Friday, 19 December 2014


I went to see the third of The Hobbit trilogy today.

It was OK I must admit as I wasn't expecting a lot out of it given that the first two stretched things out a bit.

The Hobbit as written by Tolkien and which was prescribed reading at my secondary school was relatively short compared to The Lord of The Rings trilogy of books and tended to cut to the quick.

Buried within the book though and elaborated on more in The Lord of the Rings and the (unreadable) Silmarillion, was the background to a lot of the happenings in Middle Earth.

These 'happenings' come out in the third of The Hobbit films but, as is the nature of action films, largely get lost or misunderstood.

It doesn't help that the expansion of characters and narrative is done by the scriptwriters, talented as they may be, but who lack old J.R.R's finesse.

The best chracterisation, that was new and had little to do with Tolkien's original was Smaug the dragon ( voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch)

Ok, I'm a purist and probably sit among the 2% of viewers who have read Tolkien's The Hobbit and
The Lord of The Rings trilogy and the 0.00000001% of viewers who have read Silmarillion and other stuff. I must try and find my copy of Silmarillion. It's probably in a box somewhere with the joss-sticks and scented candles - hey, there might be the remnants of a joint or two in there!)

I know there's been a lot of hype and nationalistic fervour over Peter Jackson's films but I have liked them.
A lot of this (most in fact) has been because I really liked J.R.R. Tolkien's books.

Another reason is that Jackson, standing almost alone in major film-making circles chose to be (reasonably) faithful to the story-line and characterisation. Probably any variations were more to do with the bloody American financiers with an eye to box-office acceptance rather than to a director's ego.

Also, The Old Girl knows Jackson's family and remembers him as a kid spending every free afternoon watching films or acting out scenarios.

And lastly, doesn't it always bring a tear to your eye when the trailers and advertising announce that it's all filmed in New Zealand? Go on, go on, you know it's true. I've kept American audiences enthralled at dinner parties (well they are impressionable) when recounting that I used to, when on school cross-country runs across Mt Victoria in Wellington, crouch down below the track and have a fag out of sight of the school prefects - the exact same spot that Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merrin sheltered in when the Dark Rider was trying to sniff them out.

Yes. I have enjoyed all the films so far. Some have been better than others and technology has caught up on the initially ground-breaking film effects of the first two films but it's been a good ride and I, amongst others I'm sure,will be sorry to see the end of the Hobbits and the other mythological characters and events that have, like it or not, shaped our present and future.


Well how stupid is that SONY crowd?

When, a while ago they announced that they were making a film, a comedy no less, about an assassination attempt on North Korea's leader Kim Yong-un I though "not a very good idea".
Apart from it being risky it was just in appalling bad taste and categorically unfunny.

So. They made the film and now it's biting therm on the bum.

Serves the stupid fuckers right.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


 A brilliant song that's worth listening to all the way through O my readers (the 100,000 of you although only two of you digitally-challenged bother to comment).

As the title of this post suggests it's been a day of changing fortunes.

Good friend Richard who works in the mind-changing industry has had a pretty hard year by all accounts.
We've all,.. some people .. two of us have read his posts on his obscure blog where he recounts daily issues of alienation, desperation and being unloved (luckily this is work only as at home, strangely they all love him there, even the cat).
What he doesn't recount is that it doesn't bloody matter as, as a teacher, he could be conducting weird experiments on his students or not even be turning up to work and the organisation couldn't sack him. Sure they might marginalise him by freezing his pay scale or sending him to a lower decile area but ..... he's a music teacher Nuova Lazio! (that deserved extra exclamation marks but having been reasonably educated I know that it's grammatically incorrect). What punishment could they bring to bear?

Anyway, back to my blog before I imbibe too much of the Selaks Reserve Chardonnay or the Villa Maria Cellar selection Pinot Noir that both sit opened on the kitchen bench, my day has been a bit of a flip-flop.

Flip Flop

I work for a small company that, I believe could be going somewhere. In the first couple of months I realised that they hadn't really thought things out and couldn't afford me and, as I was a bit pissed off with my boss weekly (and sometimes daily) asking me "what's happening? What results have you brought in?" I volunteered to work half as many hours for half the pay.
That was OK but ...... almost every week I have a success and then a setback.

I call them flip-flops.

My boss tends to get a bit passionate about things, has great ideas  goes off half-cocked.
He calls or e-mails me on issues that he is a bit excited about and then, a couple of hours later, retracts what he said.
When I forward a (reasonable) request from a potential or existing customer he 'skyrockets' with "we can't afford that, it's outrageous" etc and then, an hour later when he's thought it through he relents and agrees that it's probably a good idea.

To be honest I'm sick of it.

I sometime wish that I'd been a teacher ......

My ideal occupation is 'Sinecure'.

Back bench MP - that'd do me

Today started well until I had to negotiate a tricky request on trading terms with a major customer.
I did this what I considered skillfully but had to get a sign off with 'The boss'. I sent him all the info and my suggestion.

He returned by e-mail and phone call with an emphatic 'No, this is impossible ... can't be done .. tell them it's a no go" etc.

'OK, your call" I said and got back to the customer.
Five minutes after I'd told the customer that what they were asking for wasn't approved 'The boss' contacted me and said that, on reconsideration, the idea was sound and he wanted to proceed.

I contacted the customer and told him to ignore the previous e-mail and that we were now agreeing to the deal.

Flip Flop

By this ime it was mid afternoon. I work from 8 to 12.

I had some business to attend to downtown.

On the way there 'The Boss' phoned me. He was irate that as part of the deal  some stock was promised to the customer that had been allocated to someone overseas (wrong information given to me by the winery people). "Why do you promise things to people that you haven't authority to do so etc.etc".
I said "Basically you're wrong and as I'm away from my office (my apartment) I can't answer this, goodbye".
I resolved then and there to look for another job.

I did my business downtown and on the way home 'The Boss' called again. He'd obviously checked with the winery and established that I'd acted on information supplied. He apologised and suggested some other ways we could go forward.

Flip Flop

He asked if I could contact the major customer gain and work out some forecasts for next year on other products. I said OK. The call ended amicably.

When home I sorted out the issues with the customer, planned out  next years forecasts and sent to them and then decided that I needed a drink. A big drink. Hence the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir open on the kitchen bench.

I'm looking for another job.

Monday, 15 December 2014


 I listened to a song by the great Paul Kelly on National Radio today.

This made me seek out this song Randwick Bells which I really like. I hope you like it.

 I'm not a musician like some friends of mine but wish I had the ability. I love music and write songs in my mind. I have a list (also in my mind) of songs I wish that I'd written This is one of them.

In 1986 I was a bit lost and songs like this hit the spot with me. The sentiment of drifting with no plans for the future, at the time was meaningful. I've got over that but the song still tugs.



In an earlier post I included a clip of Christopher Lee singing The Little Drummer Boy. Here we see one of the world's best 'rock' voices singing well into his 70's. Arthur Brown with his great performances of Fire, Sunrise and Dance still has the voice. Marvellous.