Archive for November, 2017

Wednesday 22nd November 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 22, 2017 by bishshat

Finham Primary came to Compton Verney today.

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Tulip Fever

It is set in Amsterdam in the 17th century, at the height of the city’s outbreak of “tulip mania”. Like the art market, this was fuelled by aesthetic taste enhanced by fashion and a language born of acquired expertise and, like financial bubbles of more recent times, it spun completely out of control until the inevitable crash.

This is the background for a story about an adulterous affair between a young Dutch painter and the equally young – and very beautiful – wife of one of the city’s most prominent merchants. The merchant, Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz), commissions Jan van Loos (DeHaan) to do a portrait of himself and his wife, Sophie (Vikander), and the predictable happens. Painter and subject fall for one another. And out of their passion grows a convoluted scheme to free her from her husband – a scheme which involves a heady gamble on the tulip market.

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Stoppard’s script is an elegant and faithful condensation of the novel, preserving the playfulness Moggach gets in to in her account of the market’s excesses and the chancers who are caught up in it. Chadwick’s evocation of its bustle and tension is wonderfully persuasive.

There’s comedy, too, in the film’s take on the hapless Cornelis, whom Waltz invests with his usual edginess. With a Waltz character it always takes a while to see where the line lies between self-mockery and menace. There’s a droll air to his delivery wherever the words are taking him and he’s clearly relishing the chance to let this pompous burgher gradually reveal the fact that he’s a lot more subtle than he seems.

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There’s fun, too, in watching young British actress Holliday Grainger in the role of Sophie’s maid, Maria, a girl whose good nature is balanced by a highly developed instinct for survival.

There’s a bonus in watching Judi Dench handle the role of the very worldly abbess of the convent where so many of Amsterdam’s prize tulips are grown. She doesn’t have a lot of screen time but there’s no doubting the abbess’s shrewd belief in the theory that commerce and godliness can make perfect partners.

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Tuesday 21st November 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 21, 2017 by bishshat

Now that’s Odd?

I went out in odd shoes yesterday
I admit they are close in colour
The right one being black
And the left one other being blue
I noticed as I walked that one did squeak
Which as a pair being blue
They normally don’t do
The colour miss match lay undiscovered
As the day was very bleak
But as they lay side by side
Upon my bedroom floor
I noticed to my surprise that
The left insole was black
And the right insole was brown
This to me was strange
I examined the shoes more closely
To see if maybe one insole
Had come adrift
Maybe it was stuck to my sock
But no what a shock
I had been out in odd shoes
The right one being black
Ant the left one being blue

If I go out in the other pair today
Maybe this would even up my madness
Restore the equilibrium of the universe
Maybe the comet will not crash into the moon
Maybe there would be no Brexit
Maybe just maybe things would be alright in the end

John Bish 21st November 2017

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Dortmund 1 Spurs 2

Spurs have won their Champions League group after coming from behind in Germany to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1.

After their Premier League defeat to Arsenal Mauricio Pochettino wanted to see a response from his side and, after a slow start it looked as if Dortmund could turn around their poor form of late as a fine move saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score his first goal since mid-October. Spurs, though, responded after the break with Harry Kane, who had been off the pace in the first half, slotting past Roman Burki with a smart finish from the edge of the box.

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Heung-Min Son, who opened the scoring against Dortmund at Wembley in the first European gameweek, bagged the winner after some fine work from Dele Alli to battle through on the left before finding the South Korean in space.

Topping the group is a fine achievement for Mauricio Pochettino and his side.

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Having been draw with the Germans and holders Real Madrid, as well as Cypriots APOEL Nicosia, many expected a tough task for the north Londoners. However, going undefeated and earning a memorable 3-1 victory over Madrid at Wembley will give them a huge boost going into the knockout stages.

 

Monday 20th November 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 20, 2017 by bishshat

Ain’t Talkin’

Bob Dylan

As I walked out tonight in the mystic garden
The wounded flowers were dangling from the vine
I was passing by yon cool crystal fountain
Someone hit me from behind

Ain’t talking, just walking
Through this weary world of woe
Heart burning, still yearning
No one on earth would ever know

They say prayer has the power to heal
So pray for me, mother
In the human heart an evil spirit can dwell
I am trying to love my neighbor and do good unto others
But oh, mother, things ain’t going well

Ain’t talking, just walking
I’ll burn that bridge before you can cross
Heart burning, still yearning
There’ll be no mercy for you once you’ve lost

Now I’m all worn down by weeping
My eyes are filled with tears, my lips are dry
If I catch my opponents ever sleeping
I’ll just slaughter them where they lie

Ain’t talking, just walking
Through the world mysterious and vague
Heart burning, still yearning
Walking through the cities of the plague.

Well, the whole world is filled with speculation
The whole wide world which people say is round
They will tear your mind away from contemplation
They will jump on your misfortune when you’re down

Ain’t talking, just walking
Eating hog eyed grease in a hog eyed town.
Heart burning, still yearning
Some day you’ll be glad to have me around.

They will crush you with wealth and power
Every waking moment you could crack
I’ll make the most of one last extra hour
I’ll revenge my father’s death then I’ll step back

Ain’t talking, just walking
Hand me down my walking cane.
Heart burning, still yearning
Got to get you out of my miserable brain.

All my loyal and my much-loved companions
They approve of me and share my code
I practice a faith that’s been long abandoned
Ain’t no altars on this long and lonesome road

Ain’t talking, just walking
My mule is sick, my horse is blind.
Heart burning, still yearning
Thinking about that girl I left behind.

Well, it’s bright in the heavens and the wheels are flying
Fame and honor never seem to fade
The fire gone out but the light is never dying
Who says I can’t get heavenly aid?

Ain’t talking, just walking
Carrying a dead man’s shield
Heart burning, still yearning
Walking with an ache in my heel

The suffering is unending
Every nook and cranny has its tears
I’m not playing, I’m not pretending
I’m not nursing any superfluous fears

Ain’t talking, just walking
Walking ever since the other night.
Heart burning, still yearning
Walking until I’m clean out of sight.

As I walked out in the mystic garden
On a hot summer day, a hot summer lawn
Excuse me, ma’am, I beg your pardon
There’s no one here, the gardener is gone

Ain’t talking, just walking
Up the road, around the bend.
Heart burning, still yearning
In the last outback at the world’s end.

On Ovid

They fear us
They hate us
And as they hate us
So they promote us
They promote us to make us as them
So that we will stop
So we will stop our condemnation of them
They attempt to turn gold into metal
They attempt to take away our power
They try to stop our voices with new laws
The power of poets as always been this
The power of lyrics has always been this
Banishment is not an option
So they knight us they shower us with garlands
They invite us to their soirée
They give us keys that unlock nothing
They grant us freedom to a city
Where we have always roamed free
If this does not work
Then they will kill us

John Bish November 20th 2017

Seahawks 31 Atlanta 34

On one hand, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was proud of the fight his team once again showed late in a game. Trailing by 11 points late in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks offense got a touchdown and a 2-point conversion, the defense made a quick stop, and Seattle had a shot at a final comeback.
“The fight in these guys is just amazing,” Carroll said after Seattle’s 34-31 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. “And you can count on it, you know it’s going to happen, you know we’re going to be right back in there battling”
On the other hand, the Seahawks needed that late comeback that eventually fell just short because they were playing from behind for almost the entire game. Two short fields—one because of a big return on the opening kickoff and the other because of an intercepted Russell Wilson pass—helped the Falcons jump out to an early 14-0 lead, and the Falcons scored on another turnover, a 10-yard fumble return following a sack of Wilson, to go up 21-7 early in second quarter.

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“Unfortunately the turnovers really gave them a great opportunity,” Carroll said. “And they took advantage of it, so we were playing from behind all night long.”
Of course explaining away a loss by saying it was just a few plays early in the game would fall short of telling the whole story. Even with those early miscues, the Seahawks were able to stay in the game thanks to plenty of big plays by the offense and Wilson, who rushed for a team-high 86 yards while passing for 258 yards and two scores; the defense, despite all the injuries, limited Atlanta to 279 yards; and after that early big return by Atlanta, Seattle’s special teams played very well.
But against a good opponent like Atlanta that has playmakers on both sides of the ball, doing some things well wasn’t enough on a night when the Falcons forced two turnovers and were lethal on third down, converting 9 of 14 attempts, including eight of their first 10.
“They did a great job on third down tonight,” Carroll said. “For them, that was the difference. They were able to convert… It was a good night for them. We just have to get off the field. We had a number of opportunities to get that done, and we weren’t able to get to the quarterback like we thought we would. So (Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan) had a good look at stuff, and they’re really good, and they converted and did a nice job. I thought that was a real critical aspect of the game, their third-down ability.”
Added safety Earl Thomas, “We’ve definitely got to be better on third down. That showed tonight… Third down was horrible today. We’ve got to get better, plain and simple. But we had new bodies out there, it’s the first time we had to really work together in live-action. This is a great experience, but it’s only going to make us stronger.”
What Carroll wasn’t interested in doing after Monday’s loss was using his team’s injuries on defense as an excuse, injury absences that included two Pro Bowl defensive backs, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor.

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“That had nothing to do with that,” Carroll said when asked if Atlanta was able to score early because those two players were missing. “They got great field position. They got the kickoff return at the 50, and the next time they go 35 yards I think. It’s a good club, and when you give them that short a field, it’s really hard to stop them. We worked hard after that, and made it harder, but I thought those two field-position opportunities, they were able to take great advantage of it. That’s not a surprise that Matt would do that and their offense would be able to get that done.”
At 6-4, the Seahawks are still very much in contention in the NFC West, but they know they need to clean up certain areas of their play if they’re going to be at their best down the stretch.
“We just need to tighten things down,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “We’ve been doing well, we’ve had good games and then we come back and we’re not showing what we’re capable of, so the inconsistency there to me only comes from the details.”
And if the Seahawks do clean up those details, they’re confident they can be a much better team than they were in Monday’s loss.

 

Sunday 19th November 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 19, 2017 by bishshat

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Saturday 18th November 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 18, 2017 by bishshat

Arsenal 2 Spurs 0

Two goals in five minutes at the end of the first half saw the north London derby go Arsenal’s way on Saturday. A touch of fortune went against us with both goals but we weren’t at our best at the Emirates.

The game started in typical derby style, all hustle and bustle, few chances and Arsenal’s goals actually came after our best spell.

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Christian Eriksen hit the post and Harry Kane forced Petr Cech to save at full stretch just after the half-hour but 10 minutes later, we were 2-0 down.

The first goal came from a debated free-kick against Davinson Sanchez on Alexis Sanchez on 37 minutes. Mezut Ozil curled in the set-piece and Shkodran Mustafi headed across Hugo Lloris and home. Five minutes later and we were facing an uphill task. Arsenal had got in a couple of times down our right and made no mistake at the third time of asking. Alexandre Lacazette might have been a shade off-side when he broke clear, but his cross to the near post was collected by Alexis Sanchez who fired into the roof of the net from the angle.

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We dominated the second half in terms of possession without creating clear-cut opportunities. Kane had a sight of goal blocked by Nacho Monreal and Christian Eriksen fired over but Arsenal held firm and looked a danger on the break, Hugo Lloris forced into one-on-one saves to deny Sanchez.

A late flourish saw Eric Dier’s header tipped away by Cech and Heung-Min Son volley over from 16 yards – it wasn’t our day.

Friday 17th November 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 17, 2017 by bishshat

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Driftwood

The Moody Blues

Just like the driftwood of a dream
Left of the seashore of sleep
Just like the words that wouldn’t rhyme
Lost in the desert of time
Time waits for no one at all
No, not even you
You thought you’d seen it all before
You really thought you knew

I don’t remember what was said
In the confusion that night
I only know what’s on my mind
What’s in the future we will decide
Time waits for no one at all
No, not even you
You thought you’d seen it all before
You really thought you knew

I’ve shattered the illusion
Of fortune and of fame
But darling now I know you
Life could never be the same
Oh no… don’t leave me driftwood
On the shore

Time waits for no one my love
No, not even you
You thought you’d seen it all before
You really thought you knew

I’ve shattered the illusion
Of forture and of fame
I’m waking up
I’m reaching up
I’m getting up from this game
Oh no… don’t leave me driftwood
On the shore
Oh no… don’t, don’t leave me driftwood
On the shore…

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Thursday 16th November 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 16, 2017 by bishshat

Victoria-Abdul (1)

Victoria & Abdul

Abdul Karim, a young prison clerk from Agra, India, is instructed to travel to England for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 (four years after the death of John Brown in Mrs Brown) to present her with a mohur, which has been minted as a token of appreciation from British-ruled India.

The Queen, who is lonely and tired of her fawning courtiers, develops an interest in and later a friendship with Abdul. She spends time with him alone, and promotes him to become her Munshi as his guardian. She asks him to teach her Urdu and the Qur’an. When Victoria discovers that he is married, she invites his wife and mother-in-law to join him to England. They arrive wearing black Burqas, to the consternation of the household.

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While Victoria treats Abdul as a son, his preferment is resented by her household and inner circle, including her son Bertie and the Prime Minister. The household plots to undermine their relationship, hoping that Abdul will be sent home. When Victoria embarrasses herself by recounting to the court the one-sided account of the Indian Mutiny that Abdul had told her, Victoria’s faith and trust in him are shaken and she decides he must go home. But the following day she changes her mind and asks him to stay. She gives Abdul a bejewelled locket with her photograph.

Victoria’s interest in India grows, and at her Isle of Wight home of Osbourne House, she has the Durbar Room built for state functions, elaborately decorated with carvings by Bhai Ram Singh in an intricate style, and with a carpet from Agra. She hangs portaits of Indians in the House. She tells the household that she intends to give Abdul a knighthood.

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The Prime Minister is adamant that the royal household must find a way to get rid of Abdul. They research his family background in India, and present Victoria with a dossier to show that his family is more ordinary and poor than Abdul has told her. When Victoria insists her doctor examine Abdul to find out why his wife has not fallen pregnant, he discovers that Abdul has gonorrhea, and rushes to tell the Queen, expecting her to dismiss him in disgust. However, Victoria remains loyal to Abdul and admonishes her courtiers for plotting against him.

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Eventually the household decides that, if Victoria does not break with Abdul, they will all resign. They also threaten to certify Victoria as insane. When Victoria is told, she angrily summons the entire household to the Durbar Room and demands that anyone who wants to resign step forward. When none do so, she tells them she has decided not to make Abdul a knight, but to include him in her next honours list as a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire.

When Victoria falls ill, she urges Abdul to return to India, while she can still provide him with protection. She warns him that when she dies, the court will turn on him. But Abdul insists that he will stay with Victoria until the end of her life.

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In 1901, Victoria dies. Her son, Edward VII, rejects Abdul, burning all the gifts and papers he has received from the Queen, and sending him and his family back to India. Abdul’s wife manages to save the locket for him.

It is revealed that Abdul lived in India until his death eight years later in 1909. The film ends with Abdul kneeling at a large statue of the Queen close to the Taj Mahal, talking to it and kissing its feet in respect.