December 1st 2005
As Advent begins, so does a new dawn for Rob's hair. That's because, having conceded defeat, he came round to have his hair dyed... in the excitement of the occasion, we managed to spill brown hair dye on the carpet, which ain't coming out any time soon. But it was probably worth it, especially to hear Rob's agonised screams; "What have I done! That's not me!" etc. The big picture below shows the eight stages of Rob's transition... it's not yet known what Sarah's reaction was, but Rob hasn't been seen since he showed her. And the local shovel store has recorded a slight increase in sales.
December 3rd 2005
I have to confess myself disappointed with Rob, who almost immediately tried to dye his hair back again, meaning that it now looks almost exactly the same as previously, just slightly more gingery. Since the pictures of Rob were so nice, I thought I'd follow up with this picture of myself and Simon. And myself and Simon.
A few thoughts on The Chronicles of Narnia, the first installment of which is in cinemas soon. As people probably know, the series are packed with Christian allegory (Aslan=Jesus, for a start) and it seems that the film-makers are trying to stay true to this in the film(s). On the one hand, this is fantastic news - if people come to know Jesus through the film, then three cheers. But I don't think that's why they're putting in the Christian message, and publicising it to Christian groups, and producing a Christian soundtrack album (as well as a 'secular' one). No, I can't help but feel that I'm being exploited as part of the 'Christian market', and that horrifies me. The question I have to ask is what the film-makers' purpose was... clearly, C.S. Lewis' intent was to let people (particularly children) hear about Jesus, and God, without ramming it down their throats, and allowing them also to be entertained (in comparison with Tolkein, for example, who despised allegory and wrote only for entertainment). Mel Gibson, in the Passion (which I've written about at least twice), made the film for all the right reasons (and risked financial and professional ruin in doing so). But can that be said in this case? I'd say probably not. Having said all that, the BBC version made little or no attempt to put across the Christian undertones of the books, but made a great series anyhow, where the allegory could be seen by those who look for it (which is probably closest to Lewis' wishes). Narnia has been described as a great evangelistic opportunity, and if so, that's great. But perhaps we should be looking at everything we do as an 'evangelistic opportunity.'
December 5th 2005
Oh, Dionne. If only it was that easy.
The other day, as I headed into the maths department, I noticed there was a poster advertising some event or other - and it was stuck to the automatic doors. Which meant that, as soon as you approached to read it, the doors opened, and it was whisked away from you before you could get anything more than a glimpse. If you really cared what it said, you could step back, and move left, since there is a window there, and read it through the window... except that, when you've moved, the automatic doors close, meaning that yet again the poster is gone. Having thought for a while how stupid this was, another thought came to me... how did they ever manage to stick the poster up...?
December 6th 2005
Did I ever tell you about my radio-listening habits? For several years I've been a talkSPORT listener, and I still love Hawksbee & Jacobs, although since they split up Alan Brazil & Mike Parry, breakfast radio hasn't been the same. But then, a few weeks ago, I decided to make the switch to Radio 2. Which was all well and good (being woken up by Terry Wogan was slightly odd) until I realised that, FM being what it is, I couldn't get decent reception whilst sitting at my desk. Which pretty much ruled that out. Then, after listening to the John Lennon interview on Radio 4, I tried to move the dial back to talkSPORT, but overshot and came across Capital Gold, on 1152MW. Which has the greatest hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s - in short, the three best decades for music by a country mile, and I haven't been disappointed by the quality of the songs, although I do own quite a lot of them, which rather defeats the point of radio. The station broadcasts from several locations, Birmingham being the one I pick up here, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it in Somerset, since we're not near anything. Actually, I used to listen to 1152 a fair bit in Worcs, since they used to broadcast Wolves matches occasionally... weird, huh? In other news, the Dude List has been updated again, with Angus Deayton and Stephen Lovatt making the cut. Peter Sallis is a close contender... but hasn't made it yet.
Have you ever suffered from a malignant falsehood, that circulates around your name? Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
is the immediate jewel of their souls, and mine has been stolen by an undying lie, propagated mainly by David and Ant, but contributed to by most of my housemates. And Christine, probably. The falsehood is that I have only boiled potatoes once. I don't know why they say it, (pretty much every time I boil potatoes, it crops up) and why they maintain it despite its evident lack of truth, but it hit home to me when Brian Lake (Dave's dad) made a reference to it the other day. It's one thing to lie about me to my friends, but to your parents? Holy moley. I'm not saying that boiling potatoes is a culinary feat - far from it - but I have boiled potatoes dozens of times. More times than anyone else in this house, I'll wager.
December 8th 2005
9th October 1940 - 8th December 1980
December 9th 2005
I don't know whose idea it was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death, but he was pretty much ubiquitous yesterday, and that's no bad thing, in my book, so I joined in. John has always been my least favourite Beatles, perhaps because Paul is my favourite, perhaps because of Yoko... who knows. But I've been gradually growing to like him more and more (I always respected him as one of the greatest musicians who ever lived, anyhow) and so I could mourn his death without hypocrisy, and find myself liking him. OK, he said and did some crazy stuff, and was hardly a role model, but there's no need to focus on the few years where he and McCartney were at each other's throats: as Lennon said in an interview I heard last night, the two of them had forgiven and forgotten before the end of the 70s, and were close again. Probably not as close as once they'd been, but still... who knows, if Mark Chapman hadn't done what he did, there may even have been a reunion somewhere down the line. I actually find myself not disliking Yoko. Which is nice. In other news, it is the second anniversary of my diary tomorrow, which is something of a milestone. And my Dad's birthday, which is something of a milestone too, if you think hard. By the way, if you're tired of clicking on the link on my homepage, or if you open this page in a separate window and the Geocities ad does silly things, try StephScully.co.uk/diary.html.
December 10th 2005
So, today is this page's second birthday and my father's 52nd (whisper it) birthday, so happy birthday to both. I can think of no better [easier] way to mark the occasion than to do as I usually do, and say a little something about a film I've seen recently. This time it's The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (henceforth LWW), which I watched last night in the company of my parents, and more kids than you could shake a stick at. I'm actually in the middle of re-reading the Narnia series, partially because of the film, but more because I wanted to re-read the things - re-read may be a misnomer in some cases, since I don't think I ever made it all the way through the Horse and His Boy before, and I'm also not sure that I personally read the books, or whether they were only read to me - and started The Silver Chair today (a superlative tale). Naturally I came to the film with the BBC adaptation in my mind, since I'd grown up on it, and - partially because it stayed extremely loyal to the text of the book - it has largely informed my mentally definitive Narnia. The film was never going to stay as close to the book as the Beeb did, but I'm no longer as bothered by additions and deletions as I used to be - perhaps I've given up - so I wasn't unduly perturbed. Everything that had to be kept the same, was (unlike in LotR, with its ludicrous Frodo-hanging-off-the-edge scene, which still infuriates me, and comes close to ruining a fantastic film). For some sections, the film seemed to be a little painting-by-numbers, but, on the whole, critics' suggestions that there was no life in the film were, I feel, erroneous (how many commas were there in that sentence? My word). I enjoyed the beavers greatly; they were responsible for many of the comic incidents in the film, although two of my favourites were from Susan; "We're nor heroes. We're from Finchley." and Lucy; "[to Susan, on seeing Santa] I told you he was real." Speaking of which, it was these two girls who occupied my mind for much of the film. Lucy, I'm sad to say, annoyed me: I felt she was too young, and too sickly-sweet, with phrases like 'pwetty please' (yes, with the lisp) and wide-eyed marvel filling her screen time. But once she was given acting to do, rather than a little-girl-act to do, she showed herself perfectly capable, which is unusual in children that age (indeed, there were only a few cringe-worthy acting moments: certainly far fewer than you get in the early Harry Potter films. Then again, you never come close to any in Malcolm in the Middle, so...) Concerning the other sister, I spent much of the film trying to work out if Susan was old enough for me to legimately find her attractive. I fear not. Actually, I spent much of the film constructing that previous sentence in my mind, and it still came out as a complete shambles (and I think I split an infinitive somewhere along the way)... Peter and Edmund were good enough, although with the latter, I couldn't help thinking the BBC guy did a better job, excelling at both treacherous and noble. Of the rest of the cast, the White Witch was nowhere near as terrifying as the BBC incarnation (might have something to do with the increase in my age...) but did a more convincing job of pretending to be kindly towards Edmund... the professor was Jim Broadbent, whose fan club I will not be joining, but other than a comically fake beard, he did all right. I fear that this film is very much like Bob Dylan's 1980s period... very good, although not quite meeting expectations, not matching up to stuff made earlier and on a lower budget, and savaged by the critics more because of its publicised Christian content than its lack of artistic value. Speaking of which, the Christian allegory was not over-emphasised, as I had believed it would be, and I think that was actually a good thing: Aslan can never equate with Jesus, they simply do not compare, and making a total comparison would be almost blasphemous. I think they approached it much as CS Lewis would have appreciated... one line not in the book was Aslan's "It is finished" to Peter (or was it Edmund?) at which I shed a little tear. Possibly the most beautiful phrase I have ever heard. To conclude, if I may; this film is definitive Narnia for a new generation, and I wish them luck of it. It certainly has many excellent points, but for emotional depth you have to turn to the BBC, or indeed the book itself... although perhaps (and I apologise for the sentiment) a generation brought up on Harry Potter may be disappointed by the works of CS Lewis. In other cinematic news, a question: what is it about music accompanying film that creates such an emotional pull? I bought the Truman Show soundtrack a few years ago, and was disappointed when the music alone was altogether less impressive than when I heard it in the film (I later sold the album); the trailer to Magnolia was perhaps the best I've ever seen, but the film itself was poor beyond description. In fact, the phenomonen is particularly true in trailers: there's something about showing short clips in quick succession, although I can't put my finger on what it is... yesterday, it was the Lassie trailer that impressed me enough to make me contemplate downloading its accompanying music ('She', I think. Not the Elvis Costello song, but that other one... [Edit: actually, 'Glorious' by Andreas Johnson]) - I mean, Lassie! Not only is the film more suited to Friday afternoon on Channel 5, they also appear to have completely changed the storyline to an Incredible Journey knock-off, but with fewer animals (The Incredible Journey being a book by Sheila Burnford, about three animals travelling a vast distance to get home, the inspiration for the superlative Homeward Bound). I'm sure Lassie used to play a Skippy-ish role, saving kids who played too near traffic or fell down old mineshafts... or both. To switch to an alternative medium, I'll update you on the artists who currently have the honour of two or more albums in my CD collection: The Beatles (23), Bob Dylan (20), Oasis (3), Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Ringo Starr, U2 and Queen (all 2). In terms of actual CDs (ie double album = 2 CDs, etc), that's 30 from The Beatles, 21 from Dylan, 3 from Macca, U2 and Oasis, and two from the rest, who would be joined by George Harrison, Michael Jackson, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones.
December 12th 2005
Have you ever had a dream that makes you think to yourself, when remembered, "what kind of a pig-dog am I?"? No? Well, the other morning, I was leisurely waking up, when suddenly I remembered, and my eyes shot wide open, comic-book style (and, of course, very temporarily... I was asleep again not long afterwards, I expect). The odd thing is, in the dream I was the good guy, and I would be proud of my actions should the situation arise... but what a situation! I really don't want to say what it was. Probably that has created, in your mind, a far worse scenario than actually occurred, but I can't help that. I'll just give you a cast list, in order of appearance:
Colin Thomas - himself
Christine White - herself
David Lake - himself
Anthony Clohesy - himself
Iain Foreman - himself
Sammy Davies - himself in shades
December 13th 2005
Y'know how every year, there are lots of Christmas CDs on the market, and they always have pretty much the same tracks on them? Well, you know wrong, then. Because I've been trying to find a Christmas compilation CD that has the basic, well-known tracks on it, but I simply cannot find one, after trawling through hundreds on amazon. All I'm looking for is a CD that has all of the Big 7 I'm looking for: the respective songs from Slade, Wizzard, Pogues (feat Kirsty MacColl), Wham!, Shakin' Stevens, Paul McCartney and Mud (I already have Plastic Ono Band and Band Aid's offerings). All bar Wizzard's and Macca's are downloadable... what's a guy to do?
December 15th 2005
In the past year and a bit, I've grown a fair bit as a Christian. In that time, I've had my own views and ideas challenged, and I've seen the similarities and differences between my own understanding and that of my fellow students. I've just about got used to the different style of music (not an important theological point - or, indeed, a theological point at all. I just like my hymns) and student-Christianity lingo... there are a lot of words that I know the meaning of, but am just getting to grips with the Christian-speak meaning of, and similarly I have friends who know the Christian-speak meaning, but not the actual meaning. Words like testimony, atonement, gospel and so forth... to the credit of the general Christian community, there are attempts to break through the jargon. Anyhow, I have been deeply encouraged and delighted by the widespread and variant Christian community at Warwick, but in the last year I have also met some disturbing beliefs and ideas. Chief among these (thus far) is the belief that many hold that the universe is only 4-10,000 years old. Let me make myself clear: there are many things that I know: I know that I am a man, I know that I live in England, etc... I know that God created all things, I know that He is supremely loving, I know that Jesus is the Son of God, I know that he died and rose back to life, and in doing so allowed humans to be forgiven for the things they do wrong. I also know that the story didn't end there: I know that God desires a personal relationship with us, that He still loves us and has a permanent and fundamental role to play in our lives. I know that Jesus will come again. These are, to me, not beliefs or a religion, these are facts. In the same way, I know that the universe is well over a million years old. This is not really open to question: it is the basis of modern science, it has been proven and is fundamental to about as many facets of science as there are. And yet, I was shocked to find, there are Christian whom I respect, admire and love - and who show themselves, merely by being at Warwick University, to be intelligent people - who believe that the world is much younger than this. And there is absolutely no Biblical basis for this belief - how could there be, when it isn't true? Now, you may be thinking that all this isn't that big a deal: so what, people get things wrong. And, up to a point, you'd be right, since scientific innaccuracy will not stop anyone from loving God, from being loved by God, and being brought to heaven. But Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Anyhow, how many educated people may have been put off Christianity by well-meaning falsehoods perpetrated by loving people? It may be harmless enough to the Christian, but it could be deeply damaging to the non-Christian who hears it. So, in quasi-conclusion, Christianity is not just about Christmas. It is not just about Jesus' death and resurrection (although that it, as I have increasingly learnt in the last couple of years, a fundamental focal point). 'Christianity' is knowing the truth about God (and therefore Jesus), and acting upon it, in faith and with love. Falsehood is no part of it.
December 16th 2005
Hey... it's nearly Christmas! Today Simon and I made table-setting things with logs and foliage and carpenting things (because of Joseph), so I got in touch with my creative side, as it were. I maintain that pure maths should be an arts subject.
December 17th 2005
Today, I am starting Jane Eyre, having finished the Narnia series (The Last Battle is great... although I can't help but feel extremely sorry for Puzzle. It is far more obviously Christian than even LWW, which may have been one of the reasons the BBC didn't make it). When I told my mother this, she made some comment about me getting into culture, which reminded me of an argument I had put forward years ago, and which I still very much believe: there' no such thing as culture. It is an undeniably snobbish concept, based on the belied that something enjoyed by certain people for a certain period of time is intrinsically better than something else that isn't. Shakespeare's comedies are feeble, and yet they are regarded as 'culture', whereas The Simpsons, brilliantly funny and exceptionally clever (and quite possibly the best TV programme ever), is not. There is no logical reason for this. So, there is nothing to separate Jane Eyre and Captain Corelli's Mandolin: they are both works of fiction; no more, no less. I know already that the latter is a superb book; I do not yet know how good the former is... 'culture' will not blind me. Similarly, in music, classical music is regarded as a subsection of 'culture' (unless it's something like the Jaws theme... inexplicably) whereas rock/pop of any kind is not. Comparing Beethoven to the Beatles is seen as faintly ludicrous, despite the fact that, as masters of alternative forms of music (and genii), they are eminently comparable. It is time to take down this ancient prejudice, and judge things for what they are, rather than what others have said they are.
December 19th 2005
A while ago, B/ground Andy introduced me to someone with the words 'He looks really normal' (before going on to say some highly complimentary and exaggerated things about my comedic abilities). Now, I've been called worse: an 'ugly sod' (by myself, on this page), a 'pretty boy' (by a guy from school, just before he broke my nose)... 'Simon', by thousands (including both my parents last Saturday). Anyhow, I got my hair cut and had a shave the other day, and I don't think I've ever looked as nondescript as I do now. Other than a nose that is slightly larger than the norm, I would struggle to pick myself out of a police line-up... I'm even average height, build, hair colour, etc. I am the very essence of normality, it would appear. Perhaps it's only in comparison with B/ground Andy, a man so unique he has about 16,523 nicknames, including Tall Andy, Big Andy, Curly Andy, Andy(&Prejudice), Prich, B/ground Andy (of course)... whereas all I can boast is 'Col' and, for a brief period in year 12, 'Twinny'. In case you were wondering, the same people that called me Twinny (and there were about half a dozen of them, thesps all) afforded Simon the nickname 'Twinny's Twin'.
December 20th 2005
The following tale is fictional, and any resemblance to characters, places or events is entirely coincidental.
It's a normal day at number 67. Anthony and Richard are playing Tekken. Colin is sitting.
Anthony: [madly hits buttons, seemingly at random]
Richard: [realises he hasn't pressed any button for two minutes, but is still winning]
Colin: I wonder what's on BBC1? [switches on Neighbours five minutes early]
Anthony: [continues hitting buttons for another two minutes, not realising he's no longer playing]
David: [appears as if from nowhere] Oh no, not Neighbours!
Colin: Ah, shuddup.
Richard: Did you know I can juggle pineapples?
Colin: Well, you know what they say.
Anthony: Juggling is as juggling does.
David: Y'know, I haven't seen Iain for a couple of weeks... any idea where-
Colin: Shhh! Neighbours is starting.
[thirty or so seconds of silence, while Neighbours is watched]
Richard: What day is it today?
Richard: That's two days after Tuesday!
David: Have you been to any lectures this week?
Richard: No. But neither's Tom.
Colin: If you could all be quiet, I can watch Neighbours.
Christine: [appears as if from nowhere] You're nasty!
[about ten seconds of high quality Neighbours-watching]
Anthony: That guy's called Max, right?
Colin: No, that's Karl.
Richard: Karl's a dude.
Colin: Got that right.
[three or so uninterrupted seconds]
Anthony: Who's that woman with him?
Colin: That's Lyn.
Anthony: Ah yeah. She's the one who was married to him.
Iain: [suddenly falls down the stairs into a heap, gasping]
[Richard and Anthony look up. Colin turns up volume on TV. David gets Iain a drink and four-course meal]
Christine: Are you all right, Iain?
Iain: Yeah... went upstairs... got lost.
Colin: You got lost in your own house? Who are you, the Queen?
Iain: All right, no need to 'stair'!
[long silence, broken only by the sound of Izzy crying on TV]
Iain: Come on, that was pretty good.
[longer silence, broken only by the sound of Paul manically laughing]
Christine: Thursday always sounds like it's the weekend, doesn't it?
Colin: No! What are you talking about? It doesn't even sound vaguely like the weekend! It barely sounds like a day at all!
Christine: You're nasty.
Colin: Come on, it's clearly a weekday.
Colin: Therefore... you have no argument.
Anthony: Ah, shuddup.
Christine: Thursday does sound like the weekend, doesn't it David?
David: Er... well... er... I've got to go check on the toast [hastily runs to kitchen, where no toast is being made]
Colin: Iain, what do you reckon?
Iain: [runs from room, clearly terrified by Christine]
Richard: I'm off to 'play some pool', if you know what I mean. [leaves]
Christine: You people are weird. [joins David in the kitchen]
Colin: Two of us. Hey, that's a Beatles song!
Anthony: [grins pityingly, gets up, and leaves]
Colin: [watches Neighbours happily. Doesn't realise Anthony has left]
Here we leave the scene.
Anthony currently lives and works in Leicestershire, in the only building in the county that has a roof.
David currently lives and works in Merseyside. In a garage.
Christine currently lives and works somewhere near David's house.
Richard currently lives and works in a shop in Coventry.
Iain currently lives and works in Bournemouth (in a Santa's grotto, sources allege...)
Colin currently lives in Somerset. He doesn't work, because there are no jobs in Somerset that don't involve counting hedges.
December 23rd 2005
Simon's been complaining about my recent entries, again. Not the most recent one (which has had an extremely mixed reception thus far...) but the one about culture. And he'll probably disagree with this, but since he's ill, we can't hold him responsible for his actions. To me, more annoying even than the false concept of culture, is the ludicrous concept of fashion, in which idiots believe that something looks ridiculous one moment and superb the next (or, more frequently perhaps, vice versa). Obviously wearing a scarf in summer and Bermuda shorts in Winter is stupid, but that's merely an issue of practicality. As far as aesthetics go, if something looks good, it always looks good. If something looks bad, it always looks bad. The people who mock shoulder pads and big hair are exactly the same people who happily wore them in the 80s - indeed, regarding those who didn't as foolish. It's not like they've had some kind of renaissance or spiritual awakening; what is 'fashionable' now will be mocked in a year or two's time... why, why, why? Well, of course, we know why: it's so that clothing manufacturers and sellers can make more money by exploiting anyone idiotic enough to attempt to be 'fashionable'. A few years ago, people wore golf clothing (y'know, Pringle jumpers, etc) because it was 'fashionable' - good grief, if you look like a golfer, you look like a golfer. Colin Montgomery looks like a golfer. Ergo, you do not look cool. Three-quarter-lengths were defended by their wearers as being fashionable, but still looked absolutely ridiculous, and would do so whenever you wore them, regardless of what is 'fashionable'. Now, I'm not holding myself up as an icon of sartorial elegance, but if the clothes I have are 'unfashionable', I couldn't care less; if they look rubbish, that's slightly more of an issue. I've had the same fleece for seven years, and the same Wolves trousers for a bit longer, and as far as I'm aware, they've never been fashionable. But if by some strange twist of fate [note: figure of speech. The concept of fate is as ludicrous as the concept of fashion] my green fleece became the height of sophistication and the must-wear on the catwalk, I wouldn't look any better (or worse) in it than I have done for the last seven years. Clearly. In other news, I sent out a Christmas email today, to fellow Warwickians... how 21st Century am I?
December 25th 2005
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
December 27th 2005
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Today I bought a £46.20 rail ticket, to get to Ant's birthday party. But enough of such financial matters; let's talk about blogs, baby. I still don't know what kind of numbers I get reading this, although I do know that my readership includes sundry aunts and uncles, my nuclear family, Ant, Rich, Rob, Powly and Jay (some more frequently than others) as well as a few others from Worcestershire who probably check once a month or so. Perhaps. I, myself, enjoy reading people's blogs, thus keep track of several that my friends have put online, often take a look at what's going on over at Warwick Uni blogs, and occasionally make the trip deep into cyberspace to look at strangers' blogs. But let us turn our minds to the all-important matter of updating.
Ant Last updated: December 25th
Rob Last updated: December 23rd
Christine Last updated: November 29th
Glassball Last updated: November 26th
Jay Last updated: November sometime
Ben Last updated: November 10th
Simon Last updated: October 24th
Rich Last updated: September 11th
December 28th 2005
Today, I went to see King Kong with Dad (and without Mum or Simon, who wouldn't have liked it... big scary insects). It was an extremely impressive film, and I don't just mean because of the special effects, although those were stunning in some scenes, notably the Kong/dinosaurs fight, and the havoc in the auditorium. They were also none too impressive in a few, simpler shots, but only momentarily. There are many foolish people who, for some reason, believe that CGI is bad. These are the same people who believe that King Kong will only be enjoyed because of its effects (ludicrous) and, when you point out that not much happened in a film, will say 'Oh, I'm sorry there were no car chases or guns!' as if those are the only things that can happen in films. There were certainly flaws in KK - for example, the running speed of man was grossly exaggerated in a series of chases with dinosaurs, Kong etc, and when a stampede of diplodoci (I think) come past, most of the cast spend some period of time running in between the feet of the dinosaurs, with seemingly little fear of being squashed. And, of course, no named characters are squashed. Iconic pictures of Kong in the past have all revolved round New York - particularly the Empire State Building - but this film spent most of the time at his natural home, Skull Island. Ah, the island... of course, the island is King Kong himself: at first, dark, intimidating and savage, but go further in and there is beauty. You need to examine - but not particularly closely - to find man there. Full of dangerous surprises. That's the island, that's Kong. Then the obvious juxtaposition when we're taken to New York: whereas Skull Island seems horrific, but on closer examination, is lush and filled with waterfalls and green, green grass (and on yet closer examination, contains giant creepy-crawlies), so New York seems pleasant and civilised, but on closer examination is filled with hypocrites, fools and primitive destruction (and on yet closer examination, there are a few wise and noble men). Well, that's my crack at film analysis at the deep end... let's go nearer the paddling side. Anne herself was beautiful - good choice, Kong - a bit like Renee Zellweger, but with wider eyes. Jack Black acquitted himself well, and nowt wrong with Adrien Brody either... Andy Serkis had a larger 'real' part than he had in LotR, as a cook who ends up head-first in a slug, as well as doing for Kong what he did for Gollum previously, and every bit as brilliantly. I was looking forward particularly to seeing Kong in the streets of Noo Yoik, and I wasn't disappointed: as impressive as he was on Skull Island, it simply doesn't compare with him chucking yellow cabs around in search of Anne, or climbing the Empire State Building, swiping at helicopters. Superb. One query I have, though: why were Jack Black et al so keen to capture Kong, but not the many dinosaurs that lived on Skull Island? Surely they'd be every bit as exciting as a big ape, and the smaller ones a lot easier to capture... just a pondering. But these are small matters; the film is superb. Congrats, Peter Jackson. Dunno how you swung a 12A though.