits it has received so far, and should walk off with many effigies of Margaret Herrick's "Uncle Oscar" next week.
It is essentially a powerful 2-hander, with the backing of a superb ensemble cast. For me the only disappointing performance in the whole film was Timothy Spall's Churchill which was a comple…

On Children

I blog this briefly as I prepare to go and conduct the funeral of a child. My mind was drawn to this poem written by the Lebanese Maronite mystic Khalil Gibran, the third most popular poet in history I am told... though for many this is the only piece of his they know. It was in vogue in the sixties and seventies, but I haven't heard it much since. I'm not actually using it in the funeral, but for any of us who have children, at whatever stage it is worth reflecting on:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor…

Walking with Gay Friends

As I've posted a couple of times now, we have a "Good Book Group" at church which looks at different "theological" books from time to time. Anyone can come along (though it now seems to have settled on a fixed constituency) so we publish the date, venue and book for the next meeting in our church announcements. Given the authors of a few of our earlier books, some participants were handed other books and magazine articles by some members of the church, challenging the theological "soundness" of the authors we were reading. They never handed me any of the books. Clearly I'm a lost cause, if not a lost soul...
Well, the book we studied this time was "Walking with Gay Friends" by Alex Tylee, and it had been on our "must read" list for some time, but I baulked at it, wary of the response of some outside the group when the title appeared in the announcements. But recently I've explored with issues of sex and sexuality in our Bibl…