“You’re so embarrassing!”
Some total idiot has introduced my children to that most English concept of embarrassment, and I’ve got a nasty feeling it was me. Some weeks ago, my daughter (aged 6) was due to receive three friends after school for tea, as my son (aged 12) was off on a week long residential school trip and we had decided that in his absence, the house was not full enough of mewling screams and bickering. Girl does not entertain as often as she would like, as if she did, it would leave no room for school, or sleep, or anything else, for that matter. Perhaps because of this, she approaches the arrival of guests with a manic fervour and a keen eye for detail, right down to taking dinner orders for her guests some days in advance as if it were a works Christmas meal; “guest X would like pizza, guest Y would like fishfingers and [bafflingly] guest Z would like Spaghetti Carbonara.” All three were given a plate of fishfingers and chips each, much to Girl’s chagrin as in her mind’s eye she saw the locomotion of social mobility heading for the buffers of ostracisation.
Grosse Point Blank review
spoilers for Grosse Point Blank - 1997) People are always asking me what my favourite film of all time is. Well, they’re not, because clearly no-one gives a damn, but what I do is find an opportunity to tell them that my favourite film of all time is Grosse Point Blank. There probably are plenty of film that I like more, but I feel that things like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future are on the pantheon - everyone’s seen them, everyone knows they’re brilliant, in each case there’s precious little to say about them that hasn’t already been said multiple times. That being the case, choosing one of those films shows a distinct lack of imagination, so I have formed the opinion that someone’s favourite film should be something a little more personal, something slightly off the beaten track, a film they could champion and maybe win some fans for, something they can feel passionate about and want as many other people as possible to experience and love. Grosse Point Blank is perfect. It’s an excellent film that is not completely unknown, but one whose reputation has been steadily growing in the two decades since it’s release, and I have loved it since the first time (of many) that I saw it. (Incidentally, if your favourite film is one of those pantheon films mentioned above, absolutely fair enough, but I don’t need to hear/read another piece extolling the virtues of the Empire Strikes Back.)
Freddy vs Jason
(spoilers for Freddy vs Jason - 2003) I’m going to say something shocking. Shocking to the cine-literate, shocking to fans of genre cinema, shocking to anyone who was labouring under the delusion that I possess any modicum of sophistication, and especially shocking to any fans of the Nightmare on Elm St or Friday the 13th film series. Ready? Here goes: I like “Freddy vs Jason.” There, I’ve said it. There’s no going back now, I’ll just have to make myself heard over the howls of derision and gales of mocking, pitying laughter.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull review
(spoilers for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 2008) As everyone knows, there are only three Indiana Jones movies, but if there were a fourth one, this would be my review of it. Let’s be absolutely clear, though: there are only three Indiana Jones movies.
The Dragons of the West
There weren’t always dragons in the valley. Old Bart even claimed to remember when they first appeared, but there were too many in the village who had grown up with Bart’s tales of watching mountains grow from planted pebbles to give the old man’s tales much credence.
Mum, I wanted to make you proud.
I wonder, do you remember the last words I said to you? Could you even hear them, and if you did, did you understand, or were you past understanding by then? I’ll never know now, nor hear your answer. Oh, mum, I miss you! What I said to you then will forever remain a secret between you and I, and if, as I don’t believe, you are somewhere you can hear these words, then presumably I won’t need to confess. As a parent myself now, I know the overwhelming interest one has in one’s children’s affairs, so if you’re able to have observed all the mistakes and misery, you will have, and all I can say is that I’m sorry. But then you might also know that I could do with knowing you’re proud of me. Could do with hearing you say that following my heart is important, that I deserve to be happy.
Filling the void
Numb. It’s a nothing kind of word, but then all words are if you repeat them enough. I’m tired of being numb, hence this attempt to marshal my thoughts by trapping them here, but there was a time, not so long ago, when it was all I wanted to be. The desire for the cessation of feeling was a reaction against pain, the child in me wanting to hide rather than face the truth. I realise that now. I also realise Alex had known he was dying. He had lain quietly, horribly still on the tarmac, his eyes sporadically opening and closing, no more than half listening to my murmured mantra of pleading reassurances. Afterwards, I used to sit and think in circles, and the point I kept coming back to use the wish to simply switch off. To be nothing, to feel nothing. Well, that numbness came with time. Boredom became a luxury to indulge in, a companion to replace the one I had lost.