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I'm a sucker for a new energy drink. I know they are bad for me but it's my life and my body to abuse. So imagine my glee when I spotted this at Tesco today. A 500ml can cost me £1.14. A bit pricey I thought but I really had to try it.
The can is black with a green "M" on the front that looks like it has been carved by a monster's claws. Much like it's competitor "Relentless" it looks unerringly like a beer can.
Anyway, I cracked the can open and took a whiff. I was not impressed at all. There is a staleness to the smell. It smells cheap and for want of a better phrase it also smells synthetic. There was something else that I didn't put my finger on until I tasted it.
I must say that after having a smell of this drink I was not looking forward to taking a sip but I'd spent over a quid on it, it was now open and I'd gone to the trouble of smuggling it into the cinema (I saw the new animation movie "9" which itself was decidedly underwhelming).
So, I chowed down on a handful of Nando's Peri Peri crisps (tasty) and built myself a nice thirst. I put the can of Monster to my lips and chugged down a good third of a can.
It wasn't nice. It tasted just as it smelled - cheap and synthetic. Then there was the staleness. Those with a weak stomach be warned, I am going to elaborate on the staleness in the next paragraph and it is unpleasant. I have to call it as I see it (or taste it as in this case) and it makes for pretty horrid reading.
A second or 2 after my monster swig of Monster Energy drink the true nature of the product hit me. It was foul but the after-taste just kept getting worse and worse. It was a taste I haven't experienced since my younger, wilder nightclubbing days. It was the taste of vomit. But not just any vomit, it was the kind of pukey after-taste that you get when you regurgitate a bellyful of beer/lager, that distinctive malty/beer/puke taste. Sorry folks but it is what it is.
Needless to say it put a downer on my afternoon and may even have negatively affected my opinion of the movie I was watching. It really was foul and I am truly disappointed that dooyoo doesn't allow us to give a rating of zero stars. The can of Cherry Coke I hastily bought and necked after leaving the cinema was like nectar.
What makes this even worse is the nutritional information. This stuff is vile and also really bad for you. 100ml contains:
- 32mg of caffeine
- 48 calories
- 12g of carbohydrates (11g of which = sugars)
Steer well clear people. This stuff is absolutely foul. You have been warned!!
Film only review.
Looking For Eric is a 2009 British movie from legendary director Ken Loach. It stars Steve Evets and Eric Cantona and is set in Manchester.
Steve Evets plays a twice married postman named Eric whose life has been steadily falling apart around him for many years. Regrets over his inadvertent failure to make his first marriage to his sweetheart Lily work despite his undying love for her along with the torment he is made to suffer at the hands of the stepsons he has ended up being lumbered with from his second marriage drive Eric to his lowest ebb.
After being hospitalised due to a car crash caused by driving the wrong way around a roundabout, being found not to have delivered his letters and stashing them in a cupboard at his home and being forced to have to face Lily due to the child minding arrangements of their grandchild, Eric becomes highly stressed out and raids the cannibis supply of one of his stepsons.
The marijuana brings about visions of Eric's ultimate icon, the footballing genius Eric Cantona. What follows is a complete turnaround in the postie's life.
Through proverbs, bad trumpet playing, exercises in building self confidence, the help of a bunch of fantastically humorous, loyal and caring real life friends and the odd physical workout, his imaginery friend manages to give Eric back a degree of control and happiness he hasn't had for years. But nothing is easy in the life of this Manchester United die-hard and as always the next crisis is just around the corner................................
OPINION AND OBSERVATIONS
Looking For Eric is an absolute treat. Ken Loach, magnificent director that he is, so rarely makes such a humorous and uplifting movie like this. Familiar Loach traits are there in terms of grittiness and social commentary but there is almost a whimsical feel to this movie, especially when compared to much of his back catalogue.
Eric Cantona's performance is full of humour and self depreciation and will put a real smile on the face of all intelligent football and movie fans alike. He completely plays up to the image held of him as the proverb spouting Frenchman.
The ensemble of familiar British actors who play Eric's friends are another major plus point in this movie. They are hilarious yet come across as being very warm, caring and above all they seem like real people, such is the quality of the acting.
But the one thing that knits this all together so well is the absolutely outstanding central performance by Steve Evets. I found myself completely drawn in by his portrayal of Eric the postman. You just end up believing in him so much, the performance is as natural as any I've seen in a while.
The way the film deals with insecurity and the fallability of human nature and the mind is done so well. You will, in all likelihood, see much of yourself or of people you know in the characters portrayed in the movie.
What Loach does is deal with Eric's personal demons, his highs and lows and his family troubles in a way that is intelligent yet compassionate. Eric the postman has done things in the past that none of us would be proud of but there are reasons for it and you never stop rooting for him.
I really like the way the film presents Eric's anxieties and deals with the issue of relationships and not just as part of a couple but relationships between friends, ex-partners, children and parents etc. There are plenty of realistic, often hard to watch moments, but also plenty of joy.
My only gripe would be the introduction of a sub-plot involving a a criminal element. It is at this point that the film slightly loses it's natural vibe, but again it's only slightly and hardly detracts from the enjoyment of the movie. In fact it does lead to an uplifting, if unlikely, final act.
Looking for Eric is easily one of my top ten favourite movies of 2009. It's so rare to come across a film that has such a natural feel to it. The director and actors deserve the highest praise for a movie that is involving, engrossing, engaging, funny, sad, uplifting and realistic.
Steve Evets' performance is in the top 2 or 3 of any leading male actor performances that I have seen in 2009, probably only topped by Vincent Cassel's portrayal of notorious french criminal Jacques Mesrine. I doubt his efforts will be rewarded come awards time and that is a great shame.
It doesn't get more old school than a Kit Kat does it? For around 50p for a 4 finger Kit Kat (from all reailers worth their salt) we can can relive the deliciousness of these treats which I personally associate with my childhood.
The foil wrapper is predominantly red in colour with the Nestle and Kit Kat logos displayed centrally. Currently they ar running a promotion to win holidays via texting a code fund in each individual wrapper.
Do I really need to explain that original style Kit Kats come in ultra thin 2 finger and 4 finger packs? They are a simple yet lovely chocolate and wafer concoction from a slightly dubious company (Nestle).
Anyway, you bite through the sweet Nestle milk chocolate before hitting crunchy, moreish wafer. The combination of both is great. Both components complement each other superbly.
I love a crunchy biscuit type of bar and Kit Kat delivers in spades. The fact that the chocolate is so brilliantly incorporated is a huge bonus.
I look upon Kit Kats as biscuits rather than as chocolate bars. They go great with a nice hot cup of coffee and are easily the best sweet/biscuit product that Nestle sell in the UK.
On the downside I am not enamoured wth Nestle as a company. Their political leanings leave a lot to be desired and their "ethics" are questionable. I'm not going to enter into a giant rant on this particular company during this review so I implore you to get googling if you are curious.
Also, eating a Kit Kat is not the same as it used to be as the old style foil wrapping allowed you to run your thumbnail down it, breaking it open before you snapped it and then devoured it. It might seem trivial but that was half the fun of eating a Kit Kat.
Also, this snack is hardly the healthiest product in the world. Each 4 finger pack contains:
- 233 calories
- 28.2g protein
- 12.2g fat
All in all I would recommend this as a good snack to have with a hot drink but enjoy in moderation and don't give too much of your money to Nestle.
My best friend has badgered me so much about going away somewhere (outside the UK) that last month I got my first ever passport. It only took me just over 3 decades LOL
Anyway, he has his heart set on going to Amsterdam and he knows I'm the ideal candidate to drag along. The rest of our pals are far easier to persuade to go abroad but there tastes are, shall we say, lowbrow. No amount of harassment is going to get me to go to Ibiza or Ayia Napa. I apologise in advance to anyone who enjoys the 18-30s type of holiday but it's not for me.
Since obtaining my passport I have become enthused by the idea of going to Amsterdam. I really like the whole idea of city breaks.
For anyone wondering about my thoughts on Amsterdam's more famous attractions I say no I'm not interested in the red-light districts but I can't deny that I am curious about visiting the famous coffee shops.
I'm also intrigued by the architecture, the canals (being a Brummie that's only natural I guess) and the whole middle ages vibe.
The few dealings I've had with Dutch folk have all been positive, they were impeccably behaved when their team was stationed in Birmingham during the Euro 96 football tournament and were a credit to themselves, they gave an extra vibrace especially to the city centre. So I expect a nice atmosphere amongst nice, decent people.
My friend is waiting on his renewal passport and then we've just got to work out how long we are going to go for and book it. Any tips from you wonderful fellow dooyoo members would be great - places that we shouldn't miss, places we should avoid, any local customs we should observe etc.
So that's it, bring on next year. I still don't know if I'm like that famous Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp (afraid of flying) so I'm going to get my mate to do what the A-Team used to do to B.A. and get him to drug some milk to get me on the flight if needs be :)
If all goes well there are rumblings of us crossing the Atlantic and taking a bite out of the Big Apple. I don't know, you wait years for a foreign holiday and then 2 come along................................
Saw this at my local shop at £1.89 and was intrigued to say the least. I'd not seen pear cider before so decided to make the investment.
The cider comes in a non descript dark bottle with basic labelling. This drink comes in at a reasonable 4.5% ABV. If it was any more than 5% I'm not sure I would have bought it so maybe this is deliberately kept at a reasonable level to keep it mainstream.
When I opened the bottle I took a deep sniff and smelt..........sparkling wine?!?!?! There is a hint of apple cider about the smell too but I was beginning to wonder if this was really made from pears at all.
The first few sips offered very little in terms of taste, it was a bit like a watered down version of the Bulmer's apple cider version. Seeing as I was drinking this with my dinner (fish and chips) I decided to rebuild my thirst a bit. I salted my chips, ate a handful of them and armed with a new found thirst attacked the bottle again.
Taste test take 2: I had a major glug this time. I drank this bad boy until there was about a third of it left. And then it hit me - the faintest hint of pear. Eureka!! Or not as the case may be.
This product is quite tasteless and unless you are prepared to glug mass amounts of it then you will not really be rewarded with much flavour. It is also not exactly dissimilar to the apple version which at least has more taste to it.
By the end of my taste test I was full of chips and fizzy cider and was not feeling at my best. This is not a drink to have with a meal in my opinion.
Overall this is not an unpleasant drink but I cannot recommend something you have to work so hard to get a taste of. Stick with the apple variety. Oh, and please enjoy in moderation :)
Home Bargains is a big national chain of discount stores which, as the name would suggest, sells a multitude of products for use within the home. They are an ever expanding chain with over 170 outlets already in place and apparently hundreds more to follow.
Home Bargains stocks everything from bedding and linen to toiletries via food, drink, loo rolls, toys, pet food, alcohol and much much more. Each store has the same basic layout, shelving and products. I know of at least 3 stores close to me and they are all pretty much the same inside.
These shops are great for bargain hunters. Personally I use them to buy pop (3 x 500ml bottles of Pepsi for £1), loo rolls (18 soft rolls for £2.99), toiletries like hand soap and foam bath (around 69p each) and crisps (prices vary). Occasionally I might branch out and buy some sweets and my little brother uses them to buy stationery.
What impresses me about Home Bargains is the selection. They seem to cram loads of different products into their shops and you can generally find almost anything you may be after. When you do find what you are after you are usually impressed by the price as well.
Things I don't like about them include the clientele. I have found that there are often a handful of undesirables in these shops. Might just be a regional thing but it seems to me that Home Bargains is a bit like Primark in terms of attracting these people. My only other gripe would be with their carrier bags as they are more like tea bags, they cannot bear much weight at all so you end up needing loads. This can't be very environmentally friendly.
Overall I would recommend Home Bargains as somewhere to go if you have one near you. I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to get to one of these stores. They are great for toiletries, stationery, crisps and pop but be warned that the queues can sometimes get out of hand and you are likely to come in contact with all manner of chavs and generally unpleasant people. It's best to have a clear idea of what you want so that you can be in and out quickly.
Like I need to explain who McDonald's are LOL!! Big, faceless (unless you count the clown) multinational fast food burger chain. McDonald's are the biggest fast food burger company in the world and to many people I guess they would be seen as the original fast food outlet. So, I will spare everyone tales of big golden arches and 2 brothers opening the first McDonald's during the 2nd world war and concentrate on what I like and dislike about McDonald's and why I have my beef with them.
WHAT I LIKE
Speed of service is the first thing that comes to mind. The general ignorance of the clientele (what is it with the rudeness of people these days?!?!) means you often have to fight to get served. But once you have explained to the McChav, McGangsta or McBint with her McBuggy and several other McSprogs who have tried to queue jump ahead of you that you will jab them in the eye with a straw then you generally get your food pretty quickly.
The breakfast range is really nice. The (double) sausage and egg muffin is just divine. Also, the big breakfast is yummy but I wouldn't exactly call it big. Also, the first time I ever tasted a hash brown was with a McDonald's breakfast and no other hash brown has ever come close in terms of yumminess.
The pound saver menu is also great. The 99p chicken mayo sandwich is incredible value for money. Then there is the Big Mac. Ok so this is trash food but you can't knock a Big Mac. I think the secret of the special sauce is methadone because it's so moreish.
The price is always a good thing as well. McDonald's is quite cheap and plus the bus tickets on Travel West Midlands buses often have a voucher printed on the back of them that you can redeem at McDonald's for a £1.99 deal that gets you either a Big Mac or McChicken Sandwich and medium fries.
WHAT I DISLIKE
Again, the clientele often leaves a lot to be desired. What really annoys me is that I seem to be the only person in the world who once I get to the front of the queue I can order, pay my money, take my food and be gone in a flash. Why does everybody else spend 10 minutes?!?!?!?! Why do couples or groups of people spend 5 minutes in a queue tutting at the fact that those in front are taking an age and then when it's their turn they have a full scale conversation on what they are going to have?!?!?!?! You had enough time to think and talk about this whilst you were queuing and now you yourself are holding everybody else up about 2 minutes after slagging other people off for doing the same!! Retards!!
The food is obviously very unhealthy as well. They can offer fruit bags, carrot sticks and salads but McDonald's is what it is. I would never go looking for anything healthy at one of their outlets. Also, I thought they were meant to be cutting down the amount of salt in their fries. The fries have never been saltier!!
My beef is simple. My major problem with McDonald's is not about anything they are currently doing, it is about what they are not doing. There are 2 items missing from their menu that should be absolute staples. I am talking about the bacon double cheeseburger and the McRib.
When I say bacon double I don't mean in the style of the bacon cheeseburger that was recently on the pound saver menu, the one with the smokey streaky bacon. I want to see a return for the bacon double they did ages ago, the one with the round slice of bacon on it and served in a sesame seed bun instead of a plain bun, I think it was part of a promotion they did in conjunction with the movie "Space Jam". Anyway, it was magnificent and should be back on the menu.
As for the McRib, it's absolutely shocking that this is not on the menu. The nicest thing they have ever sold and where is it?!?! I know I'm not alone because loads of people I know have commented on this. Get your act together Ronald!!
McDonald's is perfectly ok once in a while but you would be well advised not to overdo it. They serve some of the guiltiest, trashiest food going but I can't see a time when I will be able to abstain. I realise this probably makes me a bad person LOL
I decided from very early on that I would cash in my earnings in the form of amazon vouchers. I can't be bothered with getting a cheque and I already give to charity by other means.
As a newbie it was hard to resisit the urge to cash in at the earliest possible opportunity and upon hitting the 20,000 dooyoo miles mark I was itching to cash in. But resist I did and it has got progressively easier to let them build up. In fact, I am now quite loathe to cash them in. The thought of starting again is a bit depressing.
So, in about 2 months time I am looking to have a bit of a churnfest and see just how many dooyoo miles I can accrue, ready for cashing in and spending on the dreaded Christmas. All very boring I know but also very necessary. Christmas is just so expensive for me, I spend many hundreds of pounds every year and my dooyoo earnings should be a significant help.
All I need to do now is point everyone I buy for in the direction of amazon.co.uk and see what they request.
I think I will continue in the same vein after Christmas and use my earnings for buying gifts. Basically all of the people who I buy for have their birthdays in the first 6 months of the year so there is no let up for me in terms of having to spend spend spend. This should give me ample motivation to get to the 20,000 miles mark every time.
Thank goodness for dooyoo!!
This is a real-time review from me. The time is 9:45am and I have the idiot box on channel ITV1. The Jeremy Kyle show is in full swing. This is the latest in a long line of these ITV1 talk shows which have filled the weekday slot between 9:25am and 10:30am, sandwiched between GMTV and This Morning. Everything is the same except it is Kyle at the helm. Previous hosts of the talk show in this slot include Trisha Goddard and Big Vanessa Feltz.
This show is vile!! Car crash tv at it's absolute worst. The title of the show that is on as I type is "Two Women, two babies, two weeks apart". The title tells the whole sorry tale really but I think it is worth pointing out that the guy at the centre of it is a self confessed crack cocaine addict (or crackhead as we call them in Brum).
The camera is switching between the vile guests, the condescending host and audience members who are smiling sick grins and nodding their heads. We all know this is garbage but we watch out of sheer sick fascination which, let's face it, doesn't say much for us as a race LOL!!
The show is pure exploitation. They take the poorest, most ill educated members of British society and make a freak show out of the whole thing. You never see middle class, well-to-do types on The Jeremy Kyle Show. I don't want to sound like a snob (I'm actually a working class lad from inner city Birmingham) but we all know there are problems with what has become a particularly undesirable underclass that has developed in this country. But that doesn't give Kyle or ITV an excuse to exploit them.
Real-time update: The crackhead has gone off to get DNA tests done and been replaced by a guy who claims (and the title has changed to) "My sister is sleeping with 12 men a month". Kyle, the weasel, has gone from blasting the last mob on the stage to showing "compassion" for some bint who says she can't say no to a man.
Which brings me to Kyle himself. He's a toad!! He is slimy, fake and so condescending. I was listening to Ace and Vis on BBC Radio 1Xtra a few months back and they had collated all of the incidents of Kyle being patronising from just 1 show and it just went on and on. "Sweetheart" this and "darling" that and done in a vile, sexist, dismissive fashion.
Right, I've had enough. I've been at this for half an hour now and can't take it any longer, I also have better things to do today. The time is 10:15 and I am turning this tosh off. Please try and be better than me and avoid this garbage because by watching it we are all helping to bring down western civilisation.
I heard that Kyle's show is getting the chop early next year. The only downside to that is he isn't going away sooner.
I didn't develop hayfever until I was in my late 20s and these last few summers have been absolute hell. What I initially thought was a really heavy cold just wouldn't go away and was especially bad at around 4am every day.
Eventually the penny dropped and I realised that I would have to give an antihistamine a try. I must admit that I wasn't aware that whether you pay £3 or 99p every brand of antihistamine basically does a similar sort of job and it's the active ingredient which differs from one brand to another.
Initially I had been using an active ingredient which I came to find out was called Cetirizine Hydrochloride which really does the job for me. The active ingredient in these Tesco tablets is called Loratidine, which like most types of this medicine contains 10mg of said active ingredient.
A box of 7 of these "1 a day" tablets costs literally a couple of pennies under £1 which is a very fair price. The box (which differs from the one pictured here) is pretty dull, blue with yellow and white writing which tells us that these tablets give relief from
- skin allergies
- dust allergies
- pet allergies
I found that the Loratadine didn't help ease my hayfever symptoms anywhere near as much as the Cetirizine Hydrochloride. The relief was only very slight and didn't last anywhere near as long as the other active ingredient, certainly not the full day suggested on the box. I was still sneezing throughout the day and after about 12 hours could feel that the Loratadine had worn off altogether as I was feeling really lousy.
I have read other people saying that Loratadine has worked well for them so my clinical experiment leads me to conclude that each active ingredient works differently for different people. Loratadine didn't work well for me so I went to the pharmacy and found out that the brand I had previously using contained Cetirizine Hydrochloride so I purchase enough to last me a month.
The single biggest lesson I learned from my experience of buying allergy relief medicines was that you really need to ignore the brand names and take note of the active ingredient. A 98p box of Tesco's own brand will do exactly the same job as Piriton, Zylon, Zirtek etc at around a third of the price.
Things to be aware of when using these Loratadine tablets:
- contains lactose
- speak to your GP if you have underlying health conditions (especially liver problems)
- Not suitable fot children under 2 years old or weighing less than 30kg
- don't exceed 1 a day
- don't use if pregnant or breastfeeding
My conclusion is that these may work for you but were useless for me so therefore I cannot recommend them or give them more than 1 star.
Jack Daniels (or JD as it is also know) is a the world's most recognisable brand of Tennessee whiskey (it's not a bourbon!!!!). It has famously only ever been produced in one place - Lynchburg, Tennesse. This whiskey has been produced for nearly 150 years now, ever since Jack Daniel himself first starting up his distillery in the 1860s.
The distinctive brown alcoholic spirit comes in a familiar square JD bottle with black label displaying the product name and various details regarding the distillery, awards won etc. JD is sold in practically every shop in the country with a liquor licence. A 700ml bottle will set you back anywhere between £16 (if you are lucky) and £20.
I first came across JD in my early 20s. I was having a few pints of John Smith's Smooth (a nice drink) at the bar where I was working. Towards the end of the night I decided to have a spirit and mixer. I used to drink rum and Coke but, inspired by one of the regulars, I decided to try JD and Coke instead.
It was like an epiphany for me. It's probably the closest I've ever come to a devine experience. I was stood there in absolute sobered-up shock, wondering how it had taken me so long to getting round to drinking this nectar. I had seen JD as just another whiskey like Bells or Teachers and to be fair I find these brands ok but not as nice as a good rum so I always stuck to that instead. I had been such a fool all those wasted years without my Uncle Jack!!
I don't drink JD neat as I find the taste of neat spirits to be a little coarse for my liking. I also wouldn't like to acquire a taste for drinking neat spirits but that's just personal choice. I'm told it is a lovely sipping whiskey but I always add Coca-Cola at roughly a 1:1 ratio with the JD.
This mixture of JD and Coke is devine. The smokiness of the whisky infuses the Coke and gives it an amazing depth. Sometimes I take 30 seconds or so just to take in the smell of it before I start drinking.
Although, as I say, this is not a bourbon whiskey the characteristics are bourbon-esque. This is not like drinking Bells or Teachers. JD is a silky smooth alcoholic drink.
Downsides? As with all alcohol this product is to be enjoyed in moderation. At 40% ABV the alcohol content demands respect. A whiskey with this drinkability is open to excessive consumption.
Overall I would definitely recommed Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey to anybody (over 18). Enjoy JD in moderation though. If I am out having a couple of beers with my pals it is generally the last thing I drink before I go home. I can't praise this more highly.
I'm assuming I don't need to explain to people who the Coca Cola Company are. They been around for ages, their products are world renowned, the original recipe was made with using a bona fide narcotic amongst it's ingredients etc etc etc blah blah blah.
Short and simple people!! Cherry Coke will set you back about 99p for a 500ml bottle just like it did me at my local Select And save shop today. The labelling is a dark cherry red to match the product, has a picture of a cherry and the product name on it along with extensive nutritional information.
This stuff tastes devine. It basically tastes like the merging of coca cola with the juice of a jar of glacier cherries (try mixing these 2 ingredients and you will see for yourself). This carbonated soft drink is sweet and moreish, dark in colour and rich in taste.
When you take your first sip you are instant hit by the fizz, then comes the familiar, rich coca-cola taste and finally the distinctive, extra sweet cherry flavour kicks in. When served icy cold this is even more amazing.
Cherry Coke has been my favourite soft drink since I was very young. It is a drink which I recall being introduced as a mainstream UK soft drink in the mid 1980s. I was instantly hooked and to this day buy a case of 24 x 500ml bottles periodically. The quality of this and indeed all of the products in the Coke range is always beyond reproach.
The downsides? This stuff is really quite bad for you. Cherry Coke is full of sugar and calories and makes your teeth feel sticky. I won't lie to you, as much as I love this beverage it will have you reaching for the trusty old toothbrush.
Nutritional information. A 250ml serving contains:
- 113 calories
- 28g sugars
- 0g of anything else
Overall, as you can tell from my review, I definitely recommend Cherry Coke based on taste alone. Unfortunately this is an unhealthy drink and should be consumed in moderation. All the same, this is still my favourite soft drink and always has been.
I'm going to keep this short and sweet because I'm of a school of thought that says you don't need a load of things going round in your head if you are going for a job interview. In my experience as someone who has always done well in interviews I keep things nice and simple and use basic common-sense as well as intelligence. I keep 3 things in mind when going for an interview and they have really served me well.
- Dress smart. Simple but effective. Your appearance sets the tone. First impressions and all that. This doesn't mean suiting and booting every time. I have been thinking of maybe applying for a job at Tesco or at one of my local cinemas and I certainly wouldn't get all penguined up (for want of a better phrase) for an interview for one of these kind of jobs, I'd be more smart-casual. Looking comfortable is a good thing for a prospective employee to see. If it was a big career move then yeah the old "whistle and flute" would come out.
- Be confident. Sit up straight and look them in the eye.The worst they can do is not employ you. Nobody is going to get killed. Remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Think of questions relating to the operation of your prospective employer. Think of what you would like or dislike in a job and put this to them. Treat it almost as though you are mystery shopping them if you have to, basically anything that gives YOU a feeling of having control is good. This is a great way to put yourself at ease and will impress the interviewer. Remember you can always stretch the truth slightly to add a bit of gloss but outright lying is a risky business.
- Think of things you have done well in the past and how you did them. A lot of employers these days conduct what are termed "competency based interviews". They want to know specific examples of things YOU have done in previous employment, at home, amongst friends, during your education, voluntary work etc etc. Not just that but in these types of interviews they want to know exactly how YOU went about your task(s), the steps YOU took, the preparation YOU made and the nature of the positive outcome of YOUR endeavours. The reason I have spelt YOU in capitals is because they don't care about what your team did or your section at work did. The word WE is your enemy, it must be all about what YOU did. Prospective employers will typically ask you for an example of good customer service YOU have given, why and how you did what you did and what the outcome was for the customer and yourself.
Now go get a job!!!! ;-)
It would be easy to rattle of a list including the likes of De Niro, Pacino, Brando, Bogart, Nicholson, Day-Lewis, Olivier, Peck etc etc. But everybody knows these names and their movies. I would like to give props to those who get little or no recognition, those who you may never have heard of. Generally I'd like to give credit where it is due to a few of my unsung acting heroes and rising stars.
Some of these names many of you will be acquainted with but they don't appear on many people's lists. In no particular order (apart from my number 1 choice) my alternative list of ten actors whose movies you should seek out are as follows:
- Sonny Chiba. Born Shinichi Chiba, this Japanese tough guy made a name for himself in the 1970s starring in martial arts movies. He is a legitimate karate master who is a cult hero all around the world. For me his best works are the "Streetfighter" movies where he plays a mercenary karate master who ends up becoming something of an anti-hero as he always seems to get double-crossed by the gangsters who hire him. I find his work easily as enjoyable as that of the likes of the genre's biggest and best known names such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. One of Chiba's movies "Bullet Train" has been mentioned as being the inspiration for the Hollywood movie "Speed" Starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. Such luminaries as Quentin Tarantino, who cast Chiba in "Kill Bill", have also hailed the actor's movies as a source of inspiration. The "Streetfighter" box set containing all 3 of the films in this series can currently be purchased from amazon.co.uk for an absolute bargain price of £5.98. These movies are very much of there time but are a truly great old-school martial arts treat.
- Eddie Marsan. A British actor (hurrah!!) who is actually beginning to get some recognition. I first came across him on an old sitcom called "Game On" where he played one of Sam Janus's many boyfriends. Then he popped up as a naïve yet weasely character called Eddie in "Gangster Number 1", a great British gangster movie set in the 1960s also featuring an up and coming Paul Betteny. The best of his work though is his portrayal of Scott, the vile driving instructor in Mike Leigh's "Happy Go Lucky". It's nice to see Marsan being rewarded for his good work and given the chance to work alongside such industry cash cows as Will Smith in films like "Hancock" where he played a villain. "Happy Go Lucky" can be purchased from amazon.co.uk for £4.98.
- Brian Dennehy. He was in loads of stuff that I watched when I was a kid. His acting credits include "Cocoon", "Silverado", "F/X: Murder By Illusion", "F/X 2" etc. His best work is as the local sheriff in "Rambo: First Blood". Dennehy is the first actor who I can personally remember as being "that guy", the kind of actor who you know the face but not the name. In recent years he has appeared in the remake of "Assault On Precinct 13" which was quite decent as remakes go. "Rambo: First Blood" can be purchased for £5.38 from amazon.co.uk.
- Peter Capaldi. First came to prominence playing Danny Oldsen in Bill Forsyth's brilliant "Local Hero" but best known as the rancid, swearing, aggressive, manipulative spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in Armando Iannucci's BBC comedy show "The Thick Of It" and "In the Loop", a movie which is not quite a spin off of "The Thick Of It" as the only character reprised from the tv is Tucker but which is pretty much in the same vain. You couldn't get 2 more contrasting roles really and that is testament to Capaldi's acting skill. He certainly deserves all of the praise and success he has enjoyed recently as he has been a fine actor who has endured and reaped the rewards. "In The Loop" is released on August 24th 2009 and is available for pre-order on amazon.co.uk at £10.98.
- Michael Fassbender. This guy's star is massively on the rise. If you haven't already heard of him already then you soon will. Fassbender will be up on the big screen in Quentin Tarantino's newest movie "Inglorious Basterds" and will be appearing in "Jonah Hex", a comic book adaptation that is due out in summer 2010. His best work is in his mesmeric performance as prisoner and IRA volunteer Bobby Sands in "Hunger", a based-on-fact movie about the Irish hunger strike that took place in 1981. This guy has serious acting chops and I hope he doesn't waste his talent making crappy Hollywood gumph. "Hunger" can be purchased for £4.98 from amazon.co.uk
- Benicio Del Toro. Ok so not exactly an unknown but he's on this list for a reason. Del Toro's portrayal of Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's epic movie "Che" that had to be chopped in half and served in 2 parts due to its 247 minute running time is one of the great performances of the first decade of the 21st century. It won Del Toro the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival and at the Goya Awards (Spain) but he got completely snubbed "The Academy" (The Oscars). Even Sean Penn who won several awards for performance in "Milk" was dismayed at the snubbing of Del Toro. It really angers me that the Americans continue to snub such fine performances seemingly because they are contained within a movie made in a foreign language. Che Parts 1 AND 2 can be bought as a 2 disc set for £17.98 from amazon.co.uk.
- Sally Hawkins. A great British actress who I hope is destined for big things. Her best work was as the annoying yet brilliant Poppy in Mike Leigh's "Happy Go Lucky" which I have obviously already mentioned in this post. Hawkins was also the only actor who performed well in Woody Allen's "Cassandra's Dream", a recent train wreck of a movie with unusually awful performances (and accents) from Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor. Again, "Happy Go Lucky" can be purchased from amazon.co.uk for £4.98.
- Alan Arkin. A veteran actor who always puts a smile on my face. For such a decorated actor (2 Oscars, 2 BAFTAs, several Golden Globes, EMMYs etc etc) Arkin doesn't seem to make it on to any top actor lists I can recall seeing. It's a shame because he is a fine actor and as such I would like to give him his props. He is probably best known to most as the acerbic, rancid grandfather in Little Miss Sunshine, a role which won him his second Oscar (best supporting actor). There is also a scene in the pretty lame recent comedy "Get Smart" involving Arkin's character nearly getting killed by a swordfish that had me in absolute stitches. He is the archetypal old git, and I say that with the warmest of affection. In "Little Miss Sunshine" he is sensational in practically every scene in which he is present. "Little Miss Sunshine" is currently selling at a bargain price of £3.98 on amazon.co.uk.
- Vincent Cassel. An amazing French actor who has a film currently in cinemas called "Mesrine: Killer Instinct" which is the first of a 2 parter telling the story of the infamous French gangster Jacques Mesrine. Cassel is one of my very favourite leading male actors and his brooding presence serves to lift basically every movie he appears in. His breakthrough role came in "La Haine", a French movie shot in black and white that tells the story of a day in the life of 3 friends living on a rough estate on the outskirts of Paris just after a riot has taken place. Cassel's character wants to be Travis Bickle (Rober De Niro's character in "Taxi Driver"). Only an actor with the talent of Cassel can hope to pull off such a brooding character. I am absolutely buzzing for the release of the 2nd part of the Mesrine story which is out later this month. Cassel is one of the best actors and most on-form actors of his generation and I think he's ace. Do yourself a favour, go to amazon.co.uk and spend the £4.98 it will cost you to buy "La Haine". Go!! Now!!
This brings me to the last name on my list, the actor whose movies you simply must see if you haven't already.
- John Cazale. An American actor who sadly died of bone cancer aged just 42 back in 1978. Cazale was arguably the finest character actor of his (or any other) time. Bear in mind he made movies in the 1970s, a particularly fruitful period in the history of films. This was a time when movies were driven by plot, interesting ideas and directors with genuine vision. This was a time when true heavyweights of the acting profession were giving all-time great performances. The likes of Hackman, Hoffman, Nicholson, Pacino and De Niro were in their prime and the generation previous to them (Brando, Olivier etc) were still delivering the goods. Cazale only ever appeared in 5 movies :
"The Godfather Part 2"
"Dog Day Afternoon"
"The Deer Hunter"
Every film he appeared in was nominated for the Oscar for best film and 3 of them took home the big prize. The number of films he was seen in is actually 6 if you count archive footage from "The Godfather Part 3", which was also nominated for the best film Oscar. What an amazing record!! My mind boggles at what kind of legendary status this man could have attained had he not died so young.
It's astonishing but this man, who played weak and feeble characters like Fredo Corleone in "The Godfather" movies and Stan in "The Deer Hunter", did more than just hold his own when acting alongside the likes of Brando, De Niro and Pacino. For me personally no other actor has ever been able to portray such conflicted, messed up characters like Cazale. He is often referred to as an actor's actor and it's easy to see why. The firebrand of acting that is Al Pacino, who knew and worked with Cazale for many years is quoted as saying "All I wanted to do was work with John for the rest of my life. He was my acting partner". Cazale always provided a beautiful, almost downtrodden contrast to the bombastic powerhouses like Pacino and De Niro.
My favourite of Cazale's movies is actually "The Deer Hunter" in which he stars alongside Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken (who won the best supporting actor award for his performance) and his fiancee Meryl Streep. Yet again he perfectly portrays Stan, a man with deep personal issues. I love this movie but it's correct what a lot of people say about it in that it's hard to bring yourself to watch it again. The emotional power of the movie is such that watching it is one of the most emotionally draining 3 hours you can imagine. Also, on a personal level, I find it upsetting knowing that during the making of the movie this great man was actually gravely ill due to the terminal bone cancer and had to shoot all of his scenes first. John Cazale died before filming was finished but had shot all of his scenes by then. I only have to hear "Cavatina", the signature music of this movie, and my mood can become melancholic.
Go to amazon or wherever you have to go but if you haven't seen any of John Cazale's movies then you really should be looking to purchase one. There is apparently a documentary which was shown at this year's Sundance Festival that is meant to be on general release at some point next year that tells his story. I look forward to this with great anticipation.
1 - First Names:
2. - Pseudo(s)?
3 - girl or boy?
4 - Towns? (Birthplace and living town)
5 - Size?
6 - Age?
7 - colour of hair?
Black with hints of grey
8 - colour of the eyes?
9 - Employment / current occupation?
Full time office monkey
10- astrological and Chinese sign:
Taurus and Horse
11 - I like/love?
12 - I don't like?
13 - If you can met one person of your choice, dead or alive, known or not, who would this be?
14 - What do you like to do, generally, during the weekend?
15 - The town/country that you want to visit or even live in?
16 - The first thing you do when you come back from school or work
Turn on the tv
17 - Style of music or radio that you prefer?
Late 20th century hip-hop
18 - The most beautiful song which exist for you?
Tough one. Too many to name just 1
19 - The singer, or band that you prefer?
Depends on my mood
20 - The reality TV show that you prefer?
Come Dine with me. All because of the narrator
21 - the advertising that you prefer?
I'm really digging the leery Polish raspberry ("hello pretty ladies") in the Vimto "mixed up fruit" advert set on a waltzers fair game ride
22 - Are you single?
23 - If no, are you happy?
24 - if yes, are you happy?
25 - Have you ever known an unhappy love affair?
26 - How many Harlequins' collection (books) do you have?
As I don't know what that is I'll say none.
27 - Have you ever read "NOUS DEUX" (to make the bond with England, "Nous deux" is a tabloid)?
28 - The magazine, which you never miss?
None. I frequently miss magazines.
29 - Your book of bedside?
"Down And Dirty Pictures" by Peter Biskind. It's a factual book about the rise of independent cinema, Sundance and Miramax in the very late 20th century
30 - The novel of which you would have liked to be the author?
The Dexter novels by Jeff Lindsay
31 - Your society game (or console) favourite?
What's a society game?
32 - The dish which you prefer?
33 - What do you buy when you go to the fair when you are hungry?
34 - Drink preferred?
35 - colour preferred?
36 - fetish number?
37 - The quotation which you prefer?
"Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity"
38 - Film Actor which you prefer?
39 - cult movies?
The "Streetfighter" series of 1970s martial arts movies starring Sonny Chiba
40 - Preferred series?
41 - Your more beautiful quality?
42 - Your worst defect?
43 - Your worst nightmare?
Anything bad happening to my family or friends
44- The worst shame of your life?
Wasting my youth
45 - The most beautiful thing which one made for you by love?
I have load of stuff from my young relatives (cards etc) so I'm very blessed
46 - The thing of which you are proudest?
47 - A fairy lends his magic wand to you for a wish: what you make?
48 - The first thing you do in the morning?
Have a wee
49 - what you think when you are not able to fall asleep at night?
50 - What will you bring with you on a desert island?? (5 max)?
Food. Beer. DVD player. Laptop. A servant monkey.
51 - If you have to buy a handbook of survive, that would be which?
52 - Your bedroom takes fire (or is flooded, it depends of the place), what do you rescue at first?
53 - Quelle(s) peluche(s) partagent ton lit ?
54 - What do you have on the wall of your bedroom???
55 - pets ?
56 - Do you get on with your parents?
Very much so.
57 - with your brother and sister ?
58 - Which is the cartoon which you preferred child?
59 - And now ?
60 - Which is the job which you dreamed to have child?
61 - Why the lady is big of her belly ?
62 - Tell us your most beautiful memory of childhood
That's a tough one.
63 - Were you already scandalmonger (to say evil of people behind their back)?
64 - You have the possibility of saying your four truths to the person whom you hate more in the world, what you would say to him?
I would save my breath and ignore them, it works better.
65 - The insult which you say more?
I don't really insult.
66 -The word you overuse to much?
Superdat (don't ask)
67- Do you speak another language that English?
I speak geezer
68 - What countries have you been to?
UK, cloud cookoo land
69 - The area (or the place) of England which you do prefer?
70 - The area you least like?
71 - If one day you become hyper famous, in which would you become famous ?
I wanna make the flying monkeys from "The Wizard Of Oz" a real, living thing
72 - What you would buy if you won the lotto?
More lotto tickets cos I'm greedy
73 - Where and How do you see you in 2015? In 2040 ?
2015. Middle management
2040 - Chilling my old ass out
74 - One makes it possible to you to use a "Stargate" (cf Stargate
SG1), which planet visits you of first?
75 - The Earth is destroyed. You have time to flee, where you go?
Up in smoke I guess
76 - The Earth will be destroyed. You do not have time to flee. Which is the last thing which you make ?
Drink a yard of ale
77 - How many children do you want ?
78 - How you call them?
79 - What would you like, boys or girls?
80 - If you can change a part of your body, Which one do you choose?
81 - You dye your hair. Which colour you choose?
None, I love having black hair, I just want rid of the few greys that have appeared
82 - If you can have a tattoo, what?? And Where??
A tattoo of Tattoo - little man off Fantasy Island ("the plane boss, the plane")
83 - Are you beginning, intermediary or expert when it acts of Internet?
84 - What mouse mat do you have?
85 - Which is your background desktop picture off?
Still the manufacturer's logo
86 - What can we find under your bed ?
87 - How many times a week do you come on Internet? How many hours?
Everyday and lots.
88 - What do you think about cyber sex on the internet ?
As long as it's all above board and betwen adults then let them carry on
89 - What was your resolution on the new year ?
To drink more and behave even worse.
90 - Do you do it ?
91 - The best gift that somebody offer to you ?
My Super Nintendo when I was 14
92 - The worst gift that somebody offer to you?
A bird crapped on me once
93 - Somebody offer to you a house. You choose an igloo, an Indian tipi, a African box, the same house as your parents, a farm ?
With my parents
94 - How much do you weigh ?
95 - How much would you like to lose ?
96 - the best teacher did you have?
97 - the worst teacher did you have ?
The CDT teachers were all pretty naff
98 - Dedicate this questionnaire to someone?
99 - What do you think of this questionnaire ?
Some questions are poorly worded
100 - Would you recommend it?