Saturday, 29 January 2011

Ssh! Nursey is Incognito

I think I'm putting in my last appearance in this attire.
Why? Ask you.
Because I'm frightened of the litigation.

Maybe you missed the news story? Earlier this month the Red Cross forced a panto production in Glasgow to change their nurse's costume which was.... somewhat like mine. Apparently putting a red cross on a nurse's costume when it is not being worn by a Red Cross Nurse... is violating the Geneva Convention.

I thought the Geneva Convention was about how you treated prisoners of war - and torture - and extraordinary rendition and stuff. But apparently its principles extend to pantomime costume also. You can click here and read the article if you don't believe me.

Whatever. I don't want to be arrested and flown to Guantanamo because of my significant attire.

"Ho-hum." You say "Why you wearing it anyway? The Old Man's not sick is he?"

No he ain't really. He's just been to see his Heart Nurse (hope she's wearing the right uniform or there'll be trouble) and she says he needs to take some more water pills for a few days cos she thinks there's some fluid in his lungs... And she airily says that's how it will be from now on.... and gradually it sinks in that there is no return to pre-op status for The Old Man. This is his condition now. Officially a "heart failure" patient. Where did all the ..."Let's see how he is six months after the op" talk go?

Now Heart Nurse says she hadn't been told about his original stay in the Heart Op hospital? Can't believe that. Certainly the locum Heart Nurse who made the first visit knew. I get so sick of the lack of communication.

Meanwhile The Old Man is wondering if he is ever going to get the results of the biopsy on his mush cos the cut has healed and it's starting to itch again. He looks up the hospital department in the book.... and there ain't no phone number.... Quelle surprise.

But don't think, for one moment, that I support this government's NHS plans. Cos I don't.

Anyway. On the more amusing medical side ....
We's both a bit addicted to "House" - the American TV series with a misanthropic wunderkind doctor, played with great conviction by Hugh Laurie. We have to watch it on DVD since Sky bought it for broadcast over here. And nothing with Rupert Murdoch's signature on it is allowed into The Old Man's house.

For those who don't know the gist - each episode contains a patient with a puzzling and increasingly deteriorating medical condition... the team swaps investigations, procedures, drugs, arguments and side-swipes until, in a moment of off-duty chat, realisation of the underlying medical problem comes to Dr. Gregory House. (When he has finished toying with the lives of his work colleagues and sole friend, that is.)

Since The Old Man has been watching this latest DVD series, he runs a check list:
"Had that."
"Oh. Yep that's me."

Last night The Old Man scores "lymphoma", "warfarin", and "mitral heart valve failure". It's like winning a triple word score in Scrabble... or getting the final number in "Bingo" .... or... No I can't... that would be too..... "House!"

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

A New Year For Sure

Let me introduce you to "George".
A dark and fine iris. And just coming into bloom in the sun room.

I like to plant these iris reticulata in clay pans, growing them under cover on the window sill here. It keeps the snails and sparrows off of them when they bloom and I can admire them in all their prettinesses. Then they go out into the garden for the summer - in the shade of another plant. Really good way to keep them going.

For those little tinkers, the house sparrows, are really keen on hanging about in a chatty group and exchanging petal-ripping tricks. They like to show off to each other like that. Sparrows like to be in a gang. They chat, bicker, bathe and generally hang out together. Some people don't like 'em. Or think they are a really ordinary, common little bird. But when I lived in London - I watched them disappear from the garden. They just vanished. Which was sad. But they are still thriving here in Cornwall, and I'm glad of that. They make me laugh. Little street kids.

In the garden I can see a hint of snowdrop. And the dunnocks are getting very flirty and tail-flickin'.

Mmmn... the year is starting.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Where Did It Go?

.... ask those of you faithful followers who could have sworn there was a Mrs Doonuthin animation post here a moment ago. And quite rightly. Where DID it go?

Well - ever the perfectionist (Ha!) Mrs Doonuthin fretted that the timin on her latest masterpiece "Moving On" - was not quite right.

So at the weekend she re-edited it and uploaded it to Vimeo again. (Sigh..) I ask you...

Of course purists would say that she should have kept both versions up for you to contrast and compare. But the truth is .... the difference is so slight most people wouldn't know which was which. But Mrs Doonuthin's fussiness is appeased and she feels happier with the version that will reappear soon. But like I said before... don't blink... you still might miss it.

And what do I care? I'm not in it.... well only as a flashback.
And I ask you, who wants to be a flashback?

A Fine Bird That

Sunday we did go for walk again. And we go to Long Rock. Surprise, surprise....
Actually... you want to know why we always go there for a walk? Well The Old Man is still rather in recovery mode from last summer's heart do. Long Rock beach gives direct free parking and a long, flat, stretch to walk. Finding a beach where you don't have a steep cliff climb is a good thing in The Old Man's condition.

And everyone walks their dogs there. So, there is always some energetic behaviour to observe, dogs of all shapes and sizes, and close proximity to Marazion Marshes means quite a few birds to watch out for. As you may have gathered. Anyway, a fine crisp January day and walking we go.

It's the Old Man that spots the bird - huntin around in the big rocks close to the sea wall. It's little. It's dark. I dismiss it as a pipit. Then with a groan of resignation I fetch me glasses out and peer closer.

It is a little beauty. Should be drawn in black and terracotta conte crayon on thick paper. An intense black head that shades towards dark grey down the body with a delicate white flash at its wing edge. It turns around and I catch its chestnut lower belly and tail. And as the bird flutters upwards, I can see what is captured by its name - the tail flaring in vivid ruddy contrast to the dark body.

"It's a black redstart." say I.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Mrs Doonuthin's Goings On

So. So. That Mrs Doonuthin have been playing film-maker again. And you know what? She have ditched me for those two lumps of plasticine.
Her new ..."Masterpiece"... uses those two klutzes.

I was never so annoyed in my life. I'm only too glad The Old Man keeps eatin her tortilla chips before she can get her chubby little fingers on em.

A star's life. How profoundly painful it is. Anyway - 'spect she'll butt in and poke the new work on MY blog when she feels like it.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Travels with my Film-Life: Still in Japan

Mmmn... we's still here. This time it's 1959 and we are visiting the tight world of a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Tokyo - with all that implies.

It's Yasujiro Ozu's "Good Morning". And I think it's very funny. I love the photography in this one. And sometimes the music reminds me of an Italian film of this period.

The plot very much revolves around two young boys' desire for television; whilst the film itself observes the manners and formalities of neighbourly life - as in the greeting of the title. For one character - polite small talk is the oil that smooths the running of daily life. Certainly, for others, its absence ... causes gossip and suspicion. The film is a delight.

I can't point you to a very good clip with English translation. But try this one here for a flavour of the film.

And if you would like to check my post about Ozu's "Late Spring" - click here.

"Good-bye" or should I say - "Sore dewa".

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Animated Discussions: When in France...

Because of the aforementioned quality probs with our recent broadcast entertainment - we are watching an awful lot of DVDs.

This time it is my turn to choose. And I go for animation: Sylvain Chomet's 2003 feature "Belleville Rendez-vous" ...original title: "Les Triplettes de Belleville". (I posted about "The Illusionist", his latest film in another Animated Discussion back in August.)

On the outskirts of Paris, Granny raises her grandson, Champion, and eventually unlocks a passion for cycling that leads to his taking part in the Tour de France. Granny's devoted training, massaging, and mechanical skills take her on the Tour as well - and drama strikes. Kidnap, transoceanic chases, the streets of New York, the French mafia, and the legendary Belleville Triplets - jazz-singing crones with an inventive repertoire of frog cuisine. No need for language - the story unfolds in gesture, expression, and sound.

I love Granny. But above all... above all... I love the wonderful hound, Bruno. This is a hound so real in his obsessions, whimperings, sighs, fat stomach and spindly legs - that I can almost smell him. This is a dog with a dream-life. I love him.

If you want to see a clip from Belleville Rendez-Vous .... click here.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Looking for Something to Watch

So bad is the state of current telly and radio... yup... Radio 3 is still playing Mozart...

I comes downstairs into the sitting room to find The Old Man slumped in front of his telly, tuned to Al Jazeera in desperate search of news of some kind.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

BBC Radio Rage

I like to listen to BBC Radios 3 and 4.

But sadly listening to Radio 3 is out of the question for now because they are playing Mozart all day, everyday, for twelve days from Jan 1st to 12th. Don't misunderstand me - I do like a bit of Mozart now and then.

But not TWELVE DAYS of it.

Now - on Sunday the 9th Jan - Radio 4 is broadcasting nine ... yes NINE items throughout the day about the King James Bible.

(I'm so old I can remember when this was jettisoned as the standard issue bible version, cos it was considered old-fashioned and incomprehensible to younger folk. Now we are being lectured on its beauty and poetry. This is the depressing thing about getting older - you really have seen chunks of it all before ....)

This is really lazy broadcasting. Radio 3 has been sidling into this kind of broadcasting for a while now but never... never.... have they managed a fortnight of classical muzak - which is what they have reduced the music of Mozart to.

Anyway. My point is that - as far as my mainstream Radio listening goes.... well sometimes I forget and turn on my radio .... and think the Queen must have died. Either that or there has been a military coup by dreadfully polite Austrians with a taste for biblical recitation.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Animated discussions : Japan

And by the way... all this travel to Japan through the eyes of Ozu and Hirokasu Kore-eda which repeat the images of piled up buildings, steep steps, railways and roads? Well, I experience a weird overlay of the cloud-swept, steep townscapes of some Japanese anime films. Most notably the Studio Ghibli animations. And the sound of the wind in the trees and the high-pitched cicadas are all there too.

Why do I think of this? Well I watch "Whisper of the Heart" - all to myself - and see and hear these very things. This animated film is written by Hayao Miyazaki, and directed by Yoshifumi Kondo. And I'm really glad I take time out on a cold rainy afternoon to watch it. I'll never grow up.

You can watch a trailer for "Whisper..." by clicking here.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Travels with my Film-Life: Japan again

The Old Man decides to prolong our stay by viewing Yasujiro Ozu's 1949 film - "Late Spring" the following evening. In part, this is because of comparisons made between "Still Walking" (see previous Post) and Ozu's work.

I find the music for "Late Spring" difficult to cope with. It gets in the way for me, at least initially. And, with the characters, you have to take time to adapt to an older generation of mores and Japanese tradition; for instance - the constant smiling and nodding of the "daughter" lead.

But it's worth the effort. If you manage it - you find that underneath the formality and etiquette you are led into an intimate and surprisingly moving film depicting this small family in post war Japan.

You can view a You Tube clip from Ozu's "Late Spring" by clicking here.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Travels with my Film-Life: Japan

So The Old Man insists we visit Japan - by watching the 2008 film "Still Walking" by Hirokazu Kore-eda.

In a steeply hilled coastal town we wait as family members gather for the memorial day of the eldest son. We listen to them bickering and preparing food. We watch them visit the cemetery; watch the children playing and climbing to pick the flowers of a crape myrtle, for the director - a symbol of the family; and we watch the family politics play out.

It's a slow and gentle film and it takes me a while to slow down my pace to match it. But once I do, I find it absorbing. The film's director is known for his previous work in social issue and documentary films. When I discover this, I can understand better the slow, objective narrative of this film.

You can see a trailer for "Still Walking" by clicking here.