Thursday, 21 September 2017

Book Report Part 10: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Damn! It was all going so well. Having set myself the goal of reading 25 novels I really should have read, between March 2017 and the end of February 2018 (it all started here), I'd read nineteen of the books on my original list, when I made the mistake of trying - for the fifth time - to read a Thomas Hardy novel. I reached page 60 of Tess of the D'Urbevilles three weeks ago before shouting out something obscene and sending it sailing across the bedroom (fortunately, it was a paperback rather than a Kindle edition). I know several Hardy-lovers -  I admire his poetry, and there's nothing particularly difficult about his prose - but I loathe the atmosphere of his novels (and the plots and the characters). Rather than give up for the second time this year (I would rather read The Collected Speeches of Jeremy Corbyn than pick up The Wings of the Dove again) I've set serious fiction aside until the end of the month, when I will - yet again - go mano a mano with the Wessex chucklemeister. Maybe I should have read it...

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Monday, 18 September 2017

What is your "right" weight? The NHS thinks I should look like a famine victim.

I went for my annual diabetic check-up a few weeks ago. The good news (for me, at least) is that my Type II diabetes is under control. The bad news is that I'm between five and six stone overweight (that's 70 - 85lb. for American readers, and roughly 35-42Kgs for Remainers). I stand just under 6'5" tall, and, while I'm not built like a second-row forward, I'm no beanpole with disproportionately long, matchstick legs - finding trousers long enough is never a problem, but finding shirts that stick in my waistband for more than two minutes at a time definitely is. So I'm naturally a large man. When the nurse told me that, in effect, I was morbidly obese, I was so convinced that she'd made a mistake, I insisted on her showing me the NHS's "ideal weight" figures on the computer screen she was gazing at. No mistake. I informed her that...

Even if you hate sport, Rod Liddle's article about the uselessness of England footballers will make you laugh out loud (h/t: SDG)

Rod Liddle's article in last week's Spectator - "Why English footballer's are so useless"- addressed the question that those of us who gave up expecting anything from the England football team around the start of the new Millennium have been asking ourselves for years. No, the question hasn't anything to do with those specific issues that have seen zillions of man-hours squandered in discussions in pubs, TV studios, websites and newspaper sports sections, i.e. is 4:4:2 the best formation for the lads, or could Stevie G. and Lamps play effectively together, or whether Wayne Rooney was a real striker, or why did the so-called "golden generation" fail to come close to winning anything, or whether the team was staying in the wrong hotel. or wearing the wrong strip, or whether an English manager might rouse the team into a patriotic frenzy which would help it fulfil its destiny by winning the World Cup after a 50-year hiatus? The main reason for the England team's lack of success isn't the formation,  or the manager, or the incompatibility of certain "key" players, or whether they're being made to play in a different position from the one they're used at club level, or whether their World Cup hotel was a bit noisy - it's that the players, compared to foreign footballers, just aren't good enough. And if they're not useless when they burst onto the scene...

Respect! (H/t: Mrs. G)


Saturday, 16 September 2017

A round-up of old movies: A Place in the Sun, Cross of Iron and Forrest Gump

Cute Disabled Man
Just as I decided earlier this year to plug some of the yawning gaps in my knowledge of literature by setting myself the task of reading 25 significant novels within 12 months, so I've decided to catch up on some old films that I really should have seen by now. I spent much of my time in Cornwall reading Kindle editions of books about old movies - and I was surprised by how many well-known ones I hadn't seen. I don't just mean nouvelle vague or Italian Realism classics - I'm talking about popular mainstream English language films from mainstream directors, starring big-name actors. By the time I'd left university, where several classic films seemed to be playing somewhere every night, my film knowledge was quite impressive - but has become increasingly less impressive over the years: I've got some catching up to do (and I've some spare TV-viewing time following the shameful decision to remove Fox News from the Sky EPG). I started with Forrest Gump...

Friday, 15 September 2017

The sheriff's back in town - and ready to make some changes!

Apologies for radio silence during the past 12 days. My wife and I have been in Cornwall for most of that time, enjoying a rural idyll. Here's a photograph to prove it:
Married 30 years and neither of us looks a day older! Occasionally, the cob-walled cottage...

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Snapshots from our mad, mad, mad, mad world this weekend...

Bit of Background: Jess Phillips is the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley. Nadeem Ahmed is a Momentum Corbynite. First came this:
Which was followed two days later by this: