LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
26 December 2015
War Games

The Force Awakens – not exactly; it nearly put me to sleep. In fact, my cinema
partner did fall asleep several times and he has seen every Star Wars – multiple
times and considered walking out – which had nothing to do with his
somnambulist state.

Everybody on this planet loved it…. OK, loooooooooooooooove it. I didn’t
haaaaaaaaaaate it, but my god it was boring. Putting aside: the lack of plot, the
American school of wooden acting, the sitcom joking – the essential laugh track
would have been overcome by the full-on orchestration - all those violins on a
loop? Or just repetitive? My god. John Williams needs a break before he starts
on next year’s blockbuster to come, just in time for Christmas.

My cinema routine: first or second row centre, no eating, no one behind to kick
my chair, no one next to my seat to take over the arm rest and slurp a fizzy
drink. The point? To be immersed in the film sans distractions. Well, I did
concede to the request of my cinema partner and sat further back, but only a
few seats. I followed the other routine. I still didn’t get ‘swept away’.

The cinema had clearly set the volume for the nearly deaf. I like loud: music, film
sound tracks, but after 20 or was it 40 minutes of over-kill of future kill-or-be-
killed trailers featuring fantasy-science-fiction I was beginning to have my
doubts about having the perfect cinema experience and had distracting thoughts
of having to pop into Boots to have my hearing tested on the walk home.

Seeing the trailer for Star Wars on TV actually looked fun, entertaining, exciting.
Hmmm.  All I really had to do was watch the trailer then.

To be clear in regards to personal film preferences, having to sit through a
romcom would be considered possible torture. No. Actual torture. Special effects
– yes. CGI – no. So why was it so boring? Oh really what does it matter. A mere
two viewers vs millions? 5 billion in sales next year through merchandising alone.
So it’s not about money then. Is it?

Film critic, Mark Kermode said of the audience: “spontaneous gasps, cheers,
laughs, whops and even occasional cries of anguish.” Did we see the same
film? The audience I sat with spent a lot of time leaving their seats. I don’t know
if they returned or not.

“The girl knows her stuff.” Oh dear, oh dear. Really? Clearly Rey (Daisy Ridley)
was the film, knowing her stuff et al. Possibly not for director Max Landis
(American Ultra and Victor Frankenstein) who in a series of tweets thought the
girl didn’t know her stuff: “They finally did it. They made a fan flic movie with a
Mary Sue as the main character.” Huh? A what? Apparently a ‘Mary Sue’ is a
derogatory (no surprise here) term for dismissing female characters. Huh?
Lovely, Landis. Landis listed Rey’s many “unrealistic” talents: she’s an
accomplished fighter, pilot and mechanic. Yeeees…. And your point? Did he
possibly miss that this film was not a documentary?

Landis reminds us “you have to be perfect, but not so perfect that it takes the
audience out of the movie”. I was already ‘out of the movie’. “No one should be
distracted by the sight of a strong, capable woman who is too good at what she
does.” Jealous perhaps, Max? Wait. I just looked up Max and he’s 12. OK. 30,
but he looks and acts 12.

Americans good, British bad…cowboys and Indians. No one has mentioned
Finn (John Boyega). Curiously given a common British name (meaning white,
fair- an Irish mythological hero - hmmmm) played by a British actor acting as an
American, whose character is at best, naïve at worse, a bit dim and head of
sanitation. Really? Not a bit – oh you know. John Boyega has been turning up at
screenings unannounced. What’s not to love?

The film has made $1bilion to date. My god. After less than a week. Oh my god.
Clearly the force has awakened. “Chewie. We’re home.”


A Holy War

In their Christian, I mean Christmas messages, the PM CalMeDave and the
Queen rallied behind ‘Christian values’. Right. Dave said that the country's
religious foundations meant people should spend time thinking about the
meaning of Christmas. Isn’t that the job of the Archbishop, Dave?

"As a Christian country, (with most Christian churches nearly empty – except
possibly for Christmas) we must remember what Jesus Christ's birth represents:
peace, mercy, goodwill and, above all, hope.

"I believe that we should also reflect on the fact that it is because of these
important religious roots and Christian values that Britain has been such a
successful home to people of all faiths and none." So ‘we’re [still] all in it
together’ then, Dave? Hmmm. And as a major multi-cultural, multi-religious
country, Dave? ‘Hypocritical spin’ comes to mind.

CMD went on about the importance of national security. A euphemism for total
surveillance possibly? Terrorism perhaps? Curiously Christian charity seemed to
be missing, Dave. Hundreds of homeless little children et al. "If there is one thing
people want at Christmas, it's the security of having their family around them and
a home that is safe." Only Christians, Dave? And all those suffering Syrians,
Dave? The man has no shame. Did I hear Onward Christian Soldiers playing in
the background? Perhaps not.

And we always need a story as an example don’t you reckon? Well, a 92 year-
old widow with heart problems, blind in one eye is being shipped back to South
Africa where she has no friends or family. Her visa application has been
rejected. Why you are surely asking? Her 66 year-old (only) daughter is also
asking. She has been taking care of her frail mother since 2014. A few more
details? The woman was born under the British flag, her father fought in WWI,
her brother in WWll.

The private outsourcing company hired and held in such high regard by the
caring Home Office, Captiva, hasn’t found her worthy. The Home Office said:
her condition was “not deemed to be life-threatening and suitable medical
treatment” was available in her birth country. Charity clearly beginning at Home
(Office).

Dave. Remember the Crusades and how that all ended.
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