So much Damage

I sadly couldn’t make it up to the big Anti-Brexit protest today, as much as I’d have liked to go, but I think this just about sums up my feelings on the subject:

damage

I now firmly believe that all these people (and more) ought to be rotting in jail cells for the damage they’ve done and suffering they’ve caused.

Meeting up with Chris and Steve

My old university friends Steve and Chris are down in London this weekend, so I went to join them for a few hours this afternoon. They’re staying at Steve’s brother’s place in New Cross, and are going to see some sort of Japanese wrestling up in Stratford tomorrow. It  was great to see them, meeting up at the Royal Standard before going to New Cross for a barbecue. We spent most of the time talking about film and television, although politics came up once or twice: they’re both as bemused and incredulous as I am about the current state of affairs. They both seem to have taken to fatherhood like ducks to water,  although they  have lost none of their weird, zany senses of humour. I didn’t feel like staying out too late, but part of me thinks I should have stayed longer to make the most of their visit. It was great to spend a few hours with them, and I hope it won’t be too long before we meet  up again.

Putting something right

I’m quite pleased with what happened last night. I had seen the film festival organisation committee were going to meet up in the White Swan, just around the corner. At first I didn’t think I would go, not having been to any of the other meetings this year, but then, after dinner, I decided to go just to say hi. They’re a great little group of cinephiles, and I wanted to apologise for not contributing to the festival this year.

Of course,  as soon as I got to the pub I was recognised and greeted warmly. I told them I felt guilty about not going to the meetings this year, showing them my blog entry, but the guys insisted that no apology was necessary. They understood that it had been a bit of a  rough year, and there would always be next year, they said. For now, though, the 2019 festival was all organised and good to go.

It was a social meeting – basically a chat in the pub – rather than a proper organisational meeting. I stayed  for an hour or so, then headed  home. The Charlton  And Woolwich Free Film Festival sounds like it will be superb  this year. I’m glad I went last night, though, as it feels like I’ve put something right.

The act of a dictator

Today is one of those days when I feel I ought to write something about the political situation on here, but I find myself lost for words.  Such days are becoming more and more frequent, although I think today takes the biscuit. How the hell can that lying little unelected p’tahk currently  squatting  in Downing Street  have the arrogance to suspend parliament and force through Brexit? Bojo knows that it’s increasingly likely that Parliament would vote to stop a no-deal brexit, so he is trying to bypass it. He is putting his own objectives above the views of our  democratically elected representatives, effectively acting like a dictator.  We should all be very, very angry about what has happened  today, and demanding that Johnson is removed  from power immediately. In all seriousness, we cannot let him get  away with this.

What if Trump has learning difficulties?

If you ask me, it’s looking increasingly likely that Donald Trump has some kind of learning difficulty.  The possibility was first mooted three years ago when he was up for election, and it’s still being discussed. As much as he tries to deny it, Trump has no idea what he’s doing. If he does turn out to have learning difficulties, though, surely that would raise another issue: what would  it look like if he was then booted  out of office because he had learning difficulties? How discriminatory and uninclusive would it look? As likely as I feel it is that Trump is somehow intellectually impaired, and as unfit as I feel he is to be the head of state of a superpower, if it turned out Trump does have learning difficulties, from a disability rights perspective, removing him from office because of  them would be very ugly indeed.

Cricket, pies and heat

I can’t make my mind up what to write about on here today: cricket, pies or the heat. Yesterday’s Ashes test result was incredible and surely deserves to be noted on here (let’s hope we keep it up), but on the other hand I feel I ought to say something about the current pie-related political farce too. Either way,  though, it is far too hot  to write much. Perhaps we should all just go find a cricket match to watch in the sun, while enjoying some lovely pork pies while we can.

Well done Darryl

My australian friend Darryl’s PhD thesis is now online. He uploaded  it yesterday, and I had a quick read of the introduction. At first glance it is a very, very impressive piece of work about the issues surrounding forming romantic relationships when you use a communication aid. I must admit, though, it made me  feel like a bit of a failure. I know more and more doctors these days: more and more of my friends seem to be getting PhDs. Both  my brothers have  theirs, as do two of my cousins. It makes me feel like a failure for only having a master’s, and a small voice in my head tells me I should have tried harder to get a doctorate. But then, another voice replies that an MA is still quite an achievement, and nothing to be ashamed of. Not everyone has a master’s, after all. Oh well, I suppose there’s still time yet, so it just remains for me to congratulate Darryl heartily on his awesome achievement.

Does bond need to change?

Although it barely scrapes the surface of the issue, I think this is a welcome article from the beeb.  Much  is currently being said about the modernisation of the James Bond  character  in the next  film: is he a misogynist, imperialist anachronism in need of modernisation to stay relevant, or might an attempt to update 007 to twenty-first century values change him too much? i’m not sure I can answer  that. Bond, as created by Ian Fleming, is a horrible, despicable person; the idea that there are people like him running around protecting the country, licensed to kill, should be deeply troubling. Yet we seem to find this  fantasy incredibly appealing, so much so that he fronts cinema’s most successful, longest-running franchise. The question is, is it now time to bring this character  into line with modern, democratic values, or would doing so remove that essence of the character – the idea of this suave, rebellious spy  who  does things  his own way – which makes him so enduring?

Hail Satan

Staying on the subject of film, I certainly think this might be worth a watch. I’m as worried as anyone about the rise of Christian fundamentalism in the states. It seems to  be getting more extreme and reactionary. Hail Satan is apparently about one form of reaction to that trend: people have started calling their selves Satan worshipers, insisting they have as much right to  their freedom to worship as the christians. They have my full support, although it does remind me a bit of Pastafarianism,  and some have accused them of trolling. Either way, it’s certainly true that fundamentalist Christianity holds far too much power in America, both socially and politically, and it’s good to see that some Americans are as concerned about it as the rest of us.

Not contributing to the film festival

I was in the cafe in the park earlier, where I saw a poster for this years Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t take part this year: I felt so low a few months ago, so distracted by what was happening in my personal life, that the idea of attending meetings and contributing ideas was allowed to slide. More to the point, I didn’t feel I had any good, solid ideas to contribute.

The poster in the cafe advertised the screenings of about eighteen films, mostly contemporary mainstream fare. While other members of the festival’s organisation team each propose a film to screen at a certain venue, in the past I have preferred to contribute my own thing to these events, such as giving a talk on cinephilia or screening one or two of my own short films. To be honest, though, this year I was out of ideas and would probably have just gone with the flow and advocated a mainstream film to screen.

The thing is, as important as screenings are, I feel that film festivals shouldn’t just be about watching films. Surely they can also be used to say something about films and our relationship with them. That’s why I haven’t just done a simple screening as my contribution in the past. It’s just sad that, this year, I didn’t have it in me to put in the usual effort. I must admit I feel quite guilty about it, but then, there’s always next year.