Saturday, 31 May 2014

Girls With Guns


This poster for Frank Miller Sin City sequel, Sin City : A Dame To Kill For is officially too hot.

Well of course it is, it's Eva Green!

Seriously though, it's been banned by the MPAA. Because of, and I quote, 'nudity - curve of under breast and dark nipple/areola circle visible through sheer gown'

Oh dear!

Black Jack (1979)



Ken Loach's third film for cinema release, Black Jack, is a near forgotten feature based on a Leon Garfield book his children had enjoyed. It's an unusual  project for Loach (certainly in light of his later works we have come to know and love) it's inception seems to stem from two things; the first being that following the success of the previous film, 1971's Family Life, across Europe, producer Tony Garnett secured funding for the National Film Finance Corporation by making Black Jack a co-production with France (this also led to Jean Franval's casting as the titular Jack, changing the character's nationality  to French) The second being the fact that Kes had delighted and spoken to working class children everywhere. As such a children's film seemed the way forward.




Loach's naturalistic approach to film making and performances continues here with the hesitant acting of its juvenile leads, specifically Stephen Hirst as Tolly and Louise Cooper as Belle. For both, Black Jack would be their only film appearance. Their timid and occasionally faltering delivery, specifically Cooper's, does not detract from the film, rather it enhances it; seeming somehow apt and heightening the realism Loach excels in, whilst Franvel's Jack is a curious mixture of  bogeyman and paternalistic guardian.



There's a gem of a film straining to break out here but sadly its only briefly glimpsed at. The film's narrative drags somewhat at 110 minutes, suggesting Loach seems at times more concerned with capturing a snapshot of authentic working class Georgian life than in propelling the story forward. He seems particularly happy to explore the extended fairground family of dwarves, cooks, strong men and snake oil salesmen that Jack and his young companions hook up with, and its infectious upon the audience, making these scenes come alive with witty, earthy lines and believable amateurish performances.



Loach has described this film as 'one that got away' professing an unhappiness with time constraints and a poor edit that saw dubbing occur in just one weekend. Yet for all its flaws, Black Jack remains a beautiful, striking and engaging portrait of 1700s Yorkshire with an easily empathetic core regarding the children's plight. There's just enough magic here to make this a very special addition to children's cinema, but with a tighter focus and a better edit this could have been a real classic of the genre.

Last Passenger (2013)



"Last Passenger: High speed thriller starring Dougray Scott as a passenger on a runaway train that is hurtling towards Hastings"

Yup. That's what I read in the Radio Times. That's what sold me. This train, taken over by a madman, isn't hurtling towards New York. It isn't hurtling towards Chicago. It's hurtling towards the East Sussex seaside town and borough of Hastings!

I knew in that instant that I just had to watch this film. It's Hectic Dangerday! It's Colossal Velocity played straight. It's po-faced Partridge!




Joking aside, I've always had a soft spot for thrillers set on trains. There's something fundamentally intriguing and exciting about seeing a group of disparate people thrown together in such a confined mode of transport, finding themselves up against it. The Lady Vanishes, The Taking of Pelham 123, Silver Streak, North West Frontier, even Murder On The Orient Express...it's a rich seam. As I've said though, in terms of high octane terrorist thrillers, this is usually the territory of America so it's somewhat weird and fun to see a British film take a shot at such a genre. Naturally it's punching a little above its weight and it is hampered by the fact that a British audience doesn't necessarily find it as easy to suspend their disbelief when watching far fetched action occurring in cities, towns and rail networks that they're familiar with, but there's still enough to amuse and entertain here helped immeasurably by its cast including Scott, Kara Tointon, David Schofield, Iddo Goldberg and the glorious Lindsay Duncan. It's just a shame Duncan is really wasted in a nothing role, whilst Goldberg is saddled with a hopeless accent he cannot convince with - much like his performance in Peaky Blinders, except here its a standard Eastern European voice as opposed to the Birmingham he so mangled in that series. David Schofield invests much in the otherwise cliched role of the obnoxious and anxious businessman who is initially loathe to believe or help, but it is perhaps the Scott and Tointon's film. The most convincing interplay comes from Scott in his scenes as a widowed father returning home from an evening out with his young son, played by Joshua Kaynama, it's a very believable and striking father/son relationship. Meanwhile Tointon, playing Scott's potential love interest, performs her role in a manner that would surprise some viewers with preconceived ideas about soap and reality TV stars.




This is the debut film of writer and director Omid Nooshin. He does a fine job of setting up the suspense, capturing the hazy and somewhat disorientating long late night train ride home after an exhausting day very well - those moments of waking sleep, the glimpses of who knows what beyond a rain lashed compartment window and the mystery of what goes on in the driver's cab - but he drops the ball somewhat (for me, at least) once the action commences which, for a thriller, is somewhat unforgiveable. On the whole though, one has to give him kudos for not only creating something like this first time out on such a low budget and for having the balls to keep the thriller intriguingly motiveless.



Friday, 30 May 2014

Modesty Blaise Returns to the Radio

Following the success of 2012's radio adaptation of the Modesty Blaise novel A Taste For Death, it has been announced that Radio 4 have recently completed work on another Modesty adventure!

This time around Stef Penney has adapted the debut novel by Peter O'Donnell. The play was recorded last week at the BBC Cardiff studios and is scheduled for a daily broadcast commencing 16th June.



Former Casualty star and downright stunner Daphne Alexander returns to the role of Modesty and is joined once again by veteran actor Alun Armstrong as Sir Gerald Tarrant and former EastEnder Alex Ferns as McWhirter. This time around Modesty's knife weilding cockney sidekick, Willie Garvin, is played by Kill List star Neil Maskell.



Ewan Bailey - who I watched just last night in the Kenneth Williams biopic Fantabulosa! in which he played Joe Orton's lover and killer Kenneth Halliwell - will play Modesty's nemesis, the crime kingpin Gabriel.



King And Country (1964)



I really don't know why this one is as overlooked as it is. For my money it stands perfectly well against more famous and applauded films covering similar ground such as Paths Of Glory and Breaker Morant.



Directed by Joseph Losey and adapted by Evan Christie from the play Hamp by John Wilson, King and Country is a suitably pessimistic and gloomy polemic about the horrors of the First World War and the then military establishment's disregard for shellshock, more concerned are they with 'morale'. Losey equips his melodrama with typically arty 60s flourishes of the time, such as archive stills of the battlefields of WWI and surreal snapshots of the homefront, complete with knowing looks to camera.  There's also much heavy symbolism, specifically in scenes in which the rest of the platoon catch rats and submit them to theatrical mock trials in the same manner their comrade is going through at the time.





The comrade in question is Arthur Hamp, beautifully played by Tom Courtenay, despite being saddled with a largely unconvincing London accent. Courtenay is a favourite of mine and this era saw him play, through a series of new wave/kitchen sink features, hapless figures who have been dealt a bad hand in life. In some films, Courtenay can invest such a role with cynicism and anger (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner immediately springs to mind) whereas in others such as this, he imbues it with a great deal of heart-rending pity which immediately gets the audience on side, even though the outcome is obvious from the off. Courtenay went on to win the Best Actor award for his performance here at the Venice Film Festival of 1964 and, whilst I feel he gave better performances elsewhere, I am in full agreement that this was a worthy win.



Equally first rate is Dirk Bogarde, just a year after his incredible performance in Losey's The Servant, as Captain Hargreaves the officer chosen to defend Hamp against the accusation of desertion. It's an excellent performance which shows the compassion and sense of justice such a character feels yet is tempered by his overall sense of duty. Hargreaves may understand Hamp's actions and he feels passionate about the kangaroo court set to try him, but it doesn't mean he can condone the man for deserting his post. It's a pleasing complexity that in lesser hands may not have been explored as well as Bogarde does here.



A solid anti-war film that doesn't outstay its welcome and details the grim, cruel reality of life in the trenches and the futility and tragedy of combat and the established order who thrive upon it.



Out On Blue Six : Humble Pie


End Transmission



Kenneth Williams : Fantabulosa! (2006)

Fantabulosa! was the TV film that made us realise what an impressive chameleon Michael Sheen is, which ultimately led to his big screen performances as Brian Clough, David Frost and Tony Blair (though he had played Blair for the first time - in the TV film The Deal, recently reviewed on these pages - before this turn here) and which equally led to the tone and commitment of all future BBC4 biopics.




Fantabulosa! is not a perfect film, but it has a as near as dammit perfect performance from its leading man. A force of nature, Sheen's talent for mimicry - both physically and vocally - dominates the film from the off as he totally embodies and helps to bring Kenneth Williams back to life, in all his brittle glory. It could be argued Sheen doesn't really look like Williams (in much the same way as it could be argued he doesn't look like Frost or Blair...I do feel he looked more like Cloughie though) but it doesn't matter, he inhabits the role so extensively that he IS Williams. 

It's just a shame then that the film itself is far less impressive than the central performance - or indeed the supporting performances; with Cheryl Campbell and (Sylvia Syms daughter) Beatie Edney being especially noteworthy as Williams' mother and Carry On co-star Joan Sims respectively. Fantabulosa! is marred by its episodic format and its unusual, inexplicable directorial choices; there's a scene quite early on in a busy cafe where Williams is told by his agent that his services are no longer required by Hancock's Half Hour and the BBC. Aware that he has an audience around him who wants to see him perform, even if he's about to lose one in the form of the TV viewing public, Williams - despite his agent's protestations - starts to raise his voice and pander to them...only for the next wide shot to show they weren't there. Why?




It could equally be argued that the script never once lets us get to empathise with Williams, which leaves an uninvolving air and an austere chill across the proceedings. But I think much of this is actually intentional; Williams was a strange, cold fish. He couldn't live without the admiration and applause of his audience yet he held them often in great contempt, bitter that he somehow felt he was squandering his talent or that his mugging was actually beneath him. This notion is beautifully captured when the ageing Williams engages with some workmen outside his flat. He's under no obligation to, yet he does so all the same, only for him to snobbishly criticise them once their backs are turned and lament how they have somehow expected this little routine from him.

Ultimately, Fantabulosa! is a good rather than great film, but it cannot be denied that it has a great performance from Michael Sheen.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Victim (1961)



Victim is a groundbreaking early 60s film about homosexuality which, as it was still illegal at the time, was conducted very much in secret and behind closed doors. 

The plot is part British noir and part character study and concerns the blackmailing of closeted gays, several of whom are high profile and/or famous. One of whom is Melville Farr played by Dirk Bogarde, a smooth and accomplished barrister about to take silk ie become Queen's Counsel. This appointment, along with his career in general and his beautiful young wife played by Sylvia Syms, is at risk if he is outed in society and yet he takes it upon himself to investigate and stand up to the anonymous blackmailers and highlight the unfairness in the law he practices.   




Bogarde plays the part with a well contained anger and sense of injustice that not only makes his 'crusade' utterly believable and empathetic but also gives us a great sense of his character and why he is a barrister; this is a man who has utter righteous contempt for social injustice but who approaches it as calmly as possible as befits his profession. Nevertheless, it is utterly obvious through the talented performance that Bogarde's character feels a resentment deep within him not just for the way society views his sexual preference but also for the fact that nature has given him this preference  in the first place; its alluded that he may never have given into his passion - he certainly never had sex with 'Boy' Barrett, the young man whose suicide brings the blackmail operation to his attention - and he's quick to lash out, literally in one key and surprising scene, when he feels he is being insulted or criticised for how he is.

This was the film that marked a turning point for Bogarde the Rank matinee idol. His agent warned him that accepting the role in Victim would end his career. Thankfully it did not, it opened up a new and more mature and intelligent direction entirely and one that proved to be far more rewarding, and offered more longevity, than the more conventional male lead roles he had originally become famous for.

Basil Deardon, perhaps now one of the UK's most underrated directors, provides Victim with masterful direction and, alongside cinematographer Otto Heller, captures the early 60s London beautifully and tellingly; in focusing the action firmly on very real streets, large and fading public houses, court rooms, car dealerships, barbershops and motorway caffs full of steaming tea urns and truckers polishing off all day breakfasts, the secret scene is shown to be the same one that occurs alongside the 'normal' everyday life of the heterosexual, breaking any taboos and misconstrued ideas borne of ignorance perfectly.




It's an eye opening snapshot to a less enlightened time, one that is almost impossible to contemplate was the case nowadays. A solid message film, it is undeniably a very brave one, with enlightening and surprising candour given the time the film was made and the fact that it was dealing sympathetically with something that was still considered a crime. Kudos then to all involved that Victim's message was told and told so very well to boot.

The Martins (2001)



I think I saw The Martins at the cinema when it came out, but unusually for my rather good memory (it really stores the trivial and minutiae up) I have no real recollection of watching it on the big screen.

Is that surprising? Not really, because this really doesn't belong on the big screen.

A lot of films made in the UK in the late 90s and early 00s received a lot of flak. Some of this seemed to stem from the Daily Fail and the fact that these movies were often part funded by the Lottery or the Arts Council and would go on to be commercial failures. You can guess The Mail line; why are we squandering public money on duds?

Personally I think many of them were just ill advised and poorly marketed. The Martins is a prime example of this theory. As a project this would just about pass OK enough as a 90 minute one off on TV - its writer/director Tony Grounds is a veteran of TV scriptwriting after all - but as a cinematic film it really doesn't cut the mustard at all. Then there's the PR for it; look at that poster at the top of this post? It makes it look like a National Lampoon, a bold and broad action filled comedic farce. The straplines 'The Ultimate Nuclear Family', 'Contaminating A Cinema Near You' and 'The Martins Have Landed' only enforced such a misdirection. Although the film's plot does occasionally reach extremes, on the whole The Martins is a rather intimate and unapologetic, non judgmental observation of a dysfunctional Hertfordshire based family, the type of family many in the UK have come to term as 'Chavs' (though I hate the word myself, it's a weapon the government have succeeded in getting the working classes to use against one another) 



It's a well cast film, with Lee Evans and Kathy Burke as Robert and Angie Martin, heads of 'the kind of family people cross the street to avoid'. There's Angie's loudmouth interfering mother played by Linda Bassett and Robert and Angie's two children; Katie, a heavily pregnant 14 year old schoolgirl (father unknown - "sex is the only thing I think I'm good at" she reflects to her mother at one point, a quiet little scene that is in no way played for easy laughs) and 8 year Little Bob, an outcast of a boy who hero worships his somewhat unhinged, tragic dad.  It's a great performance from Evans whose character is an unemployed tosspot ('Tosspot' was the original working title) always scrounging – whether its benefits or entering every competition under the sun - and a natural born loser. Occasionally in the film, he'll refer to himself as a communist, but its an empty and ill thought out allegiance, based on class envy than any real sense of class injustice. When he loses out on a dream holiday from the local paper, its the straw that breaks the camel's back.  Taking the gun he's minding for a mate in prison, he sets out steal the holiday he feels he's owed and to get the respect he feels he's always deserved from those that have always looked down on him and cheated him because of his class and status.

Another potential issue with this film is the alienation some are likely to feel with regards to the characters. Grounds' script makes no bones or allowances for how obnoxious such a family can be. He doesn't try to elicit our sympathy, or to portray them as misunderstood cockernees with hearts of gold like so many crappy films and TV tend to do. Instead he walks a fine line in just presenting them, and letting them stand or fall on their own merit. As such we seem them in both positive and negative lights - both as the product of their environment and the root cause of all their problems. It's a film that is actually a strong character study, but that can get lost with the misplaced expectations from the marketing, the nature of the cinema experience and some of the more credulity stretching aspects of the plot itself.

Another issue that seemed to wrongfoot audiences was the casting of Evans and Burke. Lee Evans is a hugely successful stand up comedian and proponent of slapstick, whereas Kathy Burke's comedic chops were earned on TV with the likes of Harry Enfield and French and Saunders. This knowledge, coupled with the advertising issues, meant that many expected a laugh a minute romp with larger than life grotesques. It's a real shame then that such an audience so clearly missed the point; both Evans and Burke are equally accomplished straight actors and it is their convincing portrayal of this troubled and troublesome couple, riding the highs and the lows and clearly still in love that makes it work so well. The little moments, the heartfelt confessions or the quiet looks shared speak volumes and make you reassess such a family and see beyond the stigmatised label and cliched stereotypes. 



Ultimately though, despite the issues surrounding this film that creatively it could not help it still remains a somewhat sluggish and slight experience. Despite its occasionally big heart and big message, it's just too small and intimate a film to stand on its own in the cinema.

Look out for appearances from the likes of Mark Strong, Ray Winstone, Lennie James and Paddy Considine - actors you really don't expect to see in such a film!

RIP Maya Angelou

Very sad news tonight as it's been announced that Maya Angelou has passed away aged 86. 



I think Barack Obama summed her up beautifully with his tribute to the poet, author and activist, describing her as "one of the brightest lights of our time"

RIP

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Atos Having a Say in Putting Children Into Care?

Would you trust Atos, G4S, Serco and indeed any private company to look after vulnerable children or have a say/influencing decisions about taking them into care?

Thought not.

But Michael Gove - yes, it's that man again - is considering outsourcing this role to profit making companies, and he's got just two days left before the consultation.

You haven't heard?

No, not many have. This has had incredibly little media coverage. But if thousands of people write in before Friday to say they believe such decisions should be kept a million miles away from any concern motivated by profit we may just hammer the message home.

Please take the time to add your name and address to the already drafted letter at the following link


Make this prat listen!

Kinky Boots : Erika Blanc


Out On Blue Six : The Who


Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the May Bank Holiday skirmishes between Mods and Rockers this week - and there was a great documentary on BBC4 examining both youth groups on Monday (catch it on iplayer if you missed it) - here's The Who with the opening to Quadrophenia




End Transmission



The Government Inspector (2005)

Shame on you Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell et al. Blood on your hands.

Now that's out of the way....




The Government Inspector, Peter Kosminsky's 2005 dramatisation of the life and death of Dr David Kelly, the former UN weapons inspector who, in the wake of the WMD fiasco, became something of a weapon himself, deployed by both government and the BBC. It ultimately led, just two days after his appearance at the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, to his death and presumed suicide on Harrowden Hill on the evening of the 17th July 2003.

Kosminsky's film is an absorbing righteous yell of anger that grips like a vice from start to finish. Rightly and respectfully, Kosminsky doesn't dwell on the reasons or indeed the nature of Kelly's death (choosing to ignore the 'conspiracy theories' borne from the "insufficient evidence" many people, including medics feel in regards to the findings of the Hutton Inquiry) instead it depicts a solid account of what we know alongside circumstantial evidence for the viewer to consider. Whatever your view, I would argue the ultimate conclusion is a feeling of disgust, guilt and the certainty that the events were a horrible tragedy.


Mark Rylance as Dr David Kelly

Jonathan Cake on the right as Alistair Campbell, 
with James Larkin as Blair


The two main protagonists are, perhaps rightly, from opposite or opposing sides; David Kelly, of course, played by Mark Rylance and Alistair Campbell, Blair's director of communications and the man it is alleged 'sexed up' a dossier about Iraq's weapons capabilities, played here by Jonathan Cake.  Both very different men, from very different walks of life, they are very different performances; Cake is a swaggering, macho man of often barely contained anger, whereas Rylance's Kelly is a bemused, quiet and methodical individual, a David slowly and surely crucified before the Goliaths of New Labour. It's a fantastic performance and a world away from the last thing I saw him in (Intimacy) Contained, subtle and sublimely still, its genius underplaying and powerfully moving. It quite rightly gained him a BAFTA for Best Actor in 2005, alongside one for Kosminsky for Best Writer and one for Best Single Drama too.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Hanging On The Telephone


Laurence Harvey as Joe Lampton in 1959's Room At The Top

Don't Kill The Mockingbird, Michael!



The odious Michael Gove ('no one likes me, I don't care tra-la-la') has wielded the axe over English GCSE classes up and down the land.

He has 'banned' the study of seminal American literature like To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men and The Crucible in favour of a more English-centric focus on the Romantic Poets, the 19th Century novel and Shakespeare.

There's nothing wrong with these, in fact they're exemplary works, but they are nevertheless works that can alienate many schoolchildren.

I studied To Kill A Mockingbird for my GCSE way back in the mid 90s (alongside some Shakespeare) In fact, I read that very edition pictured above which I then donated to the school for the generation of kids to come. I can testify to how easily identifiable we as a class found it. It slowly fed into us and made us consider things. I'm sure that such a claim is still as relevant among kids reading it today.

Gove is banning a rich seam of books, intriguingly many which ask its young readers to consider authority and to question and challenge it. Interesting then, that they should be the first to go isn't it?

Michael Gove claims he is not banning any books at all, merely reshaping the system, but he needs to realise that in doing so he is narrowing the curriculum, taking choice away from the teaching staff and enjoyment and valuable life lessons away from students.

If you want Gove to reconsider this appalling decision, sign this petition here 

Smoking Hot


There are soooo many photographs of Romy Schneider smoking online that these posts could be solely about her!

Out On Blue Six : Alison Moyet

Two from Alison Moyet, with a little help (or hindrance?) from French and Saunders



End Transmission



Monday, 26 May 2014

Reds (1981)



Reds is a bold and stunning epic that tells the story of John Reed, idealist and author of Ten Days That Shook The World, and the only American to be buried within the Kremlin. 





It's easy to say that this is Warren Beatty's film - after all he raised the necessary funds to make it, co-wrote it alongside the Mancunian playwright Trevor Griffiths (author of the excellent 1970s TV series Bill Brand, about an idealistic young Labour MP), produced, directed and starred in it - but that would be making a glaring omission, because Beatty fills the film not only with great supporting actors and cameo performances, but also with 'the witnesses', the many real contemporaries of Reed and his wife Louise Bryant who provide informative and absorbing talking heads throughout the film. And more, he devotes the whole film to the very human story of Reed and Bryant. This is a love story across the dramatic world stage, the scope may be epic but the essence of the film is intimate and one of the heart. 




Diane Keaton, always a favourite of mine, delivers a strong performance as Bryant, the bored dentist's wife who leaves Portland to be heard, only to find the irony being that Reed's band of intellectuals are at first just as equally quick to dismiss her as someone who should be seen and not heard. Her Bryant is one who proves herself consistently throughout the film, and is one of spirit, loyalty and humour. 




Beatty's performance as Reed could have been something of an ego trip but the great and unusual thing about Warren Beatty is he's always been an actor happy to inject his star persona with several flaws and often a bit of a Himbo, boyish silliness and, whilst it would be terribly incorrect to term the intelligent principled Reed a Himbo in any way shape or form,  its gratifying to see Beatty continue to take the edge of his perceived perfection, even if the cack handed cooking scenes are a little intrusive and a noticeable injection of comic relief.




Lastly, I cannot conclude the review without mentioning two key cameos, Gene Hackman and more importantly, Jack Nicholson. Nicholson in particular is at his most impressive; a world away from his own screen persona, he provides a quiet and contemplative performance to great effect, in much the same way he did for Antonioni's The Passenger.




His cynical and morose playwright Eugene O'Neill, longing for Bryant's love, is a tour de force of understated passion and therefore his far stronger than his more ballsy all out acting in other movies.



At just over three hours long, Reds is a mammoth and true accomplishment and a real piece of mature film making and film acting from Beatty. 



The Farage Mirage and the Recall Scam


This cunt is laughing today. But he's laughing at you; because the joke is on you if you voted for his ridiculous right wing Tory reject party.

Because what was it exactly that you voted for?

I'm fed up of hearing how UKIP voters are just as fed up of being painted as bigots, scared of immigration or simply not understanding the issues raised by the election. Because that suggests these voters knew what they were voting for.

How?

Go and look on the UKIP website (if you can stomach it) and tell me just what policies they have.

They have none. They trade on fear, racism and right wing values. And that's it.

Their site is full of what they're against, but there's precious little of what they'll actually do.

Where are their actual policies?

Did you know that they hold the NHS largely in contempt and that such hard fought privileges that we presently enjoy such as maternity are things they are keen to change for the worse or dispense with altogether?

Of course you didn't. Because that means actually taking time out to do some researching into just what it is you're placing your precious vote - something people fought and died for and something which many are still not entitled to have - for.

And why do that?

Remember, this is the party whose own leader admitted to never reading its manifesto at the last election.

If you voted UKIP last week you were sold on this Farage mirage. You voted for one reason only; an unreasonable fear and hatred of anyone living in this country who isn't British.

And I despair that such a voice is now being heard in the UK. Because that isn't my England. That isn't my England at all. We are clearly living in different worlds, never mind a different country.

Nigel Farage may be laughing, he may be claiming he is now the leader of the nation's third party, but he's someone who would crumble at the first sign of any actual responsibility, because he stands for nothing but contempt.He has no policies and until he does, he'll always be outside the tent pissing in - the position he's happiest in, the position he's always wanted to have.

On the plus side, at least the odious Nick Griffin of the BNP lost his MEP seat here in the North West.

* * *

MP's need to regain our trust, says today's Telegraph.

Well, amen to that.

MP's can fiddle their expenses, go to gaol and break every promise they've ever pledged to us and we can only get rid of them on election day. 

This is wrong and a bill is currently in the offing to 'recall' MP's, to sack them, if they misbehave.

Sounds good eh?

Wrong. Because its taking the power away from the constituents, us, and placing it solely and squarely into government's hands. 

Real recall is giving us the power to demand by-elections to get rid of MPs. This is far more democratic, this keeps the power with us. Please sign the petition to get Cameron and Clegg to think again  here

RIP Bunny Yeager


Sadly, Bunny Yeager passed away at the weekend aged 85. Bunny was a photographer and pin up model who helped make Bettie Page famous and took the infamous photos of Ursula Andress on the beach for the very first Bond film Dr No