Friday, 31 December 2004

Tuesday, 21 December 2004

Robin - Christmas 2004. Times Change - We Change with It

2004 ANNUAL ROUND ROBIN FROM ALAN 20 Brecon Close, Luton, Beds, LU1 5HS EMAIL: al*********************

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I am still at the same address, same work, driving the same car, still single. Not a lot has changed. However, change is gradual, and creeps up on us all before we know it.

I have a drawer full of tape cassettes; maybe I will open it some day, select one to play in the car; maybe I won’t. The bottom of my wardrobe is full of LP’s, and I even have a collection of 45’s. I did have a retro moment and bought a record player last year, but the records have been in my wardrobe all year.; maybe I will play them one day, maybe I won’t. I have a collection of CD’s, but rarely play them. I have shelves full of books - textbooks from University, and fiction books bought up to 25 years ago; maybe one day I will read them, maybe I won’t. I have a drawer full of cables and parts for PCs that were once needed, and maybe in the future will be needed again, or maybe they won’t be. I have a cupboard full of assorted fabrics of indiscernible quality, textures, and indifferent colours that have probably never been used, might be used, or maybe never will be used. I have a kitchen cupboard full of new baking utensils that I have never used; maybe one day I will use them, maybe I won’t. I have a collection of recorded VHS cassettes in attractive book-look covers that once worked on an earlier VHS player, but on the present system the picture jumps constantly so I don’t get them out. Maybe I will have another VHS system in the future that plays them properly, maybe I won’t. I have a collection of floppy discs that have not been used all year – probably not for the last 3 years ; I might use them in the future, or then again, might not. In practice, I listen to the radio when I am in the car, not to cassettes.

Music? I am very happy with Radio 2. It’s got all the music I like on it. I used to say that about Radio One. Hang on, that was 15 years ago. Now there’s a change. I even listen to it at home, selecting programmes from the past week from the BBC web site.

Books? I do read, I have been reading my daughter’s Harry Potter books this year. And I read a heck of a lot on the Internet.

Cables? I have a cable-less mouse on one of my PC’s. Is it trying to tell me something?

Fabrics? The old excuse is that they’re for decorating. That’s the same excuse I use for keeping old jeans that are now 3 sizes too small for my waist.

VHS? DVD players and recorders are pretty cheap nowadays. Dixons have announced they won’t be selling VHS players soon.

Floppy discs? I have been using pen drives and flash cards all year.

Yes! There have been changes, gradual ones. Changes that tell us the world is moving on. Time to move with it.


Monday, 29 November 2004

Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire

I have been to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire this evening. The cinema was quite full, still, even though it is in its second week of showing. A great film, but having read the 678 (?) pages in the book, it did feel at times like you were watching a video with the fast forward button pressed down. 2 hours and 26 minutes cannot do justice to a book of that size and with so much in it. I would feel sorry for people who hadn't read the book first as so many emotions were dropped, in favour of little cameo pieces. The small time frame meant that background and build-up to events was sacrificed, in order to cram in as many of the events as possible.

Nevertheless, the film was enjoyable to watch, with satire, humour, teenage emotions, and even the deep sadness of death being ably portrayed on screen. The whole film served as a reminder of the very dramatic scenes J. K. Rowling wrote for this episode.

A good performance by teenage actor Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) whose unfortunate "bloody hell" may become his catch-phrase, yet. His portrayal of a jilted friend came across as pretentious at first, a victim of the little time available, but his later scenes hinted that he may have a great character acting future ahead. Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) played the part a fickle teenage girl being annoyed by her would-be boyfriend to great effect. She shows signs of making diction her strong point, so we should certainly look out for more high-class portrayals from her in the future. Daniel Radcliffe trotted out the essential plot lines, and it has to be noted that his underwater swimming expertise was one of the most unusual calls made upon any actor in any film. The teenagers performances were professionally balanced with the performances of key older actors, notably that of Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody), and Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), making the evening entertainment one that will last in my memory for quite a few months to come.