In Which Gods, Hairy Feet, Mortality, The Art of Queueing, and Vampires Are Alluded

We love mountains and hiking in our house,   and in the days when we can’t do much more than potter around the local field, we miss those adventures the most. It was this yearning which drove us to discover new perspectives and stunning scenery via YouTube.

Whilst searching YT, I began reminiscing about the wonderful book, Mountains of the Mind, which dealt with so many facets of mountains from art, geology, and exploration. I also remembered the mountain scenes from books such as, The Hobbit, Dracula, and James Hilton’s Lost Horizon.

Somewhat disconcertingly Crissy was telling me how she would love to end her days on Everest, which given the queues for the top in recent years is a distinct possibility. Slightly more worryingly was her insistence that I join her in this endeavour of finality were her dream of going there ever to become a reality.

This short documentary that we found, shared below, is beautifully filmed, perfectly capturing the epic panoramas, whilst delving onto the lives of the Sherpas, porters, and their families, those so often forgotten but who are the real climbers, teachers and pack carriers.

The harshness of their way of life, and that of their families left at home makes for powerful viewing, the appalling risk of the work done through necessity –  and the whims of foreign climbers – as well as their need to survive and make a better life for their children, is extremely impactful.

The mountains of the Himalayas may overshadow its inhabitants, but it is important to be reminded how much is given by those whose relationship with the mountain is more akin to that of deity and worshipper, than the I’ll climb it ‘because its there’ attitude of so many abroad. This is well worth its fifteen minute runtime.

Evil Star Wars

There are few authors I actually pay attention to as people, unless the books are of extremely high quality. Thankfully Margaret Atwood is a thousand miles from being one of those authors.

I just heard about this so sorry for being a bit late with it. I’m talking of course the Variety interview Atwood did recently, which is a fairly straightforward, marginally interesting interview until she bizarrely makes the claim that Star Wars was to blame for 9/11.  I mean we all know it was Back to the Future that predicted it, but idiocy aside, what is the world coming too?  Here is the section in question (with my italics):

You attended one of the women’s marches last year. What do you make of this latest wave of activism? 
Typically, waves are waves. They hit the shore and then they recede and then they hit the shore again. How many backlashes have we been through? We used to have a race going on, to see which would win, between “1984” and “Brave New World.” It looked as if “Brave New World” had won. That turned out not to be true. Just to give you a very creepy feeling, there was an opera of “The Handmaid’s Tale” that premiered in Denmark in 2000. It started with a film reel going across the top of the stage and showing various things blowing up. And one of the things that blew up was the Twin Towers. But it hadn’t blown up yet. They did the opera again, and they had to take it out, because it was no longer in the future. Does that give you a creepy feeling?

Yes, it does.
They didn’t get that idea from my opera, don’t worry. They got the idea from “Star Wars.”

Do you really believe that?
Remember the first one? Two guys fly a plane in the middle of something and blow that up? The only difference is, in “Star Wars,” they get away. Right after 9/11, they hired a bunch of Hollywood screenwriters to tell them how the story might go next. Sci-fi writers are very good at this stuff, anticipating future events. They don’t all come true, but there are interesting “what if” scenarios.

Where do you start with this car crash?  Most importantly her play was not a catalyst at all, it couldn’t have been. We don’t know why not, and as usual interviewers won’t do their job and ask probing questions so I guess that will remain a mystery.  Star Wars gave them the idea – presumably not the original film – not one of the many books or films where hijackings and attempts to do damage with planes are central plot points..

I’m not offended because it’s Star Wars,  I’m not one of those people. I enjoyed the original trilogy but think the new films are utter rubbish. but why would anybody who seems intelligent come up with something so downright odd?  Maybe it was an odd bit of failed sarcasm, although it doesn’t read like it.  The more cynical may suggest it is because the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale is due to air on the 25th April.  If this is the best she has, then maybe save it for the marketing team.  Whatever the reason, I’ll save my money and not encourage such people and their inane ideas with book/DVD sales.

Last Weekend Reviews Part 1

Last weekend being a bank holiday weekend, had me out enjoying life with a couple of mates before a week of night shifts hence my silence of late. Instead of running down our trail of destruction, pillage and debauchery like I usually would, this time I’ll be reviewing two of the pastimes of the weekend that polarised my opinions.

The first was watching Straight Outta Compton, I had high hopes for this biopic of ‘the world’s most dangerous group’ which were sadly dashed fairly early on.   For those not familiar with N.W.A., they were an immensely talented group around from 86-91 who revolutionised Hip-Hop with visceral social commentary as well as some interesting moral values, or lack there of.  Their notoriety stemming from their standing up to an institutionally racist police force and giving a platform to how life was on their streets of Compton.

The film’s running time is two and a half hours so I accept things have to move quickly but the Genesis of the band and the subsequent successes and seemingly meteoric rise to fame felt like they were achieved with no real struggles or setbacks apart from the odd run in with the police, which felt pretty unrealistic.   With such a speedy introduction the protagonist’s histories weren’t given much of a look in and there was little sense of fleshing out as a result.

The gigs are wonderful though, there is a feeling of the energy which their stage presence undoubtedly generated coupled with the obvious talent and ability they had.  This coming out of adversity and driving anger, telling it how it is in a raw way is very well done and having listened to the albums for a number of years, there are some mighty catchy tracks from these lyrical poets.

It was a waiting game for it all to go wrong but that just wasn’t balanced with much in the way of underlying tension, the greed and creative differences just sort of pop up in sequence as it were, rather than being in the background brooding and slow burning before the inevitable clashes.  The main problem of the film for me though is how awkward it feels in certain parts, where instead of using subtlety chooses to stick a massive great signpost into a foundation of clunky dialogue because as an audience we are obviously too unintelligent to understand the nuances what it happening. Continue reading “Last Weekend Reviews Part 1”

Musings, Ribs and Mad Max: Fury Road

So I’m on the bus the other day and with the road works effecting every conceivable route (all one of them) to my destination, I had much time to ponder and luckily having a window seat to peer out of made me feel like I was acting in a reflective scene for a film as well, I always enjoy that, just in case anyone is glancing in my direction.


After having had a wander around for a bacon cob and securing cinema tickets, a pint was well due, as my latest book (one for the anthropology fans amongst you) hadn’t been getting the love it deserved that day.  Partly because I had wandered into the big bookshop armed with my wish list and found none of the obscure titles that had taken my fancy, neither could I find the new titles being spoken of by my fellow bloggers which begs the question what do I do in future if I want to actually physically buy a book I want.

It is that becoming a reader with different tastes from the big name authors is actually a hindrance when shopping?  Maybe high street shops are redundant for me, as they aim for a different market, it’s a sad state of affairs but my mind quickly turned onto something more whimsical.   I was quite surprised to have found that alone with my thoughts and still not having read that book yet, I had been taking in this fairly surreal set up and it hadn’t clicked for at least twenty minutes.


All that was quickly put right by meeting Tom at a barbecue joint and having a can of Pistonhead Full Throttle, picked purely because it seemed appropriate for the film we were about to see.  Red’s True BBQ is a curious place, it’s very friendly staff seem not to notice that they work in a restaurant which is the spitting image of the location of the knife fight in West Side Story, the only difference being that Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix was blasting out which is always a welcome aural pleasure
Continue reading “Musings, Ribs and Mad Max: Fury Road”

Silent Flight (of Fancy)

Recently I have been re-indulging in silent films, such is my desire to get into a little bit of everything and as usual I have been agog at how the simplest of situations can be turned into something really clever and still visually stunning.  Today’s post then is more heavily accented on the visual than usual.

Part of the charm that these films have, apart from crossing language boundaries and being universally accessible in any era, is their inventive nature.  With such constraints in place as there were in the technology, there was a need to innovate to capture the viewer, especially people of today who are spoilt with all their HD, 3D Ultra sharp coloured up special FX.

It’s art in its purest form, the whole body portrayed in dramatic terms to convey to the watcher what the character is experiencing.  Which is reminiscent of the actors in Greek plays who wore masks and would manipulate their voices and bodies in order to bring their message to the crowds watching.  Constraints always bring innovation and these days physicality is less important in films but perhaps it should be an inspiration to build on. Continue reading “Silent Flight (of Fancy)”

Reeling You In?

After last post’s brief film review I have been galvanised with ideas to start reviewing film and TV shows, not the popular and famous ones that we have all heard of though.  Many people review those and as someone who lives in old books, the topical doesn’t suit me as well as others.

I am more than tempted to start taking on this idea to add into the mix with all the other stuff I do because when not reading my leisure time is spent in the solitary pursuit of watching things.  I am a man of simple pleasures…give me a tree (with branches), a semi flat piece of ground under said branches and some sunshine and I will be happy until dark.


I will probably review some new films if and when finances allow but really it’s an excuse to eat more popcorn than is healthy whether I am in the cinema or not.  Really I suppose I think it is best to canvass you the reader, is this something you’d want to see in amongst the usual words and thoughts? Bearing in mind that a lot of the stuff may be quite obscure although there will be a smattering of familiar faces easily available on Netflix and such sites.

The Raid 2 and Cinema Experience

Yesterday I went to the cinema, a rare event for me as I tend to watch my films in the company of two or fewer people, in fact mostly just by myself.  Having said that every so often a film comes along that demands to be experienced on the big screen..The Lord of the Rings were three such films with the epic scope to the fighting and the realisation of the world that it raised the benchmark for epic films.

Despite all that I do like the cinema with that sensory deprivation that gives an edge of danger and the unknown to what you are experiencing. The truly great films take you away to another world or time and it’s an amazing feeling to discover that piece of art which allows you to forget you are in a room full of other people and just be totally focused in that moment.


Although multiplex chains have become commonplace and make the world of quality cinema seem almost vestigial these days, (fans of independent cinema I salute you), there is no shame in giving the corporate suits some of your hard-earned money if the film demands it.  Ignoring the shamefully expensive food and drink as well as the people talking about how amazing Saw 26 was, it is somewhere I perhaps need to start going to more often.

The film I went to see was The Raid 2, a film in an all together different category from your average action flick. It’s a fantastically colossal action/thriller martial arts film which takes choreographed combat to the limits.  The sequel to The Raid, imaginatively titled The Raid 2: Berendal is one heck of a film…for those of you not familiar with the first film it had a simple plot of taking down a gang leader that didn’t get in the way of pure action, it’s a pacy film with really exhilarating to watch fight scenes which get longer as the film goes on.  The second film builds on this with even more style than the first without just rehashing the same film. Continue reading “The Raid 2 and Cinema Experience”