Sunday, 10 July 2011

Viva la Resolutions!

I started my New Year's Resolutions on, errm, the 1st of January. They were :-

1. To lose weight.

2. To get fit and start running

3. To stop drinking.

All these things I hadn't thought about until I woke up on the first day of the new year but I knew I had to do something to get my life sorted out. Last year was a bad one for me and I nearly didn't make it to the end.

So now it's been 6 months and I thought I would review the situation.

Losing weight. I have done this. I have lost over 3 stones (or 19kg or 42lbs which ever you prefer) I never had a target weight but I have been told many times not to lose anymore. So from now on I am just going to try and maintain my present weight. Resolution achieved.

Get fit. I started to "learn" how to run on the 2nd of January. Running for a minute, walking for two. From that I slowly built up to today when this morning I ran a half marathon in 1 hour 48 minutes.
Also, about a month ago I joined a gym. As I have paid for a year, I am going to carry on going! and I am going to continue running too. Ultimate goal to run a full marathon. But for now, Resolution achieved.

Stop drinking. I thought this might be the hardest to do. I had given up for 6 weeks for Lent the previous year and was always looking forward to the end of it. This time there was no end date. I hadn't thought whether it was going to be for a short time or the rest of my life.
This made it easier. I can honestly say I have been rarely tempted. Resolution achieved.

And now it's been 6 months. I have decided I have proved to myself what I can achieve if I put my mind to it and I am going to carry on doing so. Eating healthier, keeping fit (I enjoy it) and not drinking at home.

Did you notice that qualification? Yes, I have decided I might have a drink now and again. Not going to start drinking on my own at home but when out in company I might have the odd pint.
I have no plans to do this soon but at the right time, I'm sure I will enjoy it!

Thank you to all the people who have encouraged me this last 6 months on twitter and Facebook. I couldn't have done it without you! x

Friday, 4 June 2010

A Big Thank You.

I haven't done a blog post for ages. At first I didn't know what to write and then I just forgot I had a blog! But now I found a use for it again.

If you are reading this you are most likely a follower of mine on twitter, and being so will know from my tweets I have been having a bad time for the last few weeks. I not going to go into details again here as I think I have talked and tweeted about little else lately. But the one thing I don't think I have made clear because of the limitation of 140 characters is how much I have appreciated all your help.

I have been overwhelmed by all the kind words and thoughts people have sent me and all the time and trouble people have spent listening to my worries and moans and crying too. I know some of you will say that's what friends are for and I would say the same but this does not mean I take lightly all the support and help you have given me. I couldn't have got though this last month without you.

I won't actually name them but some people have been extraordinary with their kindness and I think we should all be gratefull that people like them exist, I know I am.

So to sum up, THANK YOU!! and I love you all xx

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Once again I'm writing a different blog to the one I planned. This is because of what happened to me last night. This blog contains what my Gran used to call "language" but I will censor it.

As I think you all know, I'm on twitter. In fact I'll goes as far as to say if you're not following me on twitter you won't be reading this. So you all know what it's about. Well, last night I blocked someone for the first time and I don't know how I feel about it.

I follow people, as I think we all do, who we find interesting and have things to tell us and these might be celebrities who might, on occasion, reply to a tweet or be friends who we chat to at length. One of the ways I met lots of good friends is at #frys as I think most of you know, and if you don't, call in soon. I'm one of the bartenders there and because of this it can get confusing sometimes who I'm following and who is just a regular (I'm bear of little brain). This is why I've ended up following just one or two people who are OK but not really on my wavelength (Not you, you're lovely!)

The person I blocked last night had said some things to me before but then put lots of :) after it. Thought it was rude but I know late at night how you can say something as a joke and it be misinterpreted, it's happen to me. But I hope, no I know, I've never been offensive.

Last night after another lovely impromptu party at #frys to celebrate the announcement of FrysgigNYC (get your tickets soon) it was a late night for me, around one thirty in the am and I had had, as those who know me won't be surprised to hear, a couple of glasses of wine. I was having a pleasant chat to a good friend when one of my comments about how it would be good if we could met in real life, a thought I think many of us might have had, was retweeted with the additional line TW*TS ANONYMOUS! (This is from memory because as I've blocked this person I can no longer see the offending tweets myself).

Now this shook me in a couple of ways. We all know, but sometimes forget, that if people are following us they can listen to our conversation, especially if we are including a hash tag such as #frys and it's great when other people join in. Some people even apologise for butting in, but if it was private we would direct message each other. There is a way of behaving online and on twitter as there is in life, I think, and that's with respect to each other. If I was chatting to a friend in a "real" pub and someone came up to me and shouted "TW*T" at me I think I have the right to be offended. I was in this case too and I after a lot of thought I replied (again from memory) "Hardly anonymous and f*** off!", I censored myself at the time too. Which is how I think I would reply in real life as well.

This person then started to fire off a volley of tweets to me which I'm afraid I can't remember but they seemed to me at the time to be equally unpleasant and so I blocked and walked away. Maybe in the cold light of day they would not seem so bad, I don't know but I really think there is no excuse for this behaviour. Some have said drink may have been involved and that's why he said what he said. Well, drink was definitely was involved at my end and often is but I don't think that is a valid excuse, but maybe I'm wrong.

This has upset me more than it should. Didn't like blocking, it seemed a betrayal of why I joined twitter. I haven't named the person as I'm sure they would love the infamy but if you need to know DM me.

Did I over react? I'm not sure myself. But I think life's too short to waste time on people you don't like. Please let me know what you think.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

A Matter of Life and Death

(This isn't what I originally planned for my second blog post but what I intended to write wasn't working so I scrapped it and wrote this instead. It was written as it occurred to me and I haven't edited it except for taking a out a large section in the middle. Please bear with me, I'll hope to get better at this. And now Dear reader, proceed with caution)

Don't worry this isn't going to be as serious as the title sounds. But it is about something that is a big part of my life. Films and more specifically the films of The Archers.

The Archers was the name of the The British film-making partnership of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The first film of theirs I remember seeing was A Matter of Life and Death (AMOLAD) aka Stairway to Heaven in the USA. This would have been in the early 1970's on television, probably as a Saturday afternoon matinee on BBC2 when they still showed black and white films during the day on TV. (It's only half B/W though).
When I say I remember it, it wasn't the story that stayed with me (although I enjoyed, it was a bit too difficult for the 7 year old me to fully understand) it was the visual images.

If you haven't seen it (and you really should have)*EDIT* At this point I originally had written a long and rambling synopsis of the film. Instead and to avoid spoilers, here's the wikipedia entry.

The film is set both on Earth and in Heaven and is in both black and white and Technicolor and it was this that I remembered most on this first viewing. We had only just got a colour TV (I know, we were poor in them days, but happy) and the colour was so vivid. But in a reversal of The Wizard of Oz, Earth was in colour and and the "fantasy" world, black and white.

Images that stuck in my mind were the table tennis game frozen in time. A naked boy with a goat, playing a flute in the sand dunes. A motorbike racing through a rainy windswept night. The giant moving staircase to Heaven. Heaven itself. A time frozen tear on a rose.

I'd seen David Niven before as Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days and but this was the first time I'd seen Kim Hunter and I think I fell a little bit in love with her. If you don't think you know her, you probably do, she was the main female ape in The Planet of the Apes, and she still managed to look beautiful as a chimpanzee.

The other main part is Dr. Reeves played by the sadly underrated actor Roger Livesey, who earlier had a career defining role as the eponymous Colonel in The Archers' "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp". I wanted to grow up to be this man or at least have him as a uncle.

A few years later there was a season of The Archers films on, again, BBC2, and this is where I discovered their other great films "I Know Where I'm Going", "The Red Shoes", "Blimp" and "Black Narcissus". Television, in particular the BBC, was my film school in those days, showing seasons of films from directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Howard Hawks and one of my favourites Preston Sturges. Kevin Brownlow and David Gill series on early silent films and the works of Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd I also lapped up. But it was The Archers that fascinated me most.

In my local library I found a copy of Ian Chistie's book on The Archers "Arrows of Desire" and devoured it. Next I requested a copy of Michael Powell biography "A Life in Movies - An Autobiography" and then anything else a could get hold of about them. This was the early days of VHS in UK and I remember as soon as I started work saving up to buy our family's first video recorder, a Grundig that cost over £400, and religiously recorded all the Archers films when they were shown on TV. This was also the case for Hitchcock and the Ealing comedies and of course, Monty Python reruns. I only got rid of them a few years ago, long after a had them on DVD. My name is Philip and I am a nerd. I shall be buying them all again on Blueray soon no doubt.

I finally saw AMOLAD in the cinema in the mid to late 80's at the Dukes cinema in Lancaster. By this time I had seen it many times but like all great films I saw something different in it each time, the film might not change but as we grow older we do and each time we can take something else from it.

"A Matter of Life and Death" isn't my favorite film, I could never chose. It's not even my favorite Archers film, that honor is reserved for "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp". But it is the one I think of most fondly as it opened my eyes to a world of cinema.
It's a film that has drama, romance , comedy, a court room battle for a man's life, poetry, a discourse on Anglo-American relations, brain surgery, a rehearsal of A Midsummer Night's Dream by American servicemen. Chess and table tennis.
And a young Dickie Attenborough saying his only line "It's heaven, isn't it" Indeed it is!

So if you are ever unlucky enough to meet me in a pub, you now know one of the subjects to avoid as I could bore for England. But don't worry I have many, many more.
I'll leave you with a clip of the opening scene as I go off to watch the DVD again.

Oh, and twitter friends, the screenwriter of The Archers is where my name comes from and about him, more anon.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Hello and thanks for reading this far. This is as good as it will get.

I've been meaning to start a blog for years but as usual I haven't, procrastination being my unwieldy middle name. But here it finally is. This first one will be all about me, as will all the others probably, that's the point isn't it?

I'm name is Philip but everyone calls me Phil, apart from my girlfriend and my parents. I'm 42 and live in Lancashire in the north of the UK. I have lived and worked within a 20 miles radius all my life.
My job is, well, a job. I've worked for 20 years in a microbiology laboratory in the baby food industry for an American food giant with the initials H, J and Heinz. If that sounds at all interesting, don't be fooled, it's not.

My interest are the usual.(This is beginning to sound like the worst C.V ever)
Reading, films(not movies,I'm either old fashioned,English or both) theatre,television and lately I seem to spend a lot of time on twitter, of which more anon, maybe.

And we just got a dog.

What more can I tell you? Let's keep an air of mystery going shall we? Just in case I ever get round to doing this again.

So, what do you think? Please be gentle with me or I'll have to go and hide in a corner of the Internet.

And thanks again for your time.