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Messages - Jim Penn

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The Coffee Bar / Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« on: September 07, 2017, 10:20:53 am »
the people I've dealt with at the DWP have been above and beyond fantastic, and I have nothing but praise for them

Vivaldi bad, DWP good.  Not an opinion you read every day!


Ah, now, don't get me wrong - from the top down I really loathe the DWP. I know quite a few people who need benefits through them, and the inhumane hoop-jumping policies and their policing thereof is really quite ghastly. But thankfully the 'overseas healthcare" team on the ground aren't responsible for the benefits policies, of course, and clearly want to help (indeed, one of the people I've spoken to this week has made a "common sense" judgement call that had she been following the letter of her guidelines would have made for several needless additional hoops to jump through and made the process far more difficult).

The Coffee Bar / Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« on: September 07, 2017, 09:22:23 am »
For various reasons, I've had to spend quite some time on the phone to the DWP this week to sort out some medical cover for a friend currently in a French hospital (oh, that's another rant in itself!!!) - and obviously I've had to spend quite a bit of time on hold. Their on-hold music is the ubiquitous Vivaldi, the opening of "Spring", naturally. Now, there is very little music I despise as much as that, so while I'm sure it's there to keep people calm, it tends to have the very opposite effect on me. But if that in itself is not enough to provoke rage in me, the fact that every time an announcement comes on (thank you for you patience, please hold the line), which happens after about 12 bars, it goes back to the sodding beginning. And if an operator puts you on hold while they do something, it plays out uninterrupted, until it gets to the "dramatic" bit, which is clearly too invigorating, so again it just loops back to the beginning...

And as if that weren't enough, it's only bloody synthesised!!!

Annnnnnd relax......

(but in spite of my rant about the music, the people I've dealt with at the DWP have been above and beyond fantastic, and I have nothing but praise for them)

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: September 06, 2017, 01:50:13 pm »
Only listened to it a couple of times when I purchased it a few months back, but I'm finally revisiting Sorabji's 140 minute Symphonic Nocturne, played by Lukas Huisman. Glorious stuff...

Literature and Poetry / Re: Currently reading
« on: September 03, 2017, 05:14:02 pm »
Not really for a signed first edition! Whereas a normal Oxfam shop would mostly just stock yer Dan Browns, yer Harry Potters and yer Fifty Shades etc, the Oxfam specialised bookshops are really on a par with any other second hand bookshop, and I'd expect to pay that sort of price elsewhere (and a quick look at Abebooks lists unsigned copies of the same book starting at around fourteen quid, so marginally less for a signed one seems pretty good to me).

Literature and Poetry / Re: Currently reading
« on: September 02, 2017, 02:09:54 pm »
Out earlier for a mooch in the local Oxfam book shop, as I'm wont to do now and again, and I came across a fascinating little tome: "The Third Floor Front: A View of Broadcasting in the Sixties", by Sir Hugh Greene. A 1969 first edition (I suspect it's never been reprinted!), in excellent nick, including the dust jacket still only with VERY minor wear-and-tear. The still vaguely active cultural historian in me (my first degree was in Cultural Studies) instantly thought this must be something worth picking up and reading, given that I work for one of Auntie's off-shoots, and I committed to buying it even before I'd looked inside.

When I did look inside, I only found that it's SIGNED!

A bargain at one thousand two hundred and ninety nine of your earth pennies.

The Coffee Bar / Re: The Waffle Thread
« on: August 30, 2017, 11:36:31 am »
Anyone in these here parts have any trustworthy friends/family in Lille (France, obviously) who could possibly run a small day-time semi-emergency errand in the next day or two? PM me if you can help. Ta MUCHLY in advance.

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: August 19, 2017, 10:21:30 pm »
Yes, Forbidden Planet remains compulsive and such an imaginative project despite the lack of CG effects and it was a pleasure to see Walter Pidgeon again with such a natural presence and authority; even chuckled to see Leslie Nielsen, many years before his delicious buffoonery in The Naked Gun series!  :)

Didn't see Forbidden Planet scheduled on the Beeb, but in any case, I have the Blu-ray, which maintains the film's 'scope photography. Haven't watched it for a while - but thanks for the reminder, Stanley, I'll have to stick it up on my projector some time soon. The extras on the Blu-ray are pretty chocka, including a very silly feature film called The Invisible Boy from one year after Forbidden Planet, a (ahem) star vehicle for the earlier film's Robby the Robot.

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: August 18, 2017, 03:15:15 pm »
Bert Harrisonwistle's "Gawain", in the live Barbican performance as was broadcast on R3 a couple of years back. As bloomin' marvellous as it was in the hall...

News and Current Affairs / Re: Robert Hardy / Hywel Bennett
« on: August 09, 2017, 08:48:40 am »
Belated farewell from me, too. 

And a mention for Sam Shepard and Jeanne Moreau.  It's a bit late for a separate thread but they do seem to be dropping two by two, don't they

They really do - in the last 24 hours, Barbara Cook and Glen Campbell.

Television / Re: Television - General Recommendations
« on: August 04, 2017, 01:10:36 pm »
They're having another DVD sale at work today (clearing out cupboard space in the department that releases DVDs of BBC programmes), proceeds going to Children in Need & Comic Relief.

Found a still shrink-wrapped boxed set of the complete "BBC Shakespeare" from the late 70s / early 80s. For TWENTY quid!!!! The decision about whether or not to get it was the very epitome of the "no-brainer".  :naughty:

I know some of them ain't great, but some of them are (Michael Hordern as King Lear, i.a.), and I haven't seen them all in any case. Indeed, I still haven't actually seen all of Shakespeare whatever the medium, so this will really fill some gaps.

News and Current Affairs / Robert Hardy / Hywel Bennett
« on: August 03, 2017, 04:40:24 pm »
Blimey, news today of the passing of both Hardy and Bennett... :(

Theatre / Re: Ink - Almeida Theatre
« on: July 20, 2017, 04:09:50 pm »
I’m pretty sure, for example, that the term ‘bonk’ wasn’t in circulation in 1969.  I understand the temptation – after all there can be few terms that better epitomise the weasel vocabulary of the tabloids and soap operas – but, while the usage might have its roots in some arcane backslang that goes back further, I don’t think ‘bonk’, colloquially, meant anything other than a blow to the skull before about 1980.

I'd concur with your estimate about that meaning of "bonk" being not quite as early as 1969, but the OED's earliest citation for the word in that meaning is from 1975. In something called "Foul" (a football fanzine, acc. Wikipedia), there's apparently a picture captioned with "Rita is currently being bonked by the entire Aston Villains defence!". I'd guess that would suggest it had probably been around for a year or two already.

Cinema / Re: Now screening
« on: July 18, 2017, 06:16:15 pm »
Thanks Bryn. Yup, that's already on my list, but I suspect "Tower of London" might be my next one. ☺️

Cinema / Re: Now screening
« on: July 18, 2017, 04:27:29 pm »
Don't know why, but until relatively recently, I'd never really explored the work of Vincent Price. But recently-ish (well, 8 months ago), I got myself some new viewing kit at home including the ability to watch 3D films, and I was looking for some of the older 3D work to make the best of said kit. I ended up getting the Price vehicle "House of Wax", which inspired me to get hold of a few more Price films on disc in the last few months, and I've become a bit of fan now.

Most recent arrival came yesterday - a Blu-ray of Roger Corman's "Pit & the Pendulum" (having already seen the same director's "Fall of the House of Usher" a couple of months back). Had a quick butcher's at the first couple of minutes earlier, looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. But the thing that really looks interesting is one of the extras on the disc. I'm not normally that fussed about extras, it must be said, but the company here (Arrow) have included a 1970 American television production, "An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe"; it's an hour-long anthology of Vincent Price enacting four Poe stories as staged monologues (The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Sphinx). I've watched the beginning and end of The Tell Tale Heart, and Price is bloomin' brilliant, so I can't wait to watch the whole thing (possibly even more than the Corman film!).

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