Book: Geraldine McCaughrean’s ‘Peter Pan in Scarlet’ – “A week old maggot burger with everything on it and flies on the side”

I must have read  J. M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy book as a child, however I recall the film ‘Hook’ far more clearly and it is a bit of a guilty pleasure!

someone called Geraldine McCaughrean won a competition held by Great Ormond Street Hospital to write an official sequel to Barrie’s work and there was a fair bit of hype at the time of publication in 2006.

Apparently I bought a copy and it ended up in the pile of stuff that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to keep. This is probably because the book paints Peter to be very very unlikeable.

peter pan in scarlet

I am aware that Peter has always been a spoilt man-child and those are jolly irritating, however McCaughrean took it to the point where there was no redemption for the character. Hook now has a rabid dislike of mothers, which is very at odds with my hazy memory of Barrie’s version.

The book was also a little dark for the mollycoddled children that friends and family have. It actually makes ‘Hook’ look very very cheerful throughout! The World War One references were interesting but felt the curious combination of underdone and forced – as if it was a good idea that the writer had used to win the contest and then forgotten about so had to cram into the book at the last minute.

Overall I couldn’t be bothered with this book; it is too vacuous for most adults, thematically not suitable for most children and teenagers just wouldn’t bother. Which leads me to conclude that this book was published as cash cow by a hospital that I’m assured does vital work but does seem to feature in some really disturbing incidents – for example glue injected into the brain and feeding tube failure.

But I have a happy ending for this book – off to the charity shop!

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Role models – With added dead bodies

At a job interview, for a job that I quickly decided that I didn’t want, they asked me “who is your role model and why?” They were very clear that it had to be someone famous, it couldn’t be someone who simply cared for their local community and neighbours. I got the impression that they would prefer a reality TV-style vacuous celebrity role model.

I forget my answer, but it was a lie as I didn’t have one.  My logic was that even if I wanted one we live in an age where anyone and everyone can make themselves look silly using social media – for example Twitter seems to exist purely to let people look ignorant, self-absorbed or libellous.

kathy reichs

Men can at least use sports personalities as role models, at least until their role models test positive for something forbidden or they kick someone in the head…

Female role models are even harder to find and are generally judged more harshly – be it on attractiveness, perceived sexual promiscuity or other random things.

This didn’t encourage me to spend the time required to find a role model, however I think I may have stumbled across one accidentally. A female who is around the age of my parents, who is a crime writer that I have never read, a professor at a University I will never visit, aided in the identification of war dead and is a producer of a TV Show that (so far) I don’t hate.

I’m not sure that the interviewer would have appreciated my naming Kathy Reichs as a good role model over someone more accessibly mainstream famous, but I am pretty happy with this choice and have no intention of digging any deeper as I don’t want to run the risk of finding any skeletons or finding a social media site.

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Film: ‘The Bourne Legacy’ – “We are morally indefensible, and absolutely necessary”

I enjoyed the first two Bourne films, the third one suffered from seeing it at a cinema with lousy speakers – deafening on the action scenes with inaudible dialogue.

So I was rather looking forward to seeing ‘The Bourne Legacy’, however it transpires that it was less of a legacy and more of a re-envisioning of the first film, with added Edward Norton.

the bourne legacy

However Edward Norton looks really haggard so isn’t worth watching the film for, so it is just as well the film is watchable in its own right!

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Nails: Random as heck – I’m not afraid of your nails… much

I am tired, cranky and under-motivated to do loads of things that I really need to do.

Hopefully the sunshine will help with my motivation, but right now my inner child is being a right brat and just wants to act up. With this in mind I used a certain internet search engine to return results for “random nail art”, I wanted to find something scary.

It gave me these, these are terrifying. Their blank eyes look like portals that will suck your soul into some dark dimension. The white blobs are clearly the souls of previous victims.

what the hell nails

(Photo from swatchandlearn.com)

There is no hope, only death – in bunny form!

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Film: ‘The Ninth Gate’ – “You know, 300 years ago, you’d have been burned at the stake for saying something like that.”

It needs more research but I’ve got a theory, any film which features Johnny Depp smoking seems to value style over substance. Or to phrase it another way: when he smokes the plot sucks.

In this case the plot is a rare book dealer is hired to authenticate and acquire a legitimate copy of a book claimed to be a book rumoured to be able to summon the devil.

the ninth gate

As with most demonic thingies in films there is a conspiracy and things go weird – very very weird and very very slowly!

The plot wasn’t strong enough to support the film being over 2 hours long and nor was the acting!

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Book: Lee Child’s Jack Reacher – “What I mean is the cheapest woman tends to be the one you pay for”

Strictly speaking this isn’t about any of Lee Child’s books as I haven’t read any. But as Child’s was so vocal about Tom Cruise being a good fit as Jack Reacher it seems logical that the film must be a good representation of the books – as surely Child’s would have been vocal again if they’d broken his baby?

So a few years ago there was a trend for film trailers to show the big event at the end of the film – without giving away spoilers let’s use the examples of a Bruce Willis flick involving meat suits and a remake of what happens when biological weapons are released in a small US town.

jack reacher poster

This was rather vexing, however was still an improvement on trailers which are entirely misleading – for example ‘Jack Reacher’. From the trailers I expected the film to be an action movie, perhaps something reminiscent of Bourne (the out for revenge bit, not the holes in memory bit). It transpired to be a far slower ‘thriller’ style film.

I don’t have a great track record with slow-developing thrillers, I nearly fells asleep during ‘Lions for Lambs’, I did fall asleep in the cinema during ‘The Perfect Storm’, ‘The International’ was on a faulty disk that kept skipping (admittedly this wasn’t the film’s fault) and had robotic acting, ‘The Ghost Writer’ was an interesting idea but a painfully slow film. Even ‘All The President’s Men’ could have been edited a little tighter to reduce the running time

However all of these are super compared to ‘Jack Reacher’, simply because the trailer led me to expect a tightly plotted and action-based film. It didn’t help that the acting was wooden and the couple of minutes (at most) of action scenes in the trailer were the only ones in the film – which is over two hours long!

I’ve not read any of Lee Child’s book and having seen this film I will now avoid them like the plague. To be on the safe side I may also start avoiding anything with Tom Cruise in!

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The MRI scan has landed! Bring on the claustrophobia

The letter confirming the MRI scan (Magnetic resonance imaging) appointment to take a proper look at the patella femoral joint issues (aka runner’s knee) in my left knee didn’t mention that it was going to be in a lorry trailer parked in the hospital car park.

Due to the MRI equipment being massive there wasn’t much trailer left for people to fit in. So there was a tiny claustrophobic room with a small hole to fit bodies in and a small area by a door with an ancient computer screen and one chair being shared between two technicians.

mri scanner

(Photo from ulh.nhs.uk)

I am not a massive fan of small spaces but as this was a knee scan I didn’t expect to have any issues… then they stuck me into the machine up to the top of my shoulders.  That made me very nervous, but still happier than I would have been if the CD player had been working as the hospital’s collection of CDs consisted of compilations from 1996 and Will Smith’s ‘Big Willie Style’.

So the CD playing being out of action was fantastic, it meant that I got to listen to the random machine noises without anyone thinking that I was weird.

What was undeniably weird was the vibrations made my feet twitch, which was somewhat random. Now I just need to wait a couple of weeks for my doctor to get the results and hopefully they will share them…

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Film: ‘The Prophecy’ – “the only thing you can count on in your existence is never understanding why”

I remember liking ‘The Prophecy’, I had the first three films, but now I am totally unsure what I saw in it.

Christopher Walken hams it up as Gabriel whilst wearing corpse paint, Viggo Mortensen hisses through his dialogue as Lucifer. Both of these are pretty entertaining, but the plot goes a bit weird – Native American rituals are funky but feel a bit jarring when piled on top on Christian angels and demons.

The Prophecy

(Film poster)

I don’t want to talk about the second film, I didn’t even bother putting the third one on, it is just going to go to the charity shop.

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Nails: Bones – “You can take that femur and shove it”

I’m still watching ‘Bones‘ and am finding it rather addictive – it helps my motivation that my TV provider is only offering them for another couple of weeks.

So I’ve been watching TV far too much and far more than I’d care to admit to, because I am concentrating on trying to establish the killer before Booth and Bones (and doing rather well!) I haven’t really been in a nail mood.

So I’m happy that there are some funky bone-themed nails about:

pile of bones

(Photo from beautylish.com)

Now back to the TV… oh the shame.

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Film: ‘Get Shorty’ (plus the International State of Anarchy) – “I spent all day crawling out of a grave. The director said that I was incapable of reaching the emotional core of the character.”

Despite good intentions my clearing out of stuff hasn’t been too effective; I ended up surrounded by piles of stuff that I wanted to revisit before making any rash decisions but didn’t have enough time to actually revisit. I also made the mistake of looking at the local housing marketing; all the housing stock currently for sale is really lousy and very ugly – with a surprisingly high price tag.

Combined with listening to rather a lot of Pitchshifter and hearing about the latest irritating antics of a friend’s intellectually-challenged manager I am in a rather anarchistic mood.

get shorty

(Poster for ‘Get Shorty’)

By Anarchy I mean facing up to the lack of a universally recognised governing body for the whole world. By recognising this failing it allows citizens to accept that their Nation State is powerless to truly control their combined fates, that any policies the Government (Democratically elected or otherwise) tries to implement is reliant on other States not interfering – intentionally or otherwise.

At best your elected (?) representatives have to hope for the indifference of their international neighbours and the luck of a favourable wind. With this in mind everyone looks out for themselves at a personal and State level, whilst keeping a paranoid eye on their neighbours. This is the International State of Anarchy and the reason why I hate my neighbours at number (redacted).

pitchshifter

(Pitchshifter CD cover)

It was in this mood that I watched ‘Demolition Man’ and ‘The Corporation’, this movie cocktail didn’t exactly jolt me into a rosy tinted view of modern society and the options that it presents. Thinking of cocktails made me covert Walker’s Prawn Cocktail crisps; eating a pack (or so) didn’t improve the state of international relations or put any nice houses up for sale (let alone at a sane price).

However they did make me put on ‘Get Shorty’, the film adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s book of the same name – although it was probably less about crisps and more about how ‘Get Shorty’ is a good visual representation of the Security Dilemma in International Relations.

The Security Dilemma is basically when a Nation State is paranoid about their neighbours (which is constantly due to the aforementioned International State of Anarchy) they take actions to make themselves feel more secure, for example strengthen their army, have high profile practises of military manoeuvres or start making pacts with other Nation States. These actions can make their paranoid neighbours more paranoid, so the neighbours do similar things, which make the original State even more paranoid!

stag hunt

(Picture chosen as a reference to Rousseau, picture from The Guardian)

In short you get a paranoia-fuelled arms race that can bubble over into actual confrontation despite no one deliberately wanting to fight. Which pretty much sums up ‘Get Shorty’ – it’s a smart-mouth film and you get the feeling that Travolta had a lot of fun with his role.

It let me forget about house prices and asshole bosses who aren’t mine; it also gave me the time to hide the piles of stuff awaiting a revisit, which was nice. So I guess this is another film that I can’t donate to the charity shop.

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