Posted by: twobigyellowcranes | 3 December 08

Its not often I feel sorry for the Queen, but…

I would consider myself a monarchist with possibly the smallest ‘m’ imaginable. I can see pros and cons on either side of the debate, but am probably just too lazy to really have thought about it and come to a conclusion other than “oh, let’s just leave things as they are”.

That said, today’s Queen’s Speech to Parliament is, to my mind, one of the most pointless things in our great democracy. We know she has written it, we suspect she disagrees with parts of it so why should she be made to read it out? I can’t imagine she feels particularly empowered by it – do you think she woke up this morning and thought “great, I am off to see Gordon Brown and his chums” or hit the snooze button and pulled her pillow over her head at just the thought of it?

If we want to engage our young people in politics, why not have a competition for one of them to read it out instead? Or an on-line vote to see which celebrity people would like to undertake the task? I can’t say that I would be any more interested this year if it was David van Day (although KBE obviously would…) or John Barrowman (trouser snake in or out could be an additional voting option), but at least it would be a change.

Posted by: twobigyellowcranes | 17 November 08

My mother warned me about girls like this

A closing comment on the BBC Radio 2 fiasco. I still think Brand and Ross jumped across the line of good taste and the BBC production team made a huge error of judgement in broadcasting what they did. I still very sorry for Andrew Sachs for hearing what he had to hear and for having to deal with everything that came after it.

It is good to see that his loving grand-daughter is maitaining her concern for her grand-father and determined to conduct herself in a manner that couldn’t possibly hurt his feelings or be perceived to be milking the incident that she was so hurt by for all it is worth. Sorry, what’s that?



Posted by: twobigyellowcranes | 12 November 08

Brown’s Britain

The economic crisis summarised in one incident. Yesterday I bought a Wispa bar in the shop across the road for 55p. Today, the same bar cost me 59p. That is a 7% rise in cost overnight.



Posted by: twobigyellowcranes | 31 October 08

Who watches the Watchmen?

When I was at the Queen’s University of Belfast (let’s give it its proper title and see if we can incite people to have a protest parade against that), I went through a phase of buying and reading comic books. I never felt entirely able to call them graphic novels, because I thought it was trying to justify a guilty pleasure unnecessairly. Regardless, I had kind of thought that I had grown of them, largely because my wife (then girlfriend who I was still trying to impress) thought they were, well, a bit rare.

Fast forward to the here and now and I have largely given up trying to impress my wife. Empire Magazine (which I subscribe to) did a feature a couple of months ago on the film of the Watchmen coming out next year (boring law suits aside), which kind of got me thinking about the medium of graphic novels again. So I bought the complete series (which Time Magazine included in its 100 best novels of the 20th century) and have just finished reading it. I tend to now judge a book on whether I will stay up late to read it and the last few nights I have been turning the lights off around half past midnight (rock ‘n’ roll). It is really clever, politically provocative and well drawn and I had no idea how far its influence had spread (Heroes Series 1 anyone?) From what I have seen from the trailer, the film looks to be a very faithful adaption. Roll on next year (when I will have to find something other than my wife to go with me).

In the meantime, the graphic novels picking up on Stephen King’s Dark Tower/Gunslinger series and full-on geekdom beckon…

Posted by: twobigyellowcranes | 29 October 08

Trying to be outraged, but with a sense of perspective

Maybe this is the Daily Mail part of me that I try to repress speaking, but I have really, really felt the  need to air my views on the whole Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross/Andrew Sachs farce (so much so that it has awoken me from my blogging slumber). I’ve no personal axe to grand against either of the two presenters – I quite like Jonathan Ross and I’m hugely ambivalent to Russell Brand (if only because I think that he loves to be either loved or hated) – but the whole episode has really left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

But why? Is it because I have a problem with the swearing on the radio show? No – I listen to far worse language daily and occasionally use far worse language myself (usually around 3pm on a Saturday afternoon). Is it because I find Russell Brand boasting about his sexual conquests particularly offensive? No – if anything, I find it all a bit boring and repetitive (a bit like how I find him generally). Is it because I feel sorry for the girl in question? No – I have to say that I think that if she did get “involved” with Brand in any way (*ahem*), then she must have known that she at least ran the risk of him doing something about her (particularly if he knew or found out who her grandad was).

I just find it really hard to believe that grown men would ring up a guy who is 78 years old and leave a series of messages on it about how one of them shagged his grand-daughter (the reference to Andrew Sachs potentially killing himself seems to have offended some most of all, but not me – it was a throw-away comment and surely can’t be taken to be a serious comment on the problems of suicide). I’m trying to put myself in my father-in-law’s shoes in 20 years time or myself in 40+ years’ time and imagine what that felt like hearing that about your grand-daughter. Obviously she has her life to lead and if Brand had decided to include a bit in his act about having shagged Manuel’s grand-daughter, then that is one thing. What possessed them to think that it was a good idea to effectively boast about it to the man in question (or, more pertinently to my mind, possessed the production team to run the pre-recorded show 2 days later)? What age is Jonathan Ross, a man with kids of his own?

They have apologised now and Andrew Sachs has graciously accepted the apologies. I’d like to see them get a slap on the wrists from the BBC, which should itself be asked some pretty tough questions. But then… MOVE ON!!! Is this really the most important news story of the last couple of days? Who are the 18,000+ people who have been moved to complain (and how many of them have actually heard the broadcast)? On the BBC News website right now, this is the most important story in the world, whilst the third most important story is that David Tennant is quitting Doctor Who. Eh??? Come again???

I’m coming back to set all this right.

Posted by: twobigyellowcranes | 27 September 08

“Yeah, well, sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand.”

I’ve been shaken from my blog apathy to just post how much I loved Paul Newman, who died today. Not in a gay way, although I am comfortable enough in my heterosexuality to say that he was a great looking guy in his prime and much, much cooler than my wife’s all-time favourite heart throb, Robert Redford. Was Newman cooler than McQueen? Very possibly, if only for the fact that being cool meant so much less to him.

A great guy whose dedication to the charitable causes he supported was challenging, whose political views were engaging, whose dislike of celebrity was infamous and who sustained a incredibly long marriage despite all of the temptations that must have come his way. Most of all though, a great, great actor. Here is one of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite films, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

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