Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category


Apart from my virtually total recall of every scene and piece of dialogue from the whole of The Outlaw Josey Wales, there are many other short movie scenes that are easily recalled at random moments or when prompted into the mind’s eye by some other image or sound or remark. Two of them for me involve Robert Redford, the first is when he has just told Paul Newman, aka Butch Cassidy, that he can’t swim so he’s not going to jump into a river at the bottom of a gorge to escape from the rapidly approaching posse (“Who are those guys?” It’s all coming back). It’s just the look on his face and the seriously embarrassed, reluctant nod, in the instant before Butch bursts out laughing. Brilliant and one that just comes randomly from time to time.

The other one is going to come and go regularly if the current hot weather carries on. We’ve put up our “summer” curtains in the back room and they sometimes blow gently in and out the french doors. Every time I see that, there’s Redford again, aka Jay Gatsby, on a hot afternoon, floating on his airbed in his pool, turning at some sound to look back through the gently moving curtains hoping desperately that it’s Daisy come to him, having left Tom Buchanan for good. Of course, his tension is not ours, as we have seen Scott Wilson, great piece of acting, aka George Wilson, approaching, taking a revolver out of a crumpled brown paper bag, sweating, shaking, reeling from seeing his own image in Gatsby’s mirror while the curtains continue to blow gently in and out around the revolver blasts and Gatsby dies.  Here’s a few shots of our little curtains, images dwarfed by those in the film but enough to take me back through that whole wonderfully constructed scene.

         Screenplay F F Coppola. Why am I not surprised.

Great film, great book.

This I believe. The squares marked A and B are the same shade of grey.

Thanks to: http://butisit.deviantart.com/#/d4cs46b

No I don’t. Yes I do. No I don’t. Yes I do. Anyway, Beth having written this: I love talking to my Dad about anarcho-syndicalism, socialism, communism, capitalism, feminism, religion, anarchy, protest, work, profit, everything. He knows so much, explains how the world works so clearly, and usually has an answer/explanation for everything… on Twitter has prompted someone to guess (in a kindly way, I’m sure) that I might be a Deconstructionist and helpfully to provide a link to an article purporting to explain what that means together with a ‘critique’ of some other approaches to sociology, philosophy and politics that he labels as leftist. It is indeed an interesting article but I ain’t one of them – deconstructionist, that is. Can’t think what kind of an -ist I am really. There’s probably an -ist label for that disability though!

The twitter-guesser then moved on to wonder if I was actually a social constructionist then? after Beth ventured to suggest that Marxist, i.e. materialist would do for the moment. Turns out the guesser ( who seems determined (desperate?) to attach -ists here and there ) is a Christian Socialist and practising Catholic and the article writer, Robert Locke, admired by the twitter-guesser, has also suggested that if all Palestinians were forcibly “removed” from all of Israel, that would help to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  After the initial discomfort of wondering what I was being described as and not liking Locke’s style too much, I can feel a sense of comfort returning.

England are playing cricket against the West Indies and are described as being in a strong position on the first day because their opponents have scored 243 runs while losing 9 batsmen. England have yet to bat and so languish at 0 for 0. How can that be a strong position yet? If you are reading this and don’t understand cricket, forget it, it’s not a matter of life or death, it’s much more important than that, as Bill Shankly once described soccer.

Bill Shankly. http://www.lfchistory.net/Articles/Article/2410

If you don’t know what soccer is, never mind.

Feeling a bit stir crazy yesterday so went off to Hem Heath Woods, part of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s complement of reserves.

Leaving behind the infernal race of modern life in the car park on Trentham Road, between a railway track and an electricity sub-station, I took the leaf-covered path, all orange, brown, yellow and black. To the left, or East, is an industrial estate, just discernible through the undergrowth, but audible with hums and rattles from time to time but soon left behind.

Two discreet information boards helped to nurture the growing sense of history such, sometimes ancient, places evoke after a few minutes walking. For example Wedgwoods and all their doings are involved, as the Reserve is leased from the Wedgwood “estate”.  I wish that I could have not noticed the rogue apostrophe or ‘Crewe Comma’ on one board though, where whose had become who’s.  Too much proofreading over the years for that to slip through, unfortunately.

Anyway, the path between the trees suddenly reached a beautiful place aptly called The Glade, just occupying its time there, getting on with being naturally attractive to any human eye that cared to visit.  So far the only others enjoying the woods had been a couple ‘walking’ a very energetic, bouncy and obviously happy dog. Then further on into deeper darker parts was a woman on her own apart from her small dog. She had walked these woods for 45 years but had come in from the southern end and had never been up as far as where I explained my car was, all of half a mile or so. We parted after a short chat, as it was getting late into the afternoon and we both needed to find our ways out in the twilight.

Such an experience of peace clears the mind and spirit. That’s what it felt like.

[photos from the website]

Just about to talk about our Christmas shopping exploits already (life in the fast lane) when the announcer on BBC Radio3 plugs a forthcoming programme of carols from St John’s College Cambridge, confirming that we’re not by any means ridiculously early with such things.
Spent far too long in The Body Shop today sampling smelly stuff for family and two of our female friends. The latter and Barbara have set a mutual spending limit of £3-5 so that limits the field a bit thank goodness.
I don’t really enthuse too much about the whole Christmas period and some of its hypocritical aspects, but I do like coal fires and cosy days and evenings with visiting offspring and friends. Funny how time passes and our “duty” trips to our parents over the years have turned into happily preparing for and then playing hosts to our own kids.

We went to our local library in Alsager for an hour this morning, on National Poetry Day in the UK, to see and listen to W Terry Fox read some poetry. I consider it well worth visiting that link to some YouTube performances. It was a fine way to spend time and Barbara also enjoyed it. He talked quite a bit about Mow Cop where he lived for a time and still lives “down bank” a bit at Whitehill.  The event attracted an audience of about a dozen, two of whom had travelled from Crewe. It was a free occasion, funded by the Friends of Alsager Library.

Poetry has always been a minor interest of mine, humming quietly along in the background to a life, ever since that A Level course in Eng. Lit. at school with good old “Gabby” Hayes where he introduced us to the beauty of John Keats’ work. Alongside many of his own fine poems, W Terry Fox read Keats’ Ode to Autumn today, (read and hear here) which took me right back to those days in that particular seat in that particular classroom, as clear as if  I were there now.

I remember those times with Gabby (middle row, second from the right) as a bejewelled island in a murky sea of dark drudgery and suffering from the rest of my schooldays. There were only four of us in the class, as I remember, which added to the privilege and sheer pleasure of coming from a bookless and often cheerless home to that highly skilled introduction to classic literature over two years that probably helped to nurture whatever semblance of sanity I ever had. Thanks Gabby and Thanks Terry.

Poetry in Chicago? Well, here’s a poem by

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Pinsky featured on the excellent website of The Poetry Foundation based there; from such a simple thing like the next time you put on a shirt or skirt, he has fashioned simple but resonant words.

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