December, 2003

Morality for Beautiful Girls

Morality for Beautiful Girls is the latest in the Abacus republishing of the Alexander McCall Smith No.1 Ladies Detective Agency novels set in Botswana.
Never a long read, it’s still entertaining, although not quite as good as the previous couple. Mma Ramotswe is to be married to Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, but he’s suffering from depression (and consequently plays little part of the novel). Similarly, the newly adopted children are sidelined sharpishly, and the most interesting sounding case about a speechless child who smells of lions, doesn’t really go anywhere. I admit that I don’t see how we could have had a conclusion to that investigation, but I’d liked to have learnt more nonetheless.
Of course I’ll continue reading this series!

Master and Commander

The novels of Patrick O’Brian are the preferred reading of a significant part of the population – and previously I’ve thought them to be a type of Telegraph reader.
Anyway, this film comes along, and despite what I thought was a quite dreadful trailer, I went along anyway.
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this boys own romp. It’s very well put together and the way they welded together special effects, models and real boats was totally seamless. I simply couldn’t tell.
I like to think that I learnt a great deal about life on these boats, and it felt real. Very male, but I will give the books a go at some point.


The new Eddie Izzard DVD/Video is out now, and is of course mostly notable for the fact that I’m in the audience!
I’m told by friends who were there with me, that if you know where to look you can see us. Of course we were sitting in the middle of the fourth row right in front of Eddie.
I was actually disappointed by the performance at the time, so maybe I’ll like it better when it’s trimmed down a bit.
The show was only a couple of weeks ago in Eastbourne, although I must tell you that getting from and two London in time for the show and back before transport stops is particularly tricky.
We got a sixish train from Victoria which ran slowly, only reaching Eastbourne at about 8.08pm (for an 8.00pm start!). We ran to a taxi which zipped us to the theatre, and fortunately he didn’t start anywhere near on time. We were right at the front and it was as well that he didn’t start promptly as we’d never have made it to our seats.
Then there was the slight issue that the last train had left before the performance ended – and there was no way we could get out early. We went to the taxi rank by the station where a cabbie looked at his watch and told us he couldn’t get us to Brighton for the last train from there for certain in time, and that it’d cost us 40 quid anyway. He also couldn’t guarantee us getting into a B&B for the night – it being November.
He could get us to Gatwick but it’d cost 70 quid. We hummed and haaed, and then phoned a minicab firm who quoted 40 quid to Gatwick, and he made such good time, that we actually caught the train from Brighton that we’d missed (the same train we’d have connected from Eastbourne from in the first place). All told it was a good value journey!


I managed to get some tickets to the West End transfer of Jumpers a week or so ago. I’d never seen this play before – originally produced in the early 70s.
Simon Russell Beale is outstanding however as the poor confused philosopher married to his philandering wife (Essie Davis was “indisposed” for the performance I saw).
Overall, performances aside I was a little disappointed. Maybe I was expecting too much, but I felt it could have been a little tighter. Yes of course Stoppard makes you work for your pleasure, and that’s something to revel in, but some things didn’t quite hang together. Where it is funny, it’s very funny though.
Worth seeing.

Kill Bill

Such a lot to catch up with!
Anyhow, I saw Kill Bill finally last week, even though I do have a fundamental problem with what was originally one film, being broken into two. Twice the lucre then? Two DVDs followed by a limited edition boxset DVD with previously unreleased extras ad nauseum…
And I had thought that all this “4th film” nonsense was a marketing thing, until I saw the opening credits which included it. I can’t recall any other film maker doing this, and it seems a little ahead of yourself to do it. Let film historians put the film into the context of the rest of your oeuvre.
Those two things aside, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of OTT violence certainly, but lots of great staging, and homages. I loved the anim� section too which blended nicely into the rest of the film. And even if it was one film cleaved into two, the end came quite naturally leading in to the sequel whenever that’s released next year.