Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Like millions of others, I was genuinely sorry to learn of the passing of Paul Newman. Now, I`m not one for sentimental obituaries and it`s certainly not my place or intention to write one here - countless others will be doing that. But I have long admired Newman for what he was - an actor of towering talent but also a humanitarian gentleman, devoted to his family, his causes and his profession. Truly, he leaves us with, quite literally, an enviable reputation.
Again like others, I first came to value his performances when I saw `Butch Cassidy` and I was enthralled by George Roy Hill`s brilliant direction of the talent at his disposal - Newman, Redford, Katherine Ross. I can`t say I`ve seen every film Newman ever made, but I`ve seen enough to appreciate his talent.
Critics will debate his best work, with `Cool Hand Luke` among the front runners already, but for me the one I most enjoyed was Sydney Pollack`s 1981 film, `Absence of Malice,` in which Newman played Michael John Gallagher, an innocent abroad plagued by injudicious reporting by the Miami Herald to the extent that he is forced to overcome the forces of commerce and bureaucracy maliciously railing against him.
I suppose, in the totality of Newman`s work, `Absence of Malice` might be overlooked by the more commercially successful films he made, but that would be to overlook too the quiet, determined, understated compulsion of the character he portrayed. It received three nominations for Academy awards, but didn`t get any, despite the screenplay being written by Kurt Luedtke, who went on to win an Oscar for his screenplay for `Out of Africa.`
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Willian Neil (Billy) Scammell
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I don`t like `modern art.` I quite admire the experimental nature of some of it and the statements made by Hirst, Emin, Whitehorn and the rest. But to pretend they represent real art doesn`t wash with me. A lot of it is pretentious, ugly, temporary and overpriced.
Now here, in my humble opinion, is what `modern art` should look like:-
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Injuries to key players and bizarre team selection saw a very young team, with nine players aged 22 or under, take the field at Loftus Road, home of probably the world`s richest club. The game itself was fairly representative of Saints` fortunes so far this season. A goal needlessly conceded after just 37 seconds; the sending off of 19-years old debutant Oliver Lancashire for a mistimed tackle; a quite stunning equaliser by Adam Lallana only for the home team to take the lead again with a blatantly offside `goal`; the loss of influential midfielder Lee Holmes with a medial ligament injury likely to keep him out for some months; and the 10 men finally running out of legs in the last quarter of the game.
A `spirited performance` nonetheless, according to Saints` Dutch coach Jan Poortvliet, who seems to have two claims to fame - one being a member of the Dutch World Cup Final team that lost to Argentina in 1978 and the other being nutmegged by Archie Gemmell before he scored for Scotland in the same tournament. But it`s clear that youthful endeavour and spirited performances are insufficient in the face of the twin problems of inexperience and near insolvency.
The gap is getting wider. It`s bad enough in the Premiership, where the only hope for success seems to be via the uncertain medium of foreign billionaires, but it`s far, far worse in the lower reaches of the game. Saints are fighting a losing financial battle and can only hope to survive if they continue to sell their best players - Walcott, Bale, Baird, Kenwyne Jones, Crouch and a whole lot more make for a sad litany of inevitable departures. And the pick of our current crop of talented youngsters look likely to be sold off in the January transfer window. Already League One is calling. Things will get worse before they get better, which is something I`ve been saying for the last four years.
So what to do? Well, the club has been in my veins since I saw my first game at The Dell in 1946 and I have no intention of selling my soul or my meagre shareholding even though the price has plummetted. The gap between the footballing haves and have nots, between the princes and the paupers, the rich and the poor, continues to widen. But it`s a gap which has brought with it a final acceptance of mediocrity, the banishment of any remaining expectation and a curious comfort zone all of its own.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Theo doing it for the Saints
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Unless you are one of the three million subscribers to Setanta Sports TV, you will sadly be denied the chance to see your heroes in action (maybe that should be `inaction.`) As for me, I would like to thank Setanta for providing such a happy release from what promises to be yet another instantly forgettable `performance` by the overpaid poseurs who can be bothered to wear the three lions. Instead, I will look forward to the next episode of `Lost in Austen,` for which I am truly grateful.
Saturday, September 06, 2008