Monday, 16 January 2017

Patton vs Any Given Sunday and the Rest of Hollywood on Winning

If you’ve never seen this speech from Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday, then take five minutes to watch it. It’s wonderful writing and a tremendous piece of cinema.

I have just one reservation. At 2:50 Pacino says… “In any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die who’s going to win..”

No no no no no no no.

It’s the guy who’s willing to kill the other guy who’s going to win.

But that doesn’t sound so noble.

General Patton got it right. If you haven’t seen this, watch it as well. The key line is at 1:16.


"Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

Hollywood has never since uttered that truth.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Introducing Broscience

If you have never watched any of the Broscience videos on You Tube, you are missing something from your Lifting Life.

50% fact 50% magic 100% results

Okay. I didn't get a lot of sleep Tuesday night. I watched this at about 05:00 Wednesday morning and it was hilarious. I thought I'd share it.

I will write a good long think piece on something soon. It's January. I had a massage Monday that left me feeling a bit dizzy Tuesday. I'm going to be early now. You know. Life.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Along London Wall

It's January. Who the heck does anything in January except hibernate?

Monday, 2 January 2017

November / December 2016 Review

Happy New Year.

Yep. Going back to doing these. I gave up earlier this year and I’m going to blame the orthodontic work, or rather, my reaction to it. I think I felt so self-conscious with that plastic in my mouth that I stopped wanting to go, or having gone, to stay, out. I even quit having supper with Sis because eating had become such a chore.

So….the ortodontics came out on November 1st. Since then I’ve had two haircuts at George The Barber, attended meetings and been to the gym. A lot. When I wasn’t having horrible colds. I lost a week to a cold, and had the laptop at home, so I could work. I blame half-term.

In the gym, I carried on with the pull-downs and pulley-rows to get some strength into my back, and added leg curls and extensions to see if that will make it any easier to, you know, climb stairs . I started really light and took care when the knees twinged. I suspect I may have to re-build tendons rather than muscle.

I saw After Love, American Honey, Nocturnal Animals, Francophonia, Gimme Danger, Paterson, The Unknown Girl, and Through The Wall at the Curzon Soho. I joined the membership scheme, and now I don’t pay silly prices to see the films, only about as much as I would at the local Cineworld. I saw The Peony Pavillion at Sadlers Wells, and booked tickets into next year as well. I took Mum to see The Red Shoes at Sadlers Wells on New Years Eve afternoon. That involved exciting rides on the 391bus to and from Waterloo and thanking the Lord that Caravan on Exmouth Market was open when almost every other restaurant was closed.

I read I Hate The Internet, by Jarett Kobek, Look Who’s Back by Timor Vermes, The Transformation of Bodies by Yuri Herrera, Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem, Submission by Michel Houellebecq, How to Win Every Argument by Madsen Pirie, and books on Brughel and Jeff Koons.

In November, Sis and I had supper at Rules, then the next evening went to see Peter Pan Done Wrong, and it was exactly as silly and hilarious as I had hoped it would be. Then we got colds and didn’t go out in December.

2017: Embrace The Change.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Persia International Bank

There is no such place as Persia. It's called Iran. For quite a while it was on the Naughty Step, being removed by the EU in late 2015. Someone's been doing business there in the meantime.

Happy Holidays.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Gellner's Ironic Cultures Illustrated By Volkswagen Advert

The sociologist Ernest Gellner wrote a very good book called The Legitimation of Belief, and one of the many ideas in it that stuck with me was that of an “Ironic Culture”. He used this to describe the way that the middle-classes were embracing Eastern spirituality, various forms of mysticism and guru-based ways of living and thinking about the world, but when they broke a leg, they went straight to hospital and had X-rays, antibiotics and whatever else. When it mattered, they went to western rationalism and its by-products (science, modern medicine, engineering). All the spiritual stuff was there to provide a little cultural colour. It wasn’t really what they believed, it was an ironic costume.

Multi-culturalism is an ironic culture. The Good White People think that the West should welcome people from antagonistic cultures with open arms, but while the may have mutli-culti Saturday Nights, they marry assortively with other Good White People, work in organisations where the entry qualifications are attainable only by adopting White European personal values such as study, practice, self-control, and deferred gratification. So although the Good People say they are all for multi-culural life, and eat in Vietnamese, Pakistani, Ethiopian and Malaysian restaurants to prove it, their real lives are white, white, white all the way through.

And here’s Gellner’s idea illustrated as only a good advertising agency could. It shows why someone would want to believe all that hippy claptrap, and how they rely on technology when it matters, and even the love-hate relationship with that technology.

You may have seen the ad in your local independent cinema, but if you don't have a local independent cinema, watch it now. Or anyway. I love it.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Rama Burshtein's Through The Wall

The reviewers seem a little puzzled by this film. It’s about a thirty-something woman, Michal, who turned to God in her twenties, has a ditzy job (she runs a petting zoo), shares a flat, and suddenly feels the pain of not being able to live a conventional religious social life, for which she meeds to be married to a nice Orthodox Jewish Boy. Let me know when the penny drops.

Yep. This is a movie about the hazards of Alpha Lays and Beta Pays. In this case the Alpha is God, and the Betas are all those Orthodox Jewish men she meets. With the slight problem that none of them seem to be dumb enough or Beta enough for Michal to fool. All of them, from the hot indie singer to the various be-hatted guys sent to her by yentas, catch onto her prickly character, the fact she will be horrible to live with (there’s no father at home, and her much hotter married sister is in the middle of a screaming-in-the-streets row with her husband), and possibly notice that they are slimmer than she is. None of the men are shamed for being smart enough to realise she’s not relationship material: in fact, they each get to tell her she’s a nightmare and full of herself. That’s a clue right there.

The movie starts with Michal and her fiance tasting the food for their wedding. She makes which item to taste first a subject of debate - something her boyfriend point out, and which had a man along the row in the cinema curling up in laughter. She senses there’s something wrong and eventually verbally bludgeons the truth out of him: he doesn’t love her. Despite that, she goes ahead with her plans for a wedding. She’s got everything else, and all God has to provide is a husband. Everyone goes along with this, with increasing reluctance and foreboding, but no sense that perhaps a psychiatrist might be in order. She gets to the wedding room, takes her bridal seat and seemingly starts hallucinating (the script suddenly tells us she’s been fasting) a conversation with the Hot Guy who runs the wedding venue. Her BBW sister even asks her “who were you talking to”.

And then, right at the end, God sends her the hot guy who runs the wedding venue.

This film can be read that way: he only way an over-weight, contentious, socially-inept Four who has clearly bashed through The Wall is ever going to land a hot guy is by a miracle sent from God. Before you say that can’t be what Ms Burshtein intended, don’t forget that she is an Orthodox Jew herself. I’m guessing she feels about Michal the way Red Pillers feel about career-focussed Carousel Riders. In other words, Michal isn’t the heroine, she’s the deluded central figure.

I liked this film, though my reality-principle kept me wondering, in the last fifteen minutes, where the psychiatrists were. The painful lead-up to her groom-less wedding is necessary, because without it there wouldn’t be the miracle ending. There would have been a poor-Michal-strong-independent-woman-vicitim-of-the-Patriarchy ending. Or finally-someone-mans-up-and-marries-the-post-wall-woman. And those were not, I suspect, readings Ms Burshtein wanted.

It’s got moments of comedy and acute observation - the sequence with the snake and the schoolgirls is a gem - and it has moments of pathos where we feel sympathy for the seemingly doomed Michal.

I saw it at the Curzon Soho. I’ve previously written about their silly pricing. Since then, for reasons I’ll explain later, I joined their members’ scheme, got four free films which are almost worth the price of membership, and discounts that meant I paid £11.50 that Sunday. That’s a price I can live with.