Thursday, 13 February 2014

Here in the UK, the one night of the week you'll find the movie theaters full is Wednesday, because mobile-phone network Orange offers a twofer deal to its customers. And so to see Dallas Buyers Club at the local Odeon (home-brought popcorn and bottled water in our bag. I know, so cheap, but otherwise defeats the point of a low-cost night out). Did not know what this film was going to be about, beyond the poster picture. Personally? I refer seeing things without knowing much about them beforehand. If it's any good, you don't need a trailer to let you know the entire plot and you certainly don't need (or want?) half the office to tell you all the good bits ahead of seeing it. (By the way, what is that compulsion to reveal the storyline, high point, etc? Must be some psychological reason for wanting to be The One Who Knows.) Much more entertaining to allow the story to unroll like life, in which you don't know what will come next. Anyway! On that basis, all I will say is that I loved Jared Leto in this, had not seen him before so didn't know who he was, which made his performance even more believable.

Above is Seven Dials, which I have walked past the last two lunch times on my way to catch up with West End-working friends - a bonus of being based in central London for a couple of weeks. It's a wonderfully curious intersection of seven streets, all meeting at this point in London's Covent Garden. The 'dial' is a sun dial, one on each side of the top of the monument and though this place was for a long time the epitome of slummy urban London, at least until the first half of the 20th century, it is now surrounded by upmarket, single-designer shops; expensive restaurants; a theatre showing Matilda the Musical and prettily cobbled to make it pedestrian friendly. Gentrification: good thing? Bad thing? Discuss.

Meanwhile, the UK continues to become a vast lake district under the weight of tremendous rainfall and lashings from practically non-stop storms. The eastern half of the USA, I hear, is braced for another monster snowstorm and California is as dry as an overcooked chestnut. The West is becoming more and more like a natural-disaster movie.

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