Sunday, 2 April 2017

all aboard the skylark!


Our telly blew up. We had been wondering about the smell of simmering plastic for 48hrs and were touching all the plugs looking for the culprit. The plugs are multisockets coming out of multisockets and could in star in a firechief's lecture entitled "idiots set their house ablaze!" Then 2 sharp reports (as Holmes would say) and the screen went dead. It resolved the worrying smell debate. But, of significantly greater importance, improved our lives hugely. The Brexit shit was about to hit the Indyref2 fan and we were bracing ourselves for possibly 18 months of arseholes in dark grey suits telling lies. It never occurred to just say no! Switch the telly off! Until it switched itself off. Pulled it's own plug. 

larking about
Skylarks and their continual chirruping were the soundtrack of the run.

And if there's something you can't live without there's online tv. And in fact I haven't even sought out much of that. ('Catastrophe' is this week's choice.) We watch stuff on Mary's laptop next to the broken TV but because you have to opt in rather than switch on and choose not to opt out, it breeds discernment and quality control. I'm beginning to think eccentrics who boast "I threw my tv out 17 years ago and never looked back" (Kate!) have the right idea. I do like a film, but we'll come to that in a bit. 

Oh yes, running, I nearly forgot. The knee is getting better in a glacially-slow way. Last weekend's long run caused no problems and I even risked wintervals on Thursday. 2 things: 1/ no longer need a headtorch for Thursdays and 2/ My trashed legs were still in recovery by the weekend. It was a good session but I was sorry that Fergus wasn't there, having been assaulted while out running. His ribs were still troubling him. Haven't heard the details yet. Does not sound good though.

So Mary and I coffeed up Saturday morning and ran the usual Gullane, Aberlady route. The antelope on the savannah were blasé about our presence. I could hear them mumbling something about that old fat one couldn't catch us on a motorbike. I called their bluff and left the path to cross the intervening grasslands. They did a double take then with a certain reluctance moved a small distance further away. I jogged over to the little pond and took some pics of the ducks lifting off. It looked like there was a hide there but it was just a gathered pile of rushes. I could hear the deer mumbling "f sake."

not impressed

The beach was gloriously empty, both of people and of seawater. Impressive clouds made an excellent backdrop and the skeletal remains (of the harbour porpoise?) are fast becoming museum quality clean. Now looking like a giant sea horse. 

1kg bag of drugs sand

For an undisclosed reason Mary bought a dvd of Scarface (Al Pacino, 1983). This full kilo baggy on the beach reminded me of it, although it seemed to be full of sand not cocaine. Having seen Scarface once, a long time ago, I felt no need to revisit it just yet. On the upside Mary got it for the price of postage. It was made by Brian De Palma but like many Scorsese-type films features not one likable character. (A bit like Brexit then.) I think the idea is it will be compelling watching low-lifes behave badly then kill each other. We have been watching it in episodes as there is only so much wide-lapelled shouting you can take in one sitting. I have never been much of a fan of this sort of unpleasantness and ego driven vainglory. (And blokes ogling women before declaring "tiddies!".) (Mary and I have adopted this philosophical approach.)

The great thing about getting older is knowing your own mind. Choosing not to watch any old shite just because ITV puts it on, on a Saturday evening. Or because it will dominate the news for the next 18 months despite the fact there is little or nothing to report other than speculation. Do the skylarks hold their heads down and mope about the place? Do the deer complain they weren't even given a vote? Does the sun stop shining. Far too many of my facebook peers seem to feel the sun has stopped shining. I suggest they go for a walk on a beach find a bag of sand and snort it. And stop watching crap on the telly.

Do you recall my non-existent website LOVE / HATE with tattoo'd fists on the banner at the top? (And no prizes for guessing where tattoos will end up.) Given the rule that I have one for one on each side of the divide, I would now like to nominate a much better film than Scarface (in my humble opinion) to offset my carbon grumble footprint. I have not long finished watching Arrival and it's the best contemporary film I've seen since Ex Machina. There was a bit of confusion from the tattoo-ed masses who were expecting a retread of Independence Day and couldn't grasp a film that had more talking than car-chases or space-ship battles. Spoiler alert, this has more talking than CGI action. That said there is a list as long as your arm of the huge number of people involved with the special effects in the credits, so don't expect a documentary. 

I thought it was great exactly because it didn't involve space ship battles. The lead was, OMFG, a woman, who was the best thing in it. Amy Adams. Some of it is so ambitious it gets a little hokum in places but I thought it worked better than most contemporary films which either feature comic book characters or are just a remake of something 10minutes old. Refreshing also to watch a film that doesn't hold your hand every step of the way. As concession they do do a 5 minute catch up on what-we-know-so-far-about-the-aliens for those busier eating popcorn.

The soundtrack by Jóhann Jóhannsson is also worth a listen. I was surprised they used Max Richter's powerfully emotive "On the Nature of Daylight" at the start and finish of Arrival, which disqualified it from an Oscar nomination for best soundtrack. It is a great composition but has already been used in Shutter Island and this lack of originality jars slightly when they are going to such lengths in all departments to be completely original. They intended to make otherworldly original audio for the soundtrack and not make the aliens look like anything from the entire world of sci-fi films. A proud boast they make in the dvd extras. Can't have seen Monsters then. Nit-picking aside, worth a look.

a near total eclipse of Mary

a small tortoiseshell, one of the six hibernating UK butterflies
How many can you name? I'm off to google it.
(OK I'll accept 5 as Large Tortoiseshell is probably extinct or very nearly.)

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1 comment:

  1. you are so lucky your tv took the decision for you. it's a long time since I watched much telly except the occasional Attenborough (astounding photography, astounding patience), and in particular I've stopped understanding any U.S. fillum (too fast for an old person, except Pacino in Heat); so I watched Pasolini's Medea yet again and still can't decide whether it's a masterpiece of a sort or the product of a mind that's largely lost the plot and isn't going to last much longer - but in any case awed yet again by Callas's ability to stand absolutely still and stare and command the action. for light relief, the complete set of Pythons is very interesting after the passage of the years, I doubt if they'd be allowed to do quite a bit of that stuff now - does it measure a decline or rise in our standards? who knows