Sunday, 18 November 2012

Bond - Growing old gracefully

Let me share my new movie crush.
Last weekend, I had a moviegoing epiphany.  I went to see Skyfall, not knowing what to expect but guessing I would be somewhat underwhelmed.  I should nail my Bond colours to the mast.  I was convinced the new Bond needed to be Clive Owen.  Tall, dark, handsome, suave, sophisticated, the ability to carry off shaken but not stirred with an air of superiority - you know what I mean.  
I didn't get Daniel Craig.  He looked and felt all wrong to me.  Like everyone else on the planet, I saw the clip of him in his first Bond outing, emerging, scantily clad and dripping from the ocean in a scene cleverly reminiscent of  Bond girls Ursula Andress and more recently, Halle Berry.  I thought he looked great but unBondlike and I was sure Bond had been Hollywoodised but not in a good way.

No-one was more surpised than me when I left the movie theatre declaring my love for Daniel Bond Craig.  He's even taken over Roger Moore as my all time favourite.  Already.  And I've only seen Skyfall.

I'm not familiar enough with Ian Fleming's vision of Bond to know whether he is more or less like he should be, but I know this - I loved Craig's portrayal of the character, I loved his interplay with the other Bond stalwarts and I loved the look and feel of the movie.   Sam Mendes has done a magnificent job.  For me, the movie looked fresh, exciting, stripped back and uncomplicated but was still edge of your seat adventure stuff that had me gripped from start to finish.  I found it atmospheric, beautifully shot and quite old fashioned looking.  It felt like an attempt to move away from the gadget weilding, presposterous plot Bond.  And how!  What he's allowed Daniel Craig to create is a believable, mean, gritty, human, ageing, less than perfect, hard as nails Bond that I absolutely adore.  Now I can see that Clive Owen wouldn't have worked.

He looks and behaves like a man in his 40s, struggling to keep up with the rigours of being a fearless, trained killer.  His lettered enablers, M & Q, play crucial parts in the story, but there are twists in this particular plot that make them vitally important.  Q's back to basics approach to gadgetry is refreshing and works perfectly with our ageing hero.  We only get to see his true technical wizardry as the plot emerges and young Ben Whishaw plays this part brillliantly.  What a find, he looks born to play the role.   If you remain one of the only people who still haven't seen Skyfall, I won't spoil it for you.  Suffice to say, Bond's relationship with M is played out beautifully with professionalism but enough tenderness to melt even the hardest heart.

Not only is this a must see action and adventure movie,  I think it is one of the best Bond movies I have ever seen.  I'm sure it cost squillions to make but the special effects are very light touch - the only fireworks on show were the 12a version of Bond's sexual climax.   

For me, Bond finally has a realistic context - we can see how old he is, we are not that far removed from the world he inhabits and we get to watching him navigate his way, with extreme difficulty, through the path of the baddies.  Casting Daniel Craig was a stroke of genius and watching him come to terms with his age  was a real pleasure.

Isn't that what we all want - to grow old gracefully..?

Go see it.  Now. 

DanielCraigoutof10? - a definite 10.

This is what I imagine James Bond listens to on his ipod when he's contemplating his next job. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A life less ordinary

I decided to start blogging for a number of reasons:
  1. I have a few chums who blog and I was always interested in their blog-chat.
  2. I am fascinated by the creative process but felt I had pretty much nothing artistic to contribute.  I wondered if blogging might be my foray into the art of writing.
  3. I don't mind admitting that for a while, I wanted to be a journalist/writer when I grew up.  
Imagine the technology existing that allows us to get involved creatively, without the need for publishers, money, like minded or sycophantic people with influence.  Once I convinced myself I would get my blog on, I thought about what I would write. Now that was the hard but interesting part. I began to think that what people choose to blog about kind of defines them - in as much as it's important enough for them to commit those thoughts and opinions to the blogosphere.  

I've been called lazy.  I prefer to think of it as reflective and contemplative.  I suppose it depends who you ask. When I started to consider what I think about during all of my "downtime" I realised it would be the perfect inspiration for my new blog.  I am fortunate enough to be a naturally positive person so I thought I would blog about the ordinary things that make me happy.  I also hoped other people, who might come across the blog, would start to reflect on the things in their own lives that make them happy.  Perhaps I would start a new movement...  I also thought it would give some justification to my procrastination - "yeah, I'm just reflecting on what has made me happy this week so I can share it with my blog chums." And I have a probably annoying habit of rating everything out of 10.  It makes sense to me.

A learned blogger said it's important to blog once a week @ least, in order to keep any potential readers hungry and interested. Well, I fell @ the first hurdle since my last blog entry was in July.  It's not that I haven't been counting my blessings and rating them out of 10.  It's just that I've not managed to share them with anyone other than my best chum. 

But today I found the headspace.  I wonder if it's because I'm spending the weekend on a Scottish island with a population of less than 100.  I'm in a beautiful place and have had plenty of time to consider what life and blogging are all about and the effect outside influences have on our ability to be happy.  If this was the view from my window every morning, would my life feel differently I wonder?

So.  I'm going to find the time every week to stop, reflect on what's made me happy and to tell you dear blog chums.  

As I write, one of my musical heroes, Paul Weller, is on telly, advertising his forthcoming programme from Abbey Road Studios.  I have a feeling I will blog about this in the coming weeks.  Music has always been a huge part of my life - a great companion, a source of much happiness and something that makes me smile and dance.  Two of my favourite things. 

A wonderful old guy called Terry Callier died this week.  He collaborated with Paul Weller you know.  But my favourite song of his is a Northern Soul classic.  This fills my heart with joy and my feet with the urge to move.  I'm now off to smile and dance...  Catch you next week. :) x

Weekends in Vatersay outof10 - 9.75