The Way It Used To Be

I don’t know if you had any plans for the next eight hours, but here’s one way to spend them.

Racing the way it used to be and quite honestly still should, especially when it comes to the sound of the engines.

Footnote from former bandmate Knob, who lives there and knowing my love for F1, sent me the link:

We watched from the roof terrace at Café Milano. Best place on the track. Hired by the Bentley Drivers Club UK by my buddy Mark, who is also great mates with one-time F1 Champion Jody Schecter.  Jody just sold his F1 car collection on Saturday at Sotheby’s Monaco auction. Got €6.7m for his Ferrari 312T !!

Also, went to the Eddie Jordan chat with Red Bull designer Adrian Newey on Saturday evening at the Yacht Club. Some interesting stories.

Must be nice to be one of the Idle Rich…

Oh, Joy

In an email I received from Circuit Of The Americas (COTA):

Eminem and Sting to Perform at the Formula 1 Pirelli* United States Grand Prix

Oh yeah, that’s going to get me to endure traffic jams, endless walks to and from the “remote” (and are they ever) parking lots, probably with copious mud as well, and either rain or blistering sunshine during the race itself, of which I can only see a small portion because F1 seating, and which that little twerp Verstappen is going to win anyway.

And then afterwards, be stuck in a crowd of drunks listening to Eminem’s illiterate doggerel (I’m sorry, I meant “rap music”) and Sting warbling on about Saving The Green Planet / Tantric Yoga Sex With My Wife Trudi / whatever.

Did I mention that all the above is available for only $250 per ticket, excluding parking?

Pass.

And hand me the remote.


*Considering that F1 uses Michelin exclusively for their cars, how did those sneaky Italians get their tires into the act?

Au Revoir, Paddy

I’ve spoken before of my distaste for “holidays” which simply serve as a catalyst for “social drinking”, not the least because like New Year’s Eve, they put a whole bunch of amateur drinkers out on the streets and behind the wheel of a car.

Most egregious of these is St. Patrick’s Day:  a time when, as the marketing goes, everyone turns Irish and drinks Guinness, Bushmills and Tullamore Dew.

Except me.  This would be like commemorating “St. Boromir Day” when I wear a Cossack hat and drink chilled neat vodka till I fall over.  What a farce.

Still, let me not be a killjoy.  There are always the costumes:

Makes you proud to be “Irish”, dunnit?

Intersections

At the DM, Brian Viner lists his 100 Greatest Movies ever made.  Rather than come up with my own, let me go down his selection and simply list those with which I agree, and those I don’t (just follow along his article for the synopses).  If I think he’s missed one, I’ll put it at the end.  YMMV.

The Godfather.  No argument, although I think I and II  should be treated as a single movie, because they actually are.
The Wizard of Oz.  Agree.
Psycho.  Agree.
Jaws.  Agree.
Some Like It HotDisagree, but only mildly.  Top 200, maybe.
Casablanca.  Agree.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.  Agree.
Lawrence Of Arabia.  Agree.
The Graduate.  Agree.
Citizen Kane.  I have a problem with this one because I don’t like it.  But as a groundbreaking movie for its time, I guess it’s worth inclusion.
Bonnie and Clyde.  Agree.
Apocalypse NowStrongly disagree.  It’s a weak movie — and to prove my point, the unforgettable scene with Robert Duvall is the best part of the movie even though it’s completely irrelevant to the plot.
Singin’ In The RainDisagree.  Another candidate for top 200, but An American In Paris would have been a better choice.
The Apartment.  Agree.
Shoah.  Is it important?  Yes.  Is it a great movie?  No.  Few documentaries are.
Modern Times.  Agree.
Brief Encounter.  Agree.
Double Indemnity.  Agree.
The Banshees Of InisherinDisagree.  I’ve tried to watch this movie on three separate occasions, and have still never managed it all the way through.
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.  Agree.  (Although as animated Disney movies go, I prefer The Lady And The Tramp.)
The Sound Of MusicMehMy Fair Lady  was better.
Kind Hearts And CoronetsDisagree, but only mildly.  Top 200, maybe.
The Silence Of The Lambs.  Agree.
The Maltese FalconDisagree.  Flimsy plot, bad acting.  Double Indemnity was far better, as was Farewell My Lovely (both versions).
The French Connection.  Agree.
Alien.  Agree, because it transcends science fiction (which I’m not a fan of).  I agree with the inclusion of
Star Wars for the same reason.
Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.  Agree.
Annie Hall.  Sorta-agree.  I don’t think Woody Allen is a good director, although his Midnight In Paris  was superb — less introspective, less gauche, much better than Annie Hall, but still not in the top 100.
Raging Bull.  Agree.  Easily the greatest biopic ever made.
Pulp Fiction.  Agree.  The only one of Tarantino’s movies I’ve ever watched more than once.
It’s A Wonderful Life.  Agree.
The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp.  Never seen it.  Maybe I should.
The General.  Agree.
The Bridge On The River Kwai.  Agree.
There Will Be Blood.  Agree.
Taxi Driver.  Agree.
The Deer Hunter.  Agree.
2001: A Space OdysseyDisagree.  Boring, pretentious and long-winded.
Seven Samurai.  Agree, and I also like The Magnificent Seven.
VertigoDisagree.  It’s Hitchcock, but it’s not what I’d consider a great movie.
All About Eve.  Agree.
Top HatDisagree.   I love me some Fred ‘n Ginger as much or more than anyone else, but they’re not Great Movies.
Bicycle Thieves.  Agree.
On The Waterfront.  Agree.
Nashville.  Agree.
Rome, Open CityNever saw it.
Duck Soup. Agree, but prefer Monkey Business.
The Searchers.  Agree.
The Conversation.  Agree.
Dr. Strangelove.  Agree.
BoyhoodHaven’t seen it.
Schindler’s List.  Agree.
The Producers.  Sorta-agree, although I can’t stand Mel Brooks.
No Country For Old Men.  Agree.
Monty Python’s Life Of Brian.  Agree.
Tokyo StoryNever saw it.
The Elephant Man.  Agree.
Deliverance.  Agree.
Apollo 11.  See my rap on Shoah, above.
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?  Agree.
Spartacus.  Agree.  Grudgingly.
Toy Story.  Agree.
The Lives Of Others.  Agree.
The Good, the Bad and the UglyDisagree.  Fun movie, but definitely not “great”.
West Side StoryDisagree.  High-class camp.
The Third Man.  Agree.
Shakespeare In Love.  Agree.
His Girl Friday.  Agree.
Henry V.  Agree.
The ShiningDisagree.  Run-of-the-mill horror flick.  Ask yourself:  if it had been any actor other than Jack, would this movie make any list?
Chinatown.  Agree.
Zulu.  Agree.
Sunset Boulevard.  Agree.
City Lights.  Agree.
Gone With The Wind.  Agree.
The Best Years Of Our Lives.  Agree.
Ben Hur.  Maybe, but better than Spartacus, anyway.
Get OutHaven’t seen it, doubt that I will because I’ve already seen Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?
Night Of The Hunter.  Agree.
Rear Window.  Agree.  In truth, only Hitchcock’s Psycho and Rear Window  belong on this list.
Star Wars.  Agree.  But only the very first (third?) one.
Parasite.  Agree.
All The President’s MenDisagree.  As history, it sucks.  As a thriller, it’s boring.
High Noon.  Agree.
The ExorcistDisagree.  Compelling, frightening, but not great.  (Ditto The Omen, for the same reason.)
KesDisagree.
Shane.  Agree.
Chariots of Fire.  Agree.
It Happened One Night.  Agree.
12 Angry Men.  Agree.
When We Were KingsNever saw it.
The Vanishing.  Agree.
The Sting.  Agree.
To Kill A Mockingbird.  Agree.
This Is Spinal TapDisagree.  Loved the movie, but “great” it ain’t.
In The Heat Of The Night.  Agree.
GoldfingerDisagree.  None of the Bond movies is “great”.  Fun, yes… but not great.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark.  Agree.  But none of the sequels (see:  Star Wars).
Thelma And Louise.  Agree.
Oliver!  Disagree!  despite outstanding performances from Ron Moody and Oliver Reed.

Notable omissions:

The Lady Eve.  Preston Sturges, Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda.  Brilliant comedy.
The Postman Always Rings Twice.  Inexplicable omission.  The original with John Garfield or the Jack Nicholson remake would make my list.
Scenes From A Marriage.  Ingmar Bergman, ’nuff said.
Rocky.  No-hoper nearly makes it.  An American story.
Full Metal Jacket.  Another American story.
Badlands.  And a third, only this one about real people, sorta.
The Lion In Winter.  Quite easily one of the best historical dramas ever filmed.  If not this, then
A Man For All Seasons.  I’m not sure that anyone could argue against this one being on a top 20 list, let alone a top 100.  Inexplicable omission.
Notorious.  Possibly the best Hitchcock movie, and could replace either Psycho or Rear Window in the above list.
The Long Riders.  Inexplicable omission.  It and the next one could tie for “best Western ever made”, with all due respect to The Searchers.
Unforgiven.  Best Clint Eastwood movie ever made.  And let’s not forget
Stagecoach.
In Bruges.  I’d put this on the list way ahead of The Banshees Of Inisherin.  Same principal actors, even.
Pandora’s Box.  Did someone forget the early German movies?  I didn’t.
Fargo.  The Coen Brothers at their wicked best.
The Matrix.  One of the better concepts in any sci-fi / dystopia movie.  As was
Blade Runner.  Omitted?  I’m not even a fan of the genre, but it was a brilliant movie.
A Clockwork Orange.  The best Kubrick movie.
Brazil.  Leaving out this movie and the previous three makes me think that Viner either doesn’t like or doesn’t understand the dystopia genre.
Being There.  Are you kidding me?  One of the greatest satirical movies ever, not to mention Peter Sellers being brilliant.
Rescuers Down Under.  Best animated cartoon movie ever made.
Zeffirelli’s Romeo And Juliet.  Beats out West Side Story, by ten lengths.
From Here To Eternity.  Better than any three other war movies combined, excluding
Aces High.  One of the grittiest war movies ever.  And speaking of which, there’s also
All Quiet On The Western Front — the first b&w version.
Grapes of Wrath.  I guess Okies don’t play well in Britishland.
Bound For Glory.  Even though Guthrie was a Commie rat.  It’s Hal Ashby, FFS.  Also
The Last Picture Show for the same reason.
Nosferatu.  Horror horror horror.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  Brilliant sci-fi.  As is
Starman.
The 400 Blows.  François Truffaut’s debut movie.  Good grief.
Fahrenheit 451.  Eerily prophetic, but not as bad as the present day.  Also notable as having been directed by Truffaut in English, when he could barely speak a word of it — and by the way, Viner seems to have forgotten or ignored all French directors, not one of whose works made his list.  So much for being a movie critic.

So I’ve disagreed with fifteen or so of Viner’s century, and suggested three dozen or so alternatives.

Finally, my total ringer:  September Affair.  And not just for its theme song.

Feel free to add your own, or to disagree with any of the above.

Search String

Here’s an interesting thing.  The other day I was asked by an old friend from Seffrica where she could find one of my novels on Amazon, so I just told her to do a search for “Kim du Toit Prime Target” on their website.  Here was the search result:

Errrr what?

Puzzled, I tried one of the other novels:

No problem there… and likewise for all the other works I’ve published at Amazon.

Then I tried again, using just “Kim du Toit” as the search string, and lo and behold, they all showed up, including Prime Target:

Of course, trying to reach anyone at Amazon who could look at the problem is like trying to decipher the U.S. tax code at IRS.gov: opaque,  impossible and misleading.  Amazon must be the least-friendly organization on the planet when it comes to this kind of thing.

Anyway, here’s the link to Prime Target, in case anyone is still interested in a story about a government agency spying on U.S. citizens’ private data.

Okay, Wait

Here’s a headline which literally stopped me in my tracks — twice.  See if you can see where:

Actress cast as Richard III?  I thought casting men as women went out in the seventeenth century, but since when did casting women as men become a thing?  (As an aside, how will Dickless III play the seduction of Lady Anne in Act I Scene 2 without the audience breaking into uncontrollable laughter?)

And no, by all means play the hunchbacked king as a non-impaired man, which will make the “poisonous bunch-backed toad” line (among many other such insults in the play) completely meaningless.  Fucking hell;  why not just play Richard III as a frog, and have done with it?

Then again, this is Britishland, home of The Bard, where I once walked out of a dreadful performance of Macbeth (at the Barbican Theatre, by the Royal Shakespeare Company) at the halfway point.

So anything’s possible.  Expect to see a guest appearance by Willy Wonka or David Beckham in footballer kit during the final battle scene, where “Richard” utters the immortal line:

“A purse!  A purse!  My queendom for a purse!”