Archive for the 'movies' Category

Trains to Brazil

I really should watch more movies. But i’m always reluctant too. It seems like a whole two hours that i could spend reading books or making brownies instead.

But when I do manage to quell the restless hyperactivity I do tend to enjoy it.

Dosed with the cold I watched Cidade dos Hommens. A further feature film from a series of TV shows that began original in the film City of God.

I find Rio the most intriguing city in the world. I loved my time there (all 5 days of it) and the geography of the place blows me away. And where in the world are the worst poverty stricken residential areas the ones with the best views?

Movies are so full of purely western cultural ideas and contexts. Movies like this are a useful reminder that the rest of the world actually exists. Even if it only reminds us that it exists in poverty and violence.

Broken Bridges

to celebrate the return of the Belfast-Dubln line (after the railway fell into the sea) I took a day return to see Transfarmer and revelled in the ability to read and doze and sip whisky instead of directing the volvo down the long and boring road that is the M1.

I considered trying the reading, dozing and whisky while driving but decided it mightn’t end well.

Cracking meal in this place – my chorizo appetite knows no bounds.

Called in at this place to watch An Education before my train back.

Nick Hornby wrote the screen play.

Now i like Nick Hornby. Or rather i like some of his books. I loved about a boy, i live my life by what i learned from High Fidelity. I might like Nick Hornby too but i don’t know him and he lives in London and so i see no prospect of getting to know him.

An Education is somewhat of a let down. Basic take home message seems to be this:

If you’re prettier and smarter than your class mates then be sure to engage in an illicit afair with a married man in order to learn the fundamental life lesson that men are bastards and women are idiots (at least when it comes to men). This will ensure a happy and more fulfilled later life.

Sounds of summer

Some of you come here for bitchy posts about medicine and the NHS. To be perfectly honest we’ve had a pretty decent summer. Everyone buggers off to Spain and the Balaerics for two weeks and get sick in other countries or fall over and break their arm in Portstewart and end up in other hospitals apart from mine.

People don’t come to this part of the world for their hols. They used to come in huge numbers for a bit of a riot around Drumcree but we seem to have moved on some what.

Swine flu has had a bit of an impact. We have lost our paediatric area to become a swine flu isolation area where we have to wander around dressed up like someone from the moon landings just to take a history from a very well looking patient.

Despite huge amounts of coverage telling people NOT to turn up at A&E or their GP but to ring first, people still keep turning up. We shout at them mainly when they do. Tis the caring profession.

Despite seeing a good 10-15 patients with flu and my own family getting it I’m still going strong. Be it chance or the rigorous immune system that goes with working in A&E I’m still fighting fit. I’m all for getting it to be honest. The idea of a week or two of enforced isolation with nothing but some paracetamol, some DVDs and shelf of books fills me with great enthusiasm. In my fantasy I’ve blanked out all the flu-symptoms that come with having flu. I’ll keep the fingers crossed for some fevers and arthralgias.

There have been times in the past few weeks where there haven’t been any patients in the department waiting to be seen. People have been seen promptly and thoroughly, often getting the time, dignity and grace that they deserve. Without the doubt the whole place and system runs so much more smoothly and better at times like these.

So how do you measure quality of care? How do you measure it genuinely and honestly? And do we really want to pay for it?

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But it’s hardly all work. I was at U2 being blown away by the sheer scale and audacity of the thing. Feeling slightly bad that I’d prefer to be leaning on the railings at the sound desk in somewhere like Vicar St or the Empire.

I have seen U2 in Croke. That was box ticked. If I see Bruce then I’m not sure what else there is to live for so I’ll put that off for a while.

I saw Potter at a 1030am matinee. I liked it. Though it’s been about 3 or 4 years since i last read the book so I’d forgotten half of it. Despite running to three hours it felt very, very rushed. Too many disparate parts that seemed to have no discernible link.

I had a ride on the train from Sligo to Dublin and found some theses throughout the train:

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I’m not sure Translink are quite with the program yet.

I’ve been working my way through Subverting Global Myths, with my black biro underlining virtually everything and scribbling little comments of approval in the margins. There’s sections with titles like “rediscovering Christian integrity” that get me all excited. There will be more quotes no doubt. If the gospel is not socially, politically and relationally radical then I want none of it.

I had some time on call in work and learned that when trying to put an IV in a child that’s fitting then it’s generally best to use the half of the child that’s not fitting.

I made a kick ass roast dinner for a stack of people and we ascended to new levels of interpersonal communication by requesting songs off spotify by texting knoker sitting by the computer in the corner.

I became intimately acquainted with the inside of a 2002 VW polo and realised that if the car stereo isn’t working then it’s cheaper to but a 15 pence fuse that a 70 quid new stereo. Every day’s a school day I suppose.

Beauty dies young

I am kind of a baz luhrmann fan. Not the whole sunscreen thing. That was just weird.

Magnolia was in the top 5 for quite a while till it got squeezed out by eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

having said that i have never seen romeo and juliet. Neither have i read the shakespeare version or read it in school.

i know the story – it is embedded in so much of what surrounds us.

So here in Dublin on a rainy night i watched it. And bloody hell it was good.

From the dialogue, to the religious icons, to the swords, to the cross dressing, to the angel wings and swimming pools, to the cars, to pete postelthwaite, to the whole shebang.

Fantastic.

Despite knowing the ending through and through i still watched it somehow hoping she’d wake up in time.

the tragedy and melancholy appeals to virtually every bone in my body. and there’s a lot of them.

How could I just kill a man

Just watched In Bruges.

Such a film.

I love them sitting on the bench rationalising their assassination and comparing it with the morality of helping little old ladies with their shopping.

The doubting, thoughtful, repentant assassin is a dying breed.

For some reason I don’t think it would work if they weren’t Irish. What does that say about us?

Devil in the details

I wonder how Islam felt over slumdog millionaire borrowing “allahu akbar” for the apex of the pursuit of what looked awful like the American dream. Especially when uttered by a dying, lapsed, muslim,money grabbing gangster.

Happiness only real shared

Is there anyone who’s seen into the wild who knows where he’s coming from – though more the freedom in in wilderness and travelling than the hating the parents and starving to death thing..

If everyone I loved died or vanished and I was left as a stranger in the word then I’d be gone. It is only the people that keep me here.

I dream of Kerouac it seems.

Itchy feet…

One more drifter in the snow

Almost home. Not quite but almost. Just enough time to fit another wee trip. This time – skiing. To summarize a blog I’ll never write. Skiing is an indulgent middle class past time, that requires so much money, energy and destruction to the environment that it is unlikely ever to be justified on an ecological, social or monetary basis. It is, however, simply wonderful. Very few things I do live up to the above justifications. Deal with it. Or at least struggle. I do.

Nee how

Ruapehu is a large volcano in the middle of the north island. So big in fact that lake Taupo (imagine lough Neagh) is the crater of the same system. Ruapehu is the mountain at the south end of the lake, most recently active about 10 years ago when it blew. Forbes (one my consultants) has an amazing photo about 6km from the crater in a ski hut. The crater lake burst its banks about 6 months ago causing a lahar that closed roads and swept out to sea.

So of course, one of the southern hemisphere’s largest ski resorts is based there.

I left Napier on Friday, drove the good old Napier to Taupo road (which provides the tastiest, and most violent of our trauma in Hawke’s bay) for two hours and walked about Taupo in the rain waiting for the cinema to open.

I watched ‘bridge to Terabithia’ with a bunch of 7 year olds. I expected Narnia. I was disappointed. So disappointed that I didn’t wait the extra half hour and watch transformers instead.

I was staying with Forbes and his wife’s cousin and family. They just hadn’t turned up yet, hence the cinema. They have a bach (a beach house, all kiwis have one. You do know this is the best country in the world don’t you?)

I was greeted with pizza and hospitality that I have been flooded with throughout my time in NZ. Well the hospitality, if not the pizza. I slept on their sofa bed and filled with porridge and fried eggs in the morning.

Taupo is about an hour and a half from the mountain. The far side of the lake. Which makes for a lovely drive from one end to the other, with the gleaming snow fields in view. I’m torn between stopping to take quality photos and getting to the ski field early.

Forbes is the person to go skiing with. He did ski patrol (as the medic) for years, he knows the area inside out. He knows all the huts and a lot of the people. I have a tour guides talk on the origin of the names (from Maori legend) and the geology of the area and which roofs of which huts he’s skied off.

It’s a Saturday, it’s the best day of the early season. It’s packed. Flippin people. Flippin people, flippin snow boarding (I was skiing not boarding today).

It takes us 45 mins to get to the top of the mountain on the lifts. We meet, very randomly, but most fortuitously, JT (another doc from the hospital) on the first lift and he joins us for the day.

The mountain is stunning. Nothing like skiing in Europe with its carefully pisted slopes and well marked runs. This is chaos. Bluffs and cliffs at every turn, rocks sticking up everywhere. It’s fantastic.

I end the day sharing a t-bar with a pretty kiwi girl who has at least spent time in Scandinavia (and got a funny accent out of it) and therefore fulfills my ‘pretty Scandinavian’ rule. We have a good chat but the t-bar runs out too quickly before she gets to find out I’m a doctor (which I can’t tell her, she has to ask, there are lots of rules remember), which, in my scale of talking to young pretty women who once visited Scandinavia, is perhaps my top trumph.

If the former paragraph makes no sense, don’t worry…

To end the day the lot of us (me, Forbes, his wife’s cousin, his wife’s cousin’s wife, his wife’s cousin’s 17 year old, and his wife’s cousins 17 year old’s mate – sorry for the horrible use of apostrophes) go to the local hot springs. They are kind enough to provide me with togs I forgot to bring. These turn out to be speedos so pornographic that I wear my boxers over the top. Good times.

Me, Forbes and Spence (Forbe’s wife’s cousin), talk late into the night, covering religion, ethics and why vinyl still beats digital. I’m treated to Spence’s collection of 45s (not 33s) including early Elvis and some dodgy Elton John. I play finger-picked detuned versions of Iain Archer and Pedro songs in the corner. Spence’s wife eventually tells us to shut up. Good times indeed.

Where the sharks breed

When I woke in Hicksville, I mean hick’s bay sorry… it wasn’t as wet. Though still cloudy. I didn’t hang around. The road from the east cape to the bay of plenty is long and a tad windy, lots of it being one lane hugging cliff faces. Nice scenery but a lack of cafes for brekkie. I found one by 11am that turned out to be lovely, so nice I had two coffees.

Windswept bay after dramatic windswept bay, and no where was there even a road down to the beach front. The one beach I could get down had a pretty scary looking swell and in the surf guide it said it was a shark breeding ground. I avoided that. Presumably the sharks breed here and then go to Australia or South Africa to eat Australians or South Africans. I’m pretty sure they don’t attack people here.

Just outside Opotiki there was finally a decent beach and lo and behold (what I thought was a mirage) a van selling coffees (proper espresso stuff none of your filter muck). A combination made in heaven. The sun even came out so I sat on the car with my latte reading ‘the poisonwood bible’ and getting very angry at the power of a story.

Well not the power of story itself just the power to denounce something (say biblical Christianity) with a stroke of character and narrative. I find myself getting angry both at the characters and the simplistic conclusions drawn on occasions. Though not a complaint really, if it makes me think a bit then it’s something, as long as I remember to think.

It is an immense book, I would recommend it to all, says a lot about the terrible things man has done in the name of GOD. Gives you a wonderful perspective on points of view. We have so little idea about how the religious appears to the irreligious.

Sorry, spiel on literature over (for now…)

From Opotiki I drove to Whakatane, which sounds quite rude if you pronounce it the proper Maori way. It’s actually a lovely wee place with a few decent cafes – in fact I judge towns solely on whether or not they’ve got nice cafes so that’s unfair. I found a wee secluded spot down the beach front and took the board out again.

Waves that look quite impressive from shore can be pretty pitiful when you’re out on them. These were just waves that tended to break on themselves and had no actual forward motion so I spent a lot of time just standing and quickly sinking. I gave up after 20 mins.

The other good thing about Whakatane is that it is a cinema. So I watched the 5pm showing of Pirates of the Caribbean with all the kiddies screaming laughing and talking all the way through it.

And yes I loved it. I will love it no matter what they do with it. Even if I found myself rather lost on occasion trying to work out who was betraying who at any given time. I just love pirate stories. The older I get the more I seem to like fantasy and sci-fi (though you’ll not see me at a star-trek convention). I imagine (cynically of course) that my childhood imagination is failing me and I’m just buying into someone else’s imagination. Like the bit in ‘Life after God’ with the guy in his twenties who despairs for life cause he’s scared there’ll be no new experiences in life. That makes me sad.

I got out of the cinema about 8pm and with nothing else to fill the evening (i could write a ‘things to do in whakatane when you’re dead’ couldn’t I?) I bought a sandwich and went straight back into the cinema to watch ‘Hot Fuzz’

Now the Irish may have all the best music but there’s little argument that the English have all the best comedians. I’m a huge ‘spaced’ fan (the tv show where simon pegg/nick frost/edgar wright made their name – if not their money) and it’s just pop culture/parody/reptitive comedy motifs at its very best.

There were a grand total of 4 of us in the cinema. Me and three hoodied (though i’m sure they didn’t see the irony) teenagers.

It made me laugh, made me laugh out loud, it made me feel smug cause I thought I spotted lots of the references to other films and TV shows. But I’m not sure if it was of any ‘value’ in any way. By which I mean it didn’t inspire me to question or affirm what I hold dear, I could see no higher purpose in me watching it. Save for entertainment and endorphins. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing in and of itself. I dunno what do you think? I have no snappy answer, even to whether it matters or not.

Movies, songs, books, tv shows are all deeply ingrained within me. Most of the time they just go in there and sit in the memory bank, to be brought up again in pub quizzes or the eternal ‘cartoons were better in my day’ debate. In recent years I’ve taken to analysing it all.

Everything I watch, read or lets just say ‘consume’ gets interrogated as to what it’s saying and whether or not what it says holds up as truth. I’m so passionate about truth that I want to sit down and have a chat with all the lyricists and novelists (with coffee of course) and debate what they were talking about. You’ll never find out where people are coming from if you don’t listen to what they say.

Which is why I have difficulty in categorising something like hot fuzz. In a lot of parody and satire it’s hard to find an agenda. And if there is one it’s mostly deflating something full of it’s own hot air. And so I’m comfortable with it – there is really so much hot air about and it’s hard to think of many things that couldn’t do with being taken down a peg or two (and please oh please start with me…)


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July 2020
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