Monthly Archives: November 2008

If you don’t want to know the result, look away now…

IXI 1, Visionware 0.

Confusingly, David Lucas was in goal for Visionware, and another of their players was called Sheehan.

First half was mostly IXI. How we didn’t concede any in the second half I’ll never know – they hit the post twice. The rain played a part in the result as the pitch was a bit of a mare. Attendance 4,000-odd, pretty good for a population of 8,000.

The ITV commentator name-checked the Barleymow and the Boot at least, but not the Vue. He emphasised the sleepiness of the place, omitting any mention of the high-tech nirvana that is Vision Park.

Home to Swansea City in Round 3. On our way to Wembley.

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Eighties ones in thirty

Courtesy of the lovely people at b3ta, the first ten seconds of all 191 number one singles of the 1980s. Half an hour of your finest nostalgia!

Well, fifteen minutes. The stuff at the end of the eighties was mostly rubbish.

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Two quanta of solace to take away, please

Quantum of Solace opens ten minutes after chucking out time at Casino Royale with a car chase that’s a million miles away from those of creaky old Roger Moore. Once upon a time you could lay money on a Bond film including a chase sequence where a clapped out old vehicle containing a clapped out old couple would be passed furiously by Bond + girl in a fully Q’d up sporty number, and then a few minutes later re-pass the smouldering wreck of same to general hilarity. Not so in Daniel Craig’s universe.

In QoS the emphasis is on grit rather than wit. It’s definitely Bond: a scattering of gadgets, cars, M, scenery and girls leaves you in no doubt. There are even some scenes classically reminiscent of the days of Connery, except without the hats. But this is a Bond post-Bourne: the pace about ten times quicker, the action about ten times more active, the direction about ten times as bewildering.

The product placement needed only neon pointy signs to be more obvious. A certain manufacturer of rubbish phones receives so much visibility I was expecting a “magical tracking system and impossible photo enhancement service sold separately” caption in some scenes. But that’s part of the fun.

Bond himself is a miserable git throughout; I suspect they cut a scene where he phones the Samaritans. We see more of Dame Judi M Dench’s home life than we ever did, or indeed wanted to, in the days of gruff old Bernard M Lee.

To me the film feels like the second in a trilogy, though I appear to be in the minority on that one. There are a few lines that suggest it, nothing overblown, just a hint. Bond will of course return in any case. Whether the producers choose one of the remaining unused Fleming titles I sincerely doubt; I believe they are Risico, The Property of a Lady, 007 in New York and The Hildebrand Rarity. Elements from some of those stories have been used in plots of previous Bond movies, but very few movies have stuck to the original story so that’s not a problem. (Quantum of Solace is an original Fleming title, but the story wasn’t about spying at all and barely includes Bond.)

My guess is that they’ll continue to reintroduce some of the “classic” Bond elements in the next film. Q is due a reappearance, though I’d rather he wasn’t John Cleese. I’ll see if I can make some time in my busy schedule. I eagerly await the offer from Barbara Broccoli or any of her vegetable friends.

Avaragado’s rating: one packet of smokey bacon crisps, and one cheese and onion

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Dimbleby vs Vidal

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Barack who?

The first time I saw the name Barack Obama was in a blog entry by Lawrence Lessig instructing me to watch his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. I did, as it’s always a good idea to do what Lessig says. And I came away thinking, wow. After two terms of John Kerry, I thought, he’d be a great Democratic candidate in 2012. I even vaguely remember mentioning his name to a few people, and forgetting whether “Barack” or “Obama” was his surname.

Lessig knew him from the University of Chicago and had first tipped him for the top in March 2004 when he was nominated for the US Senate: “And keep your eyes on 2012: when he will no longer be known as the 5th whatever, but will become the 3d and 1st in one year. (Consider it the Lessig Sunday Puzzle).” (Decoded to mean the fifth black US senator, the third to run for president, and the first to win.)

When I heard he was running for president in 2008 I didn’t believe he’d get the nomination: four years too soon, I thought. I thought Hillary Clinton would get it. So did she. She and her campaign team underestimated him completely, neither the first nor the last to do so.

And here we are, four years earlier than scheduled. Karl Rove’s proteges and their McCain/Palin puppets beaten, their smears laughed off, their lies disbelieved. The election not decided by lawyers or fraudulent machinery or appalling graphic design.

As I sat watching Obama’s victory speech at 5am, I thought about the change soon to sweep through Washington and the US, and the wider world. How much of a honeymoon will he have? Six months? At some point rhetoric and reality will collide, as it did with Blair. How many of Bush’s constitutional land-grabs will he return? What will actually happen in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Guantanamo? Will he give his old mate Lawrence Lessig a job?

And, of course, how will the Secret Service cope? That one I prefer not to think about.

But most of all I can’t wait for the end of eight years of Bush. Historians will not look kindly upon his presidency; I believe that in thirty years or so we’ll look back and say, firmly, that this was when everything went to cock. The hanging chads of the 2000 Florida debacle were an omen.

I look forward to a president who can say the word “nuclear”, who can read a speech and sound like that’s not the first time he’s seen it. I look forward to a vice-president who doesn’t cause the Emperor’s Theme to immediately pop into my head whenever I see him on TV, and who is, actually, human. And I look forward to a White House that’s more West Wing than Green Wing.

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