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This story goes to 11…

There’s a lot going on in the world at the moment, so it’s good to see that some light relief going on in the media here in the U.K.

There’s some good comments on the story too that highlight how many have seen the source film and taken it in…

And the comments also show how many have spotted that the piece has been run next to one on Stonehenge!

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/08/spinal-tap-lawsuit-harry-shearer-rob-reiner-vivendi

The comments are a bit sweary in places – you have been warned!!!

TV or not TV II

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Wells, Somerset – or is it Sandford, Gloucestershire?

Well, I missed two films when I looked through Radio Times yesterday…

The first is on tonight on ITV2 at 9pm – Hot Fuzz.

Good cast, good lines and a mad shoot-out near the end as the good guys take on the opposition. Cornettos are optional!

The second is on ITV3 at 8.55 tomorrow morning.

The script has loads of quotable lines whilst the soundtrack includes a bone fide hit single too. Bogart, Bergman and Peter Lorre are all in there, as are the usual suspects…

The film?

The one and only Casablanca…

Here’s looking at you kid.

TV or not TV?

Yes, the holiday fortnight is upon us, as is the seasonal selection of programmes and films destined to be on our screens (or not)…

We gave Strictly, SPOTY and The Apprentice a miss and as Caroline was out on Saturday night, I caught up on an episode of Endeavour series 3 and the first couple of episodes of To Play The King (with Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart).

Last night’s viewing was two episodes of a sixties classic – the first series of The Man From Uncle in glorious black and white. Sharp editing, sharp suits and a hint of what was to come gadget-wise too. Not much screen time yet though for Ilya Kuryakin (David McCallum gets more in his average appearance in NCIS fifty plus years after his role as Napoleon Solo‘s Russian sidekick).

There’s more of a travel feeling to a programme highlighted in the Radio Times at 6pm on BBC2 over the next three nights – The Real Marigold Hotel. Six personalities head to India and it’s interesting to see who they all cope with the experience.

Four are back for follow-ups on experiences in Miami and Tokyo soon and there’s a new set of names heading to India for the second series of The Real Marigold Hotel.

In the meantime though, there’s always the film that inspired the reality show – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which has been given an early evening Film 4 slot on Sunday 25th – albeit in an edited format (I somehow suspect that the DVD of the same title will hit the player around the same time as a way of avoiding edits and adverts).

The Beeb are showing a of their few home-grown films too – The Lady In The Van, Pride, What We Did On Our Holidays and Saving Mr Banks.

Anything else? Well there’s a bit of Yorkshire in the air at 9pm on Thursday 29th as The Brontes come to the fore on BBC1 whilst over on BBC Four there’s a bit of slow TV as The Flying Scotsman takes to the tracks of the Severn Valley Railway at the same time…

There should have been another programme to watch at 9pm on the same day, but that’s been pulled from the schedules. Truck mechanic, bike racer and adventurer Guy Martin started an attempt in early December to ride around Britain on a pedal cycle with the aim of covering around 4800 miles in twenty days.

After 800 miles in four days and eight hours, an achilles tendon injury brought the attempt to a close at John O’Groats. One suspects that Guy will try again once he’s recovered from the injury problem…

Will we be watching It’s A Wonderful Life again? Possibly…

And might I be watching the film that’s become my favourite one set on December 24th?More than likely, even though it will be at home rather than in a cinema this time. It’s Bruce Willis, that colour changing white vest and Alan Rickman

Yippie-ki-yay, it’s Die Hard!

Ho-Ho-Ho…

London calling…

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Kings Cross Station, London

Just spotted what’s being shown as part of the Keith Richards’ Lost Weekend thread on BBC 4 here in the UK tomorrow night (Saturday 24th September) at 9.15pm.

It’s Julien Temple’s ‘London – The Modern Babylon’, a fascinating documentary about London since the beginning of the 20th Century. It’s a mix of archive material from the BFI (British Film Institute)library, interview footage and clips from various films too. And it has a cracking soundtrack too… starting with The Clash and London Calling.

Will be watching it as it goes out, even though there’s a DVD copy on the shelf in the lounge.

More friends in the North…

Yes, we’ve got box-set fever!

As last night’s TV wasn’t wonderful here in the UK, the second disc of Our Friends In The North was fed into the DVD machine.

Yes, it was cracking stuff, so much so that last night’s post-meal washing up wasn’t done until this morning, something that Caroline decided to tease me about an hour or so ago (in my own defence, I usually do the washing up when there’s an ad break on C4, More 4, 4/7, 5USA or Dave…).

The 1970, 1974 and 1979 episodes were cracking and I can see why the actors and series garnered so many award nominations twenty years ago.

These latest episodes covered a period that I can remember from my time up in the North-East, so the last ones should be even more memorable as the dramatisations relate to fairly recent history from the time I was working in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and then living/studying in Sunderland.

Once tonight’s session is over, then it’s time to find something new to watch (unless of course we keep something back for viewing during the Olympics).

New stuff to us includes Spaced, the Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources double pack, The Bridge Series 1, Alan Bennet’s Talking Heads series of monologues and a couple of Italian travelogues.

There are of course other things that could be pulled off the shelf to watch.

The box set of the original Top Cat cartoons, The Flashing Blade (the original, not the Saturday morning TV re-voiced version!),  The Singing Ringing Tree (in full rather than the BBC 1960’s edits shown in ‘Tales From Europe‘ tea time slot) and the likes of High Fidelity, Cinema Paradiso, Amelie, Run Lola Run, Belleville Rendezvous, The Illusionist and MicMacs. And The West Wing.

Yes, there’s a whole lot of subtitles going on, but unlike some people we know, Caroline and I don’t mind watching movies with subtitles.

They think it’s all over…

It is now!

Yes, Part One of  ‘The Great Summer Of Sport’ has left the building.

Problem is, Part Two is almost upon us…

The Tour De France is working its way through France at the moment with Froome getting the yellow jersey (and a fine for his troubles regarding an over-enthusiastic Colombian a day or so ago) and Mark Cavendish holding onto the green jersey for his sprint efforts and stage wins.

Are we watching it? Only when it’s meal time and there’s naff all on the other channels apart from episodes of NCIS that we’ve seen at least once!

Next up is the Olympics.

When I was doing my degree in 1996, a Media Studies lecturer asked myself and fellow students whether we’d watched any of the Olympics. It turned out that I was the only one!.

Needless to say the seminar went kind of flat at that point and our lecturer had to fill out the rest of the hour with something we could relate to given that I was the only one who had seen anything (and that was 10 minutes of mountain biking…).

Fortunately we have some DVD’s to fill in time we have when there’s so much sport on TV and so little inclination to watch it.

Mr. Holmes was Saturday night’s viewing and whilst it was slow, I found Ian McKellen to be an engaging HolmesCaroline likes Benedict Cumberbatch’s take on the detective, but I saw the first episode and have avoided it since then.

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And yes, this was shot on a Stormy Monday!

Sunday night saw us going back in time to a 1990’s series and not seen by either of us until last night. Our Friends In The North has a good ensemble cast and it’s been interesting to spot the locations used in and around Newcastle-upon-Tyne, an area I know quite well.

We’ve watched the first DVD of the three in the box and we’re going to finish it off over the next couple of nights by watching the remaining two.

As I know nothing about what’s coming in Our Friends In The North, but a little bit about what was going on in the area thanks to years of reading the papers and watching local news bulletins on either BBC Look North or Tyne Tees Television in the seventies, eighties and nineties, watching the rest of the series could be interesting.

One nice touch though was a homage to another DVD in our collection – Stormy Monday.

This was shot in familiar places on Tyneside and one scene featuring Sting and Tommy Lee Jones’ characters in Stormy Monday walking across the High Level Bridge (the middle one in the moody shot above) may have been used as a template for a scene in Our Friends In The North.

It could be that Spaced comes out during the Olympics – along with six seasons of The West Wing or the second of Young Montalbano!

One year – July 2015 III

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It’s Wednesday and it’s a rest day around Lisbon

Now we couldn’t just do nothing, but we had a lie in, a chat with fellow Brits about Lisbon and then we headed out for a wander around nowhere in particular.

The Botanical Gardens appeared to be a good place to start this day of wandering aimlessly. We paid our money, headed in and I decided to indulge in a spot of photography whilst Caroline explored the gardens.

Which was a nice idea, but my Nikon had other ideas. Fortunately my camera hadn’t died a death (which was the fate of my Lumix in 2013 and the reason why I’d bought the current Nikon Coolpix S3100 digital compact camera in Lisbon a few days later).

I’d checked the battery on Tuesday, but it was now as dead as a dodo so that potential hour of photography became another chance to read from the Kindle as I waited for Caroline to show up. The slow day was a good idea as it gave us the chance to just see what took our fancy as we headed through Principe Real, through Baixa & Chiado and onwards to Rio Tejo.

Nothing was planned. We wandered in and out of shops, had coffee, had lunch and just relaxed rather than haring off like Roadrunner or Speedy Gonzales. The information centre shop sold me some stationery items and a cotton shopping bag that could be stuffed into my day bag – Portugal had adopted plastic carrier bag charges, unlike England at that moment in time…

There were several drinks stops as we combatted the high temperatures with fruit juices, Coke Zero and Sagres Radler beer plus the obligatory bottle of water in our day bags.

After a relaxing day, we had a plan for Thursday as we’d decided to head to Sintra. An enquiry at the ticket office revealed that we could use our Viva Viagem rechargeable travel cards on trains to Sintra, something that we weren’t aware of at that time…

Siestas were declared on return to Lisbon Dreams then showers and a quick change happened before we went to The 39 Steps for our evening meal. The outdoor eating option was taken once more, drinks arrived and food was ordered, but unfortunately we didn’t expect an unexpected cinematic reference to occur.

I’d had a very good pasta and salmon main on our first visit to The 39 Steps, so Caroline ordered this for her main this time whilst I went for something completely different.

When the meals arrived, it looked like Caroline‘s order had been lost in translation. Instead of pasta with salmon, pasta with shellfish was placed in front of her.

Our waitress was very, very apologetic about the error, but Caroline decided to tackle the staring shellfish head on as it were rather than having to watch me eat my meal as she was waiting for her ordered meal to arrive. C’est la vie as the French say…

Thursday saw an early start and boy were we pleased when we got to Rossio Station and zapped our Viva Viagem cards at the barriers in front of the platform for the Sintra train. There were queues at both the ticket machines and manned ticket windows – long queues.

Once in Sintra, there was a choice to make of where to go first. We walked down to the Palacio Nacional, had coffee and Caroline paid a return visit this palace and then Quinto da Regaleira with its main building and impressive gardens complete with terraces, grottoes, fountains and the Initiation Well (which comes complete with its own entrance via a revolving stone door).

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Palacio Nacional, Sintra

Whilst Caroline took a look at both of these impressive sights, I wandered around with a fully charged camera. The Toy Museum had closed its doors, so I took to the streets, explored the various alleyways and tried to avoid the midday sun….

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Two views of Sintra…

As you may have guessed, I’m not one for museums, palaces or elaborate gardens. Caroline is and we have a mutual understanding that I’ll find something else to do whilst she’s off exploring historical places or galleries.

If there’s a museum dedicated to cars, flight or an exhibition on music or rock photography, I’m there like a shot, but if it’s historical, I’m with Rudge’s view on history as expounded in a memorable scene from The History Boys.

The quote’s a good one, but given that this is a free site without age restrictions, it can’t be quoted here!

Yes, I have an O level in History, but that’s from 42 years ago and my views on the subject have changed somewhat and I’m more interested in more modern history rather than what went on in days of yore…

Caroline enjoyed both Palacio Nacional and Quinto da Regaleira and was full of enthusiasm for both when we visited a very quiet outdoor cafe cum art shop on the way back into the centre. The town was quiet as we walked back to the station and so was the train, a welcome experience as the train had been crowded on the way to Sintra.

The return to Lisbon Dreams was equally quiet and as we’d had rather a good lunch in Sintra, we raided the mini market for bread, cheese and a bottle of wine for our evening meal. Rustic? Yes, but a fine way to end a grand day out.

And finally – Part IV. Museums, Os Tibetanos, the inspiration for Casino Royale and wine tasting in Cascais…