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Sorry my post is late this week, so here’s a film:  (Thanks to Tony Curtis Movies for sharing this). Good to add this to the Curtis oeuvre, and most of this 1953 film is set in  Macao, so it’s interesting to see how that location was perceived by Universal International in those days. It’s hard to see how Philadelphia gets involved in the final vital scenes, but it does.

Everyone is Different and the Same

Sometimes when you feel different you want to be the same

Sometimes when you feel the same you want to be different

Sometimes when you think you’re being different you’re actually being the same

Sometimes when you think you’re being the same you’re actually being quite different

It’s no wonder that when people try to see how you are different

When actually you’re the same

Or try to see you as the same

When you’re actually quite different

It’s no wonder that you seem to feel quite different when actually you feel just the same

Or seem to feel the same when you actually feel differently

Differences arise when you see the same thing in me

To you it looks different to the same thing you see in yourself

Just as things that are actually different seem the same

We are different in the same way

In different ways we are the same

The Chocolate Fairy

In days of old, a tale was told

The tale of the chocolate fairy

A myth designed to soothe the mind

Of a boy in a garret

Or a maid in a dairy.


If you go to bed, so it was said,

With a piece of chocolate slipped under your pillow

After a night dreaming of all that love might bring

The fairy will melt that special person’s heart

And you will wake to find them saying “hello”.


So, full of belief, after brushing my teeth

I offer my final square or slice of confection

To the magical sprite who I hope just might

Take pity and sympathise

With my attempts to find affection.


Yet, when I open my eyes, to my constant surprise

And more than a little personal pain

Of fairy or love divine there is no sign

No hint of my dream coming true

Nothing but a nasty brown stain.

The Good Clean Air of Hampshire


That’s my clothes hanging out on the line

In the good morning air of Hampshire!

In the cold, damp air of a grey So’ton morn.

Too early for me, but good to see my clothes at least

Get the benefit of the cold, crisp, misty Hampshire air

Knowing that soon the sun will warm and dry

The things I shall wear, along with the air,

The good, clean air of Hampshire!


So, the clothes on the line are happy as ever they shall be,

Dancing freely, in the breezy air of Hampshire!

Happy in their perfect moment (as Robert Browning would say).

And then what? Iron out the jolly wrinkles they’ve been given

By the brisk, brisk, moist air of Hampshire?

So I can wear them to rags with the sweat of my labour

While others strut in their latest duds

In love with the good, healthy air of Hampshire!


Now my line is empty and slack, sad and swinging wildly

At the mercy once again, of the gusts in the air of Hampshire!

But it won’t break or go to waste, this old skipping rope; it’s the only line I have

Where precious things might hang on display proudly

To dry and salute, for all to see, or just for me, and the good air of Hampshire!

What sign can I put on show to add weight to my line?

Some old flag? Dead game? This puppy? That child?

Who wants to swing, in the good clean air of Hampshire!

Tongue Twister and Tense Questions

[Should you spot any grammatical errors in the following, please note them in the comments section below; I think there’s only one!]

I shall, I’m sure

I’m sure I shall, are you?

I’m sure you shan’t be unsure I shall, I shan’t,

But should you be unsure I shall, I’d be surprised, as you should be sure, shouldn’t you?

Should you be unsure, I’m sure I shan’t, as should you.

Tellyofftober week one: not yet thinking outside of the box.

It’s another wasted effort, a failure, an ever diminishing set of possiblities that point to a grim future, which will continue to be dominated by concerns great and small, crowded out by petty distractions. Such are the thoughts that keep me awake when I attempt to ‘go hard core’ and cope with what passes for total silence when media sources other than television are also switched off, on the rare occasions when that actually happens.

Ah well, baby steps.

Perhaps this experience will help me understand the effect years of resorting to the box has had on my mind. It’s style of presentation – items neatly summarised and repeated so that one needn’t concentrate fully, knowing that there will be regular reminders of the main points, to be superficially absorbed and quickly forgotten without ever being explored – apeals to the need to do other things and remain on the lookout for the latest novelty. This leads to an accumulation of half heard, half understood ‘knowledge’, along with all the propaganda, which, try as one might, will have its insidious effect on the way one views the world.

Too late, I have caught myself giving offence to a dear friend by resorting to a cheap jibe based on a staple of US tv comedy so familiar to me that I assumed an ironic distance from its inherent racism would be applied automatically. It wasn’t, and I don’t doubt that that is just an example of the sort of rubbish I’ve allowed to burrow its way into my brain.


Never mind your booze and your fags, it’s time to turn against that constant distraction, that inducement to sloth and passivity, that beguiling siren in the corner of the room, the television!

As part of what is now the traditional month for giving stuff up I would like to suggest that we all do our best to rise up and resist what may be the greatest threat to achieving a healthy lifestyle.

Even as I contemplate spending a month without my electronic babysitter it becomes clear that the screen has become so ubiquitous that it simply cannot be avoided altogether. So for the month of October I propose to undertake the following, which, for me, will be enough of a sacrifice to, I hope, make a point:

No telly before 7:30 pm.

No telly after 7:30 pm unless in the home or homes of friends or loved ones, who cannot be expected to relinquish their grip on the remote. Or if a guest or guests in my home make a convincing request (bear in mind that I may well be the only alternative source of entertainment).

There will be substitutes, of course – the radio, youtube, the many compelling clips friends on Facebook and suchlike will need to share. But I shall try to cast off my couch potato status in favour of healthier, more active persuits. Who knows, I may even recover the strength and energy to read a book.

It won’t be easy; whatever will I have to talk about, if only to myself? But by the end of this month I hope to emerge cleansed and, if not stimulated, then focussed, not just on that life reducing little box but on all the world outside of it.

At last, real Herstory.

Dr Amanda Foreman’s excellent series: The Ascent of Woman

In the second episode of this wonderfully rich and informative series, it is suggested that Chinese Confusionism (during the Chin Dynasty?) snatched power and influence from women (or tried to; see the story of Empress, then Emperor Wu) by allowing greater weight to Yang than to Yin (or that might be the other way round, I have no notes; ask Billy Connelly!).

Not just there and then, it does seem that many of the world’s most pressing problems are the result of ‘male values’ being allowed to dominate to a ridiculous and destructive extent, so that the balance which might benefit us all is put out.

Dr Foreman and the OU give a great deal of new (to me at least) historical information, with real heroines, writers, artists, scholars and leaders, and portraits of societies where women had more power and influence. So this series is one to treasure and study carefully, as it promises a wealth of ideas, exemplars and mental stimulation.  Perhaps it might even help to inspire revisions in our own very troubled society.

A booklet of postcards to accompany the series is available.

Silent Film

The music is jaunty

He smiles

She smiles

He walks toward her

She moves further and farther away

Running back through the vast beautiful landscape that brought him to her

Is she teasing?

Is she in some kind of trouble?

Can she be as lost and lonely as him?

The music swells, becomes more meaningless

He stops smiling

Makes a gesture, which only she would know but doesn’t see

Sad music, gloomy skies.

Some action is needed!

He turns for home

Turns back again, remembering.

Makes a gesture, not for her or him but to the world

And, squares his shoulders, like the star he is

Shrugs with a derisory laugh and marches determinedly on.

Maybe speed the movie up from here

Or slow it down, so his clumsy rugged strutting steps

Become graceful, like the music

Now she really must flee!

But he doesn’t see the danger

Not yet. Perhaps he never will, the oaf, the chump.

You’ll know how it will turn out from here

Depending on what the public will bear


I can’t love you all at once

I can’t love you all at once

You are so many, so much to love.

Can’t I just start by loving the nice bits first –

All that appeals at a glance,

That is obviously beautiful and good,

Seems to understand me, that I seem to understand,

Encourages us perhaps to offer a helping hand –

And deal with the rest of you later?

The remainder, the mass that appears less easy to love

But is and must be, because without the messy demands –

The expense, embarassment, inconvenience and pain,

The tedium,tiresome tears, temper tantrums, innumerable

Gloomy efforts to communicate without being seen to compete

Our love can never be complete.

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