Boston snowstorms

January snowstorm, Back Bay, Boston, january 2005
Marlborough Street, Boston

News of the “Arctic surge” in the US North East reminded me of when I was living in Marlborough Street in Boston back in 2005. One morning in January I woke up to an eerie silence to find a real winter wonderland.  Two feet (yes, really!) of snow had submerged the cars on the street overnight. Unbowed, a few hardy Bostonians were snow-shoeing down the street to work.  I thought then “If this was London, no-one would be getting in to the office for a week!”  They have proper snow in Boston.

 

 

Thor: Ragnarok

I usually keep film to my wittily named “films” page, hoping to keep the larger-circulation publications at bay.  However, although I was a reluctant viewer of Thor: Ragnarok, I was astonished by this belly-laugh of a movie. Totally setting seriousness aside this is a masterclass in “banter.” It’s worth seeing just for Tom Hiddleston as Loki as Thor’s “Oh shit!” when discovered ruling Asgard in his father’s assumed identity.

Hiddleston does comedy.  Who knew? This is, in fact, a comedy masterpiece. Hemsworth, Hiddleston, Ruffalo (who I love) and Tessa Thompson banter effortlessly. Goldblum out-Goldblum’s himself. There’s a gloomy gladiator made of stone (?Korg?) worthy of a comedy award and a permanent place on “Mock the Week.” (I think he’s aiming for a raise from minimum wage assignments as he seems to have directed the thing too.)

Blanchett, Hopkins and Cumberbatch are put in the shade – which is in itself quite an achievement. They may not have got the “play it large” memo. Elba seems to have channelled his inner Shakespearian, but found a way of meshing that in to the slapstick context.

Absolutely brilliant.  Top of the banter charts.

A Home winning streak…for now

QPR beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at home at Loftus Road, 28th October 2017
QPR 2 – 1 Wolves

The Home winning streak continues with an unexpected-by-some 2-1 victory over Wolves at Loftus Road.  The unexpectedness makes it worth more somehow. It won’t last.

In other news, the Ashes squad left for Australia without Ben Stokes but, more perplexingly, without Jos Buttler.  Nuts.  I’m all for Steven Finn, but… Gary Ballance in and Jos Buttler out? That makes no sense. No sense at all.

Dunkirk

Kenneth Branagh in Dunkirk
Kenneth Branagh in Dunkirk
Bulldog spirit

It’s impossible to watch this film without thinking about BREXIT at the moment., but it’s a fine film. Far from sentimental and a long way from jingoistic, with the moral ambiguities of both individual and national attempts to flee the beaches are all on show, but profoundly moving.

Standout jobs by Rylance and Brannagh.

Nice day for some cricket

Fourth day of Lord's Test Match vs South Africa, 9th July 2017
All to play for at Lord’s

The fourth day of a Lord’s Test with England nicely set and Cookie at the crease sounds like a perfect day’s cricket in store. The wicket looks as though it might cause more excitements than you normally expect at Lord’s – let’s hope they are mostly South African excitements! No batting collapses please England…

Nice comments from The Chef in an @Aggers interview on TMS this morning…

“I am merely a foot-soldier.”

“I feel as if my job is to offer an opinion, if asked, and sometimes just to put an idea at certain times, whether it’s on or off field. If it’s listened to, it’s listened to, if it’s not, it’s no bother really.”

“It’s hard work, you don’t just get given runs.”

“I’m going to keep my nose clean and just try to work as hard as I can.”

LUNCHTIME UPDATE:  Well this match is not going to be a draw and it may be all over this afternoon at this rate.  Why, oh why did I say “no batting collapses please England”? The collapse was, I suppose, therefore inevitable.  Even though no-one was particularly to blame the wickets just kept falling…  even with Bairstow escaping a dead cert catch in the deep. England collapsed to 182-8.

What a day – and it’s only lunchtime.  It would be great if it was an exciting day with England winning at the end of it… digits firmly crossed.

TEATIME: SA are 25-3 at tea. Moeen has been busy dismissing Elgar caught and bowled and taking a brilliant catch short of square at mid-wicket to dislodge JP Duminy off Mark Wood’s bowling on the stroke of tea.  Could be all done today with a bit of luck.

5:33pm: Well!  That was one of the most enjoyable day’s cricket that I can remember.  The Proteas all out for 233. What a day for Moeen: a 6for at Lord’s…6-53 off just 15 very tight overs.  A nice start for Joe Root, but it must be Moeen for Man of the Match.

Xandy – savour this one!  It was one of the best days of cricket EVER!!! Hope you enjoyed it!

Baby Driver

Lily James and Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver
It’s just enormous fun

Everyone should see Baby Driver. Just go.

Even if, like me, you were not a fan of Hot Fuzz etc- just go….

 

PM just doesn’t have what it takes

Theresa May interviewed by Emily Maitlis, 16th June 2017
Hasn’t got it

Mrs May just hasn’t got “it”.  It’s a difficult quality to pin down, but you can tell, very easily, if it’s not there. Watching Emily Maitlis’s interview of the PM after she had retreated from St. Clement’s, it was all too clear. The PM does not have it, and, very sadly, she clearly doesn’t “get it” either.

A bit like Donald Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknowns”, Mrs May does not seem able to grasp that she needs to show that she’s got it.

Even if you didn’t agree with much of his politics you could see that Tony Blair “had it”, David Cameron “had it” (indeed it could be argued that “it” was all that he did have as he was curiously devoid of burning ambitions.) Thatcher had it. Clinton was naturally endowed with more “it” than anyone has a right to expect. Reagan had it.

Major did not have it, but found it in his time in office.  Brown never had it.  Ed Milliband never had it, but embarrassingly David Milliband did, which must make for slightly strained family gatherings.

What is “it”.  Charisma? Empathy? Speed? All of the above, wrapped with the self-confidence to handle whatever is coming.

Sadly, Mrs May does not have “it”, any “it” at all in fact… disaster ahoy!

Rogue Easter Screening

Star Wars Rogue One
Brilliant Star Wars spin-off

A proper Sunday afternoon film! If only the family had been in attendance…. I’ve never been a dedicated Star Wars fan and I got a bit lost somewhere between Attack of the Clones and The Force Droops.  But this “spin-off” is just what the doctor, or alternatively George Lucas ordered.  I understood what was going on, Felicity Jones is great (but then I’m still recovering from Chalet Girl) and Diego Luna does a great job too.

Two hours of sheer escapism, amazing special effects, classic space battles and not too much of the incomprehensible Force and they even kill off the main characters.  Great job.  Sunday afternoon entertainment – box ticked.