Zuiderlucht

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Ambassador ?

I wonder how George Clooney feels about being referred to by The Sun as ‘Nespresso Ambassador’? I think his acting career is a little more than that ……..

The Cinematic Experience . .

A short while ago, I had two entirely different cinematic experiences.; first watching the new Bladerunner film at a multiplex and secondly watching ‘Loving Vincent’ at Home, an arts complex in Manchester.
Both being of a certain age, Lesley and I are entitled to reduced price seats and have the freedom to watch films at off-peak times. So far, so good. It was with some amusement and delight we discovered that we had a 256 cinema to ourselves! The show starts and the interminable ads and trailers which have long replaced the B-movies of yesteryear commence. It is during this time that some other people arrive and being Brits, follow the numbered seats routine and sit next to us. At this point, I realise between them, this family of three, are carrying sufficiently large quantity of snacks and fizzy drinks to dress the set for a 21st-century version of Belshazzar‘s feast or even ‘La grande Bouffe’!
Immediately the person sitting closest to me begins to shovel food into her mouth with a metronomic and robotic movement whose timing is so precise that the next portion arrives at her mouth at exactly the moment she’s completed the deafening process of masticating the previous dose of food substitute. I am galvanised. I tolerated it for more time than I should’ve done as by the time we’ve moved I am a twitching wreck unable to enjoy the cinematic pleasure.
In contrast, the arts cinema was small, full and was completely lacking in earth-shatteringly loud snacks. I enjoyed the film except for the presence of two women sitting to my right who constantly laughed at on screen events which were NOT particularly funny in that superior way that implies they had noticed a set of nuances which us mere mortals were unable to discern. This flaunting of faux discernment was a conceit is clearly underlined by the fact they sang along to the odious ‘Starry starry night’ which the producers had predictively chosen to end the film!
So: which is it to be ?

Bullying ? No just joking ….. who’s laughing?!

So bullying is in the news again. Hate to say it (again) but bullying is endemic in our society and is often portrayed as a positive in the media, enjoying celebrity chefs that berate their staff. Programmes such as the Apprentice and Dragons Den encourage people to be dismissive and contestants use phrases like ‘my feet kick butt’ or ‘ I don’t care I just get the job done!’ and similar jingoistic nonsense. Even Mastermind is more interrogation than quiz.

As a freelancer I have had to put up with humorous remarks being made about me in a disadvantaged position where responding could damage my business prospects. Being named and blamed in front of 700 staff for minor technical problem which no one could’ve foreseen and that happened over a year earlier – yes it was done as a joke, of course ……. yeah.

How often is bullying excused as ‘teasing’ or just a joke? Too bloody often.

Thoughts on ‘Choice’

Politicians, particularly on the right, are constantly talking about the necessity of choice – ‘Consumers want choice!’ but what does that mean in reality?
In the first 20 years of my life, the number TV channels increased from 1 to 2 to 3. Freeview now offers me several hundred channels which my TV guide shows 13 channels 6 of which are showing at least 3 episodes of the same programme and two of which are showing 8 episodes of the same series. Another channel is showing a feature film we watched on a different channel last week – so where is the choice? I realise that the current plethora of TV channels and Internet sources has swallowed 100 years film production in no time at all but again I ask where is this choice?

I also recently heard some ‘food snob’ deprecating the large number of people who eat the same lunch at work every day. What is wrong with that ? Stress is often linked to decisions and the number we have to make every day. Now if you are a food writer making an avocado and blueberry dip to go with your freshly baked sourdough sandwich with quinoa and seed salad washed down with a strawberry and Persimon smoothie, this is not just your lunch but also forms a part of your work but please if I need a quick lunch whilst working on a complex task allow me the freedom to eat a £3 deal cheese and onion sandwich with a packet of crisps and a bottle of water even if it is for the fourth or 15th day in a row!