Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Hitchens Brothers, doing the ironing, and the need for consolation

These days, I catch up with political podcasts about once a fortnight, when I do the ironing (yes, I am that much of a New Man) - usually a James Delingpole, an Andrew Klavan, and, if there's time and I'm in the mood for his blistering, rapid-fire sarcasm, a Ben Shapiro. I used to listen to Radio 4 Extra, but I hit a patch where I seemed to get stuck with  The Navy Lark, Steptoe & Son, Arthur Smith or Mel Giedroyc. Anyway, this week I started off my podcast binge with James Delingpole chatting to Mail columnist Peter Hitchens, whose "housemaster in a filthy temper" manner always brings to mind the forbidding British actor, Cedric Hardwicke. Hitchens - in case you're not familiar with him - is an ascetic, fundamentalist conservative (he describes himself as a Burkean, although there was nothing particularly puritanical about Burke), who thinks it would be a jolly good idea...

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The long and the short of Hollywood actors and actresses - did you know that Sylvester Stallone is 5'8" and Judy Garland was 4'11"?

Boy on a Dolphin
I watched Jean Negulesco's 1957 romance-adventure film Boy on a Dolphin the other night. It's not a good film - but it's not terrible, either. What makes it bearable is a terrific performance by Sophia Loren as a Greek peasant who, while diving for pearls, discovers an ancient statue of - yes - a boy riding a dolphin, and spends the rest of the film yawing between noble archaeologist Alan Ladd and dapper crook, Clifton Webb. The sun-drenched Greek islands - filmed in Cinemascope and vivid DeLuxe Colour - look spectacular, but they're no match for Ms Loren's ravishing beauty (the opening sequence, which features the luscious Italian lovely in wet, bosom-hugging, skintight shirt presumably ensured the film's commercial success). 23-year old Sophia was 5'8" tall, while 44-year-old Alan Ladd (looking closer to 60 - booze will do that to you) stood somewhere between 5'4" and 5'7" - most likely 5'5". And yet this never becomes disconcerting ...

Sanctimonious busybodies, everybody's Hitler, sweary Labourites and homeless Thatcherites

Ah! Shame! Speaking of hectoring buysbodies...

Monday, 16 April 2018

"The Awful Truth" & "The Lady Eve" - two of the funniest films I've ever seen

I must have watched part of The Awful Truth, a1937 screwball comedy starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunn, many moons ago, because I recognised some of the scenes - but I definitely don't remember this next section of the movie, and I can't believe I would have forgotten it. While a rich Manhattan couple wait for their divorce to come through, the wife dates an Oklahoma oilman, while her husband dates a nightclub performer. This is what happens when they all meet, by chance...

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Labour's Syria policy...

And, for no reason whatsoever apart from the pleasure of seeing someone get exactly what they asked for:

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Flesh-crawling movies - The Old Dark House, The Ghoul, The Maze, Quatermass and Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte

The Old Dark House (1932) was both English director James Whale's and actor Boris Karloff's follow-up horror movie to their smash hit of the previous year, Frankenstein. Based on the J.B. Priestley novel Benighted, it sounds like a routine "bunch of disparate people locked up in a spooky, isolated house on a stormy night" number - but the essentially parodic script is witty, and Whale and his sparkling, first-rate cast manage to make it genuinely funny and genuinely creepy. Karloff is effectively menacing as a deranged, alcoholic brute of a butler (a bearded version of Frankenstein's monster without the neck bolts or most of the pathos), particularly during the scene where he chases a young lady around the house in a drink and lust-fuelled rage - and Brember Wills as the house's resident pyromaniac, the pixie-like Saul, is, if anything, even more alarming...

Friday, 13 April 2018

CW Stoneking's delightful version of the classic modern pop ditty, "Seven Nation Army"

I was going to ask readers to time how long it took them to recognise it as The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" - but then I realised the answer would be staring them in the face as soon as they clicked on it:
Jack White, who wrote and first recorded "Seven Nation  Army", seems to have approved of that cover...

Thursday, 12 April 2018

When public sector organisations - the police, NHS trusts, the BBC, councils - are fined, who pays?

Mark Wallace, the executive editor of the ConservativeHome website, raises an issue that has no doubt occasionally troubled most of us. To be clear, I'm perfectly happy...

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Theresa May - the "nanny state" social justice warrior in No. 10

I suspect many - perhaps most - right-wingers and conservatives (and quite a few centrists and left-wingers) are so horrified at the thought of the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse (Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, John McDonnell and Angela Rayner) taking charge of the country...

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Khan fiddles while Londoners die, Lammy should have gone to SpecSavers... and Blair begs Germany to invade Britain

This was the chilling headline in the Daily Mail:
Thank God their military's a joke and they don't have nuclear weapons! Meanwhile, Labour MP David Lammy thinks Labour's racism doesn't only apply to Jews: