Friday, June 10, 2005

Sin City

Frank Miller's graphic novels haven't the same cult following this side of the Atlantic as they do Stateside, but the hype building up to this seminal movie would have been hard to ignore these past months. Aficionados of the dark tales of life in Basin City are sure to be impressed, as screen shots are taken ink-mark for ink-mark from the original strips. Newcomers to the series, (most movie-goers), will be thrilled by the dark images, violent confrontations, and true comic book characters – no holds are barred in these epic tales.

Far from the spindly legs such adaptations as Spiderman or Daredevil stood on – afraid to reveal the darker side of their characters – Sin City revels in the anti-heroic status of their leading men and women. The movie is split into three tales, interwoven somewhat, but for the most part told in straight narrative – barmaid Shellie (Brittany Murphy) being the one constant face in all three. Tale one, 'The Hard Goodbye', is the story of Marv (Mickey Rourke) – a lug out for revenge after the murder of his high-class hooker love, Goldie. A tortured Beast to her Beauty, Marv takes on the task of killing his way to the truth, finding who destroyed his perfect woman while fighting the demons within. Marv trawls the streets of Basin City, dragging up the current of evil running through its copious back-alleys.

Tale two, 'The Big Fat Kill', shows Clive Owen's righteous ex-killer (Dwight) chasing crooked cop Jackie Boy into the hands of Basin City's Old Town, where the 'girls' rule the streets. The story is a violent twist on the old damsel in distress riff, where expectations are turned on their heads. Women are the stronger force in this tale; startling swordplay reminiscent of Kill Bill, fight scenes with no mercy, and some terrifying power reversals. Dwight marches in, guns blazing, offering protection from sadistic Jackie Boy, while the girls laugh at his foolishness – "us poor helpless girls", as his valkyrie Gail (Rosario Dawson) comments, before showing just how 'helpless' they are.

Story three, 'That Yellow Bastard', is the central story, the heart, of the movie (though 'The Hard Goodbye' is by far the most involving). In this third tale, cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis) defends youngster Nancy Callahan from paedophile/killer/son-of-a-senator Roark Jnr (Nick Stahl). When Hartigan returns from enforced secondment brought on by his brutal revenge on Roark Jnr, Nancy (Jessica Alba) has grown into an angelic stripper who harbours a deep love for him. Roark Jnr, meanwhile, has metamorphosed into Yellow Bastard as a result of his father's attempts to restore his 'manhood' – a disgusting creature bent on revenge. His efforts to destroy Hartigan and Nancy's unconventional love form the climactic moments of the movie.

Director Robert Rodriguez (coupled with creator Frank Miller and guest director Quentin Tarantino) lovingly recreates the visuals of the graphic novels, using green screens for the black and white shots rather than normal camera views. This stops bleaching – the greyness associated with normal black and white movies – and allows colour to be used as a weapon. Blood is white, yellow, or red, depending on what mood or level of disgust is needed. The story itself reflects the shades – there are no grey areas of good and bad in the tales, and revenge is taken as the only justice Sin City has to offer.

As black and terrifying as its colour scheme, Sin City startles and amazes. Characters leap from six storey buildings to land safely on their feet, and take machine gunning to the chest without a whimper – this truly is the land of comic fable. Batman Begins offers us a possible darker view into Bruce Wayne's closet, but even with the promise of this bat-buster, Sin City still ranks far and above any comic adaptation seen to date. Edgy, risky and fun all the way, Sin City will be the hit of the summer, as well as creating a new following for the slicker land of graphic novels – far from the colour-soaked world of Spiderman and Superman. With more adaptations already on the cards, and cast members as excited about future instalments as rabid fans, it won't be long before more dark tales of Sin City explodes onto our screens – catch this opus in cinema while you can.

Review on Film Ireland Website - click here!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Sleeping with the cup!!

How happy this week has made me!!


Stephen Gerrard slept with the cup............well, wouldn't you?!?!

Well done to the 'Pool!! Had you written off at half time, and was even considering never watching another Liverpool match - was cursing the team in and out of the ground, and almost crying in frustration. But just when I thought I was out, they pulled me right back in!!!!

L-I-V-E-R-P-O-O-L, Liverpool F.C.!!

And, it has to be said........

Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart and


Monday, May 23, 2005

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

A long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away we rejoiced at the announcement that George Lucas would complete his story, by adding three prequels explaining how Darth Vader had begun. Episode I was greeted with widespread derision, and Episode II (though slightly better) did little to alleviate concern that Lucas had lost the plot, in more ways than one. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, therefore, seemed doomed from the outset. Though sneak-peeks of Lord Vader rising in full black ensemble set hearts racing, as did the sound of the familiar heavy breathing, Hayden Christensen just did not seem capable of embodying the evil we all knew. Through clever security the story was not made available, giving no idea as to how the transformation from Jedi to Sith, man to part-machine, and good to evil was to happen.

As the introductory words appeared on the screen and the theme tune kicked in, I felt a familiar excitement and pleasure. Though I had warned myself not to expect too much, lest I suffer the disappointment of previous Episodes, the action engulfed me. From scene one of the movie, Lucas has the audience firmly back in his grip – this Episode is everything the previous two were not, and even surpasses A New Hope (dare I say it) for sheer unadulterated excitement. The political intrigue of the The Senate vs. The Jedi Council enthrals the older audience who may be fervent admirers of the originals, though could perhaps be a little above the younger fan. Anakin’s doomed love of Padmé (Natalie Portman) has a desperation and tragedy to its core that truly moves, and though we may think we know of the destiny these characters face, Lucas still manages to surprise us with the outcome. Ewan McGregor finally grasps the role of Obi-Wan and makes it his own, his anger and resentment at Anakin’s betrayal tempered by the sadness and disappointment of a man losing his best friend and brother.

The action moves faster than any previous instalments; fighter ships tousling in space, the familiar Empirical spacecraft making an appearance, droid armies, new creatures, Jedi battles and vengeful genocide, to name but a few highlights of this fast-paced pleaser. The real pleasure, however, lies in Anakin’s transformation. Without giving too much away, it has to said that Lucas has truly managed to piece this third Star Wars adventure perfectly to the fourth. Before seeing such storytelling and perfect action, I would not have thought it possible to adequately explain why Anakin Skywalker, the hope for the Jedi force, would turn so resolutely to the Dark Side. In parts One and Two, Christensen barely manages to look slightly miffed, never mind show strains of evil which would eventually overcome him – however, he performs to standard, if not sometimes above, in this, the most important of prequels.

The surprises in store for those who feel they know how the story must ‘end’ (since the closing chapters have already been told), are multiple, and the entire tale manages to feel fresh and new, however many preconceptions fans carry into the movie. A shiver is hard to avoid when Darth finally rises, as we know he must, and the famous voice of James Earl Jones groans from within the dark depths of the mask, heavily breathing the sound of doom for the Galaxy.

The undertaking of such a revered venture was massive, and some confidence was lost in Lucas with the first two instalments – certainly not helped by his returning to the original three and amending (or desecrating) classic scenes to suit his new audience. The feeling so far has been that Lucas should have left well enough alone, and this sentiment extended to his telling of Darth’s tale, once Episode I reared its childish head. However, despite some few shaky moments, Episode III finally lives up to the moniker of ‘Star Wars’, firing the imagination of the average fan with the passion of renewed enthusiasm for the series.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Everyman Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) discovers his best friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def) is an alien, the day the earth is due to be destroyed by Vogons to make way for an interstellar bypass. They hitch a ride off the planet only to discover themselves in the company of Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), alien cousin of Ford and president of the Universe, Trillian (Zooey Deschanel), an earth-girl Arthur once tried to chat up at a party, and Marvin (Alan Rickman), a paranoid android. Zaphod has stolen a ship, the Heart of Gold, which runs on an improbability drive - turning missiles into a bowl of petunias or a sperm whale, to give but an example of its power. Arthur wants to prove how exciting he is to Trillian, whilst helping the motley crew discover the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything. Not quite your average trip to the multi-plex!

Despite being based on cult-favourite books, the movie version of Douglas Adams’ opus attracted precious little pre-production angst from fanboys (Harry Knowles notably giving it the thumbs up). However, to be a voice of discord amongst a normally so hard-to-please audience, the end result did not manage to win me over.

As an avid fan of the novels (a trilogy in five parts, as Adams was fond of saying), I felt that the big screen version lacked some of the point and most of the wit of its literary beginnings. The books reflect such a quintessentially English base that it was very hard to reconcile some of the actors with their characters – far too many Americans took up pivotal roles, playing their parts too loudly or too flamboyantly. The narration of Stephen Fry, the quirkiness of Bill Bailey (Sperm Whale), the perfect casting of Bill Nighy (Slartibartfast), and the boredom of Alan Rickman somewhat make up for the brash southern screaming of the normally excellent Rockwell. However, the balance is negatively tipped by the blandness of Zooey Deschanel, and the uncharismatic efforts of Mos Def.

Arthur, the ‘eye of the storm’ in the novels, is relegated to amusing bumbler – Freeman very much relying on his incarnation as Tim from The Office for inspiration. However, since Tim tends to have Arthur-like tendencies, this really is not such a bad thing, and he actually fits the character perfectly. Arthur’s attempts to come to terms with the demolition of the earth, the appearance of a woman he has failed with, and the discovery that his best friend is an alien are reduced to insignificant reactions, rather than mind-blowing revelations. Trillian was originally the woman Arthur fails to interest at a party – partially because of the appearance of an exciting alien, Zaphod, but mostly due to Arthur’s ineptness at communicating with the opposite sex. She is now the main romantic interest of what has inexplicably become a love-story.

Arthur never willingly left earth, or trusted Ford, despite the imminent destruction of his world. This was part of Arthur’s charm…resisting change being such a quintessentially English foible. Hollywood Arthur, however, accepts quite a lot of what Ford tells him with minimum fuss – actually seeming to enjoy space travel (something the Arthur of the novels could never get used to). Emotions and plot-points of such central and seemingly immovable importance in the novel are given little time on screen. Even the introduction of ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ travel/survival book is merely an afterthought. Though it should be a pivotal object in the tale, it becomes another narrative aside, having the same bearing as the sudden appearance of a sperm whale – quirky and amusing, but ultimately unimportant.

Aficionados of the books will be disappointed; there is too much bluster and not enough substance…the opening scene, a musical number by dolphins, being a case in point. The constant barrage of ‘in jokes’ becomes wearying, with fans getting an occasional tit-bit to laugh knowingly at in order to feel somewhat fulfilled.

All in all, I was disappointed on most levels with the movie – acting, script, story and execution. However, occasional flashes of brilliance hold it together: the Vogons are almost perfect, and Magrathean’s factory floor, where planets are built, is as good as any imagination. As an adaptation of adventure-filled, intelligent and comedic ‘trilogy’, it fails – lacking much relationship with the original plot. As a movie in it’s own right, it mostly passes, but with a story too rushed to make sense, it is too overblown to really connect with the audience.

An English story sugar-coated and amended for the worldwide audience, it amounts to a disappointing end-result from such a fantastic franchise opportunity.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Some whimsy for a mid-week

The ancestry of George W. Bush, as researched on the internet, so it damn well MUST be true!! I'm starting from now and working back. All dates are those his ancestors were born on, and when they are marked as married to Americans, it means they had emigrated, and were thus deemed ‘American’. Plus, don't forget I'm not mentioning the tons of Americans marrying Americans in between all these European ones!!;

American (mostly Ohio, Massachusetts, and Texas) present day
Austrian + Americans 1890
Bavaria + Americans 1850
Co. Down + Americans 1714
Co. Down + Americans 1715
Co. Down + Americans 1755
Co. Down + Americans 1680
Scotland + Americans 1794
England + Americans 1677
Co. Cork + Americans 1680
SIX (6) Germany + Americans 1810 - 1840
England + Americans 1628
England + Americans 1678
Austria + Americans 1714
Wales + Americans 1696
England + Americans 1623
England + Americans 1580
England + Americans 1620
England + Americans 1621
England + Americans 1646
Scotland + Americans 1654
Sweden + Americans 1620
FRENCH (Jerimiah Dumas) - 1681 + Americans
England + Americans 1619
England + Americans 1636
England + Americans 1633
England + Americans 1631
England + Americans 1632
England + Americans 1615
England + Americans 1635
England + Americans 1596
England + Americans 1595
England + Americans 1610
England + Americans 1616
Wales + Americans 1620
Wales + Americans 1614
Wales + Americans 1622
England + Americans 1611
England + Americans 1613
England + Americans 1609
England + Americans 1600
Then LOADS of English born in England and died in America late 1500's early 1600's
Germany + Americans 1596
England + Americans 1590's
Germany + Americans 1590
Swedan + Americans 1580
Holland 1586
ENLAND + ENGLAND (born England, died England - mostly around London and Devon) early 1500's...........they married a couple of Welsh, but basically, George W. Bush is ENGLISH!!!

Though he has got ONE cheese eating surrender-monkey ancestor, I'm sure he doesn't go around mentioning that at dinner parties! Quite a few Germans for the dictator!!! Plus, some Irish - but doesn't everyone!?!?!?! I don't think we should feel too bad about that!

What a shocker to find out the greatest colonial madman of recent history is originally ENGLISH...didn't see that coming!

Friday, April 22, 2005

GORTA Ireland - Presentation to John O'Shea

I attended a presentation last night – my Mam had, along with about 12 other people, organised a charity weekend for the Easter in aid of GOAL. They’d raised over €8400; so John O’Shea (head of GOAL) himself came down to give a speech and receive the cheque. So well done to my Mam, and to all others that did so much work…and to Donard in general for pulling together and giving what they could. Here follows a synopsis of John’s speech:


Thanking everyone for attending, John told the expectant listeners how much he felt the community spirit in our beautiful village when he arrived, and pointed out that communities such as ours should continue to recognise other communities that are not so fortunate. Since the presentation was made in order to help the Tsunami victims (even though the money was actually designated for GOAL in general, to do with what they wished), he pointed out that the world's outpouring of generosity in such a situation was amazing. However, television coverage, the fact that the victims were white and the fact that we ‘know’ Thailand as a holiday destination, meant that this money flowed more freely than to the nations of earth that suffer this level of tragedy on a daily basis. He told us that he didn’t want to undermine the amazing contributions people came forth with for Tsunami victims, but he very rightly stressed that the Third World today is actually worse off than is was when he started with GOAL over 25 years ago, and people need to recognise the ongoing tragedies of the world, as well as focusing on media-worthy events such as the Asian Tsunami. Despite technological advances and medical breakthroughs, people are still starving to death, in a world where there really is more than enough to go around - a point that should be brought home by the bare dent those millions made in the Asian disaster relief efforts.

John continued by telling us about a time, 13 years ago, when he flew in a little plane over India with an Arab man who asked him about himself. John told many stories of his days as a sports journalist – waxing lyrical about footballers and gaelic players – but when he mentioned he was Irish, his companion replied, ‘Ah, the caring nation’. John felt it was significant that he would say something like this, when so many other descriptions of our country could be employed – the drinking nation, the storytelling nation, etc. etc. Some of this feeling must, surely, have arisen from the fact that our small island has sent forth hundreds of missionaries and lay aid workers over the years to far flung destinations where real good was done, and real love given to the poor of the world. John truly feels that the major problem in this world is that governments and those at the ‘top tables’ don’t love the poor anymore.

GOAL has had to pull out of Indonesia in the past few weeks, discontinuing its relief efforts there. The government proved too corrupt in their dealings – asking for ‘backhanders’ for each establishment GOAL attempted to build. John made the decision to go to Sri Lanka where he had made a deal with their government to be allowed to proceed, as he liked, without paying extra to those who already had money, in order to help those that didn’t. Indonesian people, therefore, had aid taken from them by their own governing body – John couldn’t justify handing over cash to them with one hand, as he considered that to be simultaneously taking it from those most in need with the other.

John spoke of the work GOAL has done in India, where he still visits regularly. The gathered group listened as he told us that recently, on a visit, some women in their early 20’s came to him showing off their children…families they would not and could not have had were it not for the care and support provided by him and his organisation. John remembered these women as young girls – 7 or 8 years old – coming to him as prostitutes on the streets of Calcutta. Truely bringing home to all present the magnitude of these situations, at this point in his speech John had to take a moment, overcome by the thoughts of it. Tears in his eyes, he mumbled to himself, ‘I shouldn’t be remembering these things’.

John turned his attention to Darfur, where members of the Janjawiid militia (Janjawiid means ‘man on a horse with a gun’) are sweeping the western Sudan region, swathing a path through the indigenous people with machetes, machine guns, and the age-old terror tools of rape and pillage. Thousands have died, and many more continue to die, while the world sits back in complacency. John told our increasingly shocked audience of an incident proving the uselessness of the UN – where a church packed with up to 600 women being held by the militia was surrounded by UN forces, some with weapons. The militia took the head from each woman’s body while the UN totted up on computers outside the rising number of dead in the conflict. John feels that the UN is a waste of time – a pretend army of justice that has an overwhelming allegiance to the monied of this world. Meeting upon meeting is called by the UN councils in regards to Darfur, but though everyone mentions murder and human rights abuses, nobody mentions genocide – the one word that requires immediate action. Can the lessons of this world be any clearer? We watched thousands fall in the former Yugoslavia, and many more wash down the rivers of Rwanda, yet still we do nothing. The rank and file people of the world want change, but the governments will not allow it – too much thought is given to alliances between countries, and interest in the IMF and the World Bank…money changes hands in the sky, but never reaches the ground where it is needed.

John told us more of the dire situation in Darfur, where he has been in an orphanage these past months, burying tens of children every day – children as young as some of our smaller guests at the meeting. Babies sat on our local spectators laps, listening to John speak, and the pallor on women’s faces spoke volumes of how the needless death of a child continues to be the most damning evidence against any regime. China, with its vested interest in Sudanese oil, voted against UN interference in Darfur at the last summit. All other countries, knowing how sales in the newly capitalist China of televisions, washing powder, clothes, etc. stand higher than any body count can, voted with them. Therefore the aid community – including GOAL – are the only people willing to stay in Darfur, doing what they can for the people. The Janjawiid ride through encampments, leaving a trail of death behind them, but will stop if they see an aid worker – a white person. John showed us all the irony of a 19-year-old Irish nurse providing the ring of steel behind which so many local people can be safe.

He brought us back down to earth – though leaving some of us, myself included, pale faced and feeling strangely detached – by thanking the community, yet again, for their amazing contribution to GOAL. He hoped that people continue to remember how lucky they are in their community, and continue to help others who are not so lucky elsewhere.

I spoke to John afterwards, and found him a very articulate and interesting man – though with an angry edge no doubt carved from many years watching the wealth of many distributed to so few. His speech brought me to the edge of where I felt safe, and threw me down yet again into the part of myself that recognises the terror and pain in the world, and feels helpless and useless in the face of it. I could see in John’s eyes the same sort of feelings, and after many hours deliberation, decided that I should continue what I am doing at the moment – donations, etc. – and plan to help fully in time with whatever skills I can offer to aid others in less fortune. I signed up on the website for a monthly donation to add to my ongoing donations to Concern and Gorta…and these ‘conscience plasters’ will have to do until I can find some better way of helping.

A great evening with a great speaker, and a great fundraising event that brought one small community together to help the bigger picture – our world outside Ireland. Someday the governments of this world will answer for what they have done, but that day is still very far away – until then, all we can do is continue to push for fairness, peace and love.

Visit to make a once off donation, or to set up a monthly/yearly standing order.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


The action genre has gone the way of the ‘intelligent’, self-deprecating teen-horror movies, á la Scream, and is selling itself as facetiously as possible. Sahara may well mark the beginning-of-the-end for this tendency (if promos for Sin City are anything to go by), but it certainly gives an able attempt at a lasting goodbye.

Delivering on its promise of fast-paced, adrenalin-pumping action, with a storyline teetering on the edge of absurd, Sahara pleases in the baser sense. Comparisons with Indiana Jones are unavoidable, and the movie will most likely benefit from such allusions, but Sahara seems to be carving its own niche as a franchise. Matthew McConaughey (who appears to be just playing himself these days) is the intelligent, rugged, manly naval historian, with the obligatory diamond-in-the-rough sensitive soul, abandoning the search for a ‘treasure’ he has followed his entire life in order to save the earth from an environmental disaster. However, tongue firmly in cheek, McConaughey turns the role on its head at every opportunity – giving life to a somewhat hackneyed character.

Steve Zahn partners with McConaughey in every way - which is really the saving grace of this movie. Most action movie ‘partnerships’ require that one member be dead wood or dumb sidekick…Zahn is McConaughey’s equal and, in some cases, superior. The story gives us two colleagues of like intelligence and bravery, who have a strong friendship enhanced by a desire for adventure. The combination of Zahn’s quirky wit and McConaughey’s own particular brand of southern charm is a charismatic one, and much of the film is carried on their relationship. Penelope Cruz isn’t called upon to do much but, when asked, she displays her usual panache and style (all wide-eyed emotion and whispered words). The support crew of stereotypes amply flesh out their own particular character – father figure William H. Macy being, of course, a standout wasted in a tiny part.

Unfortunately many parts of the movie bring it down as a whole – most particularly the comment from the local dictator that “Nobody cares about Africa”, followed by the usual show of pretend poverty and tribal warfare. This line is obviously meant to be ironic – i.e., implying that nobody cares in order to show us that ‘somebody’ (America) does. As is usual with such films, the US is the centre of the world…toxic waste that is killing local Africans is leaking into the Niger River towards the Atlantic and “will hit New York in six months”. However, taken at surface value without believing too much of the bravado – as most will manage – the movie is standard fare.

Script flairs are virtually nonexistent, but reality issues aside, it actually makes for quite an enjoyable matinee performance. Strong acting, fast action and the engagingly silly storyline ensure a paint-by-numbers action flick in the style of The Mummy. Indiana Jones it isn’t – but with Harrison Ford threatening to don the cap and whip once more, it doesn’t really need to be.

View the review on Film Ireland Website (blowing......trumpet.....etc.) at

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Still Here

Just a little note to show that I have not, as yet, fallen off the face of the earth! Still here, still in the job…still in the life – much as I left. Ish, I think!

To fill in – had a fabulous night at Chemical Brothers, Wednesday 16th. Met an ex-boss from Tallaght Library in the queue for the toilets. We both looked slightly freaked out at the revelation, and spent much of the leg-crossing, butt-clenching wait avoiding each other’s eyes. Parted with a mutual desire of never seeing each other again, methinks!

Paddy’s Day was a kicker! After the almost all-nighter (‘when you get to my age’, and all that!) Wednesday, I awoke with a borderline insane desire to keep going. Having never partaken of the all-day bevvy dance before, I decided this would be the time. For a full 14 hours we drank, laughed and carried on. Twas much fun and frolics! Friday we bid farewell to Wichie fwom Oz. Ta ta, young man, and may the splinters always point the right direction as you slide down those proverbial banisters! Shall miss him – he actually fit in to Rush life quite well…despite rubbing a few people almost towards the edge of being the ‘wrong way’. Saturday, headed home for funeral, rugby and pizza (probably in that order too!), followed by chinese and DVD – the standard Saturday night! Watched The Forgotten. What mind-numbing crap! Dear Lord, there was NO redeeming factor, save Julianne Moore…and she barely scraped a pass in my ‘tolerable’ gallery for that turkey! Riveting drama – ‘where is her son?’, ‘Did she have a son?’ – falls into raging ‘what the hell?’, ‘who are they?’, ‘WHAT?’!

Sunday we came back to Rush and onwards and upwards to the lads gig in Whelan’s in town. They played really well - especially the percussion...whoever played that section was AMAZING! Good, clean, fun night – if slightly marred by the ongoing and un-abating childish, spiteful and downright rude behaviour of a mosquito-like minority!

Monday I awoke in the fevered grip of a vicious virus and, alas, could not make it to work! With all my strength I made it home on Tuesday, only to lie in an hallucinating heap on my couch for the subsequent days. Minutes became hours, hours became days, and the days became a week – still no work could I attend! I made it back to Rush for ‘good’ Friday, only to be greeted by an unrecognisable population, staggering about Dawn of the Dead-like for want of an open pub! A much needed poker game was started and I made it to the final four – though, sorrow heaped upon sorrow, no further.

Saturday, went home. Sunday, HUGE family dinner followed by the ever-perfect Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (check the archives for my review, if you’re bloody interested!)…gets better with each viewing! Monday awoke and hiked the hills of Glendalough for three hours of hard laborious walking…Alan slept most of the way home, so Monday was spent in a quivering heap on the couch!

Tuesday….aaahh, Tuesday! When the week finally got going for me! Began the day in style – fabulous fry up in The Dome followed by excursion to HMV, where I bought Groundhog Day and Close Encounters….SPECIAL EDITIONS….for a measly €18! Hurrah! And then we sauntered ever so coolly to the Denzille Cinema for a press screening. Oh the bladder-releasing, stomach-knotting joy of it all! My first real screening! Of course, I’ve been to many, but never have I had the unadulterated PLEASURE and PRIVILEGE of signing in as ‘Film Ireland’. Siiiggghhh!! And girly giggle, Michael Dwyer sat in front of me. Joy! I thought I would be the ultimate geek – with my Catwoman notebook (comic book, not Halle Berry steaming pile) and pen, and the only active watcher! However, opening credits, and lo and behold, the notebooks flipped open, and el inko did flow! Rapture upon rapture! Of course, there was the odd element, especially from the old Popcorn contingent, of ‘mwah-mwah-mwah’ about the whole thing......with some caring more about their free mocha-frappa-latte-chino than the movie. But not everyone indulged, so there, my friends, is the light!

Review shall follow, when boxes are ticked!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the latest offering from enigmatic auteur Wes Anderson, takes up very much where his past ventures left off. Anderson staples Owen Wilson and Bill Murray provide yet another whimsical alternate-reality that is as touchingly human as it is refreshingly zany.

The plot revolves around the titular Zissou (Murray), an oceanographer/adventurer who is nearing the end of his career, and seeks revenge for the death of his partner, whilst simultaneously searching for connection with a son he never knew. Anderson, as usual, introduces his characters succinctly and perfectly – e.g., ‘posters’ of Zissou’s earlier films show the aging pompous star in an appropriately sympathetic, yet positively illuminating, light.

Rather than bore us with back-story, Anderson gets straight to the point – Ned (Wilson) shows up claiming to be (almost certainly) Zissou’s son; Eleanor (Huston) is Zissou’s long-suffering cleverer half; Jane (Blanchett) is the able foil to father and son as the pregnant journalist; ‘superstar oceanographer’ Hennessy (Goldblum) is his nemesis; and Klaus (Defoe) a comic German deck-hand. Such star quality belies the simplicity of the tale – Zissou seeks revenge for his partner’s death by shark, but really he seeks redemption and acceptance for his many years of avoidance.

Elaborate set-ups, (such as piracy, hostage taking and explosions), extend just a little too long, and somewhat undermine the truth of the story – even Murray seems vaguely uncomfortable with his momentary ‘Bond-in-a-wetsuit’ persona.

However, all in all, the movie lives up to any expectations resulting from previous Anderson fare – the chapter set-up of Tenenbaums is present, as well as the character introductions perfected in Rushmore. The Life Aquatic guarantees satisfaction for fans of Anderson’s style, as well as proving an able introduction to his fabulous world for first-time viewers.

Also viewable on the Film Ireland Website at

Monday, February 28, 2005

Oscar Fare

How did I do on my predictions?!?! I’m sure you wait with baited breath!!! Yet again Marty cried into his popcorn – when will Oscar shine on him? Another sad chapter in the book of crap awards ceremonies!

Here’s what I said, and here’s what bleedin’ happened…

Best Actor: Don Cheadle; Johnny Depp; Leonardo DiCaprio; Clint Eastwood; Jamie Foxx.

SHOULD: Leonardo DiCaprio
WILL: Jamie Foxx
DID: Jamie Foxx

Supporting Actor: Alan Alda, Thomas Haden Church, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Clive Owen.

SHOULD: Clive Owen (he’s been around soooo long!)
Morgan Freeman
DID: Morgan Freeman

Best Actress: Annette Bening, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Imelda Staunton, Hilary Swank, Kate Winslet.

SHOULD: Kate Winslet
WILL: Annette Bening
DID: Hilary Swank

Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, Laura Linney, Virginia Madsen, Sophie Okenedo, Natalie Portman.

SHOULD: Natalie Portman (but I do love Laura!!)
Laura Linney
DID: Cate Blanchett

Animated Feature:
The Incredibles, Shark Tale, Shrek 2.

SHOULD: The Incredibles
The Incredibles
DID: The Incredibles

Cinematography: The Aviator, House of Flying Daggers, The Passion of the Christ, The Phantom of the Opera, A Very Long Engagement.

SHOULD: The Aviator
The Aviator
DID: The Aviator

Costume Design: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Lemony Snicket’s …, Ray, Troy.

SHOULD: Lemony Snicket
DID: The Aviator

Best Director: The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, Ray, Sideways, Vera Drake

SHOULD: Clint Eastwood
WILL: Martin Scorcese
DID: Clint Eastwood

Documentary: Born into Brothels, The Story of the Weeping Camel, Super Size Me, Tupac: Resurrection, Twist of Faith.

The Story of the Weeping Camel
DID: Born into Brothels

Film Editing: The Aviator, Collateral, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Ray.

SHOULD: The Aviator
WILL: Million Dollar Baby
DID: The Aviator

Foreign Language Film: As it is in Heaven, The Chorus, Downfall, The Sea Inside, Yesterday.

SHOULD: The Motorcycle Diaries
WILL: Don’t care
DID: The Sea Inside (still don’t bleedin’ care)

Makeup: Lemony Snicket’s…, The Passion of the Christ, The Sea Inside.

SHOULD: The Passion
WILL: Lemony Snicket
DID: Lemony Snicket

Best Picture: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Ray, Sideways.

SHOULD: The Aviator
WILL: Million Dollar Baby
DID: Million Dollar Baby

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Before Sunset, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, The Motorcycle Diaries, Sideways.

SHOULD: The Motorcycle Diaries
WILL: Finding Neverland
DID: Sideways

Writing (Original Screenplay): The Aviator, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Hotel Rwanda, The Incredibles, Vera Drake.

SHOULD: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
WILL: The Aviator
DID: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Well……I did ok, I suppose. Guess I really underestimated the Academy’s burning hatred of Marty Scorcese, though, didn't I, huh? Huh? HUH?!

And I DIDN’T stay up to watch it!! (Sky had it this year, and I don’t have bloody Sky. So, yes, if BBC had kept it, I would have stayed up!). I DID, however, buy Empire.

One out of two ain’t bad!

And my prediction score is…dun dun dun…a very very POOR 6 out of 15. Although I was happy to be wrong on a few of those…Best Original Screenplay for Eternal Sunshine? Well deserved! And some of my 'shoulds' came out above my 'wills' I was right in spirit, if not in excecution! (The best kind of right - morally right!)

See you next year…

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

To Mr. Pwice

He’s not gonna thank me for this, but it has to be done…………

I love Alan because:

1. …he sets the alarm for fifteen minutes before I ACTUALLY have to get up because he knows I need to hit snooze loads before I can move

2. …he knows that when I am really flipping crazy in the morning it’s just because I bloody HATE mornings, and not because I’m a psycho

3. …he lights the fire for me all the time coz I’m freezing, and then doesn’t mind when I fall asleep coz I get TOO hot

4. …he makes me food whenever I want it, which is very important for my hyperglycaemia

5. …he pretends not to believe that I have hyperglycaemia and tells me it’s just an excuse for eating chocolate – funny monkey

6. …he sometimes mess-fights me in a way that borders on serious – especially when he tries to gouge my eye out, or twist my wrist

7. …he makes me laugh ALL the time – and even when he’s not with me, I’m laughing or just smiling thinking about things he has said or done

8. …he makes me feel yummy (and that’s all I’m going to say on that matter)

9. …he doesn’t object to me eating two or three dinners in a row, and finds it endearing that I eat so much – or at least SAYS he does (which amounts to the same thing)

10. …when I’m too drunk, he puts me on the couch and lets me watch telly while he walks up the road and gets us a Chinese (take-away, not person)

I could go on with many, many, many more reasons, but I won’t! Suffice to say that I wake up with a smile (mostly) every morning, and am happy when I fall asleep every night…………and Alan has at least SOMETHING to do with it!!

A little dedication for the man I love – too late for Valentines Day, and too early for any kind of ‘anniversary’ type thing, but just because that’s the way I’m feeling today!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Melinda and Melinda - Irish Film Festival

The funny thing about Woody Allen is that his films tend to be quite similar. The HILARIOUS thing about Woody Allen is that his films tend to be quite good! Granted, Melinda and Melinda is no Annie Hall – but then again, what IS, people? It was a perfectly serviceable movie, fluffy and romantic followed by ironic and ‘tragic’ – well, in reality, the tragic elements weren’t very intense, so it was more akin to a riff on some Greek tragedy, a lá Mighty Aphrodite.

The film starts out with four people sitting in a busy bistro in – let’s just make an almighty assumption here, what with it being a Woody Allen movie – New York, discussing whether life is a tragedy or a comedy. Two of the men are playwrights and one writes purely tragedy, but believes life is comedy, and the other is the exact opposite. One of their life-discussion/party mentions a story of a woman bursting in on a dinner party, and the two men decide to give examples of how the story can be made comic or tragic. So follows the story – Radha Mitchell playing the titular Melinda, in one scenario as the comedic downstairs ‘personality’ who Will Ferrell falls in love with, despite being married to Amanda Peet. Incidentally, she has a neurosis about lovemaking (notice an Allen-movie pattern?) and Will Ferrell basically plays Woody Allen – all twitching and funny and pass-remarkable! It is amusing to watch, but there is that niggling part of your brain that says ‘why can’t Woody Allen write a movie that doesn’t contain a jazz-loving, wise-cracking, neurotic New Yorker’?

Anyway, the fact that Mr. Ferrell is pretty much the anti-hero of the piece doesn’t slow his satisfaction – he relishes every moment on screen and, though I worried about his capabilities whilst under the straining whip of Allen and his punctuation, he has magnificently embraced his character. Amanda Peet plays a fabulously self-obsessed director, and falls in line with most of the women in the play – intelligent and ‘kooky’, but still driven by baser instinct at the end of it all. Radha Mitchell is eminently likable as Melinda in the comedy, where she is simply a free spirit. In the tragedy, however, she is a free spirit struggling through the mire for air, weighed down by past mistakes, present regrets and a whole host of wines and cigarettes.

Chloe Sevigny is distasteful as the Park Avenue hostess with a passion for music – she is un-likable, weedy and uninteresting…yet she holds Melinda’s fate in her hands. Such strange situations life throws at us – and I guess the tragedy for Woody Allen IS that sometimes our life balance is held in the shaky hands of a moron. Her bow-tied marriage is falling apart, and into her life stumbles the wrecked shell of Melinda – a friend from the past. Initially the Park Avenue princesses try to help in their own upper-class way, but when Melinda truly has a chance at happiness – with a man of unlikely name, Ellis Moonsong – the very people who proffered her help threaten it’s continuance.

The welcome retreat of the comedy softens the blow of the tragedy but, as I have said before, the tragedy is much too dramatically operatic to be of any real threat to your peace of mind. It actually gets to the stage where you wish Woody Allen had just left the tragedy out of the story altogether, and focused completely on the much more entertaining comedy. What is interesting is the premise – one woman, Miranda, and two possibilities of her life.

Though by no means his greatest movie, Woody Allen has taken us to that bistro in New York with those pretentious writers, and allowed us all to sit at the fork in the road of Robert Frost’s poem and gaze upon the possibilities.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Monday, February 14, 2005

Straw Harry

I watched Straw Dogs on Saturday night – with Alan firmly asleep on my lap, bien sür – and had wanted company to do so, as I felt the ‘scene’ would be too much for me. As it turned out, keeping Alan awake without resorting to more vicious tactics than giving out, poking and holding his nose, was impossible, so I had to go it alone. WOW!! That movie is bloody brilliant! It has so many nuances and so many possible interpretations that my head reeled……it’s the first time in absolutely yonks that I have watched a movie and immediately felt afterwards that I could study it, and only it, for very long time and still be as amazed as I am now!! It was so nice to have my interest rekindled (after months of drought), and I felt refreshed and excited after watching it, rather than depressed and angry – as I had assumed I would feel!

So, rather than wake sleeping beauty for a quick film discussion on the pro's and con's of originally banning such a movie, I brought myself down off the high by switching to bloody Ghost on telly! Yeuch! Watched about five minutes and decided enough was enough, and wheeled the drooling-one down to bed.

Next morning we both (and yes, Alan stayed awake!) watched Dirty Harry!! How brilliant to watch a movie beset by clichés when they aren’t REALLY clichés, because he was the first to use ‘em!! Excellent stuff! Then, as an exercise in disappointment, we tried to rent Dirty Harry 2 from Xtra Vision, Rush. What a pain that entire video chain is!! Unless you want American Scary Movie Pie, then you are bound to end up crying!!

Anyway, tonight is looking good, coz we’re going to a movie in the Dublin Film Festival – Woody Allen’s ‘Melinda and Melinda’ starring Will Ferrall. How will the man cope with his irrepressible ad-lib act being…well….repressed under Woody Allen’s “there’s a comma in that line for a reason” tutelage!??! It remains to be seen!

Watch, as they say, this space…

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Oscar, Oscar - where for art thou?

The Oscars. Why do I care? Maybe it’s tradition – the same little devil on my shoulder that keeps me buying Empire magazine, even though I know that Total Film is far superior. But what awards show should I hold in higher regard than the Oscars? The reality is that they are all a load of crap, and those worthy in the filmmaking world are rarely rewarded.

Anyway, here’s my breakdown of the list of some of the nominations, what they mean to me, who I’d LIKE to win, and who will actually win:

Best Actor: Don Cheadle; Johnny Depp; Leonardo DiCaprio; Clint Eastwood; Jamie Foxx.
~~Johnny Depp should have won something a long time ago, but if he gets it for this tosh then it would be an insult to all his past work. I think Leonardo DiCaprio deserves it because, though I always disliked him, he’s bloody good in The Aviator. Jamie Foxx will get it though – prosthetics, blind, true story, American hero…it’s a shoe-in!

SHOULD: Leonardo DiCaprio
WILL: Jamie Foxx

Supporting Actor: Alan Alda, Thomas Haden Church, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Clive Owen.
~~Haven’t seen enough of these movies to truly comment, but Alan Alda definitely does NOT deserve it, and I bloody hated Collateral. I thought Morgan Freeman was good in an ‘I-could-do-this-role-in-my-sleep’ kind of way. I like Clive Owen too – though I haven’t seen Closer, and I think Sideways looks bloody crap. Basically, I think this one is up for grabs. Jamie Foxx won’t get it, because he’ll get best Actor. Alan Alda and Thomas Haden Church won’t get it. I think it’s between Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman, and I think Morgan will get it, as Clive is too British and Clint will miss out on the Best Actor Oscar for the movie, so the Academy will want to soften it’s ‘knock-the-old-guys’ blow.

SHOULD: Clive Owen (he’s been around soooo long!)
WILL: Morgan Freeman

Best Actress: Annette Bening, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Imelda Staunton, Hilary Swank, Kate Winslet.
~~Ok, no contest – I want Kate Winslet to get this one! I adored Eternal Sunshine, and thought she was excellent. I don’t know the roles played by Annette Bening and Catalina, but I know that Imelda Staunton can’t get it because Vera Drake is a ‘back-door’ abortionist. America don’t like no baby-killers!!! I thought Hilary Swank was very decent, I have to say, and I wouldn’t mind her getting it either. However, judging by the Golden Globes, I would have to say that I think the Academy are going to go all ‘let’s-praise-the-middle-american-values-upheld-by-middle-aged-people’ and give it to Annette Bening. Kate Winslet will be robbed!

SHOULD: Kate Winslet
WILL: Annette Bening

Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, Laura Linney, Virginia Madsen, Sophie Okenedo, Natalie Portman.
~~I’m at a total loss for this one, having only seen The Aviator so far. So, all I can safely say is that Cate Blanchett should NOT get it. I love Laura Linney, and she’s overdue a statue, but I admire Natalie Portman’s skills. Therefore I’m going to say, Natalie Portman should get it, but Laura Linney will.

SHOULD: Natalie Portman (but I do love Laura!!)
WILL: Laura Linney

Animated Feature: The Incredibles, Shark Tale, Shrek 2.
~~I think probably The Incredibles – Shark Tale was too Italian-American risqué, and Shrek 2 was crap. Ok – The Incredibles deserve it, and The Incredibles will get it.

SHOULD: The Incredibles
WILL: The Incredibles

Cinematography: The Aviator, House of Flying Daggers, The Passion of the Christ, The Phantom of the Opera, A Very Long Engagement.
~~Hmmm – it’s a toughy! I think they might try and pawn The Passion off with this one, or give a nod to ‘foreign types’ with either House of… or A Very Long…, but I reckon The Aviator deserves it – the cinematographer managed some extremely tricky shots with grace and elegance. Not many movies you can say that about! I’m not even going to MENTION Joel Shumacher’s latest turd!

SHOULD: The Aviator
WILL: The Aviator

Costume Design: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Lemony Snicket’s …, Ray, Troy.
~~I’d say Troy – I mean, they have to give it SOMETHING, don’t they?!? Failing that, Lemony Snicket could get it for Mr. Carrey’s transformations!

SHOULD: Lemony Snicket
WILL: Troy

Best Director: The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, Ray, Sideways, Vera Drake
~~Also a tricky one – although Mike Leigh has been pretty overlooked, I think his not being American will stand against him. Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorcese will, I think, toss it out for who the Academy pities the most. Possibly Clint – I mean, he’s getting damn old, and his latest is actually a very good movie!! I think it was better than The Aviator, which I also enjoyed, but I’m not sure how the Academy are voting – is it for past achievement or get-him-before-he-goes? Too close to call, really, but I think I’m gonna go with Scorcese for this one, even though Clint deserves it more!

SHOULD: Clint Eastwood
WILL: Martin Scorcese

Documentary: Born into Brothels, The Story of the Weeping Camel, Super Size Me, Tupac: Resurrection, Twist of Faith.
~~I’ve only seen Super Size Me, which I loved, but didn’t think it was the most amazing documentary of all time! I think Born into Brothels will be too close to home for middle-America, what with them having caused it all!! The sympathy vote notwithstanding, I think I’m gonna go with The Story of the Weeping Camel for this one. And for God’s sake, let Tupac GO, people!

WILL: The Story of the Weeping Camel

Film Editing: The Aviator, Collateral, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Ray.
~~Haven’t seen Ray yet, but I’m guessing it’s edited as all ‘true-lifers’ are edited, so I don’t want IT to get it. Finding Neverland and Million Dollar Baby shouldn’t either, for almost the same reason as Ray, and as for Collateral – from the Stephen Soderbergh school of editing, and still crap! Sad, really. So, I guess that The Aviator – even with it’s butt-numbing length – is still my baby for this one. Usually it’s used for the film that’s not going to get any others, so I say The Aviator SHOULD get it, but that Million Dollar Baby probably will!

SHOULD: The Aviator
WILL: Million Dollar Baby

Foreign Language Film: As it is in Heaven, The Chorus, Downfall, The Sea Inside, Yesterday.
~~I haven’t seen any of these, and am DISGUSTED that The Motorcycle Diaries isn’t in here. I refuse to comment for both these reasons!!

SHOULD: The Motorcycle Diaries
WILL: Don’t care

Makeup: Lemony Snicket’s…, The Passion of the Christ, The Sea Inside.
~~I’m going to go with The Pash for this one – I think it deserves it, really, plus I don’t actually think it’s going to get much other accolades!

SHOULD: The Passion
WILL: Lemony Snicket
(just in case they get all 'sacreligious' on Pash's ass, eh?)

Best Picture: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Ray, Sideways.
~~Ok, as with the Director issue, I don’t know whether it’s gonna be Clint or Scorcese. Therefore I’m going to say that one will get Best Picture, and one will get Best Director. Unless they do a huge apology to Scorcese, and give him everything he’s nominated for, LOTR style. I think, though, that the opposite to what I said for Best Director will happen – that Scorcese deserves this one more, but that Clint will probably get it!

SHOULD: The Aviator
WILL: Million Dollar Baby

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Before Sunset, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, The Motorcycle Diaries, Sideways.
~~I’ll keep it short – I think The Motorcycle Diaries SHOULD get it, but that Finding Neverland WILL get it…just because they can’t give it any other statues!

SHOULD: The Motorcycle Diaries
WILL: Finding Neverland

Writing (Original Screenplay): The Aviator, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Hotel Rwanda, The Incredibles, Vera Drake.
~~Another toughy. Could go either way, this one! Hotel Rwanda could get it for ‘worthiness’, and Vera Drake could get it because it won’t get any others. The Incredibles definitely WON’T get it. But actually, when it comes down to it – I think it’s probably a two horse race between The Aviator and Eternal Sunshine. I want Eternal Sunshine to win, because it’s probably one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, but I think it will be The Aviator because the Academy will want to placate Scorcese into ignoring his years in the wilderness! Plus, the story is about an AMERICAN, people! Oh say can you see, by the dawns early light……

SHOULD: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
WILL: The Aviator

So, there you have it. My predictions and comments. There are the usual disappointments and annoyances associated with the entire event – people left out that really should NOT be left out (most significantly, where is Jim Carrey’s nomination for Best Actor??), and others included for no reason whatsoever. Until people other than stuffed shirts and Bush voters judge these events, this awards ceremony will continue to be the joke it has been.

On the other hand, don’t you just KNOW that I’ll be staying up all night to watch them??!! Probably reading Empire while I’m doing it………………

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Christmas is dead...long live Christmas!

Christmas is dead for another year…or, as Alan says, ‘It’s all over until next October’! Clever man, that one! It went well – as you can see from Alan’s blog, my sister had a baby boy, so that was very nice! We had a white Christmas, too (literally just Christmas – the snow was almost gone the next day), which made my selection box taste all the sweeter! Christmas dinner was everything it should be and much, much, much more…and Santa-fever was well instilled by all my various nieces and nephews.

St. Stephen’s night was excellent, with some extreme boink-fun had by all at McMad-Out-Of-It’s gafferooonnneeeeyyy, and fairly serous bonding was achieved. The early hours of the morning rang in with festive cheer, and Alan and myself sauntered home happy campers!

New Year’s Eve found us heading to Dundalk – I drove – with two Byrnes in the back, fighting like wee kinder…I got mild panic when I felt the urge to do the old ‘slap-the-legs-between-the-seat’ Mammy manoeuvre, and had to remind myself that they weren’t my children!! However, we arrived in good time and had a ball in the house, followed by a smaller ball in the pub, followed by a much larger and fun-filled ball back in the houses. We sang, we laughed, we drank, we splurged – such merriment and happiness! More bonding was allowed as I got locked in Bones’ eye line and was drawn in to a sometimes hard-to-follow and mostly one-way conversation. An example of a comment from Del Boner would be ‘Car…tree…heaven…friendship….youknowwhatImean?!?’. To which I would, of course, reply ‘Yes, my friend, I truly DO know what you mean’.

Next morning found us driving homeward-bound amid flying debris and downed trees in what was later discovered to be a mini-TORNADO (the word ‘mini’ escaped our mass-hysteric population, and instead we are now at the mercy of freak weather systems), to a fabulous dinner cooked by Mater, which was most enjoyable after a night of VERY little sleep.

Since then I have returned to work, Kelly has returned to Ireland, and Sarah is soon to join us. Things are balancing back to post-Christmas sameness and all will soon be status quo again.

A word on my car – I have managed to put 2500 miles on it in the past three and a half weeks, so I love it, and it loves me! My crazy little feasty! Also, I am discovering - to my OWN surprise - that Neil Young is my favourite driving music except for when I am stuck in traffic. In this instance, Zepellin Four is my distraction of choice. Funny how things work out.

In closing, I have confirmation from Alan that when I woke up yesterday morning, I rolled over and sleepily said:

“How come you never hear somebody say ‘Hello, my name is Colin and I work in the accounts department of the Starship Enterprise’?”