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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Gareth Marklew's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, January 24th, 2015
10:24 pm
Further Filmic Musing
Having watched a film, I like to look it up on IMDB.

Far and away the most entertaining bit of IMDB is the Parents' Guide. I'm never sure who contributes to these things, but it seems there are a number of helpful souls put there who spend their time watching films just to count the swear words, catalogue the assortment of naked body parts and record the amount of blood and gore, before rushing to a computer to warn the rest of us about them.

Helpful as this undoubtedly is, I do think the reviewers of "300: Rise of an Empire" may have been just a tad overly concerned about protecting fragile little minds.

Amongst the detailed chronicling of the vast quantities of blood and gore, and notable occurrences of violent sex, someone really cuts to the chase about the most disturbing part of the film:

"In two scenes, women lead armies in sea battles..."

Oh, the humanity! Won't somebody think of the children?
9:30 pm
Filmic Musing
Watching "300: Rise of an Empire". Can't help thinking that the Greeks might have done better if they'd put some armour on.
Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
10:15 pm
The BNP: Just as Nuts as Ever
Those delightful chaps over on the lunatic fringe had a bad election season as voters abandoned them in their droves for the dubious delights of Nigel Farage, but they're still plugging away. What fascinating insights does their website offer today?

Well, proving their fingers are on the pulse of current events, they have their response to the reports of cover-ups of child abuse by figures in authority. This is clearly a serious, sensitive matter that should be treated as such. So naturally, the British National Party approach the matter accordingly:
"Child abuse and paedophilia have always been at the root of western society and it is this that is the corner stone of British Empire and the British Establishment...

There is the State procurement program where unaccountable Social Services arbitrarily abduct children in to care to be abused.

There is the state run and totally unaccountable BBC that groomed Jimmy Savile to procure and pimp children...

The rape and abuse of our children on an industrial scale by Muslim paedophiles has no effect on our elites because, quite simply, many of them are paedophiles themselves and they see nothing wrong with it...

All paedophiles must be punished, castrated and removed for the safety of all our children..."

So there we have it. One might wonder why the BNP, if they truly believe that western society is based upon child abuse, have described in the past how they see their politics as a fight for western civilisation. One might wonder what sort of twisted view point sees Social Services and the BBC as deliberately placing children at risk. One might wonder what counts as "abuse of our children on an industrial scale", and wonder what proof of such industrial activity they hold that has evaded the attention of law enforcement, and wonder why the fact that some child abusers are (nominally at least) Christian goes unmentioned.

One could wonder a lot of things about the BNP, but the answer to all such questions is the same. They're simply prepared to exploit anything, even the suffering of victims of the most horrendous abuse, if that allows them to peddle their own dirty little politics.
Saturday, July 5th, 2014
8:58 pm
Film Review

So a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I mentioned a particularly bad film. But, now, I have discovered a film that makes The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns look positively Oscarworthy. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present, for your delectation, Grendel.

Some films are bad. Some films are so bad they're good. Some films pass through that category into the realm of the dreadful. And then there are films such as this which you have no choice but to watch, because the sheer sight of them is enough to deaden the brain and cripple the nervous system to such an extent that you're left unable to move to change the channel, and instead can only sit there, drooling slightly as your stunned mind struggles to cope with the awe inducing realisation that people got paid to make this thing.

If anyone's willing to risk a viewing, and has digital TV, it's been on Syfy recently, so you may catch it there, but don't say I didn't warn you. For those fortunate souls who manage to avoid it, it's hard to encompass the full extent of the train wreck in words, but let me try to summarise a few key points:

- You know Beowulf is an important viking, because he has far and away the biggest horns on his helmet.

- Beowulf's favourite weaponry is that well known sixth century staple the crossbow. With telescopic sight.

- And explosive bolts.

- As Beowulf is riding to the big, final encounter, the King of the Danes just happens to mention that the one weapon which can kill the big bad is within her lair. The next shot is Beowulf finding said weapon...

- Following the great example of its predecessor in noteworthy OMGness The Magical Legend of Leprechauns, it stars a Star Trek - The Next Generation actor. If Counsellor Troi could see Marina Sirtis' Queen Wealhtheow, I can only imagine that she'd feel great desperation and waves of despair...

The good news is that the existence of films gives all the wannabe film stars in LARP and Am Dram hope. If Grendel got made, there is hope that one day a Director might want us all to play a leading role in a fantasy epic, thus kickstarting our Hollywood careers.

The better news is I've also discovered two really quite good films recently.

Firstly, Sunshine on Leith - a musical, based entirely on the works of the Proclaimers. If I say it's a very sweet film, I don't mean it in the internet kitten sense of the word, but rather it's small, it's nice, perfectly formed without being saccharine. Simple enough plot, well executed, beautifully filmed and nailed on appealling performances (albeit, I suspect Scots out there will notice the odd wandering accent from the English (and Gallowegian) parts of the cast...). Really a film to get lost in, and then emerge from with a Readybrek glow.

Finally, an older film, which I got around to seeing for the first time today, Pleasantville. Stunning effect work, used to add to simple but engaging stories, again with really well judged performances from a top notch cast. A beautifully crafted, slow, easy smile of a film.

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
6:47 pm

For any cricket fans out there, it looks like there was a corker of a day at Trent Bridge today:

Fourth day of Notts v Middlesex in the County Championship. In the first three days, Middlesex had made 505-9 declared on their first innings, Notts had replied with 392 all out. Middlesex had reached 220-5 by stumps yesterday. This morning, Middlesex lost wickets regularly, before declaring on 271-9, about 1 1/2 hours before lunch - leaving Notts needing 385 to win. Not since 1926 have a team achieved a score that high in the final innings of a match to win at Trent Bridge, but guess what...

- After ten overs of the reply, Notts were on 65-1

- At lunch, they'd reached 108-0 off eighteen overs

- A couple of wickets fell in the afternoon, but by tea, they were up to 234-2, with 151 needed to win, but with only 37 overs left to get them...

- which of course they duly did - 387-4 off 74.4 overs :Hales 94 from 142 balls, Jacques 76 from 79, Lumb 68 from 82, Taylor 56* from 94, Wessels 74* from 48 balls, only Samit "the most frustrating batsman in history" Patel failing with his 5...

- And to top it all, Wessels hit a six off Eoin Morgan to win the match and put Notts top of the table...

Now that is what you call a comeback, and that, England, is how you bat in your second innings!

Only one match, and probably no more than a Wisden footnote in cricketing history, but that's what I call a game (and also proof positive of the value of Twitter to the working cricket fan).

Saturday, February 8th, 2014
9:49 pm
Olympic Memories

I was just watching a BBC documentary on Torvill and Dean's Bolero performance. You forget just how good they really were. When you thInk how difficult it must be to find one person who can dance well enough to compete internationally, and then add that not only do they have to dance but they have to do it in skates on ice, the fact that it's possible to find two people who can do that, and do it so well together that they're totally in tune with each other comes close to being unbelievable.

Apparently something like half the population of the UK at the time watched that performance - I think in Nottingham there weren't many who didn't see it. I certainly remember it well, although I was just under seven at the time - and today, I live on Dean Close, off Torvill Drive, on the Torvill and Dean estate....(and considering Robin Hood only got a statue, a pub and a marathon, that shows how much they mean to the city!)

So, just in case you don't know what I'm talking about here they are.

And some more...

And a bit more.

And finally...

Ii said it before, and I'll say it again, unbelievable.

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
11:11 pm
Thursday, June 20th, 2013
8:45 am
TV Related Musing

I was watching "The Route Masters", the Beeb's new fly-on-the-wall documentary about Transport for London, the other night.

One of the undoubted stars of the show was the Gurkha-turned-road-mender, who trotted around with his mate, cheerfully filling potholes and carrying stranded pedestrians through flooded tunnels, whilst commenting that he liked working in London because it was "better than the back streets of Kathmandu", and who happily observed that the UK was "the best place in the world" to bring up his children.

I can't help thinking he must have got certain sections of the press, not to mention parts of the political scene, very confused. Is he a "hero" (standard Tabloidese for anyone who either is serving or ever has served in the armed forces), or an economic migrant flooding into the UK to steal British jobs?

(Edit: amusingly, the Daily Mail seemed to go for the former option: "...possibly the best Prime Minister this country will never have..", gushed its reviewer, in a not at all hypocritical display from the paper that usually loves immigrants so much.)

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
11:43 pm
BNP - Defending Your Rights to Give People Jelly Babies.

So, there's a "special feature" on the BNP's website, with a

fascinating advertCollapse )

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
9:59 pm

Watching Borgen -high quality Danish drama. It's subtitled, which is a good job, because I don't speak Danish - but occasionally I hear something in the dialogue and, whilst I don't understand it, it's almost as if I get a sudden nudge that understanding's just frustratingly around the corner, potentially there but out of reach - vanishing as soon as I've realised it's there as the dialogue moves on. It's only to be expected I suppose - after Dutch, Danish is probably the closest of the European languages to English, but I do wonder what it is in the human mind that triggers such recognition? Is it just a matter of the mind noting familiar sounds, or is it something deeper in the sub-conscious understanding of the language that recognises patterns and structures that have the same roots as English and tries to process what some part of the mind believes should be making sense?

Ok, so my ponderings go off at random tangents some times. What makes it more curious is that I was listening to psyquid's cd and, like always, got exactly the same sensation of almost understanding just out of reach when I was listening to Five Century Riddle, one of my favourites.

Isn't it funny how two completely different circumstances trigger exactly the same reaction?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Friday, October 12th, 2012
1:43 pm
Political Fun And Games From Down Under
There was a debate recently in the Australian parliament that merits reporting. The opposition Liberal leader, Tony Abbott, had tabled a motion calling for the resignation of the Parliament's Speaker, Peter Slipper, who had been found to have sent sexist texts (Slipper, as far as I can make out, was originally a Liberal, but became an Independent when he became Speaker. If he was forced to resign, the resulting by-election could be crucial, because Labour's majority in the Australian parliament is wafer thin). Julia Gillard, Australia's Prime Minister responded, with possibly the best example ever of why people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
Friday, September 14th, 2012
11:08 pm
Well It Made Me Chortle...

Just watching the Fairport Convention 45th Anniversary concert on BBC4. Had to laugh at the slight amendment they'd made to the lyrics of Matty Groves:

"And how do you like my feather bed,
And how do you like my sheets?
And how do you like my curtains,
that I bought in Ikea last week?"

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Saturday, September 1st, 2012
10:22 am
The Dream's The Thing

Dream last night too bizarre not to post about.

We're on Jersey. It's covered in snow, probably because the aliens have invaded. The salvage platform I worked on was somewhere in the direction of the alien invasion, so I was getting a lift over there with my dad and younger brother, because I needed to meet up with the rest of the salvage crew - namely caribou95 and fundessie because we needed to assist the fourth member of the team, psysquid who had been at the salvage platform defusing a bomb, but was now twenty minutes away because he'd gone to get a Chinese takeaway....

I reckon that there's a Hollywood script in there somewhere.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Friday, August 10th, 2012
11:00 pm
Rage and Nashing of Teeth
Play time. First night went alright, but could have been sharper. Tonight was dreadful. Frankly when we were done I was embarrassed to have been part of it.

80 - 90% of the problems are down to one person. Don't get me wrong, most of the time I can remember my lines, and my timing's alright, but I'm no actor. But at least I don't forget lines when they're written down in front of me. At least I actually remember where I'm meant to be standing between one night and the other. At least I have the vaguest comprehension of what's going on around me on stage, and the slightest awareness that it might be handy to take what's happening into account and amend my performance accordingly. And at least when I cock up the casual onlooker might get the impression that I know it and accept my error.

But this one person blunders through like a blind walrus (although less entertaining)seemingly completely oblivious to it all. "Oh that wasn't too bad" she says breezily. "The audience didn't notice..." But I noticed, damn it, and if we were better the audience would enjoy it more.

I can accept that amateur dramatics are meant to be amateur - as I say, Martin Sheen I aint. What irritates me is that when people are, and have been, busting a gut to get things right, and when we're asking people to pay to see us perform, there seems to be no comprehension from this person that "the audience didn't notice" is not the standard we should be aiming for or happy with.

Believe it or not, I like drama. Being an egotist, I like being on stage, putting in a great performance to entertain people. Trouble is, we're so short on numbers we have little choice but to cast certain people, and we're limited in the range of plays we can put on when we have only one male cast member (which I guess is at least the only way I'll ever get the lead male role.) It would be nice to be able to put on a decent play, with a cast where we could rely on everyone to actually care about what they're doing. Is that really to much to ask?

Oh well. Hopefully when tomorrow's last night comes round everything will be better.

Current Mood: frustrated
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
11:37 pm
For no reason other than the fact that I can, a few links to musical clips from films that I particularly like:

First up, still the best film ever, Casablanca, and this scene is one of, if not the, best in it. fundessie linked to it from his Facebook a while ago, but it's worth looking at again, and again. Interestingly, a number of the cast and extras in the scene (including Conrad Veidt, who played the Nazi Major Strasser) were refugees and exiles from Nazi Europe, and several of them had spent time in concentration camp. There's emotion in that scene that's not an act, and the circumstances of the actors, and the context of the film, filmed in 1942, at the height of the Second World War go to explain that. There's an alternative version, but that doesn't quite pack the same punch...

Next up, more music and another war. Zulu. Now, this film has suffered with age. Hints of imperialism and racism, along with a somewhat dubious approach to history, mean that it probably wouldn't be made today. Still 'though, what a scene! There's no reason why "Men of Harlech" and Zulu chanting should work together, but they do. For the old Lions among you, I always think of the First Battle of Eagg Isle when I see this one.

And on to the aftermath of battle with Henry V. Heart wrenching stuff, with music and images going together perfectly. It looks perfectly plotted, with even the angles of people's movements all converging in order to add to the overall whole. And the boy Kenneth Branagh is carrying is Batman...

And now for something completely different. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers makes Zulu look politically correct, but this fight scene is just great fun (and for the Lions, it's what I like to imagine the Darkendales getting up to when they're not at events...)Actually, although this scene always makes me smile, it's not my favourite in the entire film. That's the Barn Dance which comes slightly before this scene. Sadly that one seems to have been completely removed from the internet (apart from a few versions put to different music) - I can only imagine that the film company are fussy about the rights for that one particular scene. Oh, and for members of The One (and Derby County fans), important advice can be found here - "A man can't sleep/when he sleeps with sheep..."

And finally... Well, again, I couldn't find the clip I wanted. But it's too good a theme, and too great a character to miss out. So sit back, watch this, and enjoy...
Thursday, July 5th, 2012
9:52 pm
The BNP: As Up To Date As Ever
So, I thought I'd trot over and see what everyone's favourite bunch of bigots were worrying about today.

And I discovered shocking news. Yes, apparently, some "Arab Muslims went to war on and seized black men, women, and children and transformed them into slaves".

Now, it is of course good to hear how the BNP cares about what happens to black people (because that hasn't always been the case), but you've got to wonder when they'll start their campaign to highlight the brutal depravity of those most notorious slavers, the Anglo-Saxons...

But wait. According to these guardians of the English, "slavery only lasted 3 centuries in the west..." So that's alright then. Unless you happen to know anything about British, English or European history in which case you'll know that such a claim is totally and utterly wrong. Still, it's not like the BNP claims to be proud of British history or anything, is it? Oh wait...
Thursday, April 5th, 2012
11:20 pm
On a Better Note...
I guess my last post was a tad on the depressing side, so here's something which cheered me up recently.

It should be remembered that crews of most of the RNLI lifeboats are volunteers, alerted by pagers when their help is needed. People are still willing to volunteer to risk their lives in "lifeboats launched into a 'full gale and rough seas'" (a great, evocative phrase that), and, when you think about it, that is something that really is awesome.
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
10:31 pm
The Six Ages of Man?
So I was watching TV the other day, and I came across this advert. A clever idea no doubt, and anything that celebrates the poetry of Shakespeare is something to be encouraged but there's something missing. Observant readers will notice that they miss out the end of the speech - Shakespeare wrote about seven ages of man, but the advert only goes up to number six.

Of course, Shakespeare's seventh age isn't particularly telegenic:

"Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

(As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7)

but what does the advert say by missing out that part of the speech? "Record your precious memories until you can't remember anything"? "Capture memories of your loved ones, as long as they're not senile, smelly and embarrassing"? "Be connected with your friends, but only in ways that are positive, life affirming and generally heart warming"?

It seems to me that being old, in whatever state of health, mental or physical, must be pretty lonely at times. It seems a pity that a global business would rather ignore that stage of life all together.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
9:28 pm
So, what would the British version of this be?

Wellington World anybody? Marlborough Merrygoround? Lionheart Land? The Alfred The Great Aexperience?
Friday, February 10th, 2012
9:01 pm
And More on Music
Awful lot of musical posts recently - I will find something else to post about at some point, honest

Anyway, I've just been watching the highlights of the BBC 2 Folk Awards - well worth a look if you have the time. I might personally have gone for other winners, but there's no denying the talent (and beards) on display. I wonder if we'll ever see any of our LARP musicians breaking through on to the "mainstream" national folk stage? That would be something worth seeing.

Talking of music, every so often, I get people assuring me that everybody can sing. I will point out that I am living evidence to the contrary. Now I can prove it. I've been asked before how various of Wen's songs are supposed to sound. Obviously, he's not going to be singing any time soon, so to demonstrate one of my personal favourites, I've recorded it. It's not so much "how it's supposed to sound", as it is "how it sounds when performed by someone who can't sing", and it was recorded via the use of an i-phone in my bathroom, so I make no guarantees for quality, but if that introduction hasn't put you off, and with thanks to Russ for technical assistance, now you can listen to The Blue and the Gold
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