Thursday, 20 March 2008

First Signs Of Spring

Cuckoos? No

Daffodils? No

The council tractor spotted cutting the grass on the green outside our house? Yes

That's it then. Winter is officially over :-)

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Favourites Lists - An Impossible Task

Over on the left I've got one of those IMDB widgets showing details of my Top 10 movies. Except it's already a list of 12. (Edit: Since removd it keeps changing the list on it's own!!)

How does anyone ever create a definitive favourite list of anything? When I added it a couple of months back I picked my top 10. I've re-arranged, added to and knocked off films ever since. Last night I watched Basic Instinct again. How did I ever forget to include that one? A true classic of it's genre (even if it does leave many questions unanswered, but then that's part of the appeal) In it goes a new entry at number 5, demoting all those below it.

I guess favourites is an emotional choice depending on a lot of variables, mainly the mood you are in when you select the list. Sliver is still in there, ok as a film but earns extra brownie points for the soundtrack. is that enough to keep it in? Maybe - maybe not. It would never get in a list of "Best" movies, but best and favourite aren't the same thing.

So that list is likely to be continuing to evolve forever. And as I type I have just remembered Green Mile, definitely another favourite. Time to go edit it again.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

The Southampton Roller Coaster Ride Continues

Despite appearances the picture on the left is not a roller coaster track. It is an mathematically accurate graph portraying the emotions involved in being a Southampton fan.

For as long as I can remember they have been the masters of unexpected euphoria one minute followed by stunning disappointment the next. Countless times over the years they have beaten - even thrashed - the top teams, only to follow it up with a stunning defeat at the hands of the leagues lesser teams.

Last season we looked like we were languishing in mid-table only for a late run to push us into a play-off spot. From nowhere came a massive wave of optimism - we were on our way back to the promised land (well the Premier League Money Machine anyway). We then contrived to lose our home leg off our play-off only to drag ourselves back into it with a glorious performance away from home, only to shoot themselves in the foot with an own goal and a missed penalty.

This year we were expecting nothing less than the same again - or better. But it hasn't worked out quite like that. Despite a few false dawns we have found ourselves sliding ominously towards a relegation spot. Last Tuesday evening we were at home to relegation rivals Leicester. If things didn't go our way we could have ended up below the dreaded dotted line on the league table. We managed to win, our first in god knows how long - and vital it was too, for all other results went the ways would have preferred them not to. Suddenly things were looking a little more rosy, the new managers ideas were obviously now having an effect and the only way was up. So off they went on Saturday up to Hull, the fans at least in a slightly more confident mood. So what happened? Should have put money on it really, a 5-0 thrashing that apparently flattered us.

With 7 games left the season could now go one of two ways. That latest defeat - the 3rd by 5 goals this season so far - could be the kick up the arse wake up call the players need and spur them on to a few decent performances (or at least a commitment level in excess of 50%) that sees them climbing the table to safety. Or the mental scars of such a defeat immediately after achieving a win could destroy any speck of confidence they had left.

Which way will it go? Who knows, but please note that in that roller coaster picture - I mean graph - you can't see the end !

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Rock Challenge

On Friday I went to Southampton Guildhall to watch my daughter perform for her school in a heat of the Global Rock Challenge. What a great evening.

It's the second year she's done it, and both times her school has put on an amazing performance, ending up in second place on each occasion.

The challenge is for children aged between 11 and 18. It's a combination of drama and dance. The teams have to create an 8 minute performance based around a theme of their choice. Last year they chose as a topic the comparison between war and football violence, in 8 minutes taking us on a trip from the first world war trenches through to the recent World Cup. How can they do that in dance ? I did wonder myself when she told me but when I saw the performance - involving around 40 children- it was simply amazing. This year it was comparing the public and private lives of stars from the era of the Hollywood greats and the different problems they encountered and again it was a superb spectacle worthy of any professional show.

It is down to the children themselves to come up with a theme, the choreography, design and make the props, costumes, hair and make up, select the soundtrack and arrange the lighting.

Every child that takes part should feel very proud, what they achieve is a credit to every single one of them

The only disappointment for me is how little coverage the event gets. With us daily hearing more news of anti-social behaviour and much worse from kids of this age it's events like this that show that not all kids are like that, far from it. Yet as is usual for the media they concentrate on the bad and ignore the good. It's a shame some tv company doesn't take on coverage of the whole tour, it would make much more compelling viewing than much of the "reality" trash we are force fed these days - and you never know it may unearth a few stars of the future at the same time.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Not The Same Old Boring Sunday Morning

St Leonards Church, Bursledon, originally uploaded by Wurzel

We (Mrs W and I ) went to Church this morning.

Not something either of us do every week. Births weddings and funerals (or hatches matches and dispatches as out local vicar put it) is about it really. But we're getting married there soon so we felt we should put in an appearance.

A bit nervous, not wanting to stick out as the new kids (if mid 40s can still be classed as kids) we entered as unobtrusively as possible and took a pew. But the regulars clearly have an inbuilt radar for "first-timers" and several immediately descended on us with smiling welcomes and handshakes.

Both of us commented afterwards that we immediately felt at home and surprised ourselves by actually enjoying the whole thing. It had more of an air of a social gathering than a religious experience with no preaching or ramming a message down our throats. I even found myself joining in with hymns I didn't know, (somehow you just seem to know the tune). We were even given a little bunch of flowers each to celebrate mothers day (why I got one I'm not sure, either I wore the wrong type of Sunday best or mums and dads are equal in the eyes of the lord.). More handshakes, smiles and (politely declined) invites to attend the after-service tea and biscuits and it was all over. Maybe we'll be back again one day - I'd never commit to being a regular but it was far more enjoyable than I expected.

The strange thing is both of us spent the rest of the day feeling like we'd swallowed a happy pill - no mean feat as we'd hardly spoken to each other in February. Maybe there is something in it after all.