End of a Century

I wasn’t surprised to see that I have reached my 100th post on this blog. I noticed while I was doing the Skiathos stuff that the posts were ranking up. I had hoped to have something profound to share with you, dear reader, but I have thought about it a while and I really can’t think of anything overly dramatic.

So lets tackle some categories instead (given that I did a f-‘art’ yesterday). First of all my gaming has really dwindled of late despite the fact I have several unfinished Xbox games lying around, namely Assassin’s Creed III, L. A. Noire, Fallout New Vegas and a post-holiday bargain Halo 4. I find I am unable to sacrifice the time to any of them and I won’t be rushing out to buy the new Xbox when it comes out. Halo 4 looks nice, but the campaign plays just the same as all the others ‘go there, hold X, shoot anything that moves’. .. yawn. Assassin’s Creed III is full of annoying glitches and despite its ‘open world’ design has a very linear story. I love the franchise but yearn for something a little more developed than running around in trees. Also Desmond is turning into a bit of a prick. Not sure if I like him all that much anymore. L. A. Noire, despite it’s great hard-boiled atmosphere, was also way too linear for me and finally Fallout New Vegas (that I bought for £3!!) is simply depressing and clunky and feels like a tiresome add-on for Fallout 3 (it isn’t). I need to have some fun when I am playing on the Xbox. What I need is a new Lego game.

I am currently reading The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett and enjoying it immensely. I think it was £2 in HMV’s sad closing down sale. I love the film and the book is even better. In one memorable scene Spade punches a guy in the face after relieving him of his gun – it is described in such perfect detail the writing is comparable to watching ‘that punch’ in Matrix Revolutions. Brilliant style and an intriguing story.

In terms of sport I watched both the women’s and men’s Wimbledon finals at the weekend. I was gutted for Lisiki in the women’s final as I was rooting for her to win after she knocked out Williams, and slightly bemused by Bartoli’s OCD-ish tapping of the back wall with her racquet on almost every point. It was great for a name other than Williams to end up on the winner’s list. I watched Andy Murray’s quarter and semi final matches as well as the final and was blown away by his reserves of energy and mental resolve to overcome his opponents. Good stuff. I also warmed to Djovik immensely as he was a gracious loser and didn’t ever give up. The final game of the third set was immense from both players. I also got in the spirit of things by having strawberries for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday – fresh from my garden. There’s nothing like free food to make you appreciate Mother Nature.

Before the men’s final I watched a film I had recorded off Film 4 called A Prophet. This was a French prison drama about a young muslim (it transpired) prisoner forced into an act of violence by a group of Corsican’s who rule the prison led by an old don rather aptly named Cesar. By various machinations the main character turns from zero to hero using the rival groups in the prison to his advantage in various shady deals. The title comes from the fact that he is haunted by a ghost who shows him glimpses of the future. The film is dotted with artistic and surreal moments while also realistically portraying life in the french prison system. Excellent stuff.

The same day also included watching This Is Spinal Tap – a bargain at £2 from Fopp in Nottingham. This was my fourth or fifth viewing of the film and it never fails to make me laugh, and I thought it was about time I owned it. My favourite quote is ‘you can’t dust for vomit’. One of my other favourite films is When Harry Met Sally; another Rob Reiner film and I think Billy Crystal’s performance is brilliant and the script is comedy genius. my only criticism of This is Spinal Tap is that we don’t get to hear a lot of the songs – which are hilarious (I have the albums) and it is too short – only about 1hr 20min. I would have liked to have watched a few of their songs sung live in Japan with them wearing their astrological costumes.

In a musical mood and following my disposal of a free ticket to see Mamma Mia I thought it was time to watch the film given it was showing on ITV HD. Siggy was keen also to put it to bed, although we both thought it was going to be crap. I armed myself with crisps and beer and settled in for a serious session of cringing. Suffice to say that it is crap, but it’s also quite enjoyable. Most of the cast put on a good show, despite some rather dodgy vocals and the shoe-horning of songs (by ‘clever’ lyric twisting) to fit the plot and twisting of the plot to fit the songs. I enjoyed it more than Sweeney Todd, but far far less than Moulin Rouge or Nightmare Before Christmas. It looked like vast quantities of Ouzo were consumed during the making of the film. It was nice to see some places that we visited on our boat trips while on holiday and laugh at some of the clichés they presented. The clapped out taxis at the start of the film were the first of many Hollywood bollocks on show – anyone whose been to Greece knows that the taxi drivers all drive decent Mercedes with air-con rather than what looked like Russian Ladas from the 1950s.

In terms of music I have dug into Carter and The Cardigans for the next letter in my A to Z CD Marathon. I also found some more B’s in Fopp in the form of The Kick Inside by Kate Bush and St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley, both bargains at £3. The Bush album is classic and contains two of my favourite songs by her (I think I mentioned these already in a previous post so I won’t repeat) and the Barkley album is short but sweet if you like odd rap music and features the brilliant number one single Crazy. I also have Random Access Memories on a lot, but I think I will leave off writing about it until I get to ‘D’. I think it is great by the way. Not a duff track in sight.

I also found a shop that sells Onitsuku Tigers and so couldn’t resist buying a pair. I think I may be developing a bit of a trainer ‘habit’, because although I intended to replace the pair I was planning to ditch while on holiday I didn’t skuz them up enough to justify ditching them so didn’t, and so I shouldn’t really have bought a replacement pair. Anyway the stripes were a new combo of colours I hadn’t seen before and I like them so fuck it. I might wear them in a year or so.

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