Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Week

Life has a habit of repeating itself, none more so than at work where jobs reappear at the same time year after year and the moment that you open a file and see that it's  exactly a year to the day since you last opened a file to begin the audit of a particular client always raises a smile - yes I know, who said accountancy was dull.  This week I've been out on audit, out of the reach of staff, all other clients and nowhere near a computer screen - ironic really given that the client I was at is in the software developing business.

It's been a strange week, as if all connectivity with the outside world has been suspended apart from catching the news headlines at 6:30 a.m and then again at 5:30 p.m. It's also been completely "stress" free, not because of the lack of internet access but because I knew that, unless the office burned down, I would be left alone and able to concentrate on the one client.

One of my cinema heroes celebrated his eightieth birthday this week. I've mentioned  Fran├žois Roland Truffaut in postings before and his birthday was on Monday. Without Truffaut I doubt there would have been any European cinema of note post 1959 when The 400 Blows found its way kicking and screaming onto the screen and it remains, more than fifty years later, the most successful Truffaut film at the French box office. The film opened the door for the likes of Godard, Chabrol, Rivette and Rohmer. The next three films Truffaut directed:  The Piano Player, Jules et Jim and Fahrenheit 451 have stood the test of time well considering their age and the fact that they were lauded as part of a cinematic movement.

One of my favourite moments of Truffaut is his appearance in Spielberg's Close Encounters of The Third Kind were he plays the French scientist Claude Lacombe whose other worldliness bounces off the American military cynicism.

Charles Dickens 200th anniversary is probably the country's third biggest celebration of the year, just behind the Queen's 60th and the Olympics and he's everywhere, well at least on the BBC who are the custodians of his legacy on screen and radio in this country.

It's been a little disappointing to see the historical revisionists at play again in the run up to this weeks big event and the attempted contextualisation of Dickens work into something modern that we can 'all relate to' rather than enjoy reading. Some of Dickens is hard to read, a statement that appears as welcome among the mutual backslapping as saying you fancy Samantha Cameron, and no moment of bunting across the airwaves can avoid that. Most of it however is simply brilliant and my life has been enriched for having read some of his works and of course seen many of them interpreted by various television and cinema directors over the years. I have quoted from the opening chapter of A Tale of Two Cities before and that is one of the most memorable opening paragraphs by any English writer. What I have always been 'grabbed by' in Dickens work isn't so much the social history or even the characterisation but the descriptive passages. Chapter One of Great Expectations is less than nine pages long but the meeting of young Pip and Magwitch told in the first person is so vivid you can almost smell the marshes and hear the menace in the escaped criminals voice. There is always a danger than with the wall to wall coverage of Dickens his work can fall perilously close to becoming the equivalent of chocolate box painting in the way that Constable's Haywain has found itself as much associated with bourbons and custard creams as it is with a beautiful part of this country, but I think it is strong enough to survive.

No sooner had we got over the news that Harry Redknapp, having been the subject of one of the biggest wastes of taxpayers money ever, was cleared at Southwark Crown Court of being a naughty boy than we waved goodbye to a man who was responsible for being the biggest ever waste of English football supporters money - Fabio Capello.

Capello wasn't even as good as Sven when it came to leading England to tournament success and he really should have fallen on his spada after the South Africa debacle. Too many square pegs being pushed into round holes and a lack of direction seemed the problem, plus the fact that he seemed to be unwilling to learn enough English to get through a complete press conference made him an enemy of the English press and we all know what the outomce of that was going to be don't we?

There was an interesting feature on Sky Sports last Sunday about how the Sky cycling team is going work throughout the run up to this years Tour De France. In short the team will be split n two with the sprinters going one way and the climbers and more rounded members of the team going another. This means that Cav and Bradley Wiggins won't actually be on the same part of the road until July when they line-up for the Tour de France prologue on Liege, it will be interesting to see how it works.

The first fruit of Cav's Sky labours were mixed this week as he won two stages in the Tour of Qatar and then crashed during the start of the sprint during the last stage and thereby blowing any chance he had of a GC podium finish. The good news was however that despite destroying a helmet and suffering a few bruises the team moves onto Oman for the tour there this next week. Curiously, given the big build-up last weekend, Sky has been very low key about this weeks event but I guess things will get a bit busier once the team come within reasonable flying distance. Cav finished in sixth place a mere seventy five seconds behind the winner Tom Boonen who had led from the first of the five days.


A Northern Bloke said...

I think Capello has been quite astute by getting out now.

Span Ows said...

"Without Truffaut I doubt there would have been any European cinema of note post 1959..."

Nothing like getting carried away with the sense of occasion. ;-)

Agree re Dickens, reread Great Expectations a couple of years ago.

Multimillionaire Italian resigns from leading dumb multimillionaire Englishmen over sacking of captain dumb multimillionaire by controlling association of multimillionaire twats.

I'm surprised you haven't mentioned Contador (accountant, haha)

Paul said...

You could be right Shy, time will tell.

Thanks Span, the line about Truffaut looks quite pompous with the lights on. Re Dickens I remember when I first read Christmas Carol and the ghost of Christmas past scene blew my mind.

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