Bond, bangs and … Brit flicks ?

Well a lot has happened in the last 2 months since I last wrote anything here.  I’ve been turned down for one job (Grrr!!!) whilst the job I have been doing seems to be less and less temporary.  Despite having a paid job I still seem to be skint … which is a pain cos I really want to buy a new computer to replace my pathetic pile of junk (I am seriously considering getting a Mac … watch all the Computery people I know deluge me with why I shouldn’t but I just want something that will work and not give me constant grief!).

Despite all this busy-ness, I haven’t been short of things that I was planning to write about here … I just never quite got round to it.  And my friend Phill beat me to commenting on the stupid practise of putting “Don’t download illegal films” adverts at the start of a legally bought DVD.  The world is clearly going mad.

Talking of which, the new Bond film is out soon … Now I know as a guy and a patriotic Englishman (?) I should have an undying loyalty to the James Bond franchise.  I’m sorry – I just don’t … The whole thing is ridiculous, glamourised and glorified nonsense.  Two-dimensional villains, shallow “love-interests”, absurd plots and the most annoying smarmy and completely unsubtle spy ever to grace the world of international espionage.  I mean for a brainless enjoyable film I guess it’s ok – but nothing to really get into.  I’d recommend that people check out BBC’s series “Spooks” instead.  Ok, I’m sure it’s still some distance from the reality of what goes on in MI5 and MI6 but at least the characters are far more rounded, you see them genuinely going undercover, having to develop and keep up believable cover stories and often having to do some pretty unglamourous things … not swanning into a casino in a tux and announcing to everyone that they are James Bond.  Sometimes I think Bond should just paint a target on his chest … but that would be pointless because never mind how many people are shooting at him/trying to blow him up, you cannot actually kill James Bond.  The makers of Spooks are far less squeamish about these things with major characters not being at all immune from the effects of bullets, bombs and death …

Which brings us onto another British film institution … “The Italian Job”.  This is where I really get into trouble!  I had the DVD of it (I think I bought it with the new version) but have never actually got round to watching it until the other weekend.  Maybe I was in a bit of bad mood (which sometimes does affect what I think of a film) but I really didn’t see what all the hype is about.  Michael Caine plays his usual loveable cockney rogue character, the supporting cast don’t really add much, the plot doesn’t seem to do much that’s interesting and apart from THAT line (you know the one) the script doesn’t really have much spark.  Even the car chase scenes have nothing on those in “Blues Brothers”.  Now I realise this was a 1960s film and it’s highly likely I’m judging it by modern film-making standards – but things like the script, I’m sure there were talented writers in the 1960s – and a plot doesn’t need a lot of action to be interesting and exciting to me.  Anyway, I was thoroughly disappointed and I have to say I think I would actually prefer to watch “The Italian Job” of 2003 with Mark Wahlberg, Donald Sutherland etc. to the original … though they are actually very different films.  Maybe an ardent fan of the original can explain to me what is so great about it – cos I seem to have missed all that!

Perhaps someone can tell me this?  What is the point of fireworks?  For the last month we seem to have endured fireworks night after night.  Being a multi-cultural area we’ve had Divali celebrations followed by Eid celebrations followed by Bonfire night celebrations and this has amounted to a lot of fireworks … and they all seem to go off really late.  I was once told that it’s illegal to set off fireworks after 11pm – a law Greater Manchester police don’t seem bothered to enforce (assuming it exists!).  It’s bad enough trying to get to sleep early enough to get up for work the next day – especially when my body clock is still adjusting to the early bedtime and early starts following 6 years of student-esque lifestyle.

But even when I’ve been present at Firework displays – especially professional ones, even then I find the whole thing a bit of a waste of time.  Standing in freezing cold weather watching things explode into bright colours and make loud bangs … over and over and over again.  The most entertaining fireworks moment was when a recently engaged friend proudly announced that his marriage was just going to be just like the forthcoming firework … at which point it fizzled out and died.  It’s either that or sarcastically exclaiming “Ooooooooo aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” as another rocket shoots up and explodes in an array of colours.  I’d probably be called a fascist for introducing a complete ban on fireworks (which I’d like to do) but at least there should be some moves to contain the completely anti-social nature of these “entertainment explosives”.  Maybe manufacturers should try and make them completely silent or build into them a chip that deactivates the thing after 11pm.  Anything to stop the kids who’ve been setting them off in the park at 2am and then again at 7:30 …

On a completely unrelated note, next week I have an audition to be on BBC’s new TV series … “Grumpy Young Men”.  Watch this space!


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