Sunday, 28 October 2012

breaking bonds

I go to the cinema, what, a couple of times a year?  At most.  So I'm not really in a position to comment, but this is the first time I've seen my local cinema totally full.  Admittedly, it's a very small cinema, but then they all are these days.  Not like the cavernous Odeon of my youth, which always thrilled me into thinking I'd just stepped into a Dan Dare set.  In the Odeon, audience participation was common - whoops, cheers and jeers.  Last night, watching Skyfall, we did get some tentative clapping when Bond's old car appeared, but it quickly petered out because the other 98 people in the cinema weren't joining in. Shame.
Anyway, Skyfall.  If I'm going to pay to look at a very (fairly) large screen, I expect to be seeing a spectacle, and I certainly got that.  Gone right off tube travel.  I'm not very good with heights: for some reason they make my shins hurt, and my shins did a lot of hurting, but is it Bond?  Yes, there's the artistic title sequence, ludicrous chase, slinky woman, the inevitably superhuman psychopathic villain intending to claim the world, and the final music.  There is, of course, the usual political incorrectness; Bond, son of a Scottish laird, keeps stressing his loyalty to England - which oddly, got no reaction from the Welsh audience.  But there is something vital missing.  Yes, the villain seems to have an unlimited number of obedient henchmen, who all have to die leaving him the last one standing.  But, my dear, what do they think they're wearing?  Denim, sweaters?  What on earth has happened to the turquoise lycra?  How are we supposed to know who's who if the baddies don't look like slimmed down teletubbies, fresh off the assembly line?
The lycra's missing.  Is anything else?  Daniel Craig walks like a gelded bulldog, so maybe.  Still a good night though.  It's not the pleasurably ridiculous Bond that lasted from Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan, but I think that Bond has probably run its course.  The world moves on, alas.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The ash trees in my lane are shedding their leaves, clogging the gullies. High wind snaps their branches off and occasionally a whole tree comes down. They're the meanest trees in Britain, the last to come into leaf, and all through the winter and spring, the upward flip of their twigs makes them look like beggars with outstretched hands cupped for donations. But I'd miss them if they weren't around. They're part of the landscape. Now there is a disease wiping out ash trees on the continent, so devastating that the government is going to ban their import. What I can't understand is why on earth they were ever imported in the first place?They're native British trees and their seedlings are unwanted weeds. I gather them up in bucketloads from the garden.  If anyone wants enough to plant a new forest, let me know.