Sunday, February 26, 2006
Long before movie sequels became mandatory, Francois Truffaut made a series of films following the life of Antoine Doinel, a semi-autobiographical character.
Part 1 is Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 blows). The literal translation is 'Hellraiser'.
Doinel is a young boy living in Paris. He nicks of school, shoplifts, tells his teacher his mum has died to get out of school. In general a 'hellraiser'.
One day whilst playing truant he finds out his mother has a lover, which makes life at home even worse.
We next meet Antoine in "L'Amour à vingt ans " or better known as 'Antoine et Collette'. (the section of the movie that follows Antoine's life). Doinel is now just reaching early adulthood, and is not the most confident with the fairer sex. He falls in love with an older student who doesn not return his adoration. Collette re-appears in the next part, movie number 3, in a short scene. She passes Antoine in the street with her new husband. A Truffaut subtlety 'par excellence'. It was this movie that made me so interested in Truffaut's work when I was also going through my 'awkward' teenage years.
6 years later he made the third film 'Baiser Volés' (Stolen Kisses). Doinel has been in the army and recently left to pursue his love 'Christine Darbon'. He goes through various dead end jobs, before landing a position as a private investigator. Here he meets a shoe-shop owner Madame Tabard, a very elegant sexy lady who he is fascinated with and who eventaully seduces him.
I have read this is one of the least acclaimed of the Doinel series but for me it is the best.
Part 4: A silimar feel to Baiser Volés, "Domicile Conjugal" (Bed and Board) . Doinel is now 26. Married to Christine and working in a safe looking corporate job. His wife falls pregnant and Antoine falls for a japanese colleague, who is a little wierd to say the least. Nothing much happens in this movie, but there again nothing much happens in most Truffaut movies. But it is still gripping as its predecesor. I was gagging for the next installment after seeing it. What will become of our lying, cheating, inadeqaute hero Antoine.
The final installment came in 1979 "L'Amour en fuite" (Love on the run). Now in his thirties and divorced from Christine. The movie uses flashbacks from the previous 4 parts. He is in love now with Sabine a record seller. Antoine is a proofreader.
You can now buy a DVD collection of the 5 movies. Not cheap but my credit card is itching to see them again.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
It's that time of the year again when the locals here go a bit crazy and celebrate carnaval. I asked a lot of 'yocals' here why they celebrate it, most don't know, but the basic jist is it's a catholic thing about getting shit-faced before lent, when you have to starve your body of all those lovely things you need after 6 days on the piss.
Anyway so we went out for a quiet meal last night and were already confronted by the 'jollities' (Bah HumBug). So I think I may be hibernating till it is all over on Thursday. No maybe i will make an exception coz i do like to go into town and see the carnavaltjes crying over their mooswief burning or some such crap.
If you didn' get it yet, I don't join in. Nor shall I probably ever. Wierd aswell coz I am very much the kinda guy who would jump at a chance to spend lots of time in the boozer. But the carnaval is lost on me. I think it's lost itself. Last night on the way home we bumped in to three 'Canadians' dressed as monks. Well they said they were Canadian, until they found out I was English they admitted they were American and that being 'Canadian' seemed to make them more popular. Turned out they fly on the AWACS which we see so often circling in and around Maastrictht on training missions to spy on Iraq. etc.
So over the next few days we will be seeing a constant stream of colourful costumed Limburgers on their way to the pub pass our window, and again feel alienated in a 'nice?' way from the whole thing. Waiting for the supermarkets to open again. Oh no wait, they do now open the whole time through. Blimey consumerism has beaten the bugger!.
I feel like a right misery guts but there again that's how i feel about Christmas. Anyway let the 'madness' commence. Maybe like a few years ago i will give in and join in on one night. My mate rings up .
"Hey fancy doing carnaval tonight?"
"But i ain't got anything to wear"
"Come on it'll be a laugh"
"OK I'll improvise"
A black top and black trousers, and off i went and a helpful girl with make-up bag added MIB to my forehead. It was the year "Men in Black" came out. Went down a storm and all for the cost of a black eyeliner.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
This week i've been mixing in with many Germans, Americans, Aussies and basically a mix and match from around the world in an exhibition in Maastricht. But i did enjoy telling our Germans friends how we would be taking them on after the expo finished on Thurday. I could have gone to watch, but would of involved a mad dash to Stuttgart after 5pm; car full of my pc's and a table which they stood on. Not a good idea, especially after walking what feels like a 100km these last three days pestering companies.
But the Boro are marching on after their, now historic, win over Chelsea and are beating Vfb Stuttgart 2-1 in the away fixture. Surely a ticket to the next round. Can we take it that stage further this year and get to the Semis. I think this may be our year.
I feel a song coming on....
Oh Boro my only Boro,
You make me happy when skies are grey,
I never noticed how much i love you,
You'll never take my Boro away!.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
3-0 against Premiership Champions Chelsea.
Their heaviest defeat in any competition since Jose Mourinho walked through the door at Stamford Bridge.
It's a funny old game!
Three big scalps at the riverside this season: Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal.
But we can't beat Sunderland
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
I bet when Captain James Cook set off across the oceans from Whitby it was a piece of piss to come back with recorded data of new species in such exotic places as New Zealand, Australia, Asia and North Asia and the Pacific Islands.
But these days I would have thought it would be close to impossible to find a new species, never mind dozens of them. That’s what has just happened in Papua New Guineau. Doesn’t surprise me it happened there. I have a friend who has now been working in PNG for 5 years. One of her first weeks there the village she was staying in was attacked by a neighbouring cannibal tribe.
The intention of this tribe was to eat the two tasty looking Europeans ladies who were there teaching English and the ‘Holy Book’. If it wasn’t for the protectiveness of the non-cannibal tribe they were staying with it would have been an interesting new Limburgse Hutspot (Stew) that was served that day.
So thanks to Dr Bruce Beehler and his trusty crew we have some new beasts to marvel at on this planet. They reckon there is still a lot more to discover on this planet but I bet they don’t ever come in such abundance as this trip.
Monday, February 06, 2006
I've just ordered a book through eBay which arrived this week, "The Stone Roses - and the resurrection of British pop by John Robb". Got it for 50p. Not bad considering it hasn't been read. Well it has actually but not by the eBayer i got it 'offa'. She bought it for her boyfriend who is not a big reader. Guess she was trying to inspire him by buying a book for Christmas that might be of interest him, but it didn't work.
Anyways she wouldn't post it to Holland (silly mare!). That's twice in a row that i've bought stuff of UK eBayers and they have flaty refused to post to holland even though I said I would pay any extra for postage. The last one was 2 plates (replacing some i broke by leaving them on an open gas flame). She said " no i don't want to risk postage to Holland as they will break in the post". But apparently they won't break if she uses Royal Mail post.
So now I have to wait until May to get them from my parent's address. Waited till they arrived then left her a negative feedback comment. Like a kick in the nuts to a keen eBayer. So the Roses book i asked to post it to my brother, and he read it in a couple of days and then sent it over. I was flicking through and noticed he starts the book with a whole chapter devoted to the Roses Blackpool Empress Ballroom gig, which I went to.
So i thought for my next blog I'm gonna write a bit about the next big gig the Roses played which was Spike Island. I should still have the ticket for that somehwere. It was a piece of art in itself. Hold on.......attic here i come. Found it - Not bad condition considering it's 15 years old. Wonder what it would fetch on eBay. There is one for sale on there at the moment. So the Roses had played the Blackpool Empress Ballroom in August 89, which was their biggest gig to date. (3-4,000 ish) and shortly after (november 89) they played the Alexandra Palace in London (Alley Palley) to a slightly larger crowd. I didn't go to Alley Palley as The Happy Mondays were playing the same night in Manchester. Was an incredibly difficult decision to make.
My mates went to London, but mainly for financial reasons I plumped for the Mondays. So 6 months later they hadn't played any more gigs and after the rush of following them around we were in serious need of some Roses adrenalin. So when the Spike Island gig was announced we rushed down to Picadilly Records to get our tickets. As usual i was skint so I just bought the ticket and didn't go for the coach package like my friends did. I'll worry about how i get there later.
When the day finally came I waved my mates off in their plush coaches, and cadged a lift of my friend who was on his way down to Birmingham to go back to University. "Go on John mate, it's only a slight detour (took him about 2 hours longer). As soon as i saw the masses and masses of white tee-shirted fans all looking a bit lost but kind of all walking in the same direction I guessed i was there and sent John off back to Aston Uni. 1990 was pre-mobiles so somehow I had to link up with my friends amongt the 30,000 strong crowd, who all looked pretty similar. Roses white tee-shirts, flared jeans and floppy haircuts. the atmosphere was amazing. No-one knowing what was going to happen. In 1990 festivals were not 'places' to be. Cool bands avoided them let alone set one up themselves.
It was a glorious sunny day, and we parked our buts in the grass at a reasonable distance from the stage and awaited the 'event'. After an hour or two we soon realised that we were going to be subjected to crappy DJ after crappy DJ and no bands were supporting at all. So we wandered around a bit, ate some 'burgers' and attempted to get a beer in the beer-tent, which I succeeded at after an hour wait, but by the time i got back to the group most had spilled on the ground. At around 8pm it bacame apparent something was happening and as the sun was disappearing the band came on to a huge noise of relief and excitement. The set was only an hour but worth waiting for and was finished off with a firework display.
Sounds nothing special then but at the time we were all thinking . Wowwww Fireworks and an outside concert!!!!. note the white tee-shirts and jeans uniforms So that was it. All over and now "fuck off home please". So 30,000 people headed off in the dark over fields to try and find coaches and cars in little old Widnes. I followed the crowds to the nearest train and travelled free all the way to Manchester. The conductors didn't dare come round to check people had tickets. Whilst i waited for my cab on the corner of Picadilly Square I was approached by a nice looking lady, and asked if i wanted some company. "Yeah fine I'm just waiting for me taxi like, but sure if you want to chat!" "OK love it's 30 quid where do you wanna go?". I was young an naaive. I got back to 304 Larch Court to find all my mates sitting on my bed with sombre faces. (I picked the long straw when we moved into 304, and got the largest bedroom on the bottom floor next to the kitchen, but as i had a telly aswell my room became a living room where your fellow housemates didn't knock to enter).
"Howayy guys I know it's over but come on was a great day!!" They then proceeded to tell me how on the way back from Widnes they had heard accross the coach's radio that one of the other buses had crashed really badly and that a lot of fans may have been injured or killed. They had been listening to the local radio since they had got back to hear of their fates. So we sat there till 4 in the morning all on a downer until we realised that it was all bullshit and nothing had happened at all. Great day, kinda makes you realise why Mr Robb started his book with the Empress Ballroom gig and not Spike Island. As for the Roses, they played 2 more gigs in 91, Dublin and Glasgow and never appeared again for 5 years.
I was loking on Amazon to see if one of my favourite movies is available on DVD. "No" is the answer unless you have a region 1 (USA/Canada compatible player). Shame as my video is now buggered and I can't watch it anymore. Diner was a 'flick' made in 1982, directed by Barry Levinson, which starred a lot of unknown actors but they all went on to become big Hollywood names. The likes of ....Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Timothy Daly and Ellen Barkin. Kind of unique that a movie has been made that so many went from nobodys to big names eventually. Must show some talent of the casting director or the director himself. Its a move much about nothing , but still gripping in that you feel by the end that you know each of the characters mainly due to the excellent acting. I can't help but think that Quentin Tarantino was inspired by the dialogue of this film. Such classic lines. Shrevie: Ok, now ask me what's on the flip side. Beth: Why? Shrevie: Just, just ask me what's on the flip side, OK? Beth: What is on the flip side? Shrevie: Hey, Hey, Hey, 1958. Specialty Records. [Beth nods blankly] Shrevie: See? You don't ask me things like that, do you? No! You never ask me what's on the flip side. Beth: No! Because I don't give a shit. Shrevie, who cares about what's on the flip side about the record? Shrevie: I do! Every one of my records means something! The label, the producer, the year it was made. Who was copying whose style... who's expanding on that, don't you understand? When I listen to my records they take me back to certain points in my life, OK? Just don't touch my records, ever! You! The first time I met you? Modell's sister's high school graduation party, right? 1955. And Ain't That A Shame was playing when I walked into the door!
Modell: You know what word I'm not comfortable with? Nuance. It's not a real word. Like gesture. Gesture's a real word. With gesture you know where you stand. But nuance? I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong.