Should I have tried to help?

I just got back after a bit of a busy morning: I  had a  couple of things to do in Woolwich, where I also bumped into Matt B.  I hadn’t  seen him in a couple of months, so it was great  to reestablish contact and set a few plans  in motion. However, going along Woolwich high street, I saw something which puzzled me,  and is playing on my mind. There are usually a few beggars and buskers along there, but  today I saw a guy who obviously had  CP.  He used a crutch, and held a  cap in his hand for people to put change into. I guess he was in his thirties, an immigrant, and wore a pained, helpless expression on his face.

Something about this man got to me. If he was disabled like me, then  why wasn’t he getting all the support I get? Why was social services not helping him as much as they help me? What brought this man to the point where he has to beg on Woolwich high Street? I thought briefly about  trying to help, but how? What could I have done, apart from going back to social services to tell them about it?

Yet I suppose there is another possibility. It looked like the guy had cerebral  palsy, but if he did it was mild.  Despite the cane he seemed stable on his feet, had enough balance to hold his  cap steady, and his speech seemed clear. Part of me has to wonder whether he was  really disabled, or whether he was imitating having cerebral Palsy for people to pity him. If he did have cp, why would  social services not step in and support him? I certainly hope the uk isn’t a country which would allow people with disabilities to beg in the streets. Yet if he was faking it, that raises the question of whether people think having a disability is so pitiful that it can be used to trick passers by into giving you money. I must say I find that thought even more repugnant.

I don’t know what to think. Should I, being a disabled man myself, have tried  to give him help or guidance? Perhaps he didn’t know about the support structures in this  country. And what if he was just   trying to look disabled for pity? Should I have felt insulted? In the end I did nothing, left him be, and went on my way; yet something about this fleeting incident bugs me.

Billie Eilish to sing the new James Bond theme

Not that I have ever heard of her  before, but American pop star Billie Eilish has apparently been selected to compose and sing the theme for No Time To Die. I’m still quite a fan of Bond Themes: alongside the gunbarrel and the pre-credit sequence, the  theme is one of the defining features of the franchise.There have been some great themes for the recent films, particularly Adele’s Skyfall theme, which surely must be up there with Shirley Bassey’s and Carly Simon’s contributions. I’m thus fairly optimistic,  although, of course, we’ll have to wait for the film to see if it’s  any good.

Jojo Rabbit

It is difficult to say whether Jojo Rabbit is hilarious or utterly horrifying. I went to see it yesterday, and from the very beginning it was clear that I was watching a very unique, interesting film. It is very funny, but the events it depicts are among the most serious and disturbing. Set in Germany in about 1945, it’s about a boy whose mother shelters a jewish girl from the Nazi thugs all around. In his innocence, the boy has made Hitler into an imaginary friend. He believes what he has been told about Hitler being a nice, kind, fatherly figure. The audience can see this imaginary friend, and it is quite a comic, jolly figure, getting into all kinds of scrapes with the boy. When the boy meets the jewish girl, they develop a friendship: he finds her friendly and kind, obviously contradicting everything he’s been told by the Nazis.

To be honest, something about this film doesn’t feel right to me. It is cheerful and funny, yet the events it depicts, often going on in the background or implied, are truly horrifying. We see people murdered, beaten and executed. On one level this is not a subject to laugh about; yet because we witness events from a young child’s perspective, everything seems jolly and fun, with most of the characters and action being almost pythonesque. It’s as if the film has two distinct, separate layers: on the surface it is a children’s film, a comedy about a little boy growing up, surrounded by very stupid people who allow him to do all kinds of silly things. Just below that surface layer, though, is a horror film, clearly depicting some of the most appalling acts ever committed.

The problem is, which is the correct layer? What is Jojo Rabbit trying to be, comedy or horror? Does this juxtaposition of layers add to or subtract from the overall effect of the film? Does the comedy complement the horror, or make light of things innately unfunny? Should the film be criticised for this contradiction, or was it deliberately employed by the directorTaika Waititi? Should this film be praised for it’s boldness and bravery, or be appalled? What was Waititi trying to tell us?? Such questions are at the heart of this film, and to be honest I don’t know what to think. From the look of it, many other critics are divided about this film too; but perhaps that was the whole point. At the same time I am intrigued and disquieted by it.

A cool, arty weekend

It’s fast turning into a very cool weekend. John is with me, and yesterday we went up to the BFI Imax to see  1917. I wasn’t expecting anything particularly special, but it completely blew me away. More of an artwork than a standard piece of post-classical cinema, what Sam Mendes has done is completely reinvent the language of film. There are no discernible cuts throughout the film, so the narrative appears to  unfold in one long take. The effect was spellbinding, and I certainly need to now read and write a lot more about it: this is a film which deserves much more serious attention than a Sunday morning blog entry.

If that wasn’t enough, yesterday had another surprise in store. John took me to a place called The Place,  a contemporary  dance academy.  There, dancers put on a show of  three pieces of  quite wonderful creative movement, each very different to the other.  In one, a woman moved pre-prepared objects in  front of a camera to create a  type of live film, which  was then projected onto the back of the stage. The second was a duet where two people interwove their bodies in  a quite spellbinding way. The third was the most powerful and hard-hitting, exploring life for gay men. They each lasted about half  an hour. It rather reminded me of the stuff  I used to see back at university – very contemporary and avant guard.

I came home feeling that it had been a fascinating, enjoyable day;  but the weekend isn’t over yet. Today we’re off to watch Jojo Rabbit in Peckham. I’m really looking forward to it: expect an entry on it tomorrow. I really like rich, art-filled weekends like these.

You can almost smell Trump’s jealousy of Obama in the air

I know I shouldn’t just post rants about Donald Trump have to be to think he was cheated out  of a Nobel Peace  Prize? He apparently complained on Twitter and in a speech that he had been unjustly denied the prize for brokering peace in Ethiopia. This is another instance of Trump thinking he’s a far greater statesman than he actually is, as if he deserved the prize just for being himself. The guy clearly has a  very poor understanding of how the world really  works or how he’s actually perceived; and you can almost smell his jealousy of Obama in the air.

Are we being distracted?

I might have once written on here that I was a bit of  a royalist after seeing the Queen meet 007, but I just have to say I don’t give two hoots what a beardy ginger guy does with his wife (not that  one, anyway). Besides, there are far more worrying things going on, such a potentially cataclysmic war  brewing  in the Middle East, and the  coming gutting of our human and consumer rights due to Brexit. Unless – now here’s a thought – someone wants our attention diverted away from those two stupidities: ”Hey look everyone, see what  the royal family is up to! Never mind that you’re about to lose  your human rights, or that the deranged idiot America currently calls it’s president is about to start World War Three. Look what Harry and Meghan are up  to…”

More from the autocue-reading numpty

I just watched the orange idiot America is  still laughably calling it’s president make a statement on Iran. To be honest I was slightly surprised: when I turned my computer on to read that Iran had fired missiles at American bases in  Iraq this morning, my gut reaction was that the States would have declared war  by this evening. I’m sure Trump would have wanted to, but was probably held back by congress. It’s fortunate nobody was hurt or killed, or things may have  been different. Either way, in his statement it  was obvious he was just reading words he barely understood off an autocue; trying to appear the tough guy while not giving a shit whose life he jeopardises. The nuclear deal made progress in relations between Iran and the rest of the world; but because it was Obama  who got  the credit for it, trump tossed it away. He tries to sound knowledgable by calling the treaty flawed, but I doubt Trump understood a word of it. All he cared about was  depriving his predecessor of his legacy,  shallow  child that he is. And so here we are: this autocue-reading numpty steering the world towards it’s most dangerous crisis in years, barely understanding what he’s doing and only caring about whether he looks good. Why  oh why can’t the rest of the world do anything to stop this stupidity?