Monday, 15 January 2018

how to train your dragon 2

On Thursday 28th December Maisie and I watched on telly How To Train Your Dragon 2. We had seen the first one a few years ago, and enjoyed it - it was well done, and had some interesting ideas. Like a lot of sequels, this was equally well done technically, but was a lot less interesting.

singing the right words

You'd think it would be a fundamental, but it's striking how often church worship leaders aren't singing the words the congregation have.

'Child born in barn saves world'

Hypothesis: 'Child born in barn saves world' is such a powerful and repeated plotline because it has an eternal rightness that speaks to us.

the 'to be read' pile

I don't get the 'to be read pile' concept. The hundreds of unread books in my house are the books to be read that I own. More in library.

blue monday

Date your friends and colleagues by saying Blue Monday and seeing whether they think of Fats Domino, New Order or pseudo-science.

iain macdonalds on twitter

In December I did a more thorough rounding up of Iain/Ian MacDonald/McDonalds for my Twitter list, (by following all the ones in the list already, so I could see which ones I'd found already when I did a new set of searches) and ended up with 257 (after which I unfollowed almost all of them again). My main finding was that most of my (almost-)namesakes on Twitter either tweet about sport or don't tweet at all.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

some thoughts arising out of some conversations last year

Here are some notes to myself of some thoughts of mine, arising out of some interesting - and for me unusual - conversations I had last year.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

comfort zone

People encouraging/telling others to step out of their comfort zone are often just confident extroverts insisting other people should be more like them. What does it mean for a confident extrovert to step out of their comfort zone, I wonder?

Saturday, 6 January 2018

pitch perfect 3; a royal night out

Today was another two-film day. In the morning we all went to the Vue Piccadilly to watch - with the cinema to ourselves, in the 10am showing - Pitch Perfect 3, which was a lot better than I'd expected. And in the evening we watched A Royal Night Out, which we'd recorded over Christmas, and was enjoyable if you didn't approach it expecting a realistic depiction of the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret's actual activities on their night out on VE Day. We all enjoyed both of them.

Friday, 5 January 2018


On New Year's Day, in the evening, after watching Menashe earlier in the day, by way of contrast, we all watched Bill, the Horrible Histories movie about Shakespeare, and enjoyed it a lot. It was made with group of actors from the Horrible Histories series, similar in style and humour, and it worked very well. Not unlike a Monty Python for kids. Those original Horrible Histories series - along with Sorry, I've Got No Head - were among the best comedy series in recent years on any channel, not just for kids.


On New Year's Day - Monday - we went to a midday showing of Menashe. We all enjoyed it.

Over the holidays, top of Maisie's list of films to see were Pitch Perfect 3 and Jumanji; they were both on in the cinema near where we were staying, but we didn't get to either. While we were away, however, Maisie bought Empire film magazine for the first time, and the film that caught her in there was Menashe, a subtitled Yiddish-language film set in New York's Hasidic community - I couldn't have been more proud. One of the two places still showing it was the Curzon Bloomsbury (formerly the Renoir) - in its smallest screen, but it was full, we got the last set of three seats together. It wasn't cheap, but we went. We shall see if Maisie carries on with Empire, and with picking out interesting films.

It was a presumably low-budget independent film, but it was well made and interesting - an interesting, fair and one gets the impression true-to-life insight into the strict religious community.

new year project ps

A PS to the new year's project post, tweeted on the 5th:

I'm also trying to combine this with interacting more with nice people and avoiding getting sucked into devoting lots of time/thought/emotion to each day's Twitter trends. (Trying to do less and more at the same time, sounds like...)

- I've also kept up the blogpost a day so far, unannounced; this mostly achieved by blogging things I've tweeted, it has to be said.


At work this week someone told me I used to be like a ghost he would get regular emails from but never see. Since I stopped editing the magazine I hardly email anyone regularly any more; my journey to full workplace ghosthood progresses. #ghostinthemachine #madwomanintheattic #finebyme

Thursday, 4 January 2018

christmas tree

There was a metaphor standing in the corner of the room where we were having an off-site team day today, in the form of a Christmas tree.

Perhaps it was a metaphor for the collection of people in the room - some feeling green and flourishing, some feeling bare and dead, all part of the whole.

Or perhaps it was a metaphor for how an individual or individuals in the room was/were feeling - although it gave the appearance of continued life, it is already dead, cut off from the root. There are already some needles on the ground; one brush of the hand on any of those green branches could set more green tumbling; one rough shake of the tree and they could all be gone.

I'm sure everyone there could have derived a different meaning from that tree-shaped metaphor, many of them more cheerful than either of those.

the thing that was playing in the shop

I made a rare 'thing that was playing in the shop' purchase today - Ole by John Coltrane. The fact that it was in Fopp and at Fopp prices helped, of course.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

two political thoughts

I've never voted for an MP on the basis of which party leader I think would make the best prime minister. Do people really do that? I think of the parties' policies/position/worldview, with elements of individual candidate and tactical considerations.

I heard a young left-wing 'journalist' (it seems odd to call someone whose expressed views are so partisan a journalist rather than a columnist or commentator, say) confidently asserting that the Tory party fears its impending end because each year lots of old - Tory - voters die and a new batch of young - Labour - voters comes on stream. A view successive generations of idiots have held for decades in the face of the facts.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018


Struggling is better than giving up and drowning, but it doesn't always feel like it.

how are you?

It's thought bad that people don't answer 'How are you?' honestly, but imagine what today, this week, this month would be like if everyone's New Year's Resolution had been to answer 'How are you?' questions honestly. Do you really think that would be better, rather than much, much worse?

the passing of the third floor back

On Saturday 16th December the three of us went to the evening performance of The Passing Of The Third Floor Back, by Jerome K Jerome, at The Finborough Theatre. It was quite good.

dear brutus

On Saturday 9th December in the evening we all went to see Dear Brutus by JM Barrie at the Southwark Playhouse, in the smaller theatre. We all enjoyed it.