Kenny Rogers

Not exactly a tribute, cos Kenny Rogers’ songs was for me something that was most emphatically belonging to my Dad’s generation, although a sign then of the openness of the record charts to a wide range of music in the seventies. And Country music was so strong.
Yet those songs were irritating. Ruby, Coward, Lucille, Gambler – I mean don’t ever try the tables with your own money with those maxims. (Well, don’t try the tables really.)
Ironic then that in the University period, and that post University, unemployed period, post Salop home games Saturday evenings in the pub were finished by my mates putting his records on the juke box and muttering “weh weh weh” during verses before singing the first lines of the chorus – which anyone could do, but only my mates did. As was said during Shirley Valentine, surely there are better songs than this.
And then that post Notts County – Salop Saturday night at the Lord Roberts (2nd Feb 1985) when they put songs like these on to get people to leave at chucking out time, and yep, the astonishment as my mates knew the songs.
So, let’s mark his passing with an acknowledgment of sorts, and gratitude – that I have not been prompted to sing all those Jim Reeves songs for you.
Guardian tribute.

And there I might have left it, save for this cover version of Islands from five years ago, by David Mellen, now leader of Nottingham City Council. Where he does actually sing the words.

And Then We Danced

A movie that people tried to stop being shown in Georgia

Georgia. Georgian dancing. practised on worn out floors. Traditional, strict, paternalistic. Yet loved by these young people who want to go places with it.
Tbilisi. A family steeped in the dancing. Struggling. The lead, a second son. Kinda understood to be committed to his female partner. A coming of age movie. And a coming out movie.
A movie of youth. Excellent physiques and bright outlooks. And gossip of inconsequences from visits to London.
All good, (‘cept I’m not that keen on romance) until just about everything in the lead man’s life collapses in one night – pushing the credibility a tad. Otherwise a good movie and for the most part absorbing.
So go see, including for the dancing (surprisingly from me, cos I ain’t no Strictly fan).

But this is a movie that some in Georgia protested against, trying to stop being shown.
So also go see in solidarity for gay rights.

Wiki. Guardian (4 stars). Observer (4 stars)


A go-see fun-filled movie bringing back memories of the seventies and that BBC broadcast, whilst addressing themes of sexism & feminism, racism & internationalism and objectification & personal development.

Billed as a comedy-drama, the theatre showing I went to didn’t trigger laughs and I suspect this is because the movie chooses not to make enough fun of the men, chooses to show women miserably suffering at the hands of men, when I suspect the women would have had amusing things to say about those condescending interview boards, fellow history students, and television panels. (And look up the YouTube video of Bob Hope and his tasteless gags that night.)

My recollection of watching Miss World as a boy was that I joined in with the judging; and then when the women’s movement made their points, it was like, yeah, it’s obvious, even to a 9 year old. Yet fifty years on, Miss World continues, just not on BBC tv.

Wiki. Guardian review. Guardian comment.
P.S. note for Salop fans – this shows Grenada conquering the world.

True History of the Kelly Gang

The Director wants you to feel uncomfortable. He must do. And he succeeds. People are under threat from the off.
And maybe that is what the true history was. (Except significant parts of the story are not true.)
Did not enjoy the movie but that doesn’t mean don’t go see. Other quibble – too much of the dialogue is muttered.

Ned Kelly was real. But not illiterate – “Every man should be the author of his own history”. The injustice (that generates parallels with Robin Hood) here is different – fighting against “bent coppers”.
Wiki. Guardian.

Dark Waters

A public health failure, brought to a head by the actions of a reluctant lawyer.
Wiki. Guardian.

Kinda odd that there isn’t some kind of name for the scandal this film covers. DuPont see the commercial opportunity in coating pans and carpets using teflon, but don’t get to grips with the toxic and carcinogenic nature of the material whilst manufacturing it.
Teflon is made from perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA-C8) and that is allowed to leak into water sources, and then stored in badly managed steel drums and then moved into an insufficiently managed ground fill site.
People die and they end up paying out $671m after a prolonged legal campaign led by one lawyer, who’s specialised in corporate defence. The campaign, after an initial victory, included paying out $400 each to local residents for blood tests which yielded 69,000 samples, which in turn explains why it took so long for the scientists to declare their results.
All through this story, questions are begged –
– why didn’t vets report problems in animals?
– why didn’t doctors pick on on the increase of cancers and other issues, such a fertility problems?
– why didn’t dentists react to children and others having black teeth?
– why didn’t health services generally rect? or the government agency?
– why no response from the workers, or there representatives in the trade unions, or political representatives?
– why didn’t scientists tasing the blood, issue a warning based on the first thousand results, or offer better progress reports?
The conclusion appears to be that it’s individuals that have to do it – a kinda very liberal interpretation. Yes, DuPont may have had tremendous importance to the local communities and had a good deal of good will, but how come a wide range of other people and organisations not pick up on the problem?

Moonlight and Magnolias

A film producer of a book adaptation might not always know the book; the screenwriter fetched in hasn’t read the book and the director is supposed to be finishing “Wizard of Oz” – the play is a bit too convincing that “Gone with the Wind” is not going to be made cos the screenplay won’t be written. 
But it’s a screwball comedy – 10 re-writes already and they have 5 days to reduce over 1000 pages to 4 hours of film – it’s fast and stressed out.

From Stage Agent

And suddenly, it’s serious – celebrating the Confederates in the nation’s civil war which the Union won? how are black slaves to be portrayed – can they ever be seen to argue back? how is violence against them to be portrayed? 2 American Jews arguably the best at what they do, but can they ever be accepted as Americans? should the movie take an opportunity to reflect the refugee crisis in Europe? and how to say whether you give a damn?
“Gone with the Wind” is to be a massive commercial and critical success, and a black actor is to be one of the Oscar winners. Yet the criticism of the film is that it was still too long and not critical enough of the Confederacy, of slavery, of marital rape and is racist. Oh, and I haven’t seen the film.

Showing at Nottingham Playhouse. See the trailer.