I have just got back from watching No Time To Die at the cinema. The web was filling up with reviews and opinions on it so quickly, I felt that I had no choice other than to get it watched. After agreeing with Charlotte that it would probably be easier just to go watch it by ourselves, I went at a quiet time during a weekday in order to minimise any risk. Now that I’ve seen it though, I’m not entirely sure what to say here as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. The truth is, I don’t think it’s my favourite Bond film by any means: don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely set in classic 007 territory, and there are a few nods to previous films in the series which I really enjoyed. Yet the ending of the film didn’t really leave me satisfied, for one. Without wanting to give anything away, the conclusion of the film differs from every other instalment of the franchise, and I’m not sure I liked it. All the same, I can now check out what others are saying about it, think things over, and perhaps go and rewatch it in a few days.
More or less the first thought which came to my head upon waking up this morning was “I wonder what Toilet Guy thought of No Time To Die.” No doubt he went to the premiere last night, and will be reviewing the new Bond film on his radio show on Friday. Of all the critics’ opinions, I value his among the most.
I am, of course, referring to Dr. Mark Kermode. Toilet Guy was Lyn’s name for him: she never really listened to him much (talk radio not being her thing), but whenever he was mentioned she called him Toilet Guy. I don’t think L was being disrespectful, but linking an unusual name to something she would have been more familiar with than most. Lyn must have needed to use commodes lots over her lifetime, and was presumably so familiar with the term she couldn’t help cheekily noting the similarity whenever he was mentioned. I suppose, over the years, the habit rubbed off on me, so that now I inevitably think of Mark Kermode as The Toilet Guy in my internal monologue. Lyn was always making little jokes or playing with words; she had a talent for it which I’ll always remember.
I still miss Lyn a great deal. Life with her was always full of such little jokes and games. She didn’t share my interest in Bond, yet, in a strange way, I cannot help associating the Bond Films with Lyn, especially those of the Craig era. The last three films were released when I was living with Lyn in Charlton; and let’s not forget both Lyn and 007 had roles in London 2012. For a new Bond film to come out now that Lyn is no longer here feels different and strange: life goes on and the world will continue, yet having lived with someone so remarkable for so long, it’s impossible not to occasionally feel their absence. There will always be moments, references, events and names which have the power to take the mind instantly back and remind you of a loss.
Thus I’m looking forward to Mark Kermode’s review of No Time To Die this Friday. I hope he liked it. I expect it to be long, detailed, learned and interesting, as his reviews of the last four Bond films were. Yet, due to Lyn, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop thinking of him as The Toilet Guy.
I don’t have much to say today. As someone who doesn’t drive, I don’t feel there’s that much I can contribute to the current discourse. Of course, out and about, I see queues at petrol stations everywhere; it is total chaos out there. I’m just glad my powerchair is battery powered, to be honest. I also just want to point that I don’t remember the country ever getting this screwed up when Labour were in power.
Now that I’ve had a few days to think about it, I have to say I feel deeply embarrassed about my actions a few days ago. Trying to hijack such an awful event was an utterly juvenile thing to do – it was something an attention seeking teenager would do, utterly disrespectful to the murdered young woman. As strongly as I feel about Brexit, there is surely a time and a place for protest, and that was not it. I hate how much of a tactless prat I can be sometimes.
It’s probably fair to say that I’ve never been as eager to watch a film than I currently am to watch No Time To Die. My previous, rather pessimistic predictions aside, it is a film I’m starting to get high hopes for – I think we could all do with a bit of Bond right now. I just checked at my local Odeon, and they start screening it from Thursday. Months ago, I promised myself that the first film I would watch in a cinema after the pandemic would be the next Bond film: something about that felt fitting. On the other hand, it would mean breaking another of my little traditions: ever since Casino Royale came out in 2006, I have gone to see new Bond films with my friend Charlie. I still remember that day well, being escorted to the Odeon in Stoke by Charlie and our friend Tony like an excited child by his parents. If I go to watch No Time To Die on my own next week, it would obviously mean breaking that tradition, which would feel like a bit of a shame, to be honest. I suppose I have to choose between satisfying my enthusiasm to watch this film by watching it on my own in a week or so; or waiting until C can come down to enjoy it with me, something which may still be months away under the current circumstances. It seems like so long since I saw a Bond film in a cinema that I just cannot wait any more. But then again, what’s a few more weeks where friends are involved? Decisions, decisions.
I must say I love this news that William Shatner – Captain Kirk himself – is actually going to be taken into space. The ninety year old actor will be aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket in October. As a Star Trek fan, I can think of nothing cooler or more fitting than to have the most famous starship captain ever really go into the final frontier. I hope it goes well. Then again, if they run into any Klingons or Romulans, at least they’ll be in good hands.
My brother Mark is a physicist. Being Trekkies, growing up we always joked that he would one day invent the warp drive. Practically though, I assumed that such an engine would be impossible in reality. Even I know enough about Einstein to know that it’s impossible to go faster than the speed of light. However, I just came across this fascinating Youtube video. Apparently, warp drives are theoretically possible, and several organisations including NASA are now working on creating one. I find that very exciting. Mind you, they first have to find a way around the fact that such an engine would seemingly need more energy than exists in the entire universe; but minor details aside it looks like we’re a step closer to Star Trek becoming a reality.
It looks like Mark might be beaten to it. Oh well – as long as they don’t piss off the Klingons or Romulans, I suppose it’s all right.
I probably shouldn’t have done it, given the issue they were reporting on is so serious, but I had to give it a try. You have probably heard that a young school teacher was murdered in a park in Kidbrooke on Friday. That park happens to only be about eight hundred metres from my flat. I first noticed something going on there a few days ago, when the park was being cordoned off by the police. Now, though, it is one of the main national news stories, covered by the big media corporations at the head of their bulletins.
Realising this earlier, I had a bit of an idea – a slightly childish one, perhaps, but probably worthwhile. I have an EU flag attached to the back of my powerchair headrest as a way of displaying my opposition to Brexit as I trundle around. I’d noticed that broadcasters like the BBC were reporting from a corner off Kidbrooke I could get to easily: if I could somehow sit myself in the back of their shot as they were reporting live, perhaps I could display my resistance to brexit on national TV.
That, then, is what I did. All the broadcasters were reporting from the same place, across a road from the park where the murder happened. I simply had to cross the road, sit myself in the area where people have begun to place flowers, and try to get in shot when I heard the broadcasters reporting live.
I sat there between one and half one, the time of the Beeb’s lunchtime bulletin. I sat facing the flowers with my back shown to the cameras so that hopefully my EU flag would be on display. I know this is nothing to play games over – murder is murder, and I must stress that I mean no disrespect to the woman who was killed or her family – yet, in it’s own way, Brexit is just as obscene and must be resisted however we can. I saw this as an opportunity to do so.
I returned home at about quarter to two, eager to see whether I was successful. And I was, in a way: On the Beeb’s 1pm bulletin, 14 minutes and 45 seconds into the program, you can just about see a blue baseball cap over the reporters shoulder. That cap is mine. Obviously companies like the BBC are very careful to avoid people muscling in on their broadcasts so they made an effort to cut me out. Yet I’m happy that I tried. It may not have been the overt, anti-Brexit statement I was hoping to make, but perhaps I can try again tomorrow.
It may just be the videos the site recommends for me, but has anyone else noticed that Youtube is filling up with reaction videos? People make videos of theirselves reacting to and commenting on other videos on Youtube. I suppose that’s ok – what’s wrong with a bit of constructive criticism and feedback, after all? Yet, on the other hand, it strikes me as a tad lazy. I mean, can’t these people find something new and original to create videos about? Surely we can all make up our own minds about the original vids? Then again, I suppose I ought to find something new and original to blog about, rather than simply reacting to people making reaction videos.
There are quite a few schools in the area where I now live, so now that summer is at an end, I suddenly notice loads of young people in school uniform appear towards the end of the afternoon. This didn’t happen last September, of course, because the schools were in lockdown; but now that they’re opening up again there are suddenly kids all over the place. It makes me wonder about getting involved somehow. Before I moved to Eltham, I used to volunteer at Charlton Park Academy: that is a special school which has severely disabled students. It was Lyn’s suggestion initially. I used to help kids there with their communication skills, mostly by acting as a rolemodel. I still hope, once things clear up a bit more, to go back there and resume my voluntary work.
I see volunteering at school as a valuable way of contributing to society; It also gives my days and weeks some structure. Perhaps now I live in Eltham I could do the same at one of the local mainstream schools too. What I could do for them I’m not sure: perhaps they have students with SEN I could give help or advice on; or perhaps they could do with a specialist in film or media studies – or indeed blogging. Yet the last few months have seemed so mundane and dull that I think I would just like to interact, productively, with a bit of society again.