Saturday, 28 February 2009

Rock N Rolla — Modern Times Rock and Roll

Or perhaps I should say Modern Times “RockNRolla”, perhaps, considering tonight’s movie was the Guy Ritchie directed flick; – one largely penned by him, as well.

And certainly up to Mr Ritchie’s usual standard.

Or formula, I should say.

It’s definitely formulaic.

And, to the point, Guy Ritchie maybe needs to widen his horizons, a little.

After all, myself, Adrian and Allison were all sitting there spotting thing’s he’d done before, or had lifted from elsewhere – paralleling Bricktop’s “Pig” monologue in “Snatch”, with a speech from Lenny, about crayfish being a good example of the former.   And as for the painting …

But that characteristic London based cast is there, although not the usual Ritchie rep company.

It did feature some competent performances: Toby Kebbell did rather well as the dysfunctional AWOL rock-star, Johnny Quid, “The Long Firms” Mark Strong giving a solid performance as Archie, and I’ve got to give Thandie Newton credit as Stella, here, as the token female character.   Ms Newton put in a sterling performance as a dodgy accountant, but I personally think the character, or the actress, wasn’t necessarily used to the fullest; – women in Guy Ritchie films are usually strong, but only briefly seen, and it struck me that either the script or the actress was struggling to make an impact.

Gerald Butler, Tom Hardy, and Idris Elba as 1-2, Handsome Bob and Mumbles, on the other hand, formed the basis of most of the humour of the film, and much of the central action: most of a third of the film is about them working for the Thandie Newton character, and what happens as a result.

Which is complicated, but boils down to a property scam run by the Tom Wilkinson character, Lenny Cole.   I won’t go into too much detail, here, but for me, it does make it worth watching, again.   I’d be able to appreciate it, a little better.

One thing I’m sure of, though, is that it seem there’s a sequel planned.   Whether it’ll be up to the standards of some of Guy Ritchie’s earlier work remains to be seen.

After all, as entertaining and funny as I found this, it could have done with a bit more work.   It was competent, rather than the riveting stuff we know “Lock, Stock…” and “Snatch” to be.

One thing I feel sure of, is that it’s possibly the Guy Ritchie equivalent to the tax album.

He does have alimony to pay off, after all …

Brentwood Gazette Cinema Article

Just as a follow on to yesterday’s post about the cinema in Brentwood, I thought I’d add a quick note.

You can read the Brentwood Gazette’s coverage here, by the way.   It’s definitely provoking reaction and comment.

But I thought I’d write to the Gazette, and thought I should let you see what I sent.

Dear Sir.

I can’t help but be very alarmed about Brentwood’s new cinema development.

At least, by some of my fellow resident’s reactions.

Let me say, first, that I, like many people in town, would love to see a cinema here.   I, like many of the people interviewed in this week’s Gazette, love seeing films, and love to see them at a cinema.

Something that, as I only work part-time, means is a very rare thing, as my very limited resources have to be spent on paying bills first.   And, when the opportunity to see a film at a cinema DOES come along — once or twice a year, at the very most — I resent having to pay an ill-afforded premium on public transport.   An opinion I noticed others in your article sharing.

Additionally, this development represents something else, for me, and I suspect to many others in town.

The possibility of work.

I’ve worked part-time for many years, and have always found searching for full time work in my chosen area nigh-on-impossible to do.   The chance of even an interview for an extra part-time job, in the customer service area I know I excel at would be very welcome.

Now, while I can appreciate that many homeowners in the immediate area object, and object strongly, they have an option that many others of us don’t; – they are home owners, and therefore have the option to move.

Yes, I realise that is hard in these difficult times, even without the threat of devaluation.

But those of us blessed with security of full-time work, the finances to purchase their own home and their transport to get around in, have advantages over those of us who don’t.

There’s also been many on the Gazette’s website who feel that this development is “killing” Brentwood.


It is simply part of changing Brentwood.

I personally welcome this, for the most part.

It saddens me that many of my fellow residents don’t.

The Gazette will probably make a few changes, but hopefully not two many.

After all, I feel I write well enough.   I just don’t punctuate to quite the same degree … 

But one thing I know a lot of the nay-sayers object to is the size of the development.   I was going to other sympathy to those who’ll have homes prices will depreciate.

But I can’t.

I don’t own my flat; – while I’d like to, I’ve never bee in the position to, nor ever expect to; - so I rent socially.

What I really want to have enough hours from however many part-time jobs I can get to pay my way through life, without having to rely on benefits, without being beholden to anyone else, and with maybe enough money to go out, once a week.

The more new businesses given the chance to, boosts my chances in doing this.



But pretty much what all of us want in life.

Friday, 27 February 2009

At The Movies


My home town has long had a problem, with movies.

Or, it seems to me, going to the cinema …

Some five years ago — if my sometimes erratic memory serves me correctly — what was the Chapel High Shopping centre, and is now the Bay Tree Centre, had Brentwood’s only cinema.

So I was rather saddened when it closed about back then.

I don’t know about you, but I like seeing a film at the pictures, every so often …

These days, once or twice a year is a frantic amount of cinema going, but, when we had a reasonably priced local picture palace, it was much more frequent.

So when Brentwood announced its plans to allow a new one to be built in town, I was pleased.

No more tedious and pricey to Romford or Lakeside to catch a flick!

But there are objections: which can be found here.

Now, while I can understand people objecting to a given new development, particularly if it’s on their back door, I personally plan to ignore them.

I’d like to see a film, in a cinema in my home town.

I don’t want to pay extra, on a train, bus or cab, for the privilege.

Frankly, on my budget, I’d rather use that money on popcorn …

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Tonight’s Gig.

Hmmm …

That was quiet …

Worryingly, so at first, for me. It usually is, if it’s looking quiet.

But we did manage to muster three teams, tonight, if nothing else. From where I’m sitting, that means, in these rough times, I’ve enough teams to make an evening of it.

Including a new, single handed one; – Traci, who I met at work, this morning, at work. Big thank you, there, I think!

Which definitely means the Hutton’s quiz is – like the King Harold’s – showing signs of life!

That’s a damn good thing!

And certainly gives me some hope, that this is still worth doing.

Anyway, joining her were Martin and Sonia, at the top, and Menacing Matt & Davesº team, which also included Peter & Shay, tonight.

But, here, let me give you the scores on the doors; – and yes, I know three teams in doesn’t seem worth it, but one thing I have learnt is that these things take time to re-build.


Team Name



The BDSM’s








What’s also good – from where I’m sitting at – is the fact that no-one got the bonus, which means that next week’s pot is now a minimum of £5•50p. And that was off the back of this; – “Paczki are the Polish equivalent to pancakes, and usually eaten on the last Thursday before Lent; – what exactly are they?”.

They’re doughnuts. And usually eaten on Fat Thursday, the traditionally Polish equivalent to Shrove Tuesday.

Which seems rather appropriate, somehow; – I think I owe Debbie a thank you, for doing the picking, tonight, she did manage to grab one that was entirely appropriate, given that Tuesday was Shrove Tuesday …

Says I, desperately hoping that made sense.

That does make sense, doesn’t it?

Someone … ?

But, anyway, moving rapidly along, here’s the Oscar themed table round I used tonight; – you can see the ones I changed from Tuesday, here.

Q1) Danny Boyle won Best Director, this year for directing “Slumdog Millionaire”; who wrote the novel it’s based on?

A1) Vikas Swarup

Q2) How many awards DID that Danny Boyle directed film get, in total?

A2) 8; – including Best Director, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay

Q3) Ron Howard was nominated for Best Director, and lost to Danny Boyle. For which film was Ron Howard nominated?

A3) Frost/Nixon

Q4) Exactly how many nominations did “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” get, for this year’s Oscars?

A4) 13

Q5) Wall•E” won Best Animated Feature film, this year; – which company made “Wall•E”?

A5) Pixar.

Q6) Kate Winslet finally won an Oscar, for Best Actress, in “The Reader”. She mentioned a bottle of what, in her acceptance speech?

A6) Shampoo.

Q7) Penelope Cruz won the Best Supporting Actress award; – for which film?

A7) Vicky Christina Barcelona

Q8) Sean Penn won the Best Actor gong; — for his performance in which film?

A8) Milk

Q9) Who else was heavily tipped for the Best Actor gong, for his role in “The Wrestler”?

A9) Mickey Rourke

Q10) Heath Leadger got the Best Supporting Actor this year for his performance as the Joker, in “Dark Knight”; - who was the only other actor to get a posthumous Oscar?

A10) Peter Finch, for his role in “Network”, in 1976

And here’s the main question set I used; – number fourteen, in the series of 23 I’ve written for the Hutton.


Q1) In which African country is the city of Durban?

A1) South Africa

Q2) What musical note is written in the space above the bottom line of the Treble clef?

Q2) F

Q3) In which country of the UK was Tony Blair when the 7/7 attacks took place?

A3) Scotland. (At the G8 conference, in Gleneagles)

Q4) What is East Pakistan now known as?

A4) Bangladesh.

Q5) Packhams Triumph & Conference are types of what?

A5) Pears.

Q6) According to various newspaper reports about his diary, Prince Charles considers himself to be a political what?

A6) Dissident.

Q7) What’s the name of Sharon and Ozzy’s eldest daughter?

A7) Aimee

Q8) In heraldry, what colour is Gules?

A8) Red.

Q9) The Dunmow Flitch is awarded to the UK’s happiest Newlyweds. A Flitch is a side of what?

A9) A side of bacon.

Q10) Which modern brass instrument was developed from the sackbut; – the trombone, the trumpet, or the saxophone?

A10) The trombone.


Q11) Which part of the eye contains light-sensitive cells?

A11) The retina

Q12) Which part of the eye gives its colour?

A12) The iris

Q13) Which composer wrote much of his finest music when he was deaf?

A13) Ludwig van Beethoven

Q14) Which sense does the Venus Flytrap use to capture it’s prey?

A14) Touch

Q15) And which part of the eye gets smaller when the lights go on?

A15) Pupil

Q16) Are the semi-circular canals in the eye, the nose, or the ear?

A16) The ear

Q17) Olfactory nerves are responsible for which of the senses?

A17) Smell

Q18) How many basic tastes can the human tongue distinguish?

A18) Four

Q19) What is the medical term for not being able to smell?

A19) Anosmia

Q20) Which nerve carries information from the eye to the brain?

A20) The optic nerve


Q21) Which boy band had a 2003 No 1 with “Mandy”?

A21) Westlife

Q22) What musical instrument was patented by Anthony Faas of Philadelphia in 1854; – The accordion, the saxophone, or the Moog organ?

A22) The accordion.

Q23) Buddy Holly classic, “Peggy Sue”, was named after the girlfriend of which member of the Crickets; – Buddy Holly, himself, the bass player, or the guitarist?

A23) The drummer

Q24) The word gamelan refers to a type of music from where; – Indonesia, Africa, or South America?

A24) Indonesia

Q25) Which Beatles song was the first to be seen and heard around the world on satellite TV?

A25) All You Need Is Love”.

Q26) What was the Spice Girls’ debut single?

A26) Wannabe”.

Q27) Which guitarist has the nicknames God and Slowhand?

A27) Eric Clapton

Q28) Rapper DMX’s real name is Earl … what?

A28) Simmons

Q29) Which bird gave Fleetwood Mac a No 1 instrumental?

A29) Albatross”*

Q30) Which very French dance comes from “Orpheus in the Underworld”?

A30) The Can-can


Q31) Who was the 1st female competitor excused a sex test at the 1976 Olympics?

A31) Princess Anne.

Q32) Nigel Pearson was the skipper of the 1997 FA Cup Final team; – which team was it?

A32) Middlesborough.

Q33) What was the 1st Grand Slam title won by Kim Clijsters?

A33) The US Open.

Q34) Which Italian said he couldn’t “understand a word Dennis Wise is saying”?

A34) Gianfranco Zola.

Q35) In which city did football legend George Best die?

A35) London.

Q36) Gabriela Sabatini comes from which country?

A36) Argentina.

Q37) The Vince Lombardi Trophy is awarded in which sport?

A37) American Football.

Q38) Eric Cantona joined Manchester United from which club?

A38) Leeds.

Q39) In which Spanish city were the 1992 Olympics held?

A39) Barcelona.

Q40) How many attempts at the target do you get per game of Curling?

A40) Two


Q41) French, runner, or broad. What kind of vegetable are we talking about?

A41) Beans

Q42) Hybrid tea, Floribunda and American Beauty are all types of which flower?

A42) Rose.

Q43) Coxs Orange Pippin, Bramley, & Granny Smith, are types of what fruit?

A43) Apples.

Q44) If you grew a box, in your garden, what have you just grown?

A44) A hedge.

Q45) Which heap provides fertiliser, for the garden?

A45) The compost heap.

Q46) What are tulip’s grown from; – bulbs or seeds?

A46) Bulbs

Q47) Culinary herbs are usually grown for what?

A47) Cooking/eating.

Q48) What do secateurs do?

A48) Cut.

Q49) What piece of garden equipment can be rotary, or hover?

A49) The lawn mower.

Q50) What is a plant’s foliage?

A50) Its leaves


Q51) Who is the longest serving member of the Privy Council?

A51) The Duke of Edinburgh (appointed in 1951)

Q52) What is the meaning of the word Hypocaust; – Annihilation of a town by flood, mass inoculation, or underfloor heating.

A52) Underfloor heating.

Q53) What is the collective name for the 9 handmaidens of Odin?

A53) Valkyries.

Q54) Which North African seaport’s name is Spanish for white house?

A54) Casablanca

Q55) Which is the only vowel on a standard keyboard that is not on the top line of letters?

A55) A

Q56) What's the worlds most popular Non Alcoholic Drink?

A56) Coffee

Q57) Which castle is on the island of Anglesey?

A57) Beaumaris

Q58) In the USA, what film is celebrated on the 2nd of February?

A58) Groundhog Day

Q59) Westminster Abbey is dedicated to which saint?

A59) Saint Peter. (It’s formally called the Abbey Church of Saint Peter, Westminster.)

Q60) The Bigbellied Seahorse has been found to be the most promiscuous species of seahorse. But it lives off the coast of which country?

A60) Australia

Here’s hoping that lot proves useful, out there.

* Newcomer, Traci, pointed out that the Fleetwood’s also had a song out called Songbird. Not the instrumental I had had in mind, but I wasn’t going to argue.

º Dave broke his middle finger, just recently; — I took this snap, just as Dave was telling Matt about it …