Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I know I have been seriously slacking on my own blog here, but there are so many interesting blogs just to read. Will you people please slow down so I can write too?

I will offer a little anecdote here, just so people know I am still alive.

As some of you may remember, I took my first trip to the UK in October. It was a fantastic holiday. I saw so many things and met some great people. I wanted to blog about my experiences there a little, and perhaps I still will someday, but work is kicking my arse right now. Year-end deadlines are looming. Holiday shopping has to be done. There are many many parties to attend and drinks to be drunk. Woe is me.

Anyhow, one of the highlights of my vacation was seeing the new James bond movie Quantum Of Solace 2 weeks before anyone back at home. I had made a plan to go before I even left Edmonton because I thought it would be so fitting to see this particular film on its opening night in Blighty. It was difficult getting tickets for the show as it was selling very well, but after about an hour on the phone, I was rewarded and looking very forward to it.

There were a lot of differences that made the evening interesting, including the fact that you can drink alcohol at the theatre. What a brilliant idea. I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a typical theatre in London, or England, for that matter, but I chose the closest one to my hotel, the Odeon on Kensington High Street. It was a rather small theatre compared to the kind I am used to at home, with a rather small screen, but that was the only disappointment of the night.

For one thing, people dress well in London. I could go on and on about this, but I can't tell you how pleasant it is to go out to a restaurant or to a show and not see people in pajamas or track suits. Even the teenagers dress nicely. And people are so polite. I don't know if it was the fact that everyone was jazzed to see the film, or excited because they had got tickets to the biggest opening in a good long while, or if it was the alcohol, but people were just very pleasant to be around.

Maybe it has more to do with people in the UK being used to queues, but people actually speak to each other in line, or in the elevator, or down the pub. Imagine, complete strangers speaking to each other. This is quite rare in my hometown. People tend to walk around pretending that no one else on earth exists. Whatever it was, it made for a very convivial atmosphere. Everyone arrived early to get a good seat, and there were a lot of helpful staff around to help with that. By the time the show began, the whole crowd was buzzing in anticipation.

And contrary to the opinion of *some* other bloggers, I actually enjoyed the new theme song. I like Jack White. I have seen the Whitestripes live at a smallish venue, and I was blown away by the sheer talent of that 2-man band. I think it was a great choice by whomever actually gets to pick the artist.

I quite liked the film itself. I am not a huge Bond fan, though I have seen a few of both the old and newer ones. I thought Casino Royale was far and away the best Bond movie ever, until I saw Quantum Of Solace. It was all action, all the time. We got to see a lot more of one of my favourite actresses, Judi Dench. She is one of the sexiest women in film, with a power and grace that leaps off the screen. Daniel Craig was even more convincing than in his previous turn at the role, which I didn't think was possible. He is just a ball of pure energy that you can't take your eyes off of. I liked the action, I liked the story, and I loved the OTT of it all.

One of the best things about seeing this film in London, though, turned out to be that there were no children under the age of 16 in the audience! I have been to a lot of movies, in theatres in Canada and in the US, and even if the film is rated R and full of nudity, violence and harsh language, there are always a few idiots who bring their kids along. They ruin it for the entire crowd, what with the crying, the loud talking, and the kicking of the seat backs. I think this is the first movie where not a single soul left their seat during the entire flick. Yay for grownup bladders. It was just such an adult evening overall.

It's virtually ruined me for movies back home. I think there may be a good investment opportunity for an adult-only movie theatre that has a liquor licence. I know I'd be there a few times a week.

Doubtless, I will remember this film-going experience for a good long while.


Diacanu said...

First post!!

Yay, you're blogging again after all! :D

Sounds like an awesome time.
Damn, I still have to see Casino Royale. :P

Fell out of the habit of keeping up with Bond after the blowage of "The World Is Not Enough", and "Die Another Day".

Philip1978 said...


Glad you enjoyed Blighty and that my fellow countrymen and countrywomen treated you with decency.

It was a pleasure to meet and drink with you, that was a really fun evening in Oxford.

As for Jim Bond, I really enjoyed it too, I do think Craig is a breath of fresh air, much the same when I saw Goldeneye - I agree with Diacanu (Get and see Casino Royale you crazy fool!), the next few were a bit odd even though I still rate Brosnan as a good Bond character.

I am obviously enormously jealous you got into see the premier! :)

The film was excellent, I think Craig has got the role down to something that he can call his own and I loved the breakneck pace of it along with a truly nasty bad guy!

Judi Dench is also one of my favourite actresses, she seems to have this wonderful ability to keep up with the testosterone but still remain utterly lady like - a great foil to Craig's Bond.

Drinking beer in a cinema has only come in from about the last 10 years and I heartily agree with it. When I first saw Pulp Fiction and heard John Travolta mention that in France you could take beer in the cinema I was all for it happening over here!

I am glad you had a great time, it was good to see you!



Apathy Personified said...

Good to see you posting again Sharon.

I'm glad you had a good holiday and you enjoyed Britain - I did tell everyone in London to dress smartly and be on best behaviour while you were here. :)

Sharon said...


I did enjoy it, more than I can convey. I think I'd like to try living there for a spell.

It was lovely to meet you and all. The evening was smashing, but it was over far too quickly. I just didn't get a chance to speak to anyone for nealy long enough. :P

I did look up that Derren Brown book you mentioned but it seems to be unavailable anywhere online. Now I'm even more interested.


Thank you for your kind words, but even more for convincing the Brits to be so generally brilliant. They are very good listeners. Pass along my thanks next time you talk to them. :)

Jonathan said...


Are you talking about Derren Brown's Tricks of the Mind? It's available on Amazon UK, I just ordered it!

Jonathan said...

PS- I'd also like to say it was a pleasure to meet you in Oxford!

Mark_W said...


Hooray! Re. Derren Brown's book, as mentioned by Quetz and Philip, personally I think that, like Brown himself, it's marvellous. Get HugeSouthAmericanRiver on the case! (Though, at first, I must admit I thought the tone was (at times) all over the place, and said to myself, "For heaven's sake, man! Are you trying to be Stephen Fry or Richard Dawkins, or what?" Afterwards, though, I calmed down and thought, "Actually, are there two more splendid people you could try and emulate?" and enjoyed it hugely.)

Re. J Bond, I yield to no-one in my admiration of Casino Royale, or even more so, Judi "National Treasure (and rightly so)" Dench.

And yet, if I may, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here (whilst flagging up that, despite the exaggeration, I do still agree with myself, at least to some extent.)

Anyway. As above, I enjoyed Casino Royale greatly, and (I’ve not seen it yet) am very much looking forward to Quantum of Solace. But, is this harder edged Bond really just a way of trying to make the franchise “My name is Bourne. Jason Bourne.” ? I claim no originality for this thought whatsoever, but I do (sometimes) find myself agreeing with the 5,271,009 people that have said this before me, that isn’t it the absurdity, the underground bases under volcanoes, the ludicrous and unbelievable plots, and the silly gadgets and ridiculous cars etc. that made Bond different, and therefore great?

As I said, I’m being (at least to extent) contrary for the sake of it, here, and yet:

He is just a ball of pure energy that you can't take your eyes off of. I liked the action, I liked the story, and I loved the OTT of it all.

I used almost exactly these same words to a friend of mine the other day when explaining why I thought S. Stallone’s new (critically derided) Rambo film was actually misunderstood, and was in fact a pure and unstoppable engine of OTT story (in the elemental sense) that, if he’d lived long enough, was exactly the sort of thing that Robert E. Howard would have written for the screen...

(To be fair, I was, to a certain extant (again), being deliberately contrary here too...(Though by no means entirely: I do, mostly, genuinely agree with myself, again)


Sharon said...

Jonathan -

Well, I ordered Tricks of the Mind on Amazon UK, and the paperback is going to cost me $22 plus duty. It was unavailable on Amazon.ca and I cannot order from Amazon.com because they will not ship to a Canadian address.

I had checked the Canadian Chapers/Indigo and nothing comes up when you search for Derren Brown. I'm sure it will be worth the coin and agro since aLL you Brits have raved about it. ;)

I enjoyed meeting you as well, Jonathan. You are as adorable in person as your avatar suggests.

Mark -

I understand your concern re the Bourneification of Bond. But honestly, the new Bonds are sO much better than the old.

They are completely unlike anything Ian Flemming might have recognised, but Bond has always been OTT for his time. And for today, you have to get even more OTT to still bE OTT, if that makes sense. :)

As for Rambo, I long ago made up my mind not to throw away any of my very valuable time on a movie with Stallone in it. I read First Blood before I saw the movie (both when I was no more than a child so I might be completely out to lunch), and I disliked the movie intensely.

The anti-war theme in the book was totally lost, I thought. It would take a good deal of tequila to get me to give any Stallone movie a chance.

The fact that you found value in it gives me pause, but I shall quickly put that out of my mind. There is only so much time in a day, sir!

Mark_W said...


Good lord, what’s going on with the various HugeSouthAmericanRiver enterprises?!

Still, personally I think $22 plus duty is still worth it for D. Brown’s book – I’d have paid that, to be honest...

Re. the new Bonds, I agree completely that they’re better than the old ones; my concern was rather, in a post-Bourne world, “Is there any point?” (And, to be honest, I think, at the end of the day (to coin a cliché) the answer is still “Yes!”)

You’re also right that they are far removed from Fleming nowadays, which, again, I think (despite a residual admiration for Fleming from the time, as a teenager, when I first encountered the Bond novels) is a good thing...

[What’s the old saying? “The Golden Age of spy fiction, or science fiction, is fourteen.” How true. :-)]

As for Stallone, that’s a fair cop, I can’t really argue with anything you say, there...

All I would say [at the risk of immediately contradicting myself! :-)], is that whatever one (justifiably) thinks of Stallone as an actor, I think he genuinely deserves the awards he’s collected over the years as a screenwriter (admittedly largely (exclusively?) for the Rocky films rather than Rambo).

Basically, to go back to Robert E. Howard, his original 1930s Conan stories were, as uber-critic John Clute put it, “so concrete, so kinetic, so manifest, that it seems not to have been cogitated into words. [...] It is full-blown with the hard clarity and momentum of some rare dream not subject to paraphrase, as though Conan and the story that told him were coterminous...”

It seems to me that Rambo, with its portrayal of the titular hero as an almost otherworldly, elemental being, and the absurd, OTT (kinetic, momentous) way that all the action is turned up to 11 (and beyond) achieves the same effect. Personally, I think Stallone did this deliberately, and deserves credit for same; though I wouldn’t argue with anyone that that either thinks otherwise, or doesn’t have time for this sort of thing.

(Though I do think it’s slightly harsh that the new Bond should be praised for the same things that the new Rambo is disparaged...)

Arghh! - Some of that may have made some sort of sense! :-)


Sharon said...

Mark -

It made complete sense. You often do, no matter what anyone says. ;)

I see what you are saying about Stallone, and you may well be correct. If I found Stallone even remotely attractive I might try to determine if in fact you are. :)

Diacanu said...


Agreed about Stallone's screenwriting.

Rocky 1, 2, and 6 are really good.

I recommend them to anyone who still hasn't seen them.

Mark_W said...


Indeed - and you've picked out exactly the correct three Rocky films there!



Laurie said...

Hi Sharon, Good to see back! Hope that meteorite didn't fall on your house! Sounds like you had a great experience in the U.K. I, too, found Londoners generally great people when I lived there for a year in the seventies. Look forward to more of your enlightened, and enlightening, scribbles.

Billy said...

Better not read this, I haven't seen it yet. I heard there was no contrived inuendo at the end. The worst (or is that the best) one was the "and I thought christmas only came once a year" at the end of the world is not enough

Steve Zara said...

I am so glad you enjoyed yourself. I felt pretty bad that we did not have time to talk - I really hope that can be remedied in Dublin next year.

I was surprised you think people dress well in London! I can tell you that we are absolute slobs compared with the continentals, especially the Parisians.

As for the Bond Theme tune, I am also a huge fan of Jack White. It was good to hear a decent female voice accompanying him.

Sharon said...

Laurie -

Thank you for your kind words. I am glad sort of glad to be back. I honestly think I could live in London, for at least a year.

The meteorite missed me by a few hungred miles at least, though there is a loT of excitement around these parts. I do hope they eventually find some bits.

Billy -

There are no spoilers in my "review", so I think you can safely read it without ruining your future enjoyment of the movie. My posts don't really contain much of anything besides ranting or gushing. This one is a bit of both. :)

Steve -

I know what you mean. I would have liked to have had the chance to speak to you a little more as well. 2 fantastic hugs will have to suffice for now. There was just not enough time! It's almost too difficult to get to speak to anyone with that many people around one table.

Wait till you come to Alberta someday, Steve. It is a beautiful place, but most people dress a complete mess compared to London (and Paris).

I'm glad you liked the theme song, too. Even if all the other brilliant people disagree; as long as I have you on the same side, I'll feel confident in my opinion. They just don't have any taste in music. And since you agree with me about Alison Moyet and all. ;)

I do hope to make it to Dublin. It sounds like something I just don't want to miss. Gosh, I thought Oxford could not be topped, but it surely will be with the addition of Titania and Laurie, and the likes of TylerDurden and Hungarian Elephant.

(Now, Hazel, if only you'd be there and all, I'd buy my ticket tomorrow!)

Rune said...

HI Sharon,

Might be a bit late but I thought I'd leave my opinion on the latest Bond.

Daniel Craig plays the part really well. I think that, IMHO, people miss the point that Bond is a British Government thug. He would be a pretty crap spy. So Craig, for me, takes Bond back to where he should be.

As for the likeness to Bourne, it's pretty inescapable.

Have you ever noticed the poor quality glass in the world of Bond and Bourne? I have seen someone walk at full tilt into a large glass door and he merely slid down it as if he were in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Anyway, next time you come over, you should come up to Scotland. It's the bit of the UK with all the best scenery ;)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sharon, I haven't read all of your post to be honest. Plan to do, but scrolling through I noted your comments on Casino Royale. I am a Bond fan, more or less. I do think that (okay warning: girl talk here) Daniel Craig is the most tasty of Bondsmen personally. But what about that horrible "ball torture", eh? I thought "mi gott!" This is like gay S&M porn, for heaven's sakes! Just curious to know your take on that! I'll be back to read the rest about your adventures tomorrow.

p.s. sorry deleted this comment & reposted 'cos wanted to select follow-up option

Anonymous said...

Okay, I went back and read it all tonight. I thought it was going to be all about your trip and I wasn't ready to take it all in tonight. Now you've made me excited to see the movie. Judi Dench is such a presence, isn't she? I love her, too. What a fun time!

Sharon said...

Thanks Lil M,

I had some really good intentions to blog more often, but it just hasn't happened. :P

I agree with you about Daniel Craig. He's definitely got something.

I think the torture scene in Casino Royale was pretty great. It was too much, right? Just like I was saying, very OTT.

I honestly can't wait for the next Bond movie now. And more Judi. :)

Mark_W said...


Having finally mustered some spare time, and a] re-read the comments here [including, bless me, my own rather mad (and yet, I must agree with myself, still correct ;-)] Stallone enthusiasms) and b] finally seen Quantum of Solance on DVD, I just wanted to say that I completely agree with you: QoS is great, and not at all (as various numpties claimed), hard to follow, or silly, or whatever.

Hooray for D. Craig and the Bond franchise!


Sharon said...


Great to hear from you. I hope you are well. :)

I'm happy that you enjoyed QoS. I recently watched it again and concluded that it was indeed the movie that I enjoyed and not just everything else about my London experience that made it seem fab.

I must get 'round to your blog, and everyone elses soon. I'm hopelessly behind at RDnet and all since I took yet another vacation. I need to retire so I can keep up with my hobbies.


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