Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD (2 disc edition).
Seconds Apart Blu-ray.
2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.
(Christmas sticker and activity book, 1 pack of 6 Kodak AA batteries, 1 pack of 6 Kodak AAA batteries, 1 French gendarme van - not pictured.)
1. So what happened to January? I had flu.
2. I nearly didn’t bother logging this visit since most of the stuff we left down in Worthing, but I thought I’d better make the effort.
3. My Harry Potter project continues apace - if you remember, I am aiming to buy the full set of Harry Potter films from Poundland so that I don’t have to put them on the big pile of DVDs on the piano and listen to their endless taunting about having no time to watch them until the collection is complete - but I nearly let this one go since I couldn’t remember which one I’d already got. However, in the end I took a chance, as per the First Rule of Poundland, especially since if I found it up Hanley I’d no doubt have to pay the inflated £2 charge. As it happened I hadn’t got it, so that was good, and makes two.
4. I always buy dragon films since there’s a good chance they have dragons in them. What stops this becoming a Rule of Poundland was ably demonstrated on this visit because before spotting Dragon Dynasty I picked up There Be Dragons but reading the blurb I realised not only had I seen it and it was rubbish, it also had no dragons in it, despite the title. It is set during the Spanish Civil War and concerns the foundation of the Catholic secret society, Opus Dei, which you might think could be interesting with their deadly doings undermining the efforts of plucky bullfighters and flamenco dancers to bring some communism to their benighted country so they could set up their own Poundlands, but not so, this was not the Opus Dei of Mr. Dan Brown, this was an altogether different approach where Opus Dei wore the white hat and their doings were far from deadly but more sympathetically handled so that it was boring. So, be warned, not all films with Dragons in the title have dragons in them. Dragon Dynasty had two, and although they were of the cgi variety they were quite well drawn by the computer man. Like There Be Dragons this was also based on history, in this case Marco Polo and his travels to China. Whilst there he meets the Emperor of China played by James Hong (while watching the film I reflected on the fact that I’d been watching James Hong for nearly all of my life, ever since he was Charlie Chan’s No. 1 son on telly back in the 50s) whose wicked son does not approve of Marco Polo’s western ways and conjures up two dragons to kill him. Marco escapes and travels back to Italy, where the historical accuracy seems to falter since it looks a bit like ancient Rome, pursued by the two dragons which lay waste to the city. I won’t spoil the ending but rest assured Marco Polo survives to do whatever he did after he came back from China - probably wrote a book then went on The One Show and talked about it a bit. Stana Katic, her from Castle, was in it also, sporting a big nose - not in some misguided stab at Oscar glory for dragon films rarely get a look-in, but because she had a big nose prior to doing Castle. The best thing about Dragon Dynasty was a trailer for The Immortal Voyage of Captain Drake: The Pirate King which was also on the disc. This looked so good that I forgot all about Rule 2 and went back to Worthing Poundland a couple of days later just in case they’d got a copy. They hadn’t. But I will be keeping my eye out for it. I did have a google in case the trailer was online but all I could find was this German version which just makes it look a bit weird.
4. Enough of all this history. Seconds Apart was a Blu-ray so I bought it. Again, this could be a rule except that soon Blu-rays will be ten-a-penny (or one-a-pound or one-a-two-pounds if you live in Stoke) as the magic wears off, so it won’t be.
Tuesday, 10th March - Worthing
Drag Me To HellDVD.
The 13th Warrior DVD.
Humanity’s End DVD.
Dark Relic DVD.
The Happy Hoofer by Celia Imrie.
Jane Asher’s Kitchen Palette Knife.
I packet of Jane Asher’s Kitchen Dark Chocolate Chips.
1 tube of Jane Asher’s Kitchen Mini Mallows.
2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.
(Dino Groan Tube and Matchbox Travel Tracker Truck not shown.)
1. Another manic visit to Worthing Poundland en famille - completely forgot we needed fatballs for the birds and batteries for everything else. The regulation car purchase was for the No. 1 grandson, as was the Dino Groan Tube, which he selected himself. He seemed quite taken with it in the shop - it’s one of those plastic tubes with a dinosaur head on the top and when you turn it upside down it makes a groaning sound like a real dinosaur if he was reduced in size and trapped inside a plastic tube in Worthing Poundland. It is very similar to the canned sheep which I used to play when I was in a band and I was pleased to see my genetic imprint at work on the next generation as he turned the thing up and down and marvelled at the musical possibilities which John Cage had unlocked back in the 1950s. Turned out it was just a ruse to make me put it in the basket. Once outside and the object of desire firmly in his possession, the young hooligan swung it round a couple of times then gripped it in both hands, lifted it above his head and said, “Lego Star Wars!”
The Dino Groan Tube is another product of Mr. H. Grossman, who, you will remember is also responsible for the ‘Deadstone Valley’ toys. I cast aspersions on Mr. Grossman’s taste and toy-manufacturing abilities last year, but now it seems I have to eat my words - the feller obviously knows his stuff and how best to appeal to the devious mind of the average two-and-a-half year old.
2. The Celia Imrie book was for friend Clive, who is a fan of Miss Imrie.
3. Jane Asher’s products were purchased by the good lady wife so I assume cakes will be made.
4. I was a bit rushed when choosing DVDs and made a mistake with Dark Relic. I had a feeling I’d seen it before and had a notion it was not that good, but I did not have time to stand and ponder since there were regulation cars and Dino Groan Tubes to be bought. In the end I threw caution to the wind and obeyed the First Rule of Poundland. I watched it whilst ironing and realised I had seen it before, but it was not as bad as I thought. There was a lot of wandering round in a snowy landscape, but I’d forgotten the bit with the zombie monks, which was quite effective, and although it was not replicated in the film, in the picture on the cover of the DVD, Sir Gregory is wearing the proper flat hat of the Templar, so kudos to the illustrator.
5. Humanity’s End was one of the trailers on the Dragon Dynasty DVD and I was intrigued (not as intrigued as I was by the trailer for The Immortal Voyage of Captain Drake: The Pirate King but Worthing Poundland still hadn’t got that) since it seemed to be a proper sci-fi film with lots of cgi spaceships waging war in the far reaches of the galaxy. Which it turned out to be, although interrupted by the shenanigans of a supposedly comic hero, and a strange mythos which is explained in one of the extras on the disc. One for the feminists as well.
Coincidentally, I had a conversation with my barber about humanity’s end the other week. I say conversation, but it’s more of a Harold Pinter play. After the usual discussion about the weather, he picks a topic from the UKIP manifesto and we then have a kind of debate where our arguments glance off each other without interacting. I find this is safer than risking a full-blown argument with a man wielding a pair of scissors. This time the subject under discussion was global warming which my barber felt was made up by the PC brigade. I said we had been having funny weather lately. He said it doesn’t make any difference what we do because all them developing nations take no notice. I said recycling was a good idea, all them coloured bins. He said the earth had been going for millions of years and we had ice ages in the past. I said we might as well carry on as we are doing and then let the insects have it and give them a go. Then he got the mirror out and showed me the back of my head.
6. The 13th Warrior was a good purchase since I’d been meaning to buy a copy of this for years. Directed by John McTiernan and written by Michael Crichton (who also reshot some scenes) The 13th Warrior had a troubled history and was a box office flop, but I think it captures the essence of Anglo-Saxon literature far better than any of the Beowulf films.
7. Drag Me To Hell is a neat little horror film directed by Sam Raimi. If you’re as sick of vampires and zombies as I am then I would heartily recommend it.
Breaking News ...
Not really, but it makes a change. Friend Clive told me that the £2 section in the Hanley Big Poundland has been cleared. Apparently some brave soul complained to the Advertising Standards Authority who ruled that Poundland were not entitled to sell items for two pounds when they had a bloody big sign on all their shops saying “Everything’s £1”. Which makes sense. In this item from The Guardian Mr. Poundland explains that it was due to “a trial of a concession with a third party in a small number of stores”, presumably the man who gets a load of old DVDs and sticks a ‘Replay’ sticker on them. Since every other Poundland I’ve been in, apart from the Hanley Big Poundland, still sells the ‘Replay’ DVDs for £1, I presume they will continue to do so and the Hanley Big shop will fall into line. We shall see. Paddy Regan, News at Ten, up Hanley.
Thursday, 23rd April - Tenby, Wales
Demon Hunter: The Resurrection DVD.
The Mummy Returns (2 disc edition) DVD.
Argan Treatment Oil.
1 bag of yoghurt-coated cranberries.
1 pack of 6 Kodak Xtralife AAA batteries.
2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.
1. Wales, Wales, Wales, Wales, Wales, Wales, Wales, Wales, Wales, or however it goes. Men of Harlech dum dum dum dum - that’s another one. So we’re in Wales for a bit, down in the south end, over in the corner - the Pembrokeshire coast. Very nice it is too. As is Tenby which we visited and where I was made to feel right at home since there was a big funeral in the town that day and there were all these men in black suits walking about so I fat right in. I should explain the photos. There isn’t one of the items in a bag because in Wales you have to pay for your bags, so we didn’t. Instead there’s a photo of the outside of the Tenby Poundland, which is in an old picture palace. I have to confess that I did a bit of research before we went to Wales because I was running out of lighters and I wanted to know if there were any Poundlands in the area, and it said on the Poundland site that the Tenby one was in an old cinema. Not that you’d know it from the inside, they’ve just constructed the normal Poundland within, and I even peeped inside the storeroom at the back and that was all plasterboarded and breezeblocked as well. So that’s a pity. It would have been nice if they’d turned it into a theme-Poundland and had some posters on the walls and maybe a screen down one end where they could project some of the DVDs they’ve got.
2. Like Demon Hunter, which I only bought because it’s got a lenticular cover. Lenticular covers are the next best thing to steelbooks in the DVD packaging arena so when you find one for a pound you are obliged to buy it whether it’s another flying Chinese fighty film or not. Which Demon Hunter, judging by its lenticular cover, appears to be.
3. The Mummy Returns is not as good as The Mummy because it’s got a kid in it. But it’s o.k. and I’ve got the other one, so this makes a set.
4. The good lady wife bought the Argan Treatment Oil so you’ll have to ask her what that does. I didn’t know we had an argan that needed treating. She also purchased the yoghurt-coated cranberries. I tried one. It was not as bad as it sounded but not something you’d like to grab a handful of and stuff in your mouth like smarties or cherry lips.
5. Here are some more pictures of Tenby Poundland before and after its transformation.
[Click this one and you’ll see a bloke having a fag on the left and a workman blowing his nose on the right.]
Friday, 24th April - Carmarthen, Wales
The Lost Boys DVD.
Jeepers Creepers DVD.
Déjà Vu DVD.
Fresh Linen Scented Dehumidifier.
Bear Brand Tights.
30 unscented Tea Lights.
1 bag of Cadbury Giant Buttons.
1. I used to think Carmarthen was the Welsh spelling of Carnarvon, but it inner, it’s a totally different town. The oldest town in Wales, in fact, and they’ve got a statue of Merlin carved out of a tree in the street where Poundland lives just to show that it’s so old that Merlin got his lighters there. This was a bit of a bonus. We were on us way wom and since it was a bit miserable and drizzly we just stopped at different places on the map and took in the damp sights, like Merlin, and there was a Poundland so I went in and bought some stuff.
2. The stuff I bought was Lost Boys, which was made before vampires got boring and Jeepers Creepers, which is a nice little horror film with an original monster, and Deja Vu which has got Denzel Washington in it so it is good.
3. The only other item I purchased was the bag of Cadbury big buttons. The good lady wife had already purchased a selection of chocolate bars for her own consumption in Mr. Thornton’s shop and since I do not particularly favour his produce, I reckoned I was entitled to a bag of big buttons since I was on holiday, so there.
Bob the Alien Warrior
I meant to mention this before, but I forgot. I missed my usual birthday trip to Poundland this year but no matter, the good lady wife gave me a Bob the Alien Warrior toy which she had purchased from Poundland along with the usual Maltesers. As you will notice from the photograph I have not opened it since I know from watching Bargain Hunt that toys lose their value if opened and played with and mint condition means keeping it secure in its box, so that’s where Bob the Alien Warrior will stay. I had a look for other toys in the ‘Alien Power’ series but all I could find in Wales were other Bobs of different colours. One thing I did learn from Bob the Alien Warrior is his Spanish name. It says on the back, above the warning about choking, “Bob el guerrero alienigena” which I put into Google Translate and it came back straightaway with “Bob the Alien Warrior”, which is the first time Google Translate ever got it right.
Tuesday, 26th May - Crewe
The Crimson Blind & Other Stories by H. D. Everett.
A 1.5 litre clip lock storage container.
2 packs of 2 twinkies.
1 pack of Go Ahead! crispy slices.
1 pack of Wright Watchers Raspberry Mallows.
1 pack of 2 Mr.Kipling Raspberry Sponge Puddings.
1 pack of 2 Mr.Kipling Golden Syrup Sponge Puddings.
1 pack of 2 Cadbury milk chocolate Sticky Puds.
2 packs of 10 Petplace wild bird fatballs.
1 1.7kg bag of Petplace wild bird seed.
1 pack of 11 Kodak Heavy Duty AA batteries.
1 pack of 4 Kodak Heavy Duty C batteries.
1 pack of 2 Kodak Xtralife C batteries.
3 packs of 7 disposable lighters.
1. Food for the birds, batteries for torches and radios, puddings for the good lady wife, lighters for my pipe and a box to put it all in; that takes care of the bulk of our purchases in a single sentence.
2. Twinkies. They’re a strange thing. An American invention and difficult to come by over here so when found worth snapping up. It is a small gooey cake and because of its rarity value is pleasing to the discriminating palate. If they could be purchased in Mr. Morrison’s on a regular basis then I think you’d grow sick of them quite quickly, but, in moderation, as with all things, Twinkies are nice. Do not be put off by their American origin, they are not like Hershey chocolate bars which have the niceness taken out to appeal to our colonial cousins.
Note to travellers: When shopping in America searching for nice chocolate do not be deceived, when coming upon kit-kats or mars bars or blocks of Cadbury’s chocolate, that these will give you an authentic taste of home. The Americans import these essentially British chocolate bars, then extract the niceness, so they taste as bad as their own products. It is moot whether this is done for the benefit of their populace who would otherwise be startled by eating proper chocolate or whether it is some scheme of the NSA to keep them under control so they can continue to go round shooting each other.
3. Talking of the NSA they are up to their old tricks again in Scopers recruiting telepaths to do their dirty work. They get their comeuppance when the telepaths rebel. Which doesn’t sound too bad and the plot might have justified the “Inception meets X-Men” tagline on the box if they’d had a bit more money for some big set-pieces. But there were proper people in it, including the great Wallace Shawn, and it was better than Mr. Turner.
4. Monsters I bought because it was a Blu-ray and had a lenticular cover. That was it. I had seen it before and was not that impressed, but that was probably partly due to all the hype about how the director had made it in his bedroom on his computer - the interesting monster bits at least - then padded it out with a couple of actors improvising as they wandered round a jungle. However, I should give it another go since I do get jealous of these people with super-computers in their bedrooms. Mine always limp along, steadily going slower and slower as various bits stop working. My DVD gave up a couple of weeks ago and I did that thing when you go into the Control Panel and tell it to have a look at it and it comes back with your DVD drive is working perfectly. Except it inner. So when Oscar-winner Stephen Hawking says that artificial intelligence is the biggest threat to mankind I’m afraid I have to differ. Unless he means that computers will gradually drive us all mad. My printer packed up the other day. I got a message saying ‘Your ink pads need replacing’. I went on the Epson site and searched for ‘ink pads’ and it came back with ‘Do you mean ink pass? What are you?’ Apparently Epson shut your printer down when they think the ink pads are full to overflowing and could cause spillage and damage carpets and the like. So you have to take your printer to your Epson dealer and they will replace the pads and reset the counter. Except my Epson dealer was Comet whose shop on Festival Park is still standing empty. I suppose I could go down there with my printer under my arm and bang on the door, like Burt Lancaster in the final scene of The Swimmer, but I’d just get funny looks, specially if I wore me trunks. So I’ll just have to buy a new printer. While the FBI (not the NSA because they’ve got their hands full fighting the telepaths) are investigating FIFA, they might take a look at printer people. The thing I don’t understand is how they can get the little kids in China to make a printer, which is a fairly complicated piece of machinery what with all the moving parts and the fancy electronics which can tell it when to stop working, for 30 quid, whereas the other gang of kids in Indonesia can’t fill some tiny plastic boxes with ink for less than 24 quid. This is either gross inefficiency or a racket. In fact I’m surprised that Lemuel Gulliver didn’t stop off on the island of Epsonia during his travels.
5. The book is another of those Wordsworth editions of forgotten Victorian/Edwardian ghost story writers. This time it’s Mrs. H. D. Everett who wrote under the pen name of ‘Theo Douglas’.
Wednesday, 1st July - Hanley (big shop)
Shakespeare In Love DVD.
The Exorcist (25th Anniversary edition) DVD.
Sin City DVD.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three DVD.
Alistair Cooke At The Movies edited by Geoff Brown.
Entirely Up to You, Darling by Richard Attenborough and Diana Hawkins.
Captains Outrageous by Joe R. Lansdale.
2 packs of 10 Petplace wild bird fatballs.
1 1.7kg bag of Petplace wild bird seed.
2 packs of 7 disposable lighters.
1. The annual trip to service the car. I did consider visiting both Hanley shops, the little one in the morning when I dropped the car off at Mr. Kwikfit’s house, the big one in the afternoon when I went back to pick it up, but then I decided to forego the first in favour of a short walk to see the new Civic Centre. The new Civic Centre has been built in Hanley on the site of the old one which was called Unity House and which was demolished when the council decided to build a new Civic Centre in Stoke (the town) which they have now decided is not fit for purpose and so have built the new one back in Hanley. This process of building civic centres then tearing them down has now been streamlined and the new one is going to be pulled down before the council even has chance to move in, which saves them a lot of time and, of course, the trouble of moving. One marvels at their efficiency. And I stood awhile and thusly marvelled at the gaily-coloured new building which is shortly to be no more. Then I caught the bus and went wom. Then I did stuff (can’t remember what, had me dinner, watched summat on telly) then caught another bus and went back up Hanley and so to Poundland.
2. The DVDs were replacements for various copies and need not detain us long. Shakespeare in Love I never bothered with at the pictures and was not impressed when it won all the Oscars. In fact I didn’t see it until it turned up on TV and then I was surprised to find I really enjoyed it, particularly one John Webster joke, so I thought I should watch it again. And I was also surprised to find a copy of the original version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. My life is full of surprises.
3. The Joe R. Lansdale book was a result of the First Rule of Poundland. No. 2 son is an avid reader of Mr. Lansdale’s œuvre and I was surprised (see) to find a copy of one of his books in Poundland. However, I could not remember whether No. 2 son had this particular title, but I reckoned, if he had, then I could read it anyway and find out what the appeal of Mr. Lansdale was. Turned out he had. Alistair Cooke belongs to that gentler age where men of wit and erudition would fill our airwaves. Now we live in a time when Michael Parkinson no longer interviews the likes of Orson Welles and Peter Ustinov but sells pens on behalf of undertakers and we are just left with comedians laughing at each other’s jokes. Richard Attenborough I never really liked as an actor, having seen too many of his representations of a snivelling cockney youth in my childhood but he did improve with age and I do like three of the films he directed, Oh! What A Lovely War, A Bridge Too Far and Grey Owl. And he always seemed like such a nice man.
4. The bulk of my purchases were for the birds. I’m beginning to wonder whether the William Cat Memorial Bird Sanctuary was a good idea. The other day I went to hang out the washing and six fat pigeons shot out of the apple tree. I felt like Tippi bloody Hedren. And the fat pigeons (and Mr. Magpie) can get through three fatballs in their little holder in two days, so it’s a drain on my resources. I wouldn’t mind if the posh birds from up Tittesworth Reservoir would pay us a visit, the tits and the finches and the brightly coloured siskin, but if I’m laying out all this money just to keep fat pigeons fat, then what’s the point? I did have one surprise (see, again) last week when I was doing the dishes and I looked up and there, on the little wall outside the window, was a sparrowhawk looking straight at me. I would have put his picture on the site, but when I moved to get the camera, he flew off into the apple tree. Eyes of a bloody sparrowhawk he had. But, he was a thing of beauty. I say he, he could have been a she, I’m not that au fait with the differing plumage of accipiter nisus. Now I have a moral dilemma. Am I right to want to see such a fancy bird in my garden, knowing that he has been attracted, not by Mr. Poundland’s fatballs, but by the gang of sparrows that live in the hedge and take over on the feeding tube thingies when the fat pigeons crawl off for a liedown. Have I really just invited death into my garden under the mistaken impression that I am giving life to our feathered friends (and pigeons). But then it gets worse. The other day I’m doing the dishes again and I look up and see a fat pigeon conversing with what I take to be a squirrel, or mayhap some child’s guinea pig gone astray, at least the pigeon was hopping down the lawn pursued by summat furry. Turned out it was a bloody big rat. It’s funny how if you stuck a big furry tail on a loathsome rat you’d have a cute little squirrel. If foxes had big furry tails then there wouldn’t be all them men in red coats hunt ... Well, it’s true about rats, it’s the tails what make you think ugh. I reckon Mr. Darwin put something in our genes when he took over so that we’d recoil in horror when we saw a rat so that we’d run off and wouldn’t have to get them big pointy hats out again and walk round with bells and stop people getting into the village so we could all die in peace.
Wednesday, 5th August - Hanley (big shop)
The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior Blu-ray.
The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martínez.
2 packs of 10 Petplace wild bird fatballs.
1 pack of 6 Kodak Xtralife AA batteries.
2 packs of 7 disposable lighters.
(Evil Woman DVD, box of maltesers and bag of chocolate peanuts not shown.)
1. I was a bit late putting this one up since it was the regular trip for the good lady wife’s birthday, hence the missing items in the picture. The maltesers and chocolate peanuts are self-explanatory, Evil Woman has a cameo appearance from Neil Diamond, of whom the g.l.w. is a BIG fan.
2. The book looked interesting going by the blurb. It was by the author of The Oxford Murders, which I’d not read, but I’d seen the film, which was o.k. and Borges gets mentioned on the back, so, you never know.
3. Borges is not mentioned on the cover of The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior. I couldn’t remember whether I’d actually seen it and I’d never been that keen on Scorpion King 1: Let’s Cash in on The Mummy 2 but I noticed it was directed by Russell Mulcahy and it was on blu-ray, so I thought I’d give it a go.
Friday, 14th August - Bexhill-on-Sea
National Treasure DVD.
Lethal Weapon DVD.
8 Pack Sheet Wrap.
Jane Asher’s Kitchen Bright White icing.
Jane Asher’s Kitchen Sugar Pearls.
(A bag of mint imperials and a bag of pear drops not shown.)
1. I had spent the morning looking for the grave of Robert Buchanan’s father in the churchyard of St. Peter’s, Bexhill, where he is buried (just in case you think I would be foolish enough to visit churchyards at random just on the off chance). I did not find it since most of the graves had had their inscriptions removed by the salty sea air so a bit of advice, if you aim to get buried in Bexhill, make sure you specify some sturdier class of stone for your memorial in case one of your descendants gets to be famous and the BBC does a “Who Do You Think You Are? (Jumped Up Celebrity Person - implied)” programme about them, otherwise they won’t get the chance to stand in front of your grave having a bit of a weep. But my glummity was dispelled when the missus (the good lady wife has now passed the 60 mark and so I have decided to change her monicker, which is not her real name, in fact I may revert to ways of old and call her ‘my old dutch’) spotted a Marks & Spencer shop and I, a Poundland, on the outskirts of the town. First we went into Marks & Spencer so that the old Dutch person could buy a bright red mac so that the next time we visit Venice she can scare the bejasus out of Donald Sutherland, then I was allowed a minute to run round Poundland.
2. I apologise for another incomplete picture. We bought the sweets for the car.
3. I should also point out that Jane Asher’s Kitchen Sugar Pearls are actually on sale at 2 for a pound, but since the o.D.p. was feeling a little queasy and had left me alone at the till, when the nice young lady informed me of this, I panicked. The o.D.p. had chucked these in my basket so I had no idea where she’d found them and it was a big shop and there was a queue behind me and I thought she’d gone back to the car, but as it happened she’d only made it to a chair by the door and if I’d seen her I could have shouted “where did you get the Jane Asher’s Kitchen Sugar Pearls because they’re 2 for a pound so I need another one” in Dutch, so I did the only thing I could think of and forewent the bargain but when I told the n.y.l. of my decision she gave me a funny look as though I had broken some secret rule of Poundland to which even I was not privy.
4. I bought Lethal Weapon because I bought Lethal Weapon 3 from the Stirling Poundland two years ago and I still haven’t watched it, mainly because I think it’s the rubbish one with Joe Pesci being ‘funny’. But the first one I haven’t seen for years and it does have good credentials, directed by Richard Donner and written by Shane Black, so I wouldn’t mind seeing it again and maybe it will make me want to watch 3 (but I doubt it).
5. No such convoluted reasoning with National Treasure which is a really good adventure film with people on a quest and stuff happening and since I didn’t have a proper copy, I bought it.
6. ‘In the poetry contest in China by which the Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism was chosen, there were two poems. One said: “The mind is like a mirror. It collects dust. The problem is to remove the dust.” The other and winning poem was actually a reply to the first. It said, “Where is the mirror and where is the dust?”’ From ‘Indeterminacy’ in Silence by John Cage.
I was reminded of this on our last day in the South. Not because Nicolas Cage is in National Treasure (and why they couldn’t have given him the Oscar for that instead of the one where he has no adventures but just gets drunk I don’t understand) but because of a conversation which took place in a playground between No 1 grandson, Eric, his friend, Lochlan, and No. 1 daughter-in-law. Young Lochlan (who is come out of the west) had imagined there was a fire on the climbing frame thingy.
Lochlan: There is a fire.
No. 1 daughter-in-law: How are you going to put it out?
Lochlan: I will need a fire extinguisher.
N. 1 d-i-l: Have you got one?
Lochlan: No, it’s up the mountain.
N. 1 d-i-l: How are you going to get up the mountain?
Lochlan: There’s a button and if I press it I can go up the mountain and get the fire extinguisher.
Eric: I’ve stamped it out with my feet.
The Zen of Eric.
Wednesday, 7th October - Hanley (big shop)
10,000 BC Blu-ray.
Fright Nite Creepy Photoframes
1 box of Milk Tray
2 packs of Weight Watchers Raspberry Mallows
1 pack of 30 Coley & Gill unscented tea lights.
1 pack of 6 Kodak Xtralife AAA batteries.
1 pack of 5 assorted Ultra Max Alkaline Xtra capacity batteries.
2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.
Thought I should mention that I read The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martínez, which I purchased back in August, and it’s very good. There’s a definite air of Jorge Luis Borges wafting through it. I would say I read it in a single sitting but that would have meant getting rid of the telly and the computer, but I did finish it in four days, which is good for me.
The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior, which I also purchased in August, was also a lot better than I expected.
1. This was a bit of a weird one. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Hanley Big Poundland after a long hiatus expecting to come out heavy-laden, instead, of course, all I got was lighters and bird seed. This time, I go up Hanley to buy some pipe cleaners from the only shop that sells them (not Poundland, unfortunately, but the establishment of Mr. Edwards, which is a very grim place indeed since they have had to follow the new laws about hiding cigarettes and tobacco products from the impressionable eyes of the young, which might make some kind of sense in a supermarket, but seems a bit extreme in a tobacconists, so that you go into Mr Edwards’s and there’s nothing on display, it’s all hidden behind shutters, and rather than the cosy, slightly Victorian air of the past, it now has the forbidding atmosphere of a Moscow shop in the 1950s when they’ve just sold the last loaf of bread, and I know that tobacco is bad for you and we’re not allowed to kill ourselves in this great land of ours but must soldier on to a grand old age and spend the last twenty years of it sitting in a chair dribbling and drooling with our minds gone tatas to see chuck-chucks, and I know that cigarettes are weapons of mass destruction and [strong message here] I just wonder whether at the International Arms Fair which was held down in London the other week, when all the planes and guns and all the rest of the stuff which we sell to everybody in order to keep the war industry going, whether they were all hidden in cupboards and behind shutters) and for some reason I come out with a bagful of stuff. I must have been in a playful mood.
2. Do you know the price of dinosaurs these days? There was a time when you could go into any rubbish shop and find a big box full of plastic dinosaurs, twopence each. Now Toysrus sell them for 15 pounds a pop, or you can buy a set with a lot in if you don’t mind the humiliation of using foodbanks for the rest of your life, so when I saw a box in Poundland with dinosaurs in - and I’m not talking of titchy little dinosaurs now, if you’re going to buy a dinosaur, you want it to have a bit of heft to it - I bought a couple for No. 1 grandson.
3. Duck Race was for me, not for No. 1 grandson. I’ve always been taken by those little penguins going up and down slides and round a circuit which appear at Christmas. I find them very restful. But I’ve never bought one because they’re too expensive. So I was delighted to see a version of the penguin thing but with ducks in Poundland. However, when I got the Duck Race home and got it out of its rather impressive packaging, I was a bit disappointed to find that it was a mechanical version of the electric penguin thing. The penguins go up and down their perpetual motion circuit on their own, powered, I presume, by batteries. To get the ducks to move you have to bang this switch up and down. The penguins would have been a restful addition to my desk, an executive toy if you will, which would put me in mind of the ceaseless rotation of the earth round the sun, whereas the ducks merely add to the workload. I cannot sit here typing stuff on my keyboard while simultaneously banging this switch thing to make the ducks go up the ladder to reach the top of the slide, plus they always get stuck at the top, so you have to wait till you’ve banged the other one up there to give him a nudge. It’s hard work and I am reminded of the words of the old hymn:
“The rich man in his castle with his penguins, The poor man at his gate with his ducks, God made them high and lowly, Because He’s a Tory bastard.”
So, although I probably got my pound’s worth of fun, and a sore finger, I cannot, hand on heart, recommend Mr. Poundland’s Duck Race.
4. 10,000 BC was a bit of a daft purchase, but I was in that kind of mood. I’d seen it on telly and it’s a bit rubbish, but I thought the ending was good. It starts out like one of those caveman movies, which are always a bit boring unless they’ve got dinosaurs, but then they’re historically inaccurate and people complain, so this one hasn’t, but then right at the end the cavemen turn up in ancient (sorry, spoiler) Egypt, which is quite clever. Plus, it was on blu-ray.
5. I should mention the batteries. Not the AAAs, I got them for one of the remotes, but the other pack of five assorted funny-sized batteries. The good lady wife’s (she told me she doesn’t like being called Dutch) aged parent’s doorbell broke the other day and when I took the pushy bit off, expecting to find one of those flat, round batteries, like what we’ve got in ours, instead I found a funny-sized battery, a bit like the funny-sized battery we’ve got in a posh clock, which we can never find in a shop (you used to have to go to Mr. Dixon’s and ask him but he’s not there anymore) so the clock stops, never to go again, when the old man died, so I thought that’s it then, funny-sized battery, Mr. Dixon dead, forget it, buy a new doorbell. Then whilst perusing the battery display to select my AAAs, I spotted this pack of assorted funny-sized batteries (let joy be unconfined). However, turned out the g. l. w.’s a. p.’s doorbell suddenly started working again, so no need for the replacement, but when it goes again I am prepared (as long as I don’t ‘put it somewhere safe’).
6. ’Tis the Halloween season again, so there was a big display of rubbish devoted to the dark arts. There was nothing in the Halloween DVD section (which is probably why I ended up buying 10,000 BC) but my eye was taken by a cardboard broom emblazoned with the name, Salem. But that was a bit rubbish too. Plus, I’ve been to Salem and it’s not how you picture it. Not a witch in sight, just actors dressed up, and only one building preserved from the time of the witch hunts, which you’re not allowed into. And only one bus. They do have a shop selling gigantic ice creams though. Anyway, I scanned the shelves with a rather superior air of one who has trod the paths of Satan and found them a bit boring, when I saw the Creepy Photoframes. These are scary. They are lenticular portraits of the damned. Anything lenticular is worthy of note, but these are true masterpieces of terror to boot. For example, watch the little lad on the left in this moving picture presentation:
Monday, 21st December - Hanley (big shop)
Rising Sun Blu-ray.
Three Kings DVD.
Kung Fu Panda car.
Baking 2016 Calendar.
Long Reach Grabber.
1 box of Maltesers.
i bag of Chocolate Peanuts.
1 pack of 10 Sony AA batteries.
1 pack of 4 FusioMax Endurance AA batteries.
2 packs of 10 Wild Bird Fatballs.
1 bag of National Trust Premium Wild Bird Seed - General Mix
2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.
[And one plastic bag (5p) to save the environment.]
1. Well, this is a bit weird, because I’m writing this after we’ve just taken down the Christmas decorations and burnt the last snowman. Thought I might as well wait to avoid the usual dilemma of revealing the box of maltesers too early and spoiling the magic of the season. This was my regular Christmas trip to Poundland, but it was not particularly fruitful. I think the birds came out best with a new seed feeder, fatballs and a bag of seed. Not that they’ve taken to the new feeder, which I admit is rather flimsy in its construction. I think they’ve pegged it as Poundland and don’t want to risk standing on the little plastic perch. The fatballs were a great success though and at one point we had two blackbirds, three fat pigeons and four jackdaws all vying for position - almost enough for a song. The Kung Fu Panda car was for the No. 1 grandson, but its only novelty was it came with stickers so you could decorate it with the images of Mr. Kung Fu Panda.
2. There were loads of copies of Rising Sun on Blu-ray, which seemed a bit random, so I bought one. And I thought I should get a copy of Three Kings - it’s the only decent film directed by David O. Russell, which undermines my theory about most directors making two good films, but I suppose he might come up with another, although his latest is about a woman who invented a mop, so that does not augur well - I find as the mess in the Middle East continues to spiral into Swiftian territory, it’s interesting to see which films got it right.
3. The Long Reach Grabber solved a problem I’ve had for a while. How to clean the side of the cooker and the narrow space between it and the kitchen wall. I had been looking for some kind of proper instrument to do the job (maybe that’s what the woman in the new David O. Russell film came up with and it hasn’t travelled across the Atlantic yet) but in the end I settled for putting a J-cloth on the end of my grabber and sticking that down the hole. It works!
Tuesday, 29th December - Worthing
Badge of Fury Blu-ray.
The Only Classical Album You’ll Ever Need CD.
[And some other stuff.]
1. Now this is a poor end to the year, but it can’t be helped. The rest of the purchases were eaten and no bag was bought, so all we are left with is a Jet Li Blu-ray and a CD.
2. Since the CD does not contain Boccherini’s ‘Guitar Quintet No. 6 in D major’, I suspect that I am not the ‘you’ referred to in the title. I usually resist such compilations, but I thought it might be nice to keep it in the car for when the mood strikes. I do like the fact that the track listing on the back gives you a handy aide-memoire, pointing out which film or TV advert made them famous. Thus ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana was “made famous by the ‘Old Spice’ TV commercial” and Bach’s ‘Air on the G String’ was “made famous by the ‘Hamlet’ cigar TV commercials” - although that was the Jacques Loussier jazz version, and whether anyone remembers cigar telly ads, or cigars even, these days, is a moot point. Some are so famous that they haven’t needed the help of admen, such as Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus’. Mozart’s ‘Alleluia’ just has the note, “this music was used in the Royal Wedding”, without specifying which Royal Wedding - presumably that of Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp and Charles, Duke of Södermanland in 1774. One reference which did annoy me was the one for Rachmaninov’s ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini’, which apparently was “made famous by the movie Groundhog Day”. Any reference to Groundhog Day annoys me since the whole idea for the film was ripped off from a short film, made three years earlier, called 12:01 PM, directed by Jonathan Heap, who co-wrote it with Stephen Tolkin, based on a story by Richard Lupoff. Admittedly, not played for laughs, but even so, you’d think they deserved some sort of credit. So, as we step blindly into 2016, here it is: