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Category: Movies

Putting the band back together

We drove down to the South Coast at the weekend for a concert. The last time was for Mark Knopfler, this time it was for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Glyndebourne, not the Brighton Centre. A stretch for the coast, I’ll grant you. An afternoon of sitting in the gardens, eating a picnic, drinking mocktails and listening to classical music in a COVID-secure way. Not far off normal life (I’m not referring to the mocktails as the aberrration), but with the new-normal tweaks of a one-way system around the premises, two metres between each pod of audience members and far enough away from the end of the woodwind instruments to settle the nerves. No need for black tie since it was an afternoon concert; awkward for the token wearer but he seemed fine with it.

And to the orchestra. A palpable feeling that the band was back together, that they had been let out to play and would have lashings of ginger beer later and party games. Sheer relief at being able to sit in front of a crowd of people again albeit some the size of a Twitter thumbnail in their line of sight.

Sweet Home, East Sussex

A tight eight-piece band with periodic light aircraft accompaniment. It was like the Buena Vista Social Club with a bassoon. Their black suits, a couple of them in black hats, white shirts for the men, it was like an audition in the grounds for the next Blues Brothers film:

“It’s 49 miles to Glyndebourne, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes and some clarinets. It’s dark and we’re wearing sun glasses. Hit it!”

Elwood (and Jake) Blues,
musicians

For me, the music proved to be a mixed bag, Beethoven’s go at an opera – Fidelio – plus some crowd-pleasing Mozart, and some Jonathan Dove (the mixed bag). Short pieces, like flash fiction: a conversation, a Countess interrupting an argument, dancing in the dark (not Springsteen). Seven pieces inspired by the Glyndebourne gardens, with – I very much liked the image – the inspiration of Mozart rippling through the trees into the music. A faintly jazz-like feel to some of the pieces, a sketchy slightly repetitive feel to the rest. Overall, a brilliant way to spend some time, COVID or not.

Why in particular? The relief in the orchestra was mirrored by the joy in the audience. My feeling is that they could have played Mahna, Mahna by the Muppets and we would all have felt great and applauded loudly; sadly, Animal wasn’t there on his crazy drum kit. We were determined that it would be great, and happily it was. The rustling of the trees in the breeze and the twittering of nearby birds beautifully complemented the music and the feeling of being OUT. Something that was not a compromise, something that we wanted to do, something that looks like we’d wandered into another drive-in by mistake. Not that last bit.

What time does the movie start?

A festival without the mud and with a selection of cheeses. We all need to find those moments of escape, however they come packaged.

Cheers,

Alan

Alan Camrose

The Blues Brothers' 40th anniversary — read all Sun-Times coverage of 'the  best movie ever made in Chicago' - Chicago Sun-Times

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Diet Hard

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix . You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, tackling the unthinkable…Yippee-Ki-Ay! Relax, take off your shoes and crinkle your toes, rip open a very small pack of low calorie popcorn.

Warning: Mixing blockbuster references, the need to have seen Die Hard is strong in this one…


Die Hard movie the terrorism of dieting and diets
We have fizzy water, cucumber and everything

Buying a new outdoor pizza oven probably wasn’t part of the ruthless unified direction of travel needed for the Family Diet, but hey ho.

Lockdown has proved to be a challenge on the dietary front, ranging from asking when will our next Waitrose Essentials Lobster be available in those dark early days of uncertainty to: did we really have that extra bottle of wine last night? When I say last night, I’m talking 2:12 pm AND NOT A MINUTE LATER…

Eating and drinking became the new leisure activity to while away an hour between repeats of Line of Duty. It introduced the concept of Zoom Dinners and Skype Snacks, afternoon tea from the early part of Lockdown made from lentils and 2016 gooseberry jam, and pasta for every meal.

Something had to give, and it was going to be either my waistband or my liver or both, hence the New Regime, a group of thieving terrorists locking down the fridge, or at least nicking all the snacks.

Slimfast shakes, bars and snacks, gimmicky but very calorie-controlled and not too horrible. Eight pounds lost in two weeks. Not spectacular but I don’t want to push it too far, especially with a periodic pit stop for a glass of Sunday Bay. The cheeseburger at the drive-in didn’t help. Baby steps, right?

Carrot cake – carrots, part of my five a day.

And then there’s the exercise, in a string vest for authenticity.

We have an exercise bike (low-slung with one of those annoying counter-thingys that tell you how much you’ve done and whether you stopped for a cheeky Latte). and my favourite piece of indoor gym equipment, an individual trampoline. That doesn’t have a counter thing but does require me to be careful not to bounce up and hit my head on the ceiling while running on the spot, so I need to concentrate exactly half the time. Life’s a compromise.

Jasper’s my favourite outdoor exercise provider, my personal trainer. Always available, has low rates (a periodic Bonio) and will retrieve until he falls over. See below…

golden retriever worn out by too much retrieving, cute puppy
Nothing left to retrieve…

Other integrated exercise systems include carrying the Sainsbury’s delivery to the fridge, extreme plant watering and UFD: Ultimate Fighting Draughts.

My plan is to do what I can, because I’ve still got to live in this thing going forward. Being Draconian seems like as bad a place to be as hitting the emergency slimming gloop…

If this proves to be too relaxed, then there’s always Diet Hard 2: Diet Harder.

Cheers,

Alan

Alan Camrose with beard
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We’re gonna need a bigger car

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose


It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix . You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the drive-in….


drive-in movie, view of the big screen for Jaws
Man-eating shark spotted in Marlow

Drive-in movies. Pure American, right?

No! A beautiful Summer’s evening on a showground on the Marlow-Henley Road for an early evening movie on a massive outdoor screen.

We were half an hour early, third in line to get in (can’t trust the M25), it was like arriving four hours early at the airport for a holiday flight, but this time Lockdown-style. Four of us in a reasonably large Volvo SUV, three of us pushing 6′ 3″. What could possibly go wrong?

We were excited to be out out, albeit in in a car-sized bubble, about to be fed and a classic was waiting for us, brooding in the shallows, filing its teeth.

Jaws was on the menu.

I lined up the car within our parking space, a safe distance from the screen: a perfect view for the driver (me) and Mother. For Twins 1 and 2 in the back? Not so much.

Volvo hadn’t really legislated for this cabin configuration. We adjusted the seats, the rear-view mirror and the passenger-side wing mirror; lived with the passenger-side windscreen pillar and non-detachable head-rests, not having packed a chainsaw; slid the back of the driver and front passenger seats down to about 35 degrees each; worked the front seats far enough forward so that the blood supply to my legs started to flatline; regretted – again – not having a convertible.

Perfect.

Food was courtesy of Tom Kerridge / Pub in the Park: cheeseburger and cheesecake. So ethnic, I nearly wore a cowboy hat. Glad I didn’t, it would have blocked more of the screen.

Fortunately, the food was a manageable size…

Yum yum

After that, time for a fun game before the movie started.

Over six foot driver (me), over six foot nineteen-year-olds in the rear passenger seats; less tall Mother in the front passenger seat. Cue an expert session of a combination of Twister and Rubik’s Cube to position all of us to best advantage to watch the movie out of the available windows.

Bonus sessions of movie re-enactment (feeling like we were trapped in a small shark cage) and Ultimate Fighting Yoga in the back were available at no extra charge.

Duly installed, we attacked the food with the enthusiasm of a Great White vieiwng a tasty boatful of humans. And when it came to the line in the movie,

…what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It’s really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat…and that’s all.

Jaws (1975)

it gave me a vision of the kids standing in front of our open fridge.

And of Jasper, our eternally hungry golden retriever with his latest helpless prey (above)…

The burgers added a 4-D effect to the chomping sounds coming out of the in-car speaker.

The experience was brilliant.

And I love Jaws.

It’s good that it’s so topical, the tension between keeping stuff open and fending off a dangerous threat.

All thanks to the magic of the movies; and a film that contains one of the best ad-libs in movie history.

Roy Scheider's ad lib when he sees the shark...

Cheers,

Alan

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