Thursday, 24 January 2008


Work has been ... interesting this week. There have been a lot of changes, and not for the better, methinks.

Joe Queenan in today's Guardian reports on why the premature deaths of movie stars affect us more than the premature deaths of singers.

Essentially, when someone like Heath Ledger, James Dean or River Phoenix dies young there is more cultural fallout because over the course of their careers, we would have watched them mature into older roles, in much the same way as Marlon Brando matured from Stanley Kowalski in 1951 to Vito Corleone in 1972, whereas the hot young musicians of the 50s and 60s have just become aging, silver-haired rockers with leather pants stretched across an expanding gut.

I agree to a certain extent, but then people like Nick Drake and Kurt Cobain kind of throw the equation somewhat, so, I don't know, although I think Queenan certainly makes an interesting point.

The New Bond Film is to be called Quantum of Solace, an original Fleming short story title that probably came about through overzealous use of a thesaurus. Crumb of comfort clearly not Bond enough.

Can't think how the song will go...

He will whip out his phalllllluuuuuus
In Kensington Palllllllaaaaaace
It's the Quantum of Solllllaaaaaace!!!

Having said that, Chris Cornell managed to go a whole theme without mentioning casinos, so maybe there's hope. Perhaps it's time for a rap Bond theme.

Finally, the evolutionary benefits of lolcats are explained to all. We can has Darwinism?

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Twelfth Night

Disappointing lunch at Prezzo on Brighton Marina. My linguine con polpette lacked for the kind of herby, sausagemeat-laden meatballs that good Italian-American restaurants have spoiled me for, tasting more of actual sausage. All in all, average food for the price, and you were left with the feeling that you could have got better in a trattoria that hadn't been decorated since 1975, all raffia wine holders and what-not.

A very "normal" meal was compounded by utterly indifferent service from morose Poles who messed up the drinks order and A's side and then left us to stew for a good fifteen minutes while waiting for the bill. Which made us feel a whole lot better about not leaving a tip, the first time I've done this in a while.

I suppose the best things I can say about it are a) that you get what you pay for in a chain restaurant and b) it was better than a slap in the face with a wet halibut.

Back to R and A's for chat, chocolate, telly and wine, and we are now back at L's clifftop aerie waiting out the remains of the day with a beer and our remaindered Peking duck.

It's Twelfth Night, which means Christmas is just now getting underway in Russia. Here, it always feels like a damp squib of the end of the holiday season; there now is really nothing to look forward to for a good two months. Wouldn't it be nice to go out at the end of Christmas with a bang, rather than just tailing off six days after New Years? I think so. I might think about having a party next year; we could do it properly and have a Lord of Misrule.

Apparently Twelfth Night is also the time to go wassailing, which largely involves finding an apple tree and drinking at it, such is my understanding.
Brighton -

Pleasant night's sleep in L's very comfortable and big bed. Drove down yesterday in - it seemed - like double time, and will go back to London tomorrow via work.

Chinese take-away yesterday evening was less than successful - some middleman clearly thought he'd start an impromptu game of Chinese whispers with our order, and by the time it arrived at our door one giant seafood appetizer set for two had become two giant seafood appetizer sets. I wouldn't have minded so much but the damage to my bank account, which is looking beleaguered at the start of January, was more than I would have liked.

We struggled through the spring rolls, prawn toasts, dumplings and fish cakes, but the addition of beer, crackers, and seaweed into the equation means that we now have a quarter duck and pancakes in the fridge for tonight.

This morning is a bright and crisp winter morning, with the sky suffused with Brighton's incomparable light, and the white buildings glowing with the colour of honey. I have spent most of the day so far in bed with Michael Palin's diaries, which I bought to read on the aeroplane and never started. They really are very good, although heavy on the name-dropping. John Cleese and Eric Idle come out of it badly; they have quite monstrous egos and seem thoroughly unpleasant men. MP, always my favourite Python, comes out of it very well, but then that's to be expected.

My random factoid of the day; when Monty Python was sold to Japanese TV, the title translated as Gay Boys' Dragon Show.

Off for lunch at the glamorous marina soon.