Monday, September 24, 2007

Multicultural madness

Katy and I are regular patrons of the Richmond Theatre. We will not be going for a while in protest at what we saw last Saturday night, a production of Midsummer Night's Dream using seven languages from the Indian subcontinent.

This is not the way one wishes to see the Bard. Whoever he may have been, one thing is certain. he wrote in English. He is not easy to understand but putting bits of a play into seven other languages adds nothing to the communication. It spoils the play and I am disgusted that my tax had been squandered by the British Council on such a travesty of the play. I am also astounded a the sexually explicit nature of the production coming from cultures where public kissing is not usually portrayed. Visually it was well done but I go to Shakespeare to hear the unequalled words. Denied them we left at the interval. Having wasted money we chose not to waste more time also.

Amazing Grace [2007]Dvd

I had been looking forward to seeing this ever since the film came out but I regret to say I was disappointed.
Ioan Gruffudd was better than I expected as Wilberforce. My beef is with Michael Apted the director for giving such a blatantly unhistorical drama. I do not have time to list the errors but the two most blatant ones are to do with John Newton. The present tune we sing to Amazing Grace was unknown in England at that time so Wilberforce would never have sung it. Newton was not a monk plagued by guilt for being a slave captain. He was a vicar who knew God's grace and forgiveness, hence the hymn. Right from the start when a screen caption told us the British Empire was built on the back of slaves one sensed that present day (erroneous) judgment may be evident. Wilberforce was not bothered by his addiction to opium. It was the one analgesic available and he controlled, not increased, his dosage throughout his life. I do though doubt that he would have been alone with an unmarried lady, unchaperoned through the night. The production is so inaccurate I thought that the director must be American, but no, to our shame he is British, portraying a royal duke in the House of Commons, Fox erroneously ennobled and still there to give the econium on Wilberforce in the hour of triumph though Fox died before 1807.

It was not merely the historical inaccuracy that disappointed me. The flash backs were confusing and took away from the whirlwind nature of Wilberforce's courtship. I found the whole thing rather dull and not a patch on say, Chariots of Fire for an inspirational Christian theme. It was sympathetically done but could have been so much better. Perhaps viewer's who do not know the real story will be more impressed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I am a top 500 reviewer

As of today I am a top 500 reviewer on Please click on my profile and give me some more votes. See G. J. Weeks's Profile

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's not cricket

On Wednesday I saw the sixth One Day International at The Oval, when with a fine batting display India beat a good England total of over 300 runs. Afterwards we sporting English losers shook hands with jubilant Indians near us.Saturday, the seventh and deciding game of the series at Lords was a different matter with India restricted to 187all out. The difference was made by better England bowling and that being reinforced by Flintoff coming into the side. When he had Dravid and Tendulkar caught behind the numerous Indian contingent in the crowd did not like it and started to boo Freddie for as long as he bowled. He should have had Uppatha caught too but that call wrongly favoured the batsman. Replays showed the umpire got it wrong with Tendulkar too. So if someone was at fault it was the umpire, not the bowler. Freddie deserved no boos and the unsporting Indian supporters should be ashamed of themselves. So we finished by 5pm and I went home past Wembley where our footballers were beating Israel 3-0.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rally for a referendum

Pro Referendum Rally

The Father Christmas Competition

My best friend Elliott has visited and I think he is ahead in the Father Christmas beard competition.
He has though, the advantage of 10 years seniority, so it is to be expected that he has the necessary silver rather than my grey.
However, when we move to the waist division, I am way ahead. I read recently that the average waist of a Father Christmas is 47 inches. Some of course must exceed that for it to be an average figure.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

More E.U stupidity

As I type this I am listening to Premiership football on the radio. Last season I could have been watching it on Sky at this time. Now, thanks to the E.U. I would have to pay £9.99 a month more for the same amount of football from the top division. This unnecessary layer of government decided Sky's monopoly was not in the public interest and another company should have some games. Sky have not reduced their prices so the ordinary viewer loses out on games unless he forks out more money. Could not some-one in Brussels have worked out this would happen? No their snouts are in the trough, their brains in their boots. Obvious conclusion, we need less government and it should keep its nose out of the marketplace.

Books read in September 2007 (4)

1. The Overlook by Michael Connelly

Other reviewers on seem to be disappointed devotees of Connelly and his detective. This is my first acquaintance with them so I do not have the adverse comparisons to make . It is a short, fast moving detective story, and I for one did not anticipate the ending. If you want an easy, exciting read for your flight or vacation I can recommend it as a topical crime thriller. It will entertain but not stretch the mind.

2. The Union Jack: The Story of the British Flag by Nick Groom

This book is more than its title states. It examines the history of the countries in the British Isles and their development up to the present United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. You will learn many new things like the origin of the three lions on England shirts and why we legally have no national anthem let alone no English one at all. You will find in the light of history why it is no surprise that this years bicentenary of England and Scotland's union went uncelebrated. The rise and fall of a United Kingdom is herein explained. The one frustration in the book is the absence of a decent set of illustrations. Why rely on words to describe flags when they are visual symbols, best illustrated not described? The author is an enthusiast for the Union. I fear he is standing amid a flowing tide of nationalism.

3. Not Dead Enough by Peter James

This is the first of this author's works which I have read and it is likely to be the last. He simply has too much explicit sex and graphic violence for my liking. The violence seems worst during the postmortems. It may appeal to others but not to me. Brighton is the setting but I do not think this will do anything to attract visitors. I think one may be meant to think you have uncovered the murderer fairly early on but there is one fairly incredible final twist.

4. The Sewing Circles of Herat: My Afghan Years by Christina Lamb

Lamb's title is misleading. The sewing circles which hid clandestine education for women forbidden by the Taliban, are but a minor part of the author's travels in Afghanistan in two main periods, the war against the Russians and just after the defeat of the Taliban. This is a terrible account of what war does to destroy a land and of the inhumanity of life under the strict Islam of the Taliban. Who can imagine what it must have been like to live under a regime where all picture, music and even laughter were banned. So what is related here is often ugly,violent and cruel. Lamb writes well but one cannot help wondering what was the mother of a young child thinking of to put her life at risk as she did. This is not a pleasant read but there is something of happiness before the end and now life in Kabul is, I can say from personal experience, much better than when Lamb wrote. Afghanistan though sadly remains a land of violence still in danger from oppressive Islamists