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February 9th 2010
I don't like unions. I don't like their left wing hatred of anyone who's rich, I don't like their lionisation of the working class that makes Russell T. Davies (of Doctor Who fame) look even-handed, and I don't like their self-aggrandising leaders who demand strikes without purpose. Consider, for example, the recent ballot of BA cabin crew, asking if they'd be prepared to strike - but without specifying a cause. Ridiculous.
The reason I say this is not that I want to further establish my middle class credentials, or even to provoke silly comments from Darren. It's because one particular union is the main topic of conversation at AXA at the moment; Unite have negotiated a pay increase - rather than a bonus - for low-level staff (like me), and it's not finding favour with the majority. Personally, I feel that it's all a bit of a storm in a tea cup, and that people shouldn't be depending on a bonus as a short-term fix when it is, by its nature, not guaranteed. What I do find odd is that my 'financial benefits' are decided by a group I've deliberately decided not to join - and would not join, even if it were free. Maybe there is no better way, but I would have thought that Unite decisions should only affect Unite members.
I also don't like nose studs. That's not apropos of anything, really.
You'll have noticed that I - eventually - went to see Sherlock Holmes last night, and I have to say that I was impressed: indeed, Robert Downey Jr. would take the award for Best Actor in the 'Coddies' had I seen the film when it was released last year. While the trailer makes it look like the kind of Guy Ritchie nonsense I would normally avoid, the truth is that this is not so far from typical Holmes as it first appears (I must confess that I've never read a full Sherlock Holmes story, but we all know the typical approach). The biggest difference is probably Dr Watson, who is played by Jude Law as a friend who gives as good as he gets, rather than the peculiarly subservient character normally represented - he is affectionately irritated, rather than awestruck. This is probably the first Jude Law film in which he has not annoyed me, and it would have been good to see even more of his dynamic with Holmes (which plays a little like House & Wilson's in House; unsurprisingly, since the series was inspired by Sherlock Holmes). While I am as big a fan of Rachel McAdams as any, the attempt to make it a triumverate rather than an odd couple was probably misguided (it is McAdams, not Law, who joins Downey Jr. at the film's climax, and judging by the trailer she originally had even more to do). She plays Irene Adler admirably, and I look forward to her role in the inevitable sequel, but, as I say, the Holmes/Watson dynamic is what makes the film really tick.
So, Guy Ritchie has actually made a good film - helped, no doubt, by the fact that only Mark Strong seemed to remember that he was in a Guy Ritchie film - and Jude Law is watchable. Wonders will never cease...

February 14th 2010
"Love is like a shadow on me all of the time"
- Bonnie Tyler (Total Eclipse of the Heart)

February 17th 2010
Something I forgot to mention a few entries ago is that I've removed the comment box - that's not connected with my previous complaints that it was underused; rather, it's because Freewebs starting asking you to sign in if you wanted to use it. If you do feel an unquenchable desire to comment on my diary entries, you can still contact me by email, or track me down to where I live in Bristol. Unless you're crazzy [sic], in which case I don't live anywhere near Bristol. Try Oxford.
Anyways, that wasn't what I really wanted to tell you about today. I wanted to bring to your attention something I've been putting together for a few weeks now, which is a collection of screenshots from (almost) every film I own on DVD - there are a few that haven't made it yet, either because I haven't yet watched the film or because I've lent it to someone. It's therefore a work in progress. Without further ado, the screenshots are collected together here - it's a Facebook link, but you don't need to be a Facebooker to see 'em.
I've tried to take shots that sum up the film, or come from a specific moment of the film I liked, or look impressive... etc etc. For some films I didn't have to think twice (Big, Platoon, Titanic), some presented more of a difficulty, either because there were lots of possibilities or because there were few. Anyway, I hope you enjoy them for what they are, as well as being an insight in my cinematic tastes. Who knows, you may even be inspired yourself - take it from me, it makes a groovy screensaver.

February 20th 2010
You may remember, some aeons ago - around the time Ant last updated his blog, say - that I mentioned my Twitter habits. While hardly a devotee of the site (I have made only one 'tweet'), I was intrigued by the possibility of reading the innermost thoughts of folk of the telly. Of course, there is a sizeable gap between 'innermost thoughts' and 'stuff people are happy to write on a website that is viewable by millions', but it is still a more off-duty side to celebrity than you generally see.
Unfortunately, there is a down side that I had not foreseen - rather than displaying a vibrant world of celebrities at their leisure, Twitter has mostly lowered these telly folk in my estimation. It's not all Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde exchanging quips about Sam Goldwyn, I'm afraid - these are some of the Twitterers at whom I will never look in quite the same way:
Robert Llwellyn - never stops plugging his website with its 'carpool' videos
Alan Davies - bad-naturedly 'retweets' every asinine comment that is sent his way
Stephen Fry - thinks the word 'bum' is unfailingly amusing
Dave Gorman - rather humourless in all his responses
Caitlin Moran - rather ruder and less funny than in her Times column
Jim Carrey - a peculiarly eager adherent to the discredited claims of Dr. Wakefield concerning MMR
Well, I think I've been unpleasant enough for one post. In the unlikely event that any of these illuminati stumble onto this website, I hope they will forgive me, and I shall not mention Matthew Perry's unfortunate appreciation for Family Guy. Indeed, I will move on to a happier note by telling you the Twitterisers who have risen in my thoughts:
Elizabeth Banks - she is exquisitely nice, self-deprecating and endearing
Peter Serafinowicz - really funny guy who understands Twitter through and through
Simon Pegg - he's a geek. In a good way
Jonathan Ross - has time for everyone, and comes across very pleasantly
And, y'know, that's about it. I'm sure there must be a character from Greek myth who has experienced much the same thing as I but in a rather more wide-reaching manner, with more beautiful women and a few half-human creatures. Sadly, since I can't recall Theseus, Icarus or even Heracles being disabused about the personalities of the rich and famous, so I'll leave it to your greater wisdom.

February 24th 2010
My general excuse for knowing about celebrity gossip is either (i) it was in the Times, or (ii) Simon told me. I'm not saying that these things aren't true - it's almost invariably one or the other - but excuses they are all the same, and so I must apologise for talking to you about Ashley & Cheryl Cole. Or 'Ashyl', as they're no doubt known (Simon - check that for me, would you?).
There doesn't seem any real point in giving you my predictable views on marital infidelity - or, indeed, my views on regarding a pay offer of 55,000 a week as being so derisory that you almost drive your car off the road - so I won't. Instead, I will draw your attention to a Times article today suggesting that Cheryl has outstripped Ashley in career terms, resulting in a change of power balance in their relationship. An article which is, let me say, ridiculous.
I know that we're all Team Tweedy on this one (well, actually, I remain Team Wahlberg. I think Mark Wahlberg has escaped this one with reputation intact), but the fact is that Ashley is one of the first names on the England and Chelsea team sheets, and is probably the best left back in the world. Cheryl is, essentially, the new Sharon Osborne. The only way you could think that her career is outstripping his is if you read Hello/OK to the exclusion of all else.
In other news, Simon came over last weekend and a good time was had by all - we went to the zoo, I locked us out, we had pasta bake. Good times. He was rather grumpy with me for letting slip who killed Archie on Eastenders - it was Stacey Slater, in case you were wondering. No, I don't really know who that is, either - but was mollified, I think, by me laughing a lot and telling him Eastenders was risible. There hasn't been a good soap since Max left Neighbours.

what was I listening to?
20 Great Love Songs - The Hollies
what was I reading?
The Path of Daggers - Robert Jordan
what was I watching?
Sherlock Holmes
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