Archives for category: 1970’s

Once more into the breach dear friends, once more. Thankyou Mr Shakespeare for coming up with the perfect phrase to describe how I feel about my imminent bout of Christmas shopping.
It’s that time of year and I suppose this weekend more than most is likely to be THE weekend of madness in shopping centres up and down the land. We’ve selected Cabot Circus in Bristol, as our retail outlet of choice this year, generally because it provides such an enjoyable experience. It’s easy to get to, usually with plentiful parking and is mostly undercover from the elements while leaving you with the feeling of being outside thanks to hit huge open spaces and interesting glass roof structures. There’s also two stores in particular that make it a worthwhile trip.
The downside however, will no doubt be the fact that the world and his wife will be out doing the same thing. Not only that, but they’ll have brought the kids, grandparents and family pets along with them too. I can’t wait… to get back home, and we haven’t even left yet.
Last night was a far more enjoyable experience. Mrs G had her Christmas dinner with work to attend. It was held in a quite posh hotel ‘up the hill’ in one of the villages. A pleasant spot. Son has his ‘Xmas Works Outing’ coming soon and of course Daughter hosts hundreds of them at the pub she works in when she’s not specialing.
My Xmas Works Outing is a much wilder affair. I work from home and while to many this may seem a sad and lonely existence, I’ve enjoyed it very much for the past 15 years or so (on and off). I had a bout of living in London and the US for a few years, but I recovered eventually. What this all means though, is that I don’t really get a ‘Christmas do’. It would be nice to catch up with colleagues both old and new and quaff a few pints to wash down a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and in days gone by that would most definitely have been the case, but the past 5 years have seen a change in attitudes towards such goings on.
In fact all forms of frivolity in the work place seem to be frowned upon. You can’t enjoy work anymore. The Health & Safety brigade along with the Political Correctors seem to have sucked all the fun out of working life and the bean counters have topped it off by going all ‘Scrooge’ on the employee entertainment and morale front. If your lucky, you might get a cold turkey sandwich in the canteen during December and they’ll probably still be hanging around in January too.
I’m not suggesting we should go back to the 70’s, 80s & 90s when it was quite normal for colleagues to be sleeping the effects of the office party off, at the office or to caught up to no good in the stationary cupboard. But at least people had fun. Now everyones too scared to appear to let their guard down in front of their boss for fear of future repercussions. It’s very very sad.
Being on my own in the office means I don’t have any of those trappings to hinder me. I also can’t get caught up to no good in the stationary cupboard, which I suppose is just as well. I can get completely slozzled without fear of looking stupid in front of the boss and I can sleep it off at my desk should I so choose (it’s in what would have been bedroom number 4 if I hadn’t used it as an office anyway). To this end, last night was my Christmas do although the company neglected to pay for it which is a great shame.
The only other human that’s around when I’m in the office is daughter so she and I went to a pleasant little pub up the road for a slap up nosh fest. The place was packed with people having their Christmas do’s all doing their best not to look like idiots in front of their bosses and all eating the same unappetising Christmas dinner. Each had a paper hat and bad cracker jokes.
I on the other hand, had a reasonable steak and ale pie (daughter had a reasonable steak) and the pleasure of her company. Far more enjoyable than any of the uncomfortable looking herberts pretending to be having fun. If only Starfleet had been footing the bill, it would have been a Christmas do to remember. Instead it was an enjoyable evening with Daughter.
I haven’t lost all hope. I actually love Christmas. Not so much the shopping and presents for presents sake side of it. Not the over commercialisation of it. But next year with a new role it’s entirely possible there could be a sociable set of people who aren’t over the top with the PC crowd, but I wont count my chickens just yet….
And now I must imitate the action of the Tiger, stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit to his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint Nicholas’ – Merry bleeding Christmas.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

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I do hope you didn’t miss last night’s post regarding the Apple TV announcements from Mr Apple.  If you did, you can go back and read it here.

And to wrap up, a couple of movies to catch up with for you ….

Hot Tub Time Machine (Unrated) [Blu-ray]Hot Tub Time Machine….  WoW!!! With a title like that you just can’t not want to watch that film. Better yet, it’s set in the 80’s, which for obvious reasons is time that’s close to my heart. The preise of the story is that a group of 3 friends who took regular trips to a ski resort together in the 1980’s find themselves returning in 2010 due to one of their number almost accidentally committing suicide and being in need of cheering up.

This time, they have one of their nephews with them who’s too young to have ever been with them before, and makes up the foursome. There’s a great start for you.  The place has become very sad and forlorn and run down. In fact, it’s awful. But they persevere and even get a guy (in the form of 80’s comedy icon Chevy Chase) to come and fix their hotel suite’s hot tub….  chaos and frivolity ensues…

I particularly liked the realisation moment when they figured out that they’d actually gone back to the 1980’s by asking someone “What colour is Michael Jackson?”… response: “Black”… “response: “AGGGAAAHHHHH!!!”… Genius.   It’s a lot of fun, but not for the whole family.  Will definitely appeal more if you lived through the 80’s with some great 80’s soundtrack.  There’s a wonderful time travel reference when you figure out who the bell hop has been in a previous life, and it’s crude enough to appeal to the yob youth, which while I generally find a little off putting, was bearable. Sad that it seems to be a pre-requisite in US comedy caper type movies since “American Pie”

Overall, 7 out of 10. Good if you’re of that era.

CASE 39 ORIGINAL MOVIE POSTERNext up, Case 39. Horrible. Plodding and predictable horror movie. Started off well, and then just got very slow and boring and unimaginative. A Shame really, because Renee Zellweger usually does some interesting work, but this time I just wasn’t captivated.

You know how you can go and see a two and half hour epic movie and feel like you’ve only been in the cinema for an hour ?….  Well this has the inverse effect.  It’s an hour and forty minutes long, but feels like it’s about 3 hours. Hard work I’m afraid. I did manage to sit through the whole thing, because you have to if you want to be able to comment on it, but to be honest, it was a close call.

Overall, 3 out of 10 and that’s only because it had a strong start.

“Four Lions” next.  This had a great premise and was very well recieved by the critics.  It did dissapoint slightly, but still managed to get me chuckling on a couple of occasions. The idea is a small group of radical muslim’s have a “terrorist cell” in the suburbs of Halifax. Thankfully they are bumbling fools, so many bumbling terrorist jokes follow, some of which are quite entertaining.  Two of the group go of to a training camp in Pakistan only to last a couple of days before being sent home in disgrace.  Ultimatley they decide upon a UK based target – a Mosque…..  I told you they were bumbling fools….

Entertaining stuff, if a little slow in places. Was nice to see a cameo appearance from “Sherlock” (Benedict long-name with a “ct” in it.) towards the end. 5 out of 10.

Still to come: “The Eiger Sanction” – 1975 (I’ve been promising myself this one for weeks now), “From Paris with Love” – 2010 and “Perrier’s Bounty” – 2009

Might even get to see them on my iTV.

The day started very well with beautiful sunshine at 7am. While Mrs G dozed, I snuck out to make a cup of tea for her breakfast to open cards with.

Everyone loves Breakfast in Bed don’t they although full English was not to be today. I did rustle up some diced bacon in scrambled egg on toast when we finally got ourselves moving.

Lunch was at daughter’s pub with W&J and jolly excellent it was too. With sunshine like that and temperatures still unbearably high the air conditioning was essential and extremely well managed by James-A-Saurus…. This is an in joke apparently.

The pub in question is pretty much the last pub from both Cheltenham and Gloucester as you’re heading east out of the westcountry. It’s not actually the last one but it’s not far off. It nestles comfortably at the foot of a very green and treelined hill on a crossroads. One of the roads of the crossroads leads off towards Stroud in Gloucestershire.

The reason I mention it is because it provides a link to my second movie review of the weekend. “Cemetery Junction” was filmed in several locations but the most beautiful of these is without doubt the countryside surrounding Stroud, Gloucestershire. Obviously you need to have seen the film to know what I’m talking about, so for that reason alone it gets a “recommended”.

Set in the 1970’s it tells the story of three mates who live in the backwater village of Cemetery Junction (which I believe is supposed to be a suburb of Reading). One of them gets a job with an insurance firm and believes that this job is his future.

Originally it had the title of ‘The Man From the Pru’ but for reasons that become obvious during the story a name change was appropriate. It’s written and directed by Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant so you’d be forgiven for expecting a comedy (for that is what it is billed as) such as this to be fully loaded with the wit we’ve seen portrayed in ‘The Office’ and ‘Extras’.

Well, not a bit if it. Don’t get me’ wrong, it is funny and has some truly shaped and polished set pieces – I just think if you called it a Romantic Comedy Drama, you’d be much nearer the mark. The laughs that are there aren’t those belly rippers from their other works, they’re just more considered and evolved laughs if you will. A more mature humour. That said, the dinner table scenes with Mum, Dad and Gran have Gervais written through them like a stick of rock and great japes and fun they are too.

As a child of the 70’s I felt they captured it perfectly and while I enjoyed it, in places it felt a little lost. It stumbled around with a couple of the other relationships and could have been confused for a piece of Hollywood mush filmed in the UK, but it most definitely isn’t. It does have half a brain about it. For these reasons it’s a good 6.5 out of 10, rising to a 7 after thinking about it.

Mrs G’s review: “I’ve seen better, but I’ve seen worse”. Pretty sure that’s a 5 out if 10. Not bad for a birthday review.

And so to sleep, perchance to dream. Although sadly there wasn’t much hope of that given the huge amount of rainfall we experienced overnight. The incessant drumming on the skylights rivalled the neighbours Thrash Metal band in all but rhythmic ability. Luckily today is another day of rest for Mrs G and I, with shopping on the agenda after a bit of a Monday morning lie-in.

Next time I’m doing movies, (Which might be later today if this rain keeps up) you can expect a review of “The Eiger Sanction”. Have fun.

And so to the final stretch. 49 down to 11…


49 Scarface (1983)
Scarface (Widescreen Two-Disc Anniversary Edition) Al Pacino doing his very worst. Evil man. “You wanna waste my time? Okay. I call my lawyer. He’s the best lawyer in Miami. He’s such a good lawyer, that by tomorrow morning, you gonna be working in Alaska. So dress warm.” and “Say hello to my little friend.”


48 Star Trek (2010)
Star Trek (Three-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray] Re-ignited the franchise with this one. A great piece of work. Even the most die hard trekky fans loved it too. Sky High Sci Fi at it’s best.


47 The Thing (1982)
The Thing [Blu-ray] One of the scariest movies I ever watched. One or two moments that are glued to the “terror” part of my brain. Specifically, that head with legs. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. A remake that was worth remaking – Kudos to John Carpenter.


46 V for Vendetta (2005)
V for Vendetta [Blu-ray] An alternative reality to the political landscape of the United Kingdom. Fascinating stuff with some excellent performances. “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”


45 Bladerunner (1982)
Blade Runner (Five-Disc Complete Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] Ridley Scott’s chocolate box full of Androids. Do they dream of Electric Sheep ?. It’s just a test… designed to provoke an emotional response. Deep Sci Fi nonsense that works on so many levels.


44 Fargo (1996)
Fargo [Blu-ray] A car salesman in need of money. A wealthy father-in-law who doesn’t like him. Some bumbling kidnappers and pregnant cop “Frances McDormand” being directed by the Coen Brothers. It doesn’t get a lot better than this. “Oh, for Chris’sake here. The heck do ya mean!?” – Poor Jerry.


43 No Country For Old Men (2007)
No Country for Old Men [Blu-ray] More Coen brothers work here. The intricacy is what keeps them interesting I think. Great work and wonderfully self-annotated by Tommy Lee Jones. What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?


42 The Sixth Sense (1999)
The Sixth Sense [Blu-ray] Sadly this was M. Night Shyamalan’s only decent movie so far. The studio’s keep coming back for more though, so maybe there’s another winner in there somewhere. This one however hits all the right buttons and has the twist to end all twists. Terrible to think he’s gone ot to make the “Last Airbender” – Oh My God!….


41 There Will Be Blood (2007)
There Will Be Blood [Blu-ray] The soundtrack.  I mean, where the hell did they dream up this soundtrack. It’s intense. Great piece of work, wonderful visuals and Daniel Day-Lewis on excellent form as the man with the plan for oil.


40 2001: A Space Oddesy (1968)
2001: A Space Odyssey [Blu-ray] In 1968 this represented the way things would be in 2001.  Well, was a bit wide of the mark, but still, a really enjoyable piece of Sci Fi with that Stanley Kubrick intensity running through it. Weird and Wonderful stuff. Oh yes and HAL. H+1=I, A+1=B, L+1=M… IBM. Cool.


39 Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] A convoluted plot that keeps you coming back for more over and over again. And then there’s that really odd thing of the kid pointing at his pee-pee in the last scene of the final movie. (watch it for yourself – the kid stood on Doc Browns footplate – freaky stuff) Still three great all round entertaining movies.


38 Die Hard (1 to 4) (1988)
Die Hard [Blu-ray] Yipee-Kai-Ai. No one does action quite like this. All four are instant classics. Bruce Willis saves the day consistently.


37 The Great Escape (1963)
The Great Escape (2-Disc Collector's Set) Christmas isn’t Christmas without this movie. “Good Luck”, “Thankyou” – D’oh…  I mean’t “Danke”


36 Up (2009)
Up (Single Disc Widescreen) Pixar excel with this original story and superb character definition. There’s something about the way -squirrel!!!- that doug the dog is that means he pretty much steals the show. A desperately sad beginning with a heart warming end. beautiful.


35 Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Surreal beyond belief. Where death awaits ye with big pointy teeth. Genius.


34 Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Reservoir Dogs (15th Anniversary) [Blu-ray] A new breed of ultra-violence in the 90’s headed up by Quentin Tarrantino. Incredible script, shocking scenes make for an all time classic. Not for the family, or the squeamish.


33 The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre [Blu-ray] Yearning back for the old days of cinema ? I’d recommend an afternoon with this classic. You won’t need a badge, but you might get paranoid about your gold. Quality Bogart.


32 Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Saving Private Ryan (Sapphire Series) [Blu-ray] More Spielberging. This time a war story. His work on the opening 15 minutes of this film brought the storming of the beaches in WWII vividly to life. Veteran’s claim it’s the closest thing to the real thing. Amazing.


31 The Shining (1980)
The Shining [Blu-ray] Stephen King & Stanley Kubrick now how to scare me properly. Add a shout Jack Nicholson and I almost can’t watch it alone in the dark. Please kid, don’t ride your trike in there alone…. I can’t stand the suspense. Terrifying. I love it.


30 Citizen Kane (1941)
Citizen Kane West coast American newspaper magnet goes banana’s and build a castle full of treasure in California in the 1930’s. Allegedly not based on William Randolph Hearst, it’s pretty much a dramatised biopic. Rosebud.


29 North By Northwest (1959)
North by Northwest (50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book) Hitchcock’s turn. A great chase movie. New York in the 50’s looks incredible. Still stands up to some of the biggest chase movies of all time.


28 Se7en (1995)
Seven [Blu-ray] Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman play cops. Evil, sadistic killer needs catching. Has a twist from hell in the end. Classic stuff.


27 Star Wars (1,2 & 3) (1999)
Star Wars Prequel Trilogy These three were bolt-on’s to the original three and pretty good they are too. The third one is clearly the best of them, but you sometimes get the feeling there’s an awful lot of loose ends being tied up in a hurry. You can still feel the force though.


26 The Matrix (1999)
The Ultimate Matrix Collection [Blu-ray] WoW! What an amazing idea! What great photography.  What the hell did the camera just do there??  Bullet-Time!? OMG!  No wonder it’s so high up the list.


25 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs [Blu-ray] More terror and Sir Anthony Hopkins bringing a literary figure to life so vividly that you could almost believe he’s real. Carful Clarice.


24 Casablanca (1942)
Casablanca [Blu-ray] The classic love story. Set against the backdrop of Rick’s Bar in North Africa just before the war. “We’ll always have Paris.” And “You played it for her, now play it for me.” But no sign of “Play it again Sam”.


23 Goodfellas (1990)
GoodFellas [Blu-ray] Da Mobsters incarnate. The faster/shorter version of the Godfather with a bit more violence.


22 Indiana Jones (1,2,3 & 4) (1981)
The Adventures of Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark/ Temple of Doom/ Last Crusade) - Widescreen Edition Action & Adventure for all the family. Courtesy of the Jones’ and a dog named Indiana. Cracking stuff that you can just watch over and over and never get bored of. “Why did it have to be snakes?”


21 Psycho (1960)
Psycho (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] Alfred Hitchcock’s original black and white horror. Still creeps you out today and fills you with dread of shower curtains for the rest of your life. Poor old Mrs Bates.


20 Rear Window (1954)
Rear Window (Universal Legacy Series) More Hitchcock – and this time a study out of the rear window of James Stewart’s apartment building. Amazing what a photo journalist with a broken leg can see. Unavailable for 30 years until Hitch’s daughter sold the rights to Universal in the early 1980’s.


19 Fight Club (1999)
Fight Club (10th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] What just happened there??  1st rule of Fight Club, is you don’t talk about Fight club….  other than to say it is a masterpiece that might put you off using soap for ever.  Ask your single serving friends about it.


18 Lord of The Rings (1,2 & 3) (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Theatrical Editions + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] Be warned, you won’t get the full 24 hours it will take you to watch this back again. But then, why would you want to ? If you’ve ever read any of the books, this is a good as it gets when it comes to adaptations. Also put New Zealand back on the map.


17 Star Wars (4,5 & 6) (1977)
Star Wars Trilogy The original Saga is by far the most entertaining. Not stop Droid & Wookie action with Dark Lords and Stormtroopers all over the shop. “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for” though. Sci Fi perfection.


16 Toy Story (1 & 2) (1995)
Toy Story 1 & 2 Blu Ray Combo Pack Pixar’s 3rd entry in my list and rightly so. This one one of the very first fully digitally animated feature films and it works on every level. Disney should be very proud of Pixar’s achievement. A full on family entertainment spectacular.


15 Pulp Fiction (1994)
Pulp Fiction (Import) [Blu-ray] More Tarantino violence here. Although to be fair, it’s more script than violence this time. A classic piece of mis-direction and re-ordering of timelines gives us a movie you’ll be glued to throughout.  How is that going to work out ?


14 Schindler’s List (1993)
Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition) Serious, Dark and moving. Spielberg artfully tells the story of part of the holocaust from a Jewish perspective. Far from lighthearted, but can restore your faith in human kind.


13 The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration Giftset (The Godfather / The Godfather Part II / The Godfather Part III) [Blu-ray] The ultimate Gangster movie(s). Nothing else to say.


12 The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption (Blu-ray Book) With a shortened title and a longer story, messing with the original Stephen King work could have been considered very dangerous, but have no fear. What was “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” became cinema gold in the hands of Frank Darabont. If you only ever watch one movie in your life – it should probably be this one. It’s not my number one, but it does doe everything you want from a movie.


11 Inception (2010)
Inception: The Shooting Script I promise this will mess with your head. I left the cinema in a state of shock, unable to fully grasp the depth of the story until later on. Pure brilliance from the man that gave us the Dark Knight.


So after all that lot…as a reminder – here’s the top 10… I’m considering moving 11 further up into the top 10…..  possibly to the detriment of number 9.  Ho hum….

10.
The Dark Knight (2008)
9.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) and The Terminator (1984)
8.
Leon (The Professional) (1994)
7.
Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986)
6.
Close Encounters of the Third kind (1977)
5.
The Dam Busters (1955)
4.
All the Presidents Men (1976)
3.
Jaws (1975)
2.
The Ladykillers (1955)
1.
The Big Lebowski (1998)

So today we continue with the countown in that Channel 4 sort of way with numbers 75 all the way down to 50.


75 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford [Blu-ray] Visually stunning. Capturing the old world wild west and proving that moody Brad Pitt can even act sometimes as well. The blurring of the edges make it feel like it was filmed in the 1800’s. A cowboy biopic… I loved it.


74 The Game (1997)
The Game It twits and turns like a twisty turney thing, and Michael Douglas rides it like the rollercoaster it is. A proper thriller requiring proper thought – Happy Birthday Bro.


73 Blazing Saddles (1974)
Blazing Saddles [Blu-ray] So many hilarious set pieces in here, it’s almost impossible to know where to start. The re-fried beans or “This is the hand I shoot with” to name but two. I have a memory of watching this with my Dad and the pair of us rolling about laughing all the way through. Love it.


72 Cape Fear (1962)
Cape Fear Not the remake, but the original. They’re both good, but this one is my favourite. The innocence of the time is shattered by the evil Robert Mitchum.


71 Ghostbusters (1984)
Ghostbusters [Blu-ray] More Bill Murray comedy here. Really well put together SciFi / Fantasy / Comic Book work with some great special effects at the time. Sigourney Weaver takes her Sci Fi goddess role to a whole new level. Just don’t cross the streams.


70 Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Lucky Number Slevin [Blu-ray] Snappy, witty, fast paced, convoluted cinema beauty. A few heavyweight actors in the shape of Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley create one of the most fun “Mistaken Identity” movies since “North by NorthWest”


69 The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Magnificent Seven Collection (4pc) (P&S Ws) [Blu-ray] The epitome of Western’s. Based on the Seven Samurai, seven almost good guys do their best to try to save a mexican village.


68 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Blu-ray Book) Gene Wilder (Blazing Saddles) again, and a cast that bring Roald Dahl’s original novel to life. A superb all round family movie which left us such gems as the “Umpa Lumpa Song”


67 Deliverance (1972)
Deliverance [Blu-ray] What starts of as a lads adventure weekend so becomes something else entirely. Burt Reynolds playing a serious role for a change and making a damn good job of it too. If you go down in the woods today, you’d better not go alone.


66 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (Widescreen Edition) Mr Spielberg again. This he claims is his love story, and it truly melted the hearts of the world in 1982. Put Drew Barrymore positively on the map and gave us two stand out phrases. “Ouch!” and “ET Phone Home”. Beautiful.


65 Ironman (2008)
Iron Man (Ultimate Two-Disc Edition + BD Live) [Blu-ray] More Comic Book Adventuring, with the return of Robert Downey Junior to form. A really great action movie with a snappy / non-pc script. Must be fun to be Tony Stark.


64 James Bond (1962)
James Bond Ultimate Collector's Set The whole lot. If I had to pick one it would be a Connery, or a Craig, but don’t make me pick. From Dr.No all the way through to Quantum of Solace there’s hardly a bad one in there. Let’s hope they can sort out the legal and financial issue and make at least one more – unfinished business here.


63 Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead [Blu-ray] Simon Pegg made the leap from TV to the big screen with this (first of it’s genre) Rom-Zom-Com. Who’d have a thought a Romantic Zombie Comedy could be so much fun. Hundereds of classic moments….  Red.


62 The Iron Giant (1999)
The Iron Giant [Blu-ray] You could be forgiven for thinking this is the cartoon version of Ironman – it most definitely is not. It is beautifully drawn though and set in 50’s paranoid east coast USA. A joy for all the family – but especially the boys.


61 Zulu (1964)
ZULU (1964) (BLU-RAY) Michael Caine’s posh boy in South Africa. “The army doesn’t like more than one disaster in a day. Looks bad in the newspapers and upsets civilians at their breakfast.”


60 Hot Fuzz (2007)
Hot Fuzz (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] More of Mr Pegg now. This time it’s Cops and Robbers in the country-shire. It seems he has a passion for jumping over fences too. More wit and wisdom than you can shake a stick at.


59 Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl [Blu-ray] The only “Pirates” movie worth watching. Seriously, part 2 and 3 never should have been considered, but then they made such a good job of the first one, the studio were desperate for a repeat performance. Ah well, you can’t have it all ways.


58 Planet Of The Apes (1968)
Planet of the Apes There’s something about Charlton Heston on a horse on a beach realising what’s happened.  It just works. God damn them all to hell. (or something similar)


57 Shrek (2001)
Shrek (Full Screen Single Disc Edition) Dreamworks animation here and great family fun with loads of hidden jokes for the grown ups and lots of entertainment for the kids.  Just a shame they’ve milked it to death with a further three movies that they really didn’t need. Shrek & Donkey’s banter is superb.


56 The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist (Extended Director's Cut & Original Theatrical Edition) [Blu-ray] Terrifying on so many levels. You’ll never look at a bump in the loft in the same way ever again. Quite bad language for a teenager too….. tut tut.


55 The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
The Man Who Would Be King Connery & Caine in a Roald Dahl masterpiece. Close to the book (which is a great read). Almost usurped by Billy Fish (the translator). 


Billy Fish: He wants to know if you are gods.
Peachy Carnehan: Not gods – Englishmen. The next best thing.


54 The Princess Bride (1987)
The Princess Bride [Blu-ray] A hero’s and heroin’s story here with loads of good vs evil going on. All grandfather’s should read their grandchildren books like this. Be wary of the Man in Black but there is only one line though: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”


53 Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum (2002)
The Bourne Trilogy (The Bourne Identity | The Bourne Supremacy | The Bourne Ultimatum) [Blu-ray] Paul Greengrass gives the bond movies a proper wake up call with all out action. Matt Damon surprises everyone and pulls it off. Turns out he’s a really good actor after all. If only he could remember what had happened to himself ?


52 Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (1969)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [Blu-ray] Cowboys with 70’s gloss. Fantastic chemistry between Newman and Redford make this unmissable. Quite a long chase really…


51 King Kong (1933)
King Kong (Blu-ray Book) The original one, not the remake. A great rainy, Sunday afternoon, cup of tea and biscuits movie. Nothing like as horrific today as it was in 1933, but still a great story and shorter than the most recent remake meaning just a tad more watchable for that reason.


50 Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels [Blu-ray] Both barrels blew everyone away in 1998 when this emerged. Fast paced, witty dialogue, zippy edits, a fresh look to the british gangster movie. All round good stuff.  The formula may well have been over done since then though.


And finally Sunday’s list will be a little longer, being from number 49 all the way down to number 11….

Enough people asked for it, so by popular demand over the next three days I will release my personal Top 100 movies (well OK, its only 90 because youve already had the top 10) and with a strictly one line comment/review of each. … Best of luck… Let’s get on with it….


100
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Extended Version) [Blu-ray]
Kevin Costner’s take on the Hero of Nottingham, means we’re taught all sorts of strange things about british geography…. such as how close Dover is to Nottingham (walking distance) and how the West country accent originally came from the the East Midlands.


99
The First Great Train Robbery (1979)
The Great Train Robbery A proper fun 70’s but set in the 1800′ crime caper with Sean Connery, Donald Southerland and a sexy looking Leslie-Anne Down. Safe cracking at it’s finest.


98 Quadrophenia (1979)
Quadrophenia (Special Edition) A moody and atmospheric capturing of the Mod’s and Rocker’s scene in London and the South Coast in the early 70’s. Watch out for the likes of Ray Winstone and Sting to name but two.


97 Sneakers (1992)
Sneakers (Collector's Edition) As a techy, geeky, nerd type, I just loved this movie. Think Hackers with a polish Hollywood finish to it. Same director is responsible for “Field of Dreams” so an excellent pedigree


96 War Games (1983)
War Games (25th Anniversary Edition) More Hacker fun here. One of my most memorable cinematic moments frommy youth in the form of the computer spoken phrase “Shall we play a game?”. Still stands up well as a fun jaunt today.

95 Starship Troopers (1997)
Starship Troopers Alien fight fest. A really fresh look to a Sci Fi movie when this arrived in 1997. For pedigree look to director Paul Verhoeven’s other works – Robocop, Total Recall and Basic Instinct. He likes to shock, hence the Alien splatterfest.


94 Ronin (1998)
Ronin [Blu-ray] One of the first widely available movies on DVD in the UK. A stand out piece of cinema because of the ultra realistic car chases. But then what else would you expect from the man who gave us Grand Prix and French Connection  II. An instant classic.


93 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Criterion Collection (2-Disc Special Edition) From realism to surrealism with this piece. A behind the scenes look at a 60’s/70’s adventuring oceanic conservationist group headed by the great Steve Zissou. Bill Murray milks it for gallons. Highly enjoyable stuff – if a little weird.


92 Tropic Thunder (2008)
Tropic Thunder (Unrated Director's Cut + BD Live) [Blu-ray] More silliness now, with a complete movie stolen by one actor. He may only have a supporting role, but it’s one of his best performances of all time. Let’s hear it for Tom Cruise… oh… and Robert Downey Jr. who very nearly steals it back. Funniest film of 2008.


91 Beetle Juice (1988)
Beetlejuice [Blu-ray] Love a good horror movie ?  Love a good comedy ?…  Did Horror/Comedy exist before this movie came along ? Not sure it did. A great fun piece of work and reminds me of all the things I loved in the 80’s.


90 The Italian Job (1969)
The Italian Job - 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] The film that for my money defines 60’s Britain. Everything about this work is perfect, and of course, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”


89 The Fifth Element (1997)
The Fifth Element (Remastered) [Blu-ray] SciFi brought up to date again in the late 90’s. Bruce Willis plays our hero against good old Gary Oldman’s loon. But you’ve got to love that almost dress.


88 The Mist (2007)
MIST (2007) Darabont & King had an enormous hit with “The Shawshank Redemption”, so high hopes were had for this one where they meet again. They didn’t disappoint, with an ending to leave you slack jawed and gaping.


87 Titanic (1997)
Titanic Until recently the highest grossing film of all time. Everyone loves the Titanic mystery… so much so that it’s now pretty much solved. They’ve take some artistic liberties with it here mind you, but it’s still a great ride and worth the time because it does exactly what it’s supposed to. Entertains.


86 Cars (2006)
Cars [Blu-ray] Pixar haven’t actually made a bad movie yet. They did it again with this one, and it’s just perfection.  Particularly clever how the voice of the agent changed from Jay Leno in the USA to Jeremy Clarkson in the UK version. Clever magic.


85 The Goonies (1985)
The Goonies (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] With Spielberg involved how could this go wrong. Chunk’s “truffle shuffle” is burned into everyone who watches memory for ever.


84 Three Days of the Condor (1975)
3 Days of the Condor [Blu-ray] I love a 70’s thriller and this is no different.  A classic.


83 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas [Blu-ray] The insanity that’s written about Hunter S Thompson is beautifully captured here by Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Torro with a wicked sense of humour. But then that’s why Terry Gilliam was the director. Drug addled craziness.


82 Get Carter (1971)
Get Carter Sadly this film was remade with Sylvester Stallone in the Michael Caine role. Terrible shame because it was already perfect. Late 60’s Newcastle never looked less appealing. Great cameo from Alf Roberts of Coronation Street. “You’re a big lad, but out of shape”


81 Lethal Weapon (1,2,3 & 4) (1987)
Lethal Weapon: 4 Film Favorites After the success of the first, 2, 3 and 4 were always going to happen. What makes them work is the on screen chemistry between Gibson and Glover… and latterly Joe Pesci. Good fun cops and robbers. More Richard Donner movies please.


80 Robocop (1987)
Robocop [Blu-ray] Paul Verhoeven’s robot cop from the future has it all. “Dead or Alive, you’re coming with me”


79 The Hunt for Red October (1990)
The Hunt for Red October [Blu-ray] He might be a scotsman but Sean Connery makes a great Russian naval captain. Combine that with a Tom Clancy storyline, James Earl Jones (Darth Vader), a very young looking Alec Baldwin and Die Hard director John McTiernan and you have cinema perfection


78 The Time Machine (1960)
The Time Machine 60’s SciFi at it’s best. Never will a cigar travel through time in the same way ever again.


77 Field Of Dreams (1989)
Field of Dreams [Blu-ray] Blokes watch this movie and cry at the end.  Can’t be helped. It’s a fact of life. We all love our Dad’s – not in a gay way – and this captures that emotion perfectly.


76 Minority Report (2002)
Minority Report [Blu-ray] Tom Cruise doing futureistic things in the future with Mr Spielberg. What stands out is the human interface to the core system. The hand gestures have actually become a target for interface developers in the real world. Apple’s Magic Touchpad is the early version. More to follow.


Tomorrow’s list will be number 75 down to number 50….

Me stuff…
I haven’t got a lot to say to today. I’m over-tired. Work isn’t excessively busy, but it is demanding in a dripping tap kind of way. A bit here, a bit there, none of which are related means that I keep swapping between all these little bits and after a while they start to blur into one. This makes them taxing on the brain cell as I struggle to keep them all segmented. Clearly I’m in need of more coffee. It’s just not any fun really.

A disturbed night of sleep (not that I’ve had many undisturbed nights with the temperatures being they way they have of late) caused by daughter an friends having a “big night out” in the middle of the week. At least I don’t have insomnia. Also not much fun.

The Motor is going to be with Doctor M for a few more days while it has the rear brake calliper’s reconditioned. Turns out that this was the most economical method of replacement, and as it’s sadly nearing the end of it’s life, then it makes sense to go that way. Have decided that a replacement vehicle will most certainly be acquired in about 12 months time when I will have to face an entire re-financing package as part of the end of the fixed rate mortgage. Fingers crossed for the interest rate staying low and stable – although my record on this subject means that it’s likely to go through the roof days before I’m scheduled change it. Sometimes it feels like I’m financing the countries debt all on my own!!… and that’s no fun.

Newsy items…
Not that I care about Tennis a great deal, but Rodger Federa has been knocked out of Wimbledon – I’m sure that’ll make for a more interesting competition for those that are interested.

Apple are looking for Antenna Engineers – if you happen to be one and always fancied a job at apple, now is your chance. Strange that it coincides with the alleged issues with conductivity – something I’ve found hard to reproduce, but have. That said, it still hasn’t effected any calls or usage of the handset for me personally. If you want all the techie geeky background, you’ll be wanting to read this: Apple’s iPhone 4: Thoroughly Reviewed. Fun-ny, but not fun.

The US Popular Science website is reporting a future hormone fix for healing teeth. Interesting science but not fun.

A serious piece of weather is approaching Texas in the form of Hurricane Alex. I’m sure you already know that hurricanes are named alphabetically. Here’s the lowdown:

In 1953, the National Weather Service picked up on the habit of Naval meteorologists of naming the storms after women. Ships were always referred to as female, and were often given women’s names. The storms’ temperament certainly seemed female enough, shifting directions at a whim on a moment’s notice. In 1979, male names were inserted to alternate with the female names,to the delight of women’s-libbers everywhere.

There are actually six lists of names in use for storms in the Atlantic. These lists rotate, one each year; the list of this year’s names will not be reused for six years. The names get recycled each time the list comes up, with one exception: storms so devastating that reusing the name is inappropriate. In this case, the name is taken off the list and another name is used to replace it; there will not be another Hurricane Andrew, because Andrew has been replaced by Alex on the list.

Not much chance of a “Hurricane Fun” though.

Techy items…
If you don’t think your selected password is up to the job, you might want to check it out here: http://howsecureismypassword.net/. Useful, but not fun.

Buffoonery items…
Old Spice Ad’s for the ladies….. What the Feck is going on in these ad guys heads when they come up with this stuff?? Apparently this first one was shown during the Superbowl to great acclaim.

Now they’ve followed it up with this… I mean, that’s not at all sexist in any way is it?


I suppose they are a bit fun, but only a bit.

While the weather’s looking good at the moment, forecast is for rain this evening. This is just “bloody typical” as I haven’t had a night out for ages and have a WTC meet scheduled for this evening in a summer pub with a garden. Sitting in a pub garden in the rain is just not fun.

Well that’s today’s entertainment. I hope yours is more fun than mine….

Honestly, I swear I had some vacation right here somewhere. Maybe I left it on the dining room table, or perhaps it’s slipped down the back of the sofa… Wherever it is, it seems to be much smaller than I thought it was. All of a sudden, in less than 24 hours, I’ll be back at work. In the words of the philosopher Homer (J. Simpson) D’oh!!!

Yesterday was relatively busy for a day off, although I did manage to crowbar a movie in as well, so it was almost a proper day off. Started off with dropping Mrs G off at work, and then off to the bank to arrange holiday payment. It’s not until November, but now it’s paid for it’s a real trip. This led to dropping in on Mother-in-law who had Triple B at her house working on the renovations. Banter ensued.

As this is over two thirds of the way to Chelter’s the bad man will be glad to hear that I managed to get into town and pick up some fresh coffee from Whittard’s at last!! I chose more Old Brown Java (because it’s sooo good) and some Italian Espresso. So far the OBJ is still winning, all though I’ve only had one shot of the IE, so that could change yet. Watch this space.

These two rather simple tasks to until around 2pm to get completed. That’s because it’s half term. Traffic hell, mum’s and kids everywhere, nowhere to park, nowhere to run!….

The afternoon was free enough for me to be able to start to catch up with the movies – and in particular “Daybreakers“. It’s a futuristic Vampire movie with a twist and I really enjoyed far more than I expected. The logic is that the world has turned to vampirism and there’s only a few humans left. Vampires need human blood to sustain themselves, and of course that supply is rapidly dwindling. Our hero is a human-turned-vamp haematologist who’s looking for a synthetic replacement or better yet a cure. It has some great technological ideas – things like night mode cars so that the vampires can drive around in daylight without getting burned and instead of guns (bullets don’t kill vampires) the weapon of choice is a crossbow (stake through the heart and all that). Nice touches. 6 out of 10

Now for today’s challenge which in theory is a very simple one. Collect daughter and her mates from the airport on their return from Egypt. The golden age of simple straight forward air travel is long gone though, and I can see I’m headed for a gaffing sort of day. Daughter called on Monday just to be sure we’re all set on flight times – 12:55 arrival. All good. A quick check on the airports arrivals board via their website this morning and only one arrival at 11:40… hmmmm.. That’s not quite the same. So a look on the departures board from Egypt and no flights to the selected arrival airport at all!!?… What is going on here?? Now, I know from old not to be too trusting of such online wizardy and magic (Well, it’s actually just a backend SQL or Oracle DB to the web server probably). The airlines don’t see these methods of communication as primary, and the telephone and the boards physically in the airports are their bible’s. However, a phone call to the airport just confirms the only arrival being mid morning. Something is awry.

SO my plan is to revert to the old 70’s method of travel. That is, “go with what you know until you know something else”. How did we cope before mobile phones and the Internet?? Well, quite well actually as it happens. On the basis that they might be on the earlier flight I’m going to set out a little ahead of schedule, the downside of course is that they may be massively delayed and I could end up sitting at the airport until very late this evening – or worse yet… tomorrow!!… Let’s hope not. eh?

For now though – one more cup of IE, a quick car wash and brush up and then onto the road. Have a great day. Work hard. Makes me feel like I might still have one day off if you do that. 😉

– Posted using BlogPress

I thought I’d finished with the political posts, but those gist in whitehall have actually got me engaged in this stuff now.  Life may never be the same again. Clearly I haven’t seen it all and actually the world’s a better place than I thought.

It turns out that the Con-Lib coalition (Some might say the “Con-Dem Nation” – Ho Ho Ho – Ed.) negotiations document, which lists all the agreements they’ve reached has been publish and seven pages of damn fine reading it makes too. Enjoy… or fume a your leisure:

Conservative Liberal Democrat coalition negotiations 




Agreements reached 
11 May 2010


This document sets out agreements reached between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on a range of issues. These are the issues that needed to be resolved between us in order for us to work together as a strong and stable government. It will be followed in due course by a final Coalition Agreement, covering the full range of policy and including foreign, defence and domestic policy issues not covered in this document.

1. Deficit Reduction
The parties agree that deficit reduction and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain. We have therefore agreed that there will need to be:

  • a significantly accelerated reduction in the structural deficit over the course of a Parliament, with the main burden of deficit reduction borne by reduced spending rather than increased taxes;
  • arrangements that will protect those on low incomes from the effect of public sector pay constraint and other spending constraints; and
  • protection of jobs by stopping Labour’s proposed jobs tax.

The parties agree that a plan for deficit reduction should be set out in an emergency budget within 50 days of the signing of any agreement; the parties note that the credibility of a plan on deficit reduction depends on its long-term deliverability, not just the depth of immediate cuts. New forecasts of growth and borrowing should be made by an independent Office for Budget Responsibility for this emergency budget.

The parties agree that modest cuts of £6 billion to non-front line services can be made within the financial year 2010-11, subject to advice from the Treasury and the Bank of England on their feasibility and advisability. Some proportion of these savings can be used to support jobs, for example through the cancelling of some backdated demands for business rates. Other policies upon which we are agreed will further support job creation and green investment, such as work programmes for the unemployed and a green deal for energy efficiency investment.

The parties agree that reductions can be made to the Child Trust Fund and tax credits for higher earners.

2. Spending Review – NHS, Schools and a Fairer Society
The parties agree that a full Spending Review should be held, reporting this Autumn, following a fully consultative process involving all tiers of government and the private sector.

The parties agree that funding for the NHS should increase in real terms in each year of the Parliament, while recognising the impact this decision would have on other departments. The target of spending 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid will also remain in place.

We will fund a significant premium for disadvantaged pupils from outside the schools budget by reductions in spending elsewhere.

The parties commit to holding a full Strategic Security and Defence Review alongside the Spending Review with strong involvement of the Treasury.

The Government will be committed to the maintenance of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives. We will immediately play a strong role in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and press for continued progress on multilateral disarmament.

The parties commit to establishing an independent commission to review the long term affordability of public sector pensions, while protecting accrued rights.

We will restore the earnings link for the basic state pension from April 2011 with a “triple guarantee” that pensions are raised by the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%, as proposed by the Liberal Democrats.

3. Tax Measures
The parties agree that the personal allowance for income tax should be increased in order to help lower and middle income earners. We agree to announce in the first Budget a substantial increase in the personal allowance from April 2011, with the benefits focused on those with lower and middle incomes. This will be funded with the money that would have been used to pay for the increase in Employee National Insurance thresholds proposed by the Conservatives, as well as revenues from increases in Capital Gains Tax rates for non-business assets as described below. The increase in Employer National Insurance thresholds proposed by the Conservatives will go ahead in order to stop Labour’s jobs tax. We also agree to a longer term policy objective of further increasing the personal allowance to £10,000, making further real terms steps each year towards this objective.

We agree that this should take priority over other tax cuts, including cuts to Inheritance Tax. We also agree that provision will be made for Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain on budget resolutions to introduce transferable tax allowances for married couples without prejudice to this coalition agreement.

The parties agree that a switch should be made to a per-plane, rather than per-passenger duty; a proportion of any increased revenues over time will be used to help fund increases in the personal allowance.

We further agree to seek a detailed agreement on taxing non-business capital gains at rates similar or close to those applied to income, with generous exemptions for entrepreneurial business activities.

The parties agree that tackling tax avoidance is essential for the new government, and that all efforts will be made to do so, including detailed development of Liberal Democrat proposals.

4. Banking Reform
The parties agree that reform to the banking system is essential to avoid a repeat of Labour’s financial crisis, to promote a competitive economy, to sustain the recovery and to protect and sustain jobs.

We agree that a banking levy will be introduced. We will seek a detailed agreement on implementation.

We agree to bring forward detailed proposals for robust action to tackle unacceptable bonuses in the financial services sector; in developing these proposals, we will ensure they are effective in reducing risk.

We agree to bring forward detailed proposals to foster diversity, promote mutuals and create a more competitive banking industry.

We agree that ensuring the flow of credit to viable SMEs is essential for supporting growth and should be a core priority for a new government, and we will work together to develop effective proposals to do so. This will include consideration of both a major loan guarantee scheme and the use of net lending targets for the nationalised banks.

The parties wish to reduce systemic risk in the banking system and will establish an independent commission to investigate the complex issue of separating retail and investment banking in a sustainable way; while recognising that this would take time to get right, the commission will be given an initial time frame of one year to report.

The parties agree that the regulatory system needs reform to avoid a repeat of Labour’s financial crisis. We agree to bring forward proposals to give the Bank of England control of macro-prudential regulation and oversight of micro-prudential regulation.

The parties also agree to rule out joining the European Single Currency during the duration of this agreement.

5. Immigration
We have agreed that there should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work. We will consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit. We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes.

6. Political Reform
The parties agree to the establishment of five year fixed-term parliaments. A Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government will put a binding motion before the House of Commons in the first days following this agreement stating that the next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Following this motion, legislation will be brought forward to make provision for fixed term parliaments of five years. This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the House votes in favour.

The parties will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. Both parties will whip their Parliamentary Parties in both Houses to support a simple majority referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions parties will take during such a referendum.

The parties will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP was found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents.

We agree to establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation. The committee will come forward with a draft motions by December 2010. It is likely that this bill will advocate single long terms of office. It is
also likely there will be a grandfathering system for current Peers. In the interim, Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election.

The parties will bring forward the proposals of the Wright Committee for reform to the House of Commons in full – starting with the proposed committee for management of programmed business and including government business within its scope by the third year of the Parliament.

The parties agree to reduce electoral fraud by speeding up the implementation of individual voter registration.

We have agreed to establish a commission to consider the ‘West Lothian question’.

The parties agree to the implementation of the Calman Commission proposals and the offer of a referendum on further Welsh devolution.

The parties will tackle lobbying through introducing a statutory register of lobbyists. We also agree to pursue a detailed agreement on limiting donations and reforming party funding in order to remove big money from politics.

The parties will promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups. This will include a full review of local government finance.

7. Pensions and Welfare
The parties agree to phase out the default retirement age and hold a review to set the date at which the state pension age starts to rise to 66, although it will not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women. We agree to end the rules requiring compulsory annuitisation at 75.

We agree to implement the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman’s recommendation to make fair and transparent payments to Equitable Life policy holders, through an independent payment scheme, for their relative loss as a consequence of regulatory failure.

The parties agree to end all existing welfare to work programmes and to create a single welfare to work programme to help all unemployed people get back into work.

We agree that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants facing the most significant barriers to work should be referred to the aforementioned newly created welfare to work programme immediately, not after 12 months as is currently the case. We agree that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants aged under 25 should be referred to the programme after a maximum of six months.

The parties agree to realign contracts with welfare to work service providers to reflect more closely the results they achieve in getting people back into work.

We agree that the funding mechanism used by government to finance welfare to work programmes should be reformed to reflect the fact that initial investment delivers later savings in lower benefit expenditure.

We agree that receipt of benefits for those able to work should be conditional on the willingness to work.

8. Education 
Schools
We agree to promote the reform of schools in order to ensure:

  • that new providers can enter the state school system in response to parental demand; 
  • that all schools have greater freedom over curriculum; and, 
  • that all schools are held properly accountable.

Higher education
We await Lord Browne’s final report into higher education funding, and will judge its proposals against the need to:

  • increase social mobility; 
  • take into account the impact on student debt; 
  • ensure a properly funded university sector; 
  • improve the quality of teaching; 
  • advance scholarship; and, 
  • attract a higher proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

If the response of the Government to Lord Browne’s report is one that Liberal Democrats cannot accept, then arrangements will be made to enable Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain in any vote.

9. Relations with the EU
We agree that the British Government will be a positive participant in the European Union, playing a strong and positive role with our partners, with the goal of ensuring that all the nations of Europe are equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century: global competitiveness, global warming and global poverty.

We agree that there should be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament. We will examine the balance of the EU’s existing competences and will, in particular, work to limit the application of the Working Time Directive in the United Kingdom.

We agree that we will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that any proposed future Treaty that transferred areas of power, or competences, would be subject to a referendum on that Treaty – a ‘referendum lock’. We will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that the use of any passerelle would require primary legislation.

We will examine the case for a United Kingdom Sovereignty Bill to make it clear that ultimate authority remains with Parliament.

We agree that Britain will not join or prepare to join the Euro in this Parliament.

We agree that we will strongly defend the UK’s national interests in the forthcoming EU budget negotiations and that the EU budget should only focus on those areas where the EU can add value.

We agree that we will press for the European Parliament only to have one seat, in Brussels.

We agree that we will approach forthcoming legislation in the area of criminal justice on a case by case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security, protecting Britain’s civil liberties and
preserving the integrity of our criminal justice system. Britain will not participate in the establishment of any European Public Prosecutor.

10. Civil liberties
The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.

This will include:

  • A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.
  • The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.
  • Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.
  • The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.
  • Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database. 
  • The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury. 
  • The restoration of rights to non-violent protest. 
  • The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech. 
  • Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation. 
  • Further regulation of CCTV. 
  • Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason. 
  • A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.

11. Environment
The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy, including:

  • The establishment of a smart grid and the roll-out of smart meters.
  • The full establishment of feed-in tariff systems in electricity – as well as the maintenance of banded ROCs.
  • Measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion. – The creation of a green investment bank. 
  • The provision of home energy improvement paid for by the savings from lower energy bills. 
  • Retention of energy performance certificates while scrapping HIPs. 
  • Measures to encourage marine energy.
  • The establishment of an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient CCS to meet the emissions performance standard.
  • The establishment of a high-speed rail network.
  • The cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow.
  • The refusal of additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.
  • The replacement of the Air Passenger Duty with a per flight duty.
  • The provision of a floor price for carbon, as well as efforts to persuade the EU to move towards full auctioning of ETS permits.
  • Measures to make the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal offence.
  • Measures to promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity.
  • Mandating a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
  • Continuation of the present Government’s proposals for public sector investment in CCS technology for four coal-fired power stations; and a specific commitment to reduce central government carbon emissions by 10 per cent within 12 months.
  • We are agreed that we would seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee.

Liberal Democrats have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects (under a new national planning statement) and provided also that they receive no public subsidy.

We have agreed a process that will allow Liberal Democrats to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while permitting the government to bring forward the national planning statement for ratification by Parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible.

This process will involve:

  • the government completing the drafting of a national planning statement and putting it before Parliament;
  • specific agreement that a Liberal Democrat spokesman will speak against the planning statement, but that Liberal Democrat MPs will abstain; and
  • clarity that this will not be regarded as an issue of confidence.

So there it is….   If they all do what they say they will do, this could actually be a stroke of genius within UK politics. So far, I’m impressed. It’s all there to loose. At least they’re keeping their sense of humor… so far…


As we all know, today is: never a day to miss coz, Saturday is Tiswas Day. WooHoo. Summer is over with as the rain has returned just in time to drench the great British public on a bank holiday weekend, naturally. Of course the sun is out now, just to lull you into a false sense of security, but mark my words, the minute you get those shorts and sunglasses on the heavens will open. This IS England afterall. We DO have traditions you know!

The plan then.. First off get the mop chopped. Long overdue a trimming, starting to get the shaggy dog look and the grey is showing through. Don’t know why I don’t get it cut during work time, afterall it grows during work time. Back to my favourite barbers who I’ve mentioned before, so I’m sat in the converted living room with 20 other blokes in need of tidying. He talks about having a new rule where customers should bring him a gift back from their holidays instead of talking about them all the time. One of them had brought him some cigars from Cuba. As he’s of Irish decent I suggested I bring him some Guinness assuming I haven’t drunk it first but he tells me he’d rather have puchine. He’s very demanding for a barber who drinks meths.

How do you make the stuff anyway ? Well, it turns out that it’s pretty simple (obvious if you consider who made the majority of it). You scrub and slice 5lb of potatoes, boil them in 1 gallon of water, then put them in a bucket and add 3lb of sugar (dissolved in part of the gallon) along with 1 camped tablet some pectin distorting enzyme and some citric acid. Next you simply leave this mixture for 24 hours before adding yeast and yeast nutrient. Finally stir daily for three days and transfer it into a clean demijohn. Seal it with an airlock and when the fermentation process has finished you just need to distil it. With a Still – wherever you get them from 🙂 because of course you can’t distill alcohol without a rectifier’s licence (according to the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act of 1979) – oh bu**er.

Mop all groomed, Mrs G and I had a walk to town as I’ve found the long lost book token of Atlantis. Well I say I found it, actually it was Auntie S who found it in a bag at her house. Turns out it was the bag that had carried beer and wine to one of her soiree’s. Bizzare! I’d been promising myself Mr Kermode’s book ‘It’s’s only a movie’ so that worked out a treat. £9.99 in Waterstones. Couldn’t find anything else to go with it though, so I’ve saved the rest for future use. Also decided on one of this Marks & Spencer’s £10 for two meal deal things for dinner. Looks quite promising – will report back tomorrow on the results.

Lunch consisted of Cheese rolls followed by Mrs G nipping to visit S and daughter falling asleep in front of “Friday the 13th Part III in 3d”. Youths have very strange ideas about what to see and when. But then of course they have some much choice now – something we never had back in the day. We were lucky if we could get a lift to a cinema that was showing something that hadn’t been on for two years in the first place. She’s very cute when seen dozing with 3d specs on. Bless her.

My thoughts have turned to holidays and where to go. Mrs G would be perfectly content to just go to somewhere on the Med’ again, but I want something a bit more adventurous and have been considering Cuba. I guess the encounter with the cigars in the barber’s reminded me of the fact so I’m off to do a little research into that, and see what’s about. Of course it’s a long old flight, but got to be more interesting than Europe (again) and of course is not particularly expensive either. On top of this, my geography of Cuba is non-existent, so I wouldn’t have a clue where you should or shouldn’t go. Clearly this is going to take a whole bunch of reading to figure out, but anything to keep me off the blabber of the election…. oooo…. careful…. I nearly slipped back into it there…. Far too self aware for my own good.

Final thought is horse racing. Cheltenham’s last event of the season is one evening next week and I thought I might see if any of the lads are up for a little trip up there. Nine quid a ticket is a bargain, and would be an entertaining way to spend an evening for a change.