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In my younger days I was good at sports but not really good at any particular one. I wanted to be an Olympic 1500m runner first, a swing bowler for Northants second and an attacking central midfield for Manchester United third. I ended up running for Northants, being kicked off the park in Sunday League and shoveling it down the legside in cricket. It would be the game of pool where I won my most trophies. Our team dominated the Northants pool league for about five years and we even had an England player in our team.
Snooker, of course, is very different game to pool and hard to be good at both. My best break on the 12ft by 6ft was just 51, and my only 50 break. On the pool table I can clean up. It’s always cool when you clear the lot and the black in pubs around the globe on your travels. I remember doing it twice in a pub competition in a bar in South Africa with a cue off the rack with chicks watching on. Fred Trueman and Indoor League would have loved it!
TO pot those balls you need your own personalized stick. Pool cues tend to be shorter and thicker than the more elegant snooker cue. You need power, screw and big side in pool to break open the balls and control the white. You can use any cue for either pool or snooker, though. Anyone who has played pool league here know it all gets bit serious and we are nothing like the Americans and tend to be very conservative and roll the balls over the pockets to block the opponent, a very British approach to sport. In an America bar you are expected to attack and go for your shots and get irritated looks when you roll it behind another ball or block the holes. Pool should be about attacking shots to be fair. One guy in Miami got so annoyed I was beating him with safety he chased me out of the bar!
I do like a heavier cue with a thick butt, why Powerglide sticks are better than Riley. It has to feel right in your hands to be confident enough to play those big pool and snooker screw shots the length of the table. Side and top are also important in Pool as you don’t have much space to work with and although the pots are normally a short distance and easier, to keep the break going you need total cue ball control. Powerglide sticks seem to offer that more than the Riley ones on that score. Riley always seems to put too much gloss varnish on their cues and that takes away the feel for me. My old Riley’s would soon be filed down to the wood to have a nicer felon the skin. Oh and it’s always worth rolling a new cue on flat surface before you buy it in case it’s warped or bent. If isn’t straight that will obviously effect your game and cause more miscues and kicks, even a small bend.
The tip is the most critical part on the stick and you have to trust it not to fly off when you well smash the ball. It amazes me how glue keeps it on. The great Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath lost two fingers in an industrial accident as a teenager and relied on shaped plastic thimble like things on the stubs of his fingers to carry on playing, always carrying around bag full of the these things with a nail file wherever he goes. It’s the same for a good pool and snooker player as the cue an extension of your arm.
You get a plastic carry-case with the cue and a discount voucher to buy a leather pouch one or a new wooden case. If you are serious about your game that case will protect your all important tip. After a few pints as a teenager you tend to think you are Bruce Lee with your pool cue and the tip could go flying. The cue costs around £ 25 in a generic place of sale like Argos or a bit more in a proper sports shop. I paid £40 for mine about four years ago in a bespoke sports shop. I only play now and then when I take the cue out with me and mostly take one off the rack in the pub. I also take a small file I won in a Christmas cracker to file the tip down on those warped lumps of fire wood in your local pubs and clubs.
So, most of you have seen Gogglebox and if you haven’t, you should. It’s very funny, down to earth and the first reality TV show that actually feels like it’s for you and you could be in it, so reality. Channel 4 certainly pays reality wages, the family members reportedly getting as little as £15 per show in the first two series. The selected families from around Britain are filmed watching the TV that you and I watch and having their opinion on it, often the same as our opinion and as equally caustic. They swear, laugh and take the piss, a very British lot. The show covers the British ethnic and gender spectrum with those families featured and its essential Friday night watching on channel 4. A couple of the younger people have had a brush with fame with the mouthy Essex guy getting on celeb Big Brother and the funny Geordie girl standing in at her local radio station morning show.
So, if it works so well with adults then why not use kids? And so they did and its great stuff, be it a littler sweeter, cuter and nicer than the above. I’m guessing mom gets the £15 quid this time. We have the same ethnic mix of kids from across the UK of all shapes and brain sizes although fair to say a little more middle/middle class this time around as they don’t want that swearing and obnoxious behavior. Young kids by their very nature are funny and that naïve sweetness also adorable. As most of the kids on the sofa are young there is plenty of that, the oldest about 12, the youngest about 4. brothers and sisters and young friends let rip.
The kids review a mix of programs and we are not talking kids TV here. Everything from Bear Grylls to the X the Referendum vote gets a going over. Their sweet naivety about the shows and things they are watching is very funny as their intelligence and delightful broadmindedness is often surprising. Kids can be a lot more mature than we think at times, alarmingly so. We have two posh sisters that were delighted to see Nigella goes to the same cheese shop in London as they do and the dim and chubby Welsh girls who think Corgettes are the same as Tourettes.
Ashton, 10, wasn't buying the chemistry between Bella and Edward."He's looking at her like she's a leg of lamb," he said.
Connor, 10, meanwhile was confused when Edward told Bella that he had "never wanted a human's blood so much in my life". "Is that a compliment?" he asked.
7-year-old Edie had her own reasons for wanting Britain to stay in the EU: "Britain should stay because otherwise we wouldn't be in the Eurovision song contest."
6-year-old Jamal – ‘As for The Queen? “She doesn’t do anything. Just walks and waves. If I met the Queen, I’d ask her for money.” “No, that’s what mums and dads are for.”
The results of the show are delightful, partly because the casting has been meticulous. The children all seem comfortable talking in front of the camera. Some may well be from stage school and others may have done a commercial if we dig deep but it feels authentic and that’s all that matters. Thye are not rough boys with ADD and a tatty sofa. But they are never so self-aware that they turn in a performance on the sofa.
C4 are the best at using kids in reality shows. The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6-Year-Olds was a brilliant fly-on-the-wall series where psychologists eavesdropping on playground conversations and interactions. The more cynical brain box contest Child Genius is not my thing as both pushy parents and C4 are making and observing kids do stuff they probably don’t want to do. You can only feel sorry for South East Asian kids in middleclass families as education is force don them 24/7. But these shows appeal to TV commissioners as kids are lower maintenance, less prone to making diva demands or getting embroiled in unsavory scandals. If they do, then it’s their parents fault and they have to sort it out. I’m guessing there a lot of outtakes on Gogglesprogs where the kids said something naughty or offensive about celebrities or events. We all do, right? Children laugh, cry, scream, giggle and speak as they find and that is great TV. As the reviewer says in the Radio Times – ‘Comic misunderstandings and accidental insights tumble from their brains, straight to their lips’….
As kids (and when I moved back home to help look after dad with dementia) my mom would always do this thing with the tea mugs. She didn’t like us to use more than one cup at a time but also didn’t like us to reuse the same cup to the point where it built up staining inside it. But she would always seek out the cup you were have been using only a couple of times and stick it in the dishwasher so you would always have to get another cup and so arguments would ensue. The madness of the stained tea mug sums up women and the control freaks they become. There were four kids and two adults in the house as a family when we were little so mum would end up putting loads of cups in the bowl at once and bleach to get rid of the staining. Today I just use a kitchen towel that works ten times quicker and just as good but whenever I go around mums the cups are being bleached. I think mums are just stuck in their ways and do what their mums did when they were kids. That bleach smell is one that brings back memories of being a kid.
Bleach, if course, can be used for loads of things around the house, the most corrosive fluid in most people’s houses. I recall staining streaks into my jeans as a kid to go to concerts as it was the coot thing to do. Today we use it for cleaning the nasty parts of the sink and toilet to kill those germs and also for cleaning things that are exposed to germs. A lot more cleaning goes on today as parents fear over germs increases. OCD cleaning phobias are up 500% since the 196os and sales of cleaning products likewise. Don’t get me started on the six fold increase in kids and adult allergies. But bleach is probably the best stuff to kill germs around the house so I do like to clean door handles and grips that carry the most germs. When you have a big event or meeting coming up and you don’t want to catch a bug or a flu then that’s the time the bleach comes out. Apparently we put our fingers and hands near our face and mouth 60 times an hour and so those bugs soon inside us. It’s that fiddling, of course, that also builds our immunity to bugs and that’s why we do it. I read somewhere that is the main reason you get itches so you move your hand to this parts. Strange this evolution business.
Bleach is bleach; however you want to market it. A brand name bleach is no better or worse than Tesco own. Supermarkets know this and so not much cheaper to buy their own brand and so they move their price close to their Jayes and Parazone as they know that we know it’s the same thing but with a different label. Domestos did try to add 50p with their ‘citrus fresh’ version but that just encouraged people to smell it which is a big no -no kids. Bleach is bleach.
Health & safety wise you do have to be careful here. Get a bit on your skin and it will sting. Get it in your mouth or somewhere exposed and it sill burn. It’s not pleasant. I do not need to tell you how far this must be kept away from kids. The plastic bottles that oddly don’t melt that most bleach comes in are well designed with the press down child proof safety cap that no one can open and plenty of warning information of the bottle. This version has an extra safety precaution that’s its a gel and so doesn’t run all over the place if you knock it over or the kids do somehow get near it. The gel isn’t like hair gel but just gives it thicker consistency so you can target areas better in your bathroom and kitchen surfaces when cleaning. If you sqlodge too much of the regular bleach it can make your eyes and nose water and get irritated. This doesn’t really do that.
As the Grotbuster name suggests it’s more for cleaning the bog and bathrooms than cups. You need to do most surfaces when you do a good bathroom and kitchen clean and this does the trick. Its squirts out the right sort of amounts and you can just scrub down or just squirt a few circles in the bog to desterilize. A good bottle design allows for good grip and targeting. Its multiuse so wont burn through anything. It’s about £2:00 in supermarket or you can find it in pound shops. You can get more bleach for your buck if you buy it the regular liter bottle but this one is more about versatility and weight to get in the nooks and crannies. Does the job and I presume it kills the germs although I will never know? It certainly cleans stained cups out!
Genre – World Cinema > Drama/Comedy
Run Time – 110 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – Japan
Awards – 1 Wins & 4 Nominations
Amazon – £8.61 DVD (Blue Ray £18.17)
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When it comes to sex and porn the Japanese are a perverted lot. Because of their extremely conservative society they don’t have as much sex as they should and so turn to the internet, comic books and fetish clubs to get their kicks. From Manga and Akira soft porn to young girls dressing up like dolls as even younger girls they have a thing for discipline and the forbidden. British porn, of course, is some tattooed fat bloke in a West Ham shirt and Y-Fronts around his ankles shagging some trollope in someone’s front room. But that won’t get the Japanese’s off. They like it kinky, bondage is another big winner in Japan, the subject of this rather out there sex comedy. It’s not my thing but it’s their thing and their mostly foreign sex trade workers are expected to ‘knock the blokes about a bit’ to get the gig. After the huge success of 50 Shades of Gray then maybe women do secretly love some pain and macho domination in this increasingly meterosexual world. Director Hitoshi Matsumoto certainly thinks so.
• Nao Ōmori as Takafumi Katayama
• Shinobu Terajima as Whip Queen
• Hitoshi Matsumoto
• Ai Tominaga
• Eriko Sato
• Naomi Watanabe as Saliva Queen
• Suzuki Matsuo
• Atsuro Watabe
• Gin Maeda
• Katagiri Hairi as Gobble Queen
• Lindsay Kay Hayward as CEO
• Mao Daichi as Voice Queen
Low level Nagasaki 40something businessman Takafumi Katayama (Nao Ōmori) is bored and needs to escape his humdrum life and decides to join a mysterious BDSM club where various dominatrix’s, each with their own specialty skill, will attack and humiliate him in public and out and about. That’s the deal. The contract with the club lasts for one year and no cancellations are allowed. He signs up and at first, Takafumi is rather enjoying the sexual pleasures of pain and humiliation from the beautiful girls dressed in black shiny leather, be it a good stiletto kicking in the street or a whipping in his workplace toilets.
He has a disabled sister in a coma in hospital to worry about and a domineering father and so this perversion the absolute diversion required in his life. But when the club's activities start to intrude into his home life and young son (Atsuro Watabe) meets one of the ladies, Takafumi is not happy and must find a way to protect his family and himself from more than just humiliation. When ‘Saliva Girl comes a cropper in his house the contract is considered broken and revenge will be taken on his family and Tak. The worldwide House of Bondage decide his fete and the CEO (Lindsay Kay Hayward) arrives in her private plane with her ‘bondage ninjas’ to take him down with some serious pain.
Pushing two hours this is hard work. It’s not sexy (unless you like pretty Japanese girls in leather) and no explicitness to it. It’s more comedy than perverted in the way some Japanese films can be and you do chuckle and smile now and then. You have to admire Japanese filmmakers for going that extra yard in wackiness and creativity in their films.
R100 works on some levels but not on others. There are moments that don’t really fit as the film goes off in a surreal direction but then returns to that B-Movie territory the film is puling from. You have to remember Japanese people do go to these sex clubs and fantasize about this stuff and so the movie drew a big salary man audience there. They didn’t see it the way I did and the content out of the ordinary.
Nao Ōmori is good in the lead with his mix of visual comedy and physical performance and just about keeps you interested through the two hours. Its not subtitle heavy if that’s a problem and so a relief on offer if you struggle with that. Japanese girls are hot and curvy so no complaints there. There are moments where it drifts off to make some point or another about pain and violence linked to sexual pleasure that only the director knows about but that’s his prerogative. I thought pain in sex was about being weak and feeble.
I wouldn’t say this film is going to appeal to all foreign film fans but if you like Asian Extreme then enough here to entertain. It lacks the big scenes to wow you and remember and certainly flabby at those two hours. But it’s different and that’s what we like about Asian Extreme films and a pat on the back for them to keep making these movies.
Imdb.com – 6.1/10.0 (1,637votes)
Rottentomatos.com –79% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 57% critic’s approval
New York Times –‘A little punishment goes a long way, especially for the rest of us, yet on it drags, torturously, slap, kick, slap, kick.
Chicago Reader –‘Matsumoto works overtime to keep this vital once the basic premise has been established, but the cultural subtext is so potent that he really can't go wrong’.
LA Weekly –‘You'd expect more yucks from the country that bequeathed tentacle porn’.
Seattle Weekly –‘
I think the film veers off too far into such strangeness (could there be a Japanese TV game show spun off from all this?), but connoisseurs of this kind of thing will find the ripeness hard to resist’.
Movie Mezzanine –‘R100 is primarily a parade of kink, topped off with explicit allegory for pushing subversive art past prudes’
Roger Egbert.com –‘Even if you like bizarre movies, you'll probably like "R100," then hate it, then go back to liking it, then wonder what you're looking at. And then the movie will end’.
Dave Richardson, the head of the ICC, has tackled bent arm bowlers and now he is going after batsmen. Not the batsman themselves but the equipment. He feels the explosion of Twenty20 around the world means the development of bats now favors the batsmen against the bowler. I have watched one-day games where players use three different weights and sizes of bats in an innings for the various bowlers and situation in the game. Most will use a heavier bat in the opening powerplay overs when the fielders are inside the circle. The balance has been tipped too far and it’s not fair on the bowlers.
The current laws of cricket regarding bat sizes only limits the width of the bat to 4.25 inches and the length to 38 inches. But bat makers have enlarged the ‘sweet spot’ and big bespoke T20 hitters who spend most of the day in the weight room rather than the nets are caning some big sixes because of that equipment, sixes that wouldn’t have gone over the ropes ten years ago. The thickness of edges in modern bats has also increased by almost 300 per cent which, combined with greater stiffness to limit vibrations, means miss-hits can travel much further. A bowler going for five runs an over in an O.D.I. is not considered successful. The top 20 ODI innings scores of over 400 have all happened in the last 10 years and all but 5 of the all time top 100 fifty over innings scores have happened in the this century. That’s not because the bowlers have got particularly worse but the bats have got better. It’s the same in golf with the tall and muscled guys winning majors with long drivers and fairway irons.
As I write about cricket as one of my jobs I also play a bit, but not to any great standard and not as much as I did. As a kid I always wanted to be a swing bowler but however I tried I could get it to swing. You have to have strong shoulders and certain type of side on action to get the ball to go and a beautiful thing to see when a bowler can do it. I remember playing on the local park as very young teens and this lad rocked up and got it to swing and bowled me three times in a row. Below professional level is a devastating skill to have.
Batting wise I was ok and very leg side. The square cut remains the hardest shot in the book and the straight rive the easiest. Actually the shovel down the leg side is the easiest. You can bat forever if you keep out the straight ones and flick the fifth down there.
To achieve this Geoff Boycott mastery you need a bat. I have been working my way through the Slazenger range and recently upgraded to the V500. The V Range starts at V100, the junior size, up to V800, V400 being the first adult bat. After V400 the prices rise above £100 and things get professional. These are not in the garden French Cricket bats. Anyone who owns a bat doesn’t like scuffing a bat and so the more it costs the more it’s used for proper cricket only. You will need the linseed oil for this range to make it last.
It’s about 2lbs in weight (800KG) and around 3ft long, around that regulation 38 inches. It has nice bow to the pressed English willow and increased sweet spot. Most bats are hand made to get that spring in the sweet spot. If you don’t work the willow you get no sweet spot. Its big area for the ball to find and if you hit even three quarter bat you will get a good elevation. Even the toe end has some give.
Handle has a nice grip and looks easy to re-grip. Nicely decaled and although the blue Slazenger symbol doesn’t quite work aesthetically it looks fine. It’s not a trendy bat range though so you may get some looks at the cricket club. I’m not playing for a club and that stuff never bothered me. My first bat was a crappy Sondico and I loved it.
I would say this bat is an ideal young adult or first club bat and you will get five year out of it. The ball comes of it nicely and not many chips after use. Grip is comfortable and it has a good carrier with it. It’s not cheap but if you shop around you will get a good deal.
I think it’s fair to say Portugal’s record in the European Championship has been pretty good, especially since Ronaldo’s arrival, his 10 goals in four European championships the new record, beating Michel Platini. Platini actually scored a record 8 in one championships. All Portugal needs now is to win it on Sunday. If you have a world-class player you have a big chance as those guys find the space, score the goal and seize the moment. I can see Ronaldo peeling off his shirt on Sunday in glory to send girls and gay men into a tizzy. Ronaldo took over from Luis Figo taking control of games to produce their impressive record below. There is a World Cup semi-final in 2006 but they have not made that stage since 1966 previous to that. They are not a World Cup team and have a terrible record in it. That may not be the case in Russia in 2018 if they win in France. Ronaldo will be 33 though.
1984 – ½ Finalists
1996 – ¼ Finalists
2000 – ½ Finalists
2004 – Finalists
2008 – ¼ Finalists
2012 – ½ Finalists
2016 – Finalists
As much as I pulled for Wales on Wednesday I had my fill of Welsh patriotism, the ape Gareth Bale banging his badge and reminding everyone how proud he is of Wales every ten minutes got a little nauseating. I’m sure he is the complete Welsh patriot and played every qualifying game but his PR people were telling him to keep saying that to boost his image and brand should stop. I get that its also about saying its a team effort but then the plonker John Hartson joins in and you reach for a firearm Let’s face it, Bale is not the best looking guy and so what else has he to sell off the park? As for the Welsh players cheering when England lost? Well most of them were born in England, play in England, live in England and paid by England. That behavior is the definition of a moronic. Even the Welsh Football Federation is funded by Sport England. No wonder they looked sheepish on the parade around Wales yesterday. Bale quietly enjoyed being the big fish in the small Welsh pond with the ball if the truth be told and in away that subdued his performance playing Mr Humble. If he was better looking it would be a very different Bale. He needed to take over the show against Portugal and be Mr Selfish the way Ronaldo is. It was the only chance they had without Ramsay. He didn’t and they are out. Ronaldo never doubts himself or his selfishness. I’m sure the shirt will be off Sunday night. Ronaldo knows he is the best but also knows its up to him as the others may not do it on the pitch.
Nani has also been instrumental, 102 caps at just 29-years-old, once hoped to be as good as Ronaldo (31-years old). For me he has been the most important player, if just to control and counter Ron’s ego. Ronaldo takes the free kicks, astonishingly wasting 43 out of 43. He shoots from anywhere. Without Nani he would probably go in goal to save penalties. It’s never easy to be beat those modern day tall goalkeepers but still he tries - and fails. When Ronaldo did the original valve free kick for United and Madrid it got goals but now the keepers know he will try it and so position the walls accordingly. Why the Portuguese coach doesn’t tell him to stop shooting from 35 years is a mystery. Nani exploits that selfishness and finds space as two or three midfielder distracted by Ronaldo frees up Nani for those powerful runs. 19-year-old Sanches is another that looks good and one to watch.
Defense wise Portugal has been very good although making Caravalho captain at 38 was odd, dropped after two matches here. It was the oldest back four since those wiley old Italian defenses in the competition in the 90s. Pepe (33) has enough menace for players to be wary of him with Bruno Alves (34) alongside, his deputy Jose Fonte at 32. I think their only weakness if Ronaldo not passing the bloody ball. That’s a lot of goals that could and should have been scored.
Christian Ronaldo 132 caps
Luis Figo 121 caps
Fernando Couto 110 caps
Nani 102 caps
Rua Costa 94 caps
Carvalho 89 caps
Joao Montinhio 89 caps
Pauleta 88 caps
Bruno Alves 86
Simao 85 caps
I think the highlight of voting night was when David Dimbleby’s furrowed brow just after the Sunderland result got even more furrowed when the Newcastle result came in. That city has 42,000 students in it and the Remain vote was just 64,000. The students had stayed in bed and some had even voted out. When that 48/51 Leave vote flicked up it was like the moment when Cameron got that exit poll last May. It’s a first time in a long time that Newcastle mattered and sent the pound through the floor. The dumbed down university system had created Leave voters as the right continues to rise across Europe. Results followed and poor old Dimbleby looked taken back that the plebiscite had not done what they were told by the scaremongering BBC.
I personally voted to leave the European Union but I didn’t think/or want to actually win the vote. I just wanted it to be close enough for Cameron to resign. But if that meant out for Cameron to go then so be it. Back in April 2015 just before the General Election when he said he would not serve a second term most felt it was because of the Referendum vote. The majority of the TORY constituency doesn’t like Europe and so the vote always going to be close. He personally had to offer us the vote as he feared hemorrhaging votes to UKIP for that election and so another hung parliament. How he thought offering a vote to leave the EU would some how placate that bigoted vote God only knows. It was the polarizing moment the right had been waiting for. The same right wing vote he courted to win in May lost him the referendum vote. He can hardly complain. The gamble failed but we all know plenty of politicians seize the moment and only do things to stimulate their own promotion chances, Boris Johnson a sad example of, all but bringing the pound to its knees just to get the top job. But that’s who they are, how they got there and this is what happens when they get too ambitious. The Brexit vote is sadly who we are. My home county of Northamptonshire has one of the two contenders. All countries have the ‘I hate Johnny Foreigner’ epicenter we don’t want to acknowledge and this was an 8 on the Richter scale.
By Cameron going I hoped Austerity would go with him. George Osborne has recently announced words to that affect with the end of spending cuts for now although some say Brexit was the excuse to end a policy that wasn’t winning votes anymore. So Strike Two for me. His disgusting policies against the countries poor and disabled were one of the reasons why the Out vote was so big in my opinion. This was also a vote on the Tory government. Mass immigration and patriotism was obviously the main reason the vote was out though.
That mass immigration thing works mostly in favor of the middle-class and against the working-class. It drives up profits for the educated and professionals and drives down most people’s wages and stretches public service to breaking point, let alone filling our schools to the max. My own county of Northamptonshire will need to build 31 new schools by 2020 to cope with the population increase. Yes the NHS is heavily staffed by immigrants but it’s also weighed down by them. We train 50,000 nurses a year but prefer to employ cheaper nurses from abroad because of that exploding health service cost. A doctor’s surgery waiting room today is a hum and gossip of twenty different languages, few of them English. The Tories addressed none of these issues in policy. Cameron took the working-class for granted and hoped they would fall in line. Big mistake. Don’t get me going on Eastern European crime rates!! One-in-four of Northamptonshire custody cells are housing foreign nationals every day and night. It detests me that people would come here tot comfit crime.
998 Poles in British jails.
2 Brits in Polish jails
578 Romanians in UK jails
1 Brit in Romanian jails
561 Lithuanians in UK jails
0 Brits in Lithuanian jails.
465 Alabamians in UK jails
1 Brit in Albanian jails.
An example of how Europe and foreign workers affect lower skilled indigenous grafters would be the European Working Regulations Act. Temp agencies – how most people are employed these days – have to offer workers the same pay & conditions after 13 weeks to the company’s full time staff in the same jobs. They tend not to do that and quickly get rid of the temps and employ another 100 people from abroad to start a fresh 13 week rotation, meaning a constant flow of transient labor coming into the UK to fill the jobs. Employers get fed up of having to dump the better temps in that rotation and so no choice but to drive down full timers wages to keep those temps, meaning most blue collar workers are now on the legal minimum wage. This is why the big company’s tax haven accounts are bulging. And after that success they couldn’t resist manipulating that insecure work force further by pushing people on to zero hours deals. Mass worker migration is perfect for propagating zero hour’s work forces. They workers from Poland are mostly young and single and not looking to start a family just yet and will accept being messed around on hours. Cameron chased more votes by introducing that £7.20 minimum wage which meant companies had to cut overtime and weekend and bank holiday rates to meet that wage bill and so keep their profits up. Staff are told to sign contracts that cut their perks and conditions and in some cases see them get LESS than they were getting under the previous minimum wage. If they don’t sign they are threatened with the sack. There are plenty of Poles to replace them. The EU call it harmonizing of wages. I call it the race to the bottom, anti worker employment legislation heavily lobbied for in the European Parliament by those same big companies paying minimum wage. Sports Direct Com is the future for blue collar workers in Britain. Called at 7:30am by the boss to say there is work for you at 9:00am and if you are a minute late you lose 15 minutes off your wages mate. That is the 1920s.
There are 2.1 million Brits living in the E.U. But 1.2 million are retired. Ireland and Spain are two thirds of the 700,000 British working in the E.U. There are 100,000 working in Germany France and Italy. There are only around 80,000 across Eastern Europe. There are 3.1 million Eastern Europeans working in the U.K. Obviously few Brits are going to up sticks and work in a warehouse in Gdansk. Blue collar wages are very low in Polski, why most Poles that come to the UK are classed as blue collar and without a degree. Again, it’s not hitting the Remain voters here. The English language and a strong economy is why the U.K is popular with them. The fact they couldn’t claim welfare here and still came and worked was a huge plus for business and very admirable. The Eastern Europeans did not have the welfare safety net and so no point coming if they didn’t want to graft. That was what business lobbied for, workers with few rights and options.
‘Not all Brexit people are racists but all racist voted Brexit’
What annoyed this particular Brexiteer the most was the pious media and celebrity class that publicly backed the Remain campaign on social media and in the media. The BBC would say they didn’t but they hardly banged the drum to leave. But what celebrity is going to risk his or her brand by saying what he or she really feels about Romanian cashpoint skimmers and distraction thieves on twitter and celebrate drunken Poles on every street corner? Will Self was right with his quote that ‘not every Brexiteer is racist’ but what we never saw in all of this was middle – class people talking about why they voted out, and trust me a lot of them did. Yes they were older but it’s relevant and not fair it wasn’t highlighted. I think Ian Botham was the most notable of the Out vote and he has lots of black friends. It was and is always northerners with northern accents on the voxpox on the news reports being patronized within an inch of their lives when it comes to immigration comment. Plenty of journalists making those reports on the VT would be at dinner parties with Brexit Voters and yet none of those people interviewed on camera. Let’s not forget 18 million people voted to leave and the underclass is barely 1 million. The actual England vote after Scotland and N.Ireland voted tactically to keep their E.U handouts was 60/40, only ethnically diverse London voting to remain. Leicester voted to leave and 33% Asian. Lots of Asians voted on race because they were losing out on family visas because of high level of Eastern European immigration. Did anyone dare call them racist? Oh and if you want to know who is the most racist in Europe then just go east. Can you imagine how Poland would react if 3 million black Africa’s rocked up looking for work in Poland. It would not be pretty.
I personally don’t believe we will leave the E.U though. There are too many vested interests to let that happen. Like the Iraq War the establishment will get their way. We the people don’t get to make decisions this big. For me the E.U will be crapping themselves right now and talks going on behind closed doors to cut a deal on immigration, not just for the U.K, but other countries threatening a vote. If the 27 countries actually got to vote on leaving at least 6 would. Holland is firmly in the leave camp and France heading that way. One more terror attack and the French people will demand a vote. I’m backing another referendum and general election well before we leave. Until we sign that form with intent to leave then we aint going anywhere.
The point of the EU is to print money in the form of cheap loans with the big countries as creditors and give it to the smaller countries to buy goods from the bigger countries, the theory to drag them up to the big countries. The EU puts in place tariffs to block Africa and the like selling those goods cheaper to those EU countries. It’s a protectionist policy. Greece actually ordered 700 million Euros of arms from Germany with their bailout money between 2010-12 and Greece now has the third largest army in Europe!!! It’s simply selling stuff to each other neither can afford to keep it all going. But trading people like goods is a different ball game and it’s that which will bring down the European Union. People value their flag more than farming subsidies.
I am worried about the future is we do actually leave. You would be mug not to. Yes the markets are at a 10 month high after some profiteering by the City and a relief but I think they vectored in a Brexit last September and priced the market accordingly. There are no favorable guaranteed trade agreements to be had post EU exit and the hurt will come. The economists are right that we will go into recession. They talk about between 2-4% hit in the economy by 2020. But by being in the E.U. most British people have taken that hit already; low wages and high rents driven up by that mass immigration as we all scrap together for services clearly not being provided. And let’s not forget the foreign owned utility companies rigging the energy market to hurt us some more. For capitalism to function people need money I their pocket to actually buy the goods they make and service. That’s not happening nay more and our industry is now call centers and distribution companies.
It’s well documented that the highest ‘Out’ vote areas have the most EU handouts, Wales and the North. The thing is we know the real reason the EU was set up and it was not to enrich the poor. Globalization is being actively encouraged by the EU to aid big business and we simply don’t matter. Well we do now as we have spoken. Now the Tory’s are going to have to do something and clamp down on those tax havens for a start as they will need every penny they can find to keep the U.K afloat and donations coming into the Tory Party.
Competitive football is dying out on our local parks. When I played there would be five or six games raging on all the pitches in use. Now you are lucky to see one on a winter’s day. The local councils whack up the pitch hire prices, lock the changing rooms and don’t prepare the pitches, just to run down the sport and same themselves some money. It’s sad to see. Playing Sunday League made a man of you and in some towns and cities it was safer to drive around Basra in an open top car with a gay rainbow flag flying than to try and head the ball away Sunday Prem. It was rough. But young men love football and it was such a thrill to be involved with a number on your back and clear on goal. I was a pretty good midfielder as I ran marathons back then and so super fit and always ran the ball down. I also had good touch and could drop in a beautiful pass. I think we used the really cool Stuart Sturridge ball in those days. The orange and white ones…
Nowadays modern day footballs are much lighter and you can do a lot more with them. The panel size will dictate how much spin and swerve you can get on it and the more panels the more the air can get distorted on the ball. Ronaldo mastered the ‘valve kick’ where you strike down on the ball more from a free kick or shot and it makes the ball move left and then right as the air is pushed unevenly around the ball, a bit like how Jamie Anderson bowls the ‘wobble seam’ delivery in cricket. It’s a bit like how the Earth wobbles on its orbit around the Sun.
The Nike ball is cool because it also allows for the inside of the boot swerve, the hardest to apply. Now I’m too old to be playing competitive soccer but I still like a kick around. Sadly I don’t have little son to do that with and show him my breathtaking range of skills but the lads on the local park play and I know some of the African lads and join in now and then. It’s an excuse to go to the pub after and something very cathartic about playing football on a long summers evening. I still don’t like heading the ball though. My dad played for Wolves reserve team and he had to head those medicine balls back in the day.
They do the Nike in size four for kids and regulation size five for adults. You can get either for less than a tenner at Sports Direct highstreet. The trainer ball can be as cheap as three quid but doesn’t last as long. They are a loss -leader at Sports Direct shops and so why they are so cheap – and they pay their staff peanuts in the warehouse and on the shop floor… and the kids even less in the factories in Bangladesh. But for three quid you can’t argue and a great purchases for your kids. You obviously need to have a pump and valve to blow it up The Nike ball is definitely more kid friendly and easy to pass and hit. I don’t like to see kids head it due to the degenerative effects of the impact but this one easy on the nut. The Nike balls are proper match balls and not suitable for kids when heading. After a year or so the Nike tends to balloon up as the cheaper synthetic leather wears and blisters and the inner tube carbuncles. The Nike stitching isn’t the best and I’m guessing regular use would quickly see a split and that means a burst likely. Bu tits decent ball and you could probably chip on from the half way line if you can play. It also comes in 8 different colors in size four and five. Not that you want a yellow one mind.
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Its Wimbledon and normally the municipal tennis court are full of once a year players in Northampton. I did it as a kid after school and in the summer holidays and almost a right of passage. I was OK at tennis but like many sports you get so good at it and then the lack of natural ability takes over and you are the same as everyone else and the kit goes away until next summer. But in Northampton the cuts have bitten hard and all the attendants for the tennis courts and bowling greens etc have been made redundant and its now book online and get a code to tap into the lock to open the court. It’s not been popular and the courts are mostly empty now. The youngsters are ok with online transactions and occasionally dragged away from Call of Duty on the Playstations and can be seen on the tennis courts but the bowling greens are completely empty in the sunshine and it’s so sad. The old folks simply wont do online transactions through fear of fraud and don’t play the only sport they still can anymore. I offered to help out by using my local newspapers connections to run an article on it and try and get local libraries to take bookings in cash on their library card but no luck yet.
I do play a bit and still hit with mates when I can. I’m reasonable at tennis but like most people can’t serve and end up doing the limp wristed second serve. If you want to beat your matches or even play local league just get serving coaching and you will be hard to beat. My ground strokes are OK and I am really good at the net (Northants Badminton County championship semi finalists in 1980) but my back hand is pretty terrible and barely makes the net. This s why I like to use slightly softer tennis balls like Wilson or Slazenger. Head can be rock hard new and really fly off the racquet. I use a generic Dunlop racquet and so the ball doest fly off that. Problem solved. The softer the ball the slower it moves and so the longer the rallies and the more fun. But tennis is still a sport of total concentration and the near the ball to the top of the net the more chance of winning and that is a mind messer. I admire pro tennis players immensely for dealing with that aspect of the game. Hit ball fast over the net and clear by an inch.
Head are not cheap tennis balls. You get 4 in each tube. If you are not the best at tennis then you will need more than 4 balls at your local court as you will lose some over the fence in the foliage. Or they get mixed up with other players and then you have that awaked moment that your balls are cheaper than theirs and they think you are trying to steal theirs. If you buy them from a posh sports shop in Wimbledon week you will get ripped off and charge as much as £8 for 4. I bought mine on sale in Sports Directs permanent sale for £1.50 a tube at half-price their retail price.
The bounce is good on grass and better on hard-court. You get a nice ping with a good racquet contact and wear seems light after the summer use so far. I prefer some ‘give’ in the ball as it helps to control placing and pacing better and not react too much with the racquet. At the moment I am trying to develop topspin play which is critical to being competent at tennis because it helps the ball dip into court better. Service wise the Slazenger ball is like any other with me as my service isn’t the best and so not reacting with ANY brand of ball correctly. I serve like a medium pace village dobbler with the occasional quick one on target but mostly leg side filth.
The balls have about six months life in them for occasional players but about a month for club and pro players. They come in a sealable tube that stops them rolling all over the place and so helps keep them stay dry. Wet tennis balls fuzz up and don’t bounce. But dried out the Slazenger don’t seem to lose performance so a bonus. Where I would say more expensive balls are worth buying is they stay harder longer and what guy or girl wouldn’t want that when it comes to performance.
Star –Samuel L Jackson
Genre – Psychological Drama
Run Time – 97 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards –5 Nominations
Amazon – £3.48 DVD (Blue Ray £8.99)
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As the Iraq Report finally reveals itself this month it’s unlikely to incriminate anyone important, anyone that matters mentioned in it given time to get their defense in order. Tony Blair will meet all the criteria to face a War Crimes trial in The Hague but he won’t because he doesn’t have a black face and live in Africa or demented Muslim hating Slav from the Balkans. Apart from the mass slaughter of innocent Muslims on behalf of BP and Shell it was torture and rendition that made the headlines. British agents were helping to ‘extract information’ against the prisoners will, often people abducted off streets and the warzone and taken to hidden secret black sites. Many were handed over in warzones for cash rewards with little or no evidence they were terrorists, other than they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. No one has any problem with terrorists being tortured but most of the people in Guantanamo and strapped down on tables and being water boarded around the world were probably not terrorists and simply people being tortured to get information on someone they may or may not know being a possible terrorist. It was open season. What you haven’t been told is women and children were also tortured by the west. The west didn’t want to confirm that War on Terror was going on by using torture so to get the bad guys so much but justify the Invasion of Iraq by creating a War on Terror through forced and often erroneous confession. If someone said they would cut your nuts of you would say anything to stop them. Unthinkable explores the moral maze that torture and rendition program was to America as the always magnetic Samuel L Jackson gets to play the dark side of the argument and the righteous Carrie Anne Moss FB I agent the moral side.
Samuel L. Jackson ... Henry Harold 'H' Humphries
Carrie-Anne Moss ... Agent Helen Brody
Michael Sheen ... Steven Arthur Younger
Stephen Root ... Charles Thompson
Lora Kojovic ... Rina Humphries
Martin Donovan ... Assistant Director Jack Saunders
Gil Bellows ... Agent Vincent
Vincent Laresca ... Agent Leandro
Brandon Routh ... Agent D.J. Jackson
Joshua Harto ... Agent Phillips
Holmes Osborne ... General Paulson
Michael Rose ... Colonel Kerkmejian
Randy Oglesby ... Mr. Bradley
Benito Martinez ... Alvarez
Sasha Roiz ... Interrogator Lubitchich
An FBI team, headed by an Agent Brody (Carrie Anne ‘Matrix’ Moss), are looking for Steven Arthur Younger (Michael Sheen), a suspect in a murder case. But a black ops unit already has him, locked up in a secret black ops facility. Turns out he is now known as Yusuf Mohammed and has made terrorists threats against the United States, claiming to have planted three nukes in three American cities.
Brody’s investigation leads to Henry Harold 'H' Humphries (Samuel L. Jackson), a top level clearance special ops torture specialists, under protective custody by the US government due to his job. Soon Brody, her boss, Assistant Director Jack Saunders (Martin Donovan) and Humphries are at the facility with Yusuf, torture already underway. They only have four days to find out if the threat is serious or not and so find the bombs, Yusuf in a video with the three bombs inside non descript buildings. It appears to be as Steven Arthur Younger worked for the nuclear weapons division for the US Army in a previous life.
Brody is appalled by the torture already going on but’ H’ just getting started, wheeling in his kit and getting to work on Yousif. He is the best there is and always gets results. Out comes the cattle prod and nail clippers as the screams ring out in the sealed room. Brody tries to stop it and tells them there will be no trail if there are no fingernails on the suspect.
Agent Helen Brody: Jack, the suspect is being tortured. This is unconstitutional.
Assistant Director Jack Saunders: Helen, if those bombs go off there will be no f**king Constitution!
Yousif is tough to crack as Brody compromises and plays good cop to ‘H’ bad cop. Yousif does reveal, however, there will be an event the day before the bombs go off, proof, perhaps, he is serious. When the event does indeed happen they know the nukes could be real. The clock is ticking and so H decides to rip up a few more page sin the constitution as the blow torch and far worse are taken I to the cage for some serious pain.
H - It's not about the enemy. It's about us. Our weakness. We're on the losing side, Helen. We're afraid, they're not. We doubt, they believe.
It’s not that bad. There is some tension and one or two surprises but only ends up just above average for an intelligent movie thriller it’s billed as. I enjoyed it enough as that tension builds and the clocks tick down but it does end up as yet another post 911 paranoia movie that tries rather too hard to be that morality tale I was talking about to justify America’s actions around the world. In doing that it simply ends up a lazily done polemic that takes neither side. I guess the point was not to take a side but the point is lost in the blood, sweat and tears here.
The bizarre casting of Michael Sheen as the Islamic extremist convert is presumably to bring that element of stage play acting to proceedings as most of the film is claustrophobic and set in one room with him strapped to the chair. SLJ is great at everything he does as he plays his big show off self in everything he does (and let’s face it, that’s what we want him to do) and on top cantankerous form here, Carrie Anne Moss a punch bag to go to work on. I do feel, though, the film lacks that intelligent edge it’s seeking to chop up that rather contradictory War on Terror and its politics. America needs to get their head around what they have done in the world. I think the best War on Terror film has yet to be made as they all end up preachy or bombastic. Maybe Oliver Stone will have second thoughts and return with an Oscar winner.
It cost $15 million to make and bombed in the cinema, pulling just $5.5 million back, unusual for a Samuel L Jackson movie. Maybe the Americans didn’t want to be preached about the wrongs and rights of America’s reckless War on Terror. At times it does edge into TV movie territory and that will always chip of a DVD audience but that more a budget issue. It’s more psychological drama than thriller and so no racing around New York in black sedans. It’s very much a head contest between Sheen and Jackson, and in acting skills to. It’s a film worth looking out for on your film package or on terrestrial TV.
Imdb.com – 7.1/10.0 (71,325votes)
Rottentomatos.com –66% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 66% critic’s approval
Blue Ray doesn’t bring much to the party apart from some extras. The original DVD doesn’t have any.
Quite a few
-Behind the Scenes-
Samuel L Jackson and co do what they are told and talk up the movie
No idea why anyone would want art work.
The Daily Mail –‘ A clumsy polemic that bounces between the boundaries of stage-play debate and torture porn spectacle as everyone argues over ethics...’
The Mirror –‘ "the aesthetic realism and apparent seriousness of Unthinkable is a mask for the absurdity of its content and reactionary politics" making it more than just a "nightmare scenario" but rather "a white paper from Freddy Krueger’.
LA Times –‘a clumsy polemic that bounces between the boundaries of stage-play debate and torture porn spectacle".
The Sun –‘A routine thriller about finding the usual obligatory hidden bomb (ok! ok! so it's an atom bomb!) in time is given some serious teeth with the question of how far we might be willing to go in order to fight extremism;.
The Independent –‘Where do we draw the line for what's justified to do, when extracting information from a suspected terrorist? Brilliantly exploring this very complex question, this highly intense drama faces us against ourselves, as we are obliged to consider our true position on the fundaments of human rights’
So England crushed by the mighty Iceland to be bounced out of the European Championships like a fat Polar Bear jumping on an ice sheet catapulting a penguin on the other end into Greenland, the British Prime Minister and England coach resigning in the same week for similar Brexit debacles all too much. The players have turned on Woy as soon as he went and Iceland march on to play the French. It was certainly poundland football by the British billionaires. The Wales squad were caught on video cheering wildly when England lost, odd as most of them were born in England to an English parent or two. Footballers are not the brightest. I don’t hold out much chance of keeping the union together rafter this week.
‘….England have already arranged some preseason friendlies to prepare for the World Cup in Russia in 2016, that of Aldi and Lidl……’
By now just about everyone knows the population of Iceland is around 300,000 (sandwiched between the Maldives and the Bahamas), more than some of the tax havens England normally beat 7-0 in the qualifying groups, and where most of the England player’s money is stashed. 10% of that Icelandic populous were in France for this tournament and so technically Iceland an even smaller country in the championships. . Iceland has a 12 team semi-pro Premier League to pull from and 73 football league clubs in total and many games played indoors. The Iceland coach is a qualified practicing dentist. The keeper Halldorsson is a professional filmmaker and did the video for the 2102 Icelandic Eurovision entrant.
Football, of course, is all there is to cheer for in Iceland sporting wise and so the nation one million percent behind them. The now familiar fans war cry will no doubt be mimicked in football leagues around the world and now footballs original Hakka. The scenes at the end of the game when the Iceland team celebrated with the fans was extraordinary as the players led the war cry in formation. It actually originated in Motherwell FC ground and taken to Iceland by a visiting Icelandic team in the EUFA Cup.
Iceland won because they wanted it more than England. It was their first tournament and the nation was 100% behind them. England were scared, meaning when the crunch came they chose comfort in losing as the easy way out. Iceland set up well in every game they play, a defensive mindset and well drilled at it. It works. The long throw was one of those well practiced skills and caught England out, even though England knew it was coming. These teams survive or die on set pieces. Glen Hoddle on commentary was apoplectic at England for conceding that goal, and Iceland scoring a second by beating a rather feeble Joe Hart this tournament just summed up how one dimensional and rusty the team has been. France may think they will out pace the Icelandic team but when a team does put so many behind the ball it’s never easy to pick your way through, whoever you are.
The expansion of the Euros and the World Cup has allowed smaller teams like Iceland and Albania to have a chance of being there and they have seized it. In the 2014 World Cup qualifiers Iceland reached the play offs only to lose to Croatia 2-0 over two legs. They would have been the smallest ever nation to qualify if they had won. For the European Championships they qualified outright, at the expense of Holland, who failed to qualify from the group and suffered 5 defeats. But the player pool is small on the island and only around 40,000 adults to pick from, so much so that last year Talinn Gudjohnsen was substituted for his father Arnor. What we all like about the Iceland team sheet, of course, apart from the beards is every name ends in son. Record scorer Eider Gudjohnsen has been in the team since 1996 and still playing and setting those records at 37-years-old.
1 GK Hannes Þór Halldórsson---Norway Bodø/Glimt
12 GK Ögmundur Kristinsson ---Sweden Hammarby IF
13 GK Ingvar Jónsson---Norway Sandefjord
2 DF Birkir Már Sævarsson---Sweden Hammarby IF
3 DF Haukur Heiðar Hauksson---Sweden AIK
4 DF Hjörtur Hermannsson---Sweden IFK Göteborg
5 DF Sverrir Ingi Ingason---Belgium Lokeren
6 DF Ragnar Sigurðsson---Russia Krasnodar
14 DF Kári Árnason---Sweden Malmö FF
19 DF Hörður Björgvin Magnússon---Italy Cesena
23 DF Ari Freyr Skúlason---Denmark OB
7 MF Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson---England Charlton Athletic
8 MF Birkir Bjarnason---Switzerland Basel
10 MF Gylfi Þór Sigurðsson---Wales Swansea City
16 MF Rúnar Már Sigurjónsson---Sweden GIF Sundsvall
17 MF Aron Gunnarsson---Cardiff City
18 MF Theódór Elmar Bjarnason---Denmark AGF
20 MF Emil Hallfreðsson---Udinese
21 MF Arnór Ingvi Traustason---Austria Rapid Wien
9 FW Kolbeinn Sigþórsson---Nantes
11 FW Alfreð Finnbogason---Germany Augsburg
15 FW Jón Daði Böðvarsson---Kaiserslautern
22 FW Eiður Guðjohnsen---Norway Molde FK
Star – Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchoupoulos
Genre – World Cinema > Drama
Run Time – 180 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – French
Golden Globe – 1 nomination
Awards – 83 Wins & 92 Nominations
Amazon – £5.99 DVD (Blue Ray £8.3700)
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So, a 3 hour French lesbian movie anyone? In the old days of VHS tapes and no free online porn teenage boys would jump at the chance to rent this at Blockbusters. Every guy remembers the awkward excitement of leaving the video store with a soft-core naughty film with a likewise title in your Granada Video carrier bag. It was normally hardly worth it for the embarrassing moment with the clerk and the excuse you come up with for renting naughty art house films but it was a right of passage in those days. Today you don’t need to rent French three hour lesbian art house movie as its all there on the internet. Commercial lipstick lesbians in films are just that and real ones are not so appealing to men. ‘Blue is the Warmest Color ’has to make at least one of the lead two girls in love pretty and feminine to avoid a smaller audience and so a compromise of sorts but still an intelligent and emotional exploration of love and belonging. But at three hours long its hard work.
It was certainly hard work for actresses Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchoupoulos on set. Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche insisted they didn’t wear make up for most of the film and encouraged to improvise their performances after he only let them read the script just once. It was revealed that the director would do hundreds of takes for small scenes to achieve the desired realism of the story, and his intense directorial style was deemed borderline abusive from the actress, including the explicit love scenes, which there are lots. One scene took 100 takes. Both actresses commented that the film looked so real because Kechiche pushed them to their breaking point, and that they were really struggling emotionally on set. Both have openly said that they did not want to work with this guy ever again. But the performances are strong and for the first time ever the Palme d'Or was officially awarded to both lead actors alongside Kechiche. Normally it’s the director who gets that award. The director’s realism style included lots of footage of the actresses of set when they were unaware they were being filmed. Both actresses have said their onscreen relationship was real to some extent and now close friends. This is the first film adaption of a graphic novel to win the Palm D'Or.
Léa Seydoux ... Emma
Adèle Exarchopoulos ... Adèle
Salim Kechiouche ... Samir
Aurélien Recoing ... Père Adèle
Catherine Salée ... Mère Adèle
Benjamin Siksou ... Antoine
Mona Walravens ... Lise
Alma Jodorowsky ... Béatrice
Jérémie Laheurte ... Thomas
Benoît Pilot ... Beau Père Emma
Sandor Funtek ... Valentin
Fanny Maurin ... Amélie
Maelys Cabezon ... Laetitia
Samir Bella ... Samir
Upper working –class 16-year-old French highschool student Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is beginning to explore herself as a woman. She is attracted to handsome and cool alpha male Antoine (Benjamin Siksou), who date and then have sex. But she doesn’t enjoy the physical side with men and soon attracted to female school friend Amélie (Fanny Maurin) who she does desire. But she dreams of something more than greasers and schoolgirl crushes and meets Emma (Léa Seydoux), an older free spirited lesbian girl with blue hair, whom she sees around town and then runs into when she ventures into her first gay bar alone.
Adele’s friends begin to reject Adèle due to her sexuality as the two fall deeply in love and spend all the time together and soon Emma the only person with whom she can express herself openly to. Together, Adèle and Emma explore the search for social acceptance, sexuality, and the emotional range of their maturing relationship. Emma is from a middle-class liberal family and all this conflicts water off a ducks back, Adele’s family, alas, not so understanding. The couple join peace rallies and mix with eclectic free thinking friends and enjoy gay pride vents and their version of freedom.
We follow the two girl’s lives through university and then work, Adele now a primary school teacher and Emma an aspiring artist. But then Samir (Salim Kechiouche) comes into their world and Adele drawn to his caring and more stable side as kids and family life are on the agenda. The two girls love is put under strain as societies norms threaten. Emma wants to fight the system, create art and hang with interesting people whilst a home, stability and a man to pay the mortgage are on Adele’s horizons.
For a start the film loses a star for being three hours long. No film should be three hours long. The acting is superb in capturing the intensity and all consuming state that is love and the politics around it but its still three hours of it. It loosely explores the idea that lesbian love may be more a choice by being rejected by men and it’s fair to say there are very few straight men that would chose to be gay. For men it’s genetic but for some women it’s part of emancipation and dealing with that rejection. It is very confusing to men on why many lesbian women want to look like men with a butch look so to attract gay females. I don’t want to go into the butch - fem thing here as I know I will be slaughtered.
As I say the film is the lead performances and somehow they get you through the three hours. You need to treat this film like a boxset and watch it in three or four visits. Its just very long and intelligent love story that you may not get sucked into. It is wordy and there is a subtext around the great writers interpretation of love and so something else to chew on there. The sex is fairly explicit but not remotely erotic. The girls have nice bodies and lots of sex scenes but tomboys kissing each other wont have you reaching for the hanky - as the romantic breakups wont. Somewhat oddly ‘fake ladies parts’ were used for the sex scenes so to get a 17C certificate in France. You can see in those scenes the girls are acting but also understanding how they should be turned on. I’m guessing the two girls experimented off screen for the method and no doubt the director had a hidden camera when they did.
It sags in the middle like a middle aged lesbian at a CND rally in the 1980s and the love story hard to connect to for guys. You can totally understand why a woman would love another women as they 100% understand each other but a relationship needs leader and a follower and we don’t really get that here. They are equals for most of the film and both do the ironing. I’m guessing the rather camp Tunisian director is quietly exploring his sexuality through the film and the poor actress had to carry that out that confusion and interpretation to the millimeter. But it is an interesting and highly rated movie and if you enjoy your arty foreign films and can handle subtitles and have three hours to spare then you will enjoy this. If you are a 17-year-old lad with A-Level French coming up then at least you have an excuse.
Imdb.com – 7.8/10.0 (90,327votes)
Rottentomatos.com –90% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 88% critic’s approval
Blue Ray is great for blue hair, of course, and colorful gay pride rallies but not worth spending the extra for. There are plenty of extras but they are not well subtitled. Its looks great on the smart TV in Blue Ray but a very talky and melancholic movie so not one that needs Blue Ray. The director’s commentary is on the mind boggling uncut 200 minute version!
The Tunisian gets all pretentious on the layered track
Lots and lots
Lots of red carpet and cheering from ne in pastille suits.
New Statesman –‘It's a spellbinding piece of acting. Exarchopoulos is not so much an open book as an uncorrected proof, every idle desire and surging daydream splashed across her face, waiting to be edited and inhibited by experience’.
Financial Times –‘The camera brilliantly demonstrates how love feels: the slightly paranoid, deeply hysterical and hugely inaccurate super-concentration on one other person to the absolute exclusion of everything else’.
Daily Telegraph –‘Blue is the Warmest Colour is mostly tremendous, and anchored by two of the year's most fiercely committed performance’
Empire Magazine –‘Anchored by two of the most natural, committed performances you'll ever see, Blue Is The Warmest Colour is the most moving love story of the year’.
Atrhouse Film.com –‘Blue is the Warmest Color is about people, not flesh, about letting all boundaries go and giving into desire and pleasure, about devouring a lover and being devoured’.
Film4 –‘Something must be said for a film that's three hours long and remains this consistently engaging.’
Herald Sun –‘Viewed independently of the argy-bargy surrounding it, Blue Is the Warmest Colour is simply a remarkable work of cinema’.
I think it’s pretty fair to say that the only people today who can tell stereotyping Black, Jewish, Muslim, gay and Asian jokes in politically correct Britain are Black, Jewish, Muslim, Gay and Asian comics. Omid Djalibi is one of that tiny handful that will tell actually Muslim jokes and because he does we laugh away and he keeps getting booked to tell those jokes, not so much on the BBC post ISIS but still knocking around on TV here and there. The great ethnic comics have mostly white audiences and see this self deprecation in their humor as the best therapy to actually ease racial tensions that are clearly out there, cruelly exposed this week with the Brexit vote. Monty Panesar learnt that lesson early on that to get the England fans support and actually like you then you have to play up to the wobbly head Indian stereotype. Lenny Henry and Richard Pryor fully understood that but also knew that when they made it big they emotionally owned that white audience, no better feeling. I went to watch Omid’s stage show at Northampton to a mainly white middle-class audience. I did not see any Iranians. It felt like a naughty little club.
Omids early life isn’t that exciting in the book, back and fourth to Iran as a young chubby kid with jolly relatives with big mustaches and then finally moving to London to escape the Iranian revolution. His mom was well known in Iran as a singer but not so much in London but growing up in a liberal showbiz family meaning Omid would inevitably end up on the stage anyway. There area lot of pages on this time in his life. His education wasn’t great and had to blag his way into university with horrendous A-Level results, even going to America for the summer after his A-Levels to try and get into an Ivy League school. Multiple A-Level retakes would not help and eventually ending up studying English & Theater Studies at the University of Ulster in Colerain of all places. Again there are another 100 pages on this time in his life. Omid clearly enjoyed showing us his excellent writing skills and humor on his early days and this not one of those celebrity anecdote biographies. Like any working-class immigrant lad he went through a serious of dead end jobs before he made it and enjoys telling you about them.
He began to be noticed on the comedy circuit at Edinburgh with his one man show "Short, Fat Kebab Shop Owner's Son", followed by "The Arab and the Jew". He did ok in America in the 1990s, where he had his own HBO Special and did 22 episodes of the NBC sitcom Whoopi with Whoopi Goldberg. Djalili has, of course, appeared in a number of films as that generic Arab Muslim, most notably Gladiator, The Mummy, The World Is Not Enough, Notting Hill and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. He often jokes that he appears in every James Bond film as the "Second Azerbaijani oil pipe attendant". I know he has been a hijacker a few times.
As I said there are not that many showbiz anecdotes and the best one being when he was asked by the director of Gladiator to befriend a rather lonely and intense Russell Crowe on set. Even that one wasn’t that funny. Omid isn’t really interested in telling those tales and this book more about showing us his writing skills and ability to tell stories, mirroring his enjoyable act. He is the Muslim Billy Connelly but without the swear words of course. Omid is funny without the swear words. Billy probably isn’t.
Sadly for all of those stories and anecdotes it’s not the most enthralling or entertaining book and I did start speed reading around the 100 page mark. As rule of thumb you should dump a book if you don’t like it by the 100th page. I basically wanted to get to the celeb stuff and it simply never happened. This is also happened with Peter Kaye’s autobiography. Working - class comics and actors often feel guilty they have made it big and don’t like to be brash in their books so to alienate the people they came from. I did chuckle away a couple of times but not really a summer page turner. It really is the story of an ordinary man telling an ordinary life for 75% of this. Still a very funny man and a guy that understands the Brexit vote wasn’t anti immigrant so much but frightened people worrying about their identity, family and jobs.
An international soccer tournament for England is normally a load of pot bellied tattooed English lads wearing Burberry hats and Ben Sherman hoodies smashing up the local square and then losing to the first big team they play and so coming home in shame. Well they met their match in Marseille with two fans now brain-dead and many more still in hospital two weeks on. Some would say quite a few fans were brain-dead before they got to France and they deserved it. But as much as I hate England fans abroad and all the embarrassment most of them bring to this country in the way they look, drink, and act and behave the Russian mob that targeted them were disgusting and went off like Chernobyl. It turns out they were not so much football fans but ex and serving military who executed a likewise attack on England fans, in some cases innocent women and children in the stadium. Because they attacked in the stadium UEFA had the power to sanction them with big fines and threats of expulsion. But not for what happened in Marseille. The president of the oil rich country that will host the 2018 World Cup is sending thugs to beat up women and kids for political reasons???Even the head of the FSB (the Russian FBI) was tweeting that he was proud of the Russian fans for standing up to English hooligans. Blatter should be put on a spitroast in hell for what he has done to the beautiful game. A blood soaked Marseille is a long way from the Brazilians beautiful sweeping passes and spectacular goals of the 1970s and 80s in those iconic yellow and gold tops. The threat of being booted out wasn’t needed for Russia as Putin’s people simply told the thugs to stop fighting and low and behold they did. Strange that. Russia finishing bottom of the group anyway meant the problem was over for now.
Russia were the best they had been for while in the qualifying to get to EURO 2016 and qualified second in their group behind Austria without a play-off for their 11th European championships. The group was weak though as Sweden were also in it and along with Austria all three out in the first stages here in France bottom of their perspective groups. Their best result in the Euros as Russia was as recent as 2008 with that third placed finish in the team powered by Zhirkov, Arsharvin, Zyryanov and Roman Pavlyuchenko, who all tanked badly soon after with big moves to big clubs. The suspicion was that particular Russian team’s performance was based on a doping culture and the team breaking up soon after because of, all four back in the Russian and Kazakhstan leagues now.
As the Soviet Union they were far more powerful in European football and won the inaugural European Championships in 1960 and then making two of the next three finals and fourth place in-between although only four teams in them. The Cold War intensified and they failed to qualify for three championships in a row before returning as the CIS in 1988 for the 8 team format and straight into The Final but losing 2-0 to Holland. If the doping fears were conjecturing in recent years they were almost certainly state doped FACT in the 1960s and 70s at the height of that Cold War.
Russia’s World Cup record followed a similar Cold War pattern. The Soviets did not enter the first five championships and then made for straight Q/Fs in 1958 to 1970, finishing fourth in the 1966 World Cup. After Pinochet executed his people in the Chile national stadium the Russians were disqualified from the 1974 qualification after not agreeing an alternative ‘suitable’ venue in the South America country for the play-off. With Russia gone Chile were given a walkover to West Germany but eliminated in the first round. The Soviets failed to make World Cup 78 and performed progressively worse when they qualified for the next three World Cups. Oddly they have missed the last six World Cups.In the Olympics they took 2 gold’s and 3 bronze between 1956 and 1980. Oleg Blokhin was the man back then smashing 42 goals in 112 matches. Keeper Lev Yashin was their other notable world name
with 76 caps.