sâmbătă, 31 decembrie 2022

The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald, author of three novels shortlisted for The Booker Prize, including The Beginning of Spring http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/08/shortlisted-for-1988-booker-prize-chef.html - 9 out of 10


The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald, author of three novels shortlisted for The Booker Prize, including The Beginning of Spring http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/08/shortlisted-for-1988-booker-prize-chef.html

9 out of 10



My first encounter with the marvelous world created by Penelope Fitzgerald was when I have read the stupendous Offshore http://realini.blogspot.com/2018/03/offshore-by-penelope-fitzgerald.html winner of the 1979 Booker Prize, when the favorite was A Bend In The River by wondrous VS Naipaul, and when the jury could not decide between this and another competitor, somehow Offshore became the surprise of the triumph, albeit after one reads it, there is no doubt as to magnificence of the magnum opus.


Another masterpiece by phenomenal Penelope Fitzgerald is The Gate of Angels http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/10/the-magnificent-masterpiece-shortlisted.html also shortlisted for the Booker Prize, a love story that enchants the reader, which has the ultimate hero, romantic figure inside, the man who would do anything for the woman he loves, the very definition of adoration and the role model.

The Blue Flower was somehow less of a joy than expected, a statement that in itself explains the ‘diminishing returns’, for having gained the habit to except perfection from this fabulous writer, one should apply the happiness rule ‘lower your expectations’, understand that there is another aspect, the Hedonic Adaptation Effect that we must take into account, and finally, the narrative can be sublime, but not for everyone.


We are invited to learn more about Friedrich von Hardenberg, before he became known as Novalis, the period between 1790 and 1797, and his main dream ‘I have no craving to be rich, but I long to see The Blue Flower…it lies incessantly at my heart and I can imagine and think of nothing else…in the world I used to live in, who would have troubled himself about flowers’, as well as his infatuation with Sophie von Kuhl.

The Freiherr von Hardenberg is the father of our protagonist, born in 1738, owner of some properties, but most of them plagued by debts and incapable to finance the son, who writes to say that he cannot make do with the small allowance he has during his studies…the Freiherr has served in the Hanoverian Legion.


That was for seven years, after the peace was declared he gave up his commission and married, his young wife died of smallpox and then married again, to a woman that has property, they worship with The Moravian Brethren, their religiosity affects the way they live, quite humbly, and the values they have


Even when young, Fritz aka Friedrich was a rebellious child, sent home because he ‘asked questions, but was unwilling to receive the answers…insisted that the body is not flesh, but the same stuff as the soul’…the Freiherr was the Director of the Salt mines (aristocrats were not allowed to take menial jobs) but the family has financial problems and he has to sell four properties an still find it difficult to maintain a certain standard of living

A private tutor is called for Fritz, who is then sent to his uncle and then returned to his home yet again – from that time, there is the issue that there were no women, hence the amusing, but also sobering, tragic question ‘who does the washing then’, in other words, discrimination in absolute terms


This is a time when the French Revolution accuses the king of treason and that causes the Freiherr to say that they have gone mad and he will not have a newspaper in his home, until ‘the French return to their senses’…later, when his father is aware of events and the question is how does he know it, Fritz says ‘maybe it is osmosis’

Father and son have a difference of opinion over the studies, for the parent wants law, and generally he wishes his son to work at the Salt Mines, while the younger man registers for philosophy and history, in the former he attends the lectures of Fichte on Kant, ‘we are free to imagine what the world is like and there is no reason to believe in the fixed reality of things’ says the professor, while Fritz identifies the flaw.


Love is missing and that is the flaw in the system of Fichte, generally, we see the student adopt a rather Panglossian view http://realini.blogspot.com/2014/12/candide-or-optimist-by-voltaire.html while Pangloss said the ‘world is the best it can be’, the future Novalis believes that the golden age will return.

Besides, there is nothing evil in the world…however, he might have to change that view, considering the involution of his love story- he meets the twelve years old Sophie, something that will be called pedophilia today becomes the effort to gain over, eventually marry the very young girl, who is really a child.


She is not suited for him in quite a few ways, apart from her tender age, or at least that is the view of quite a few members of his family, and some friends, who see the child as plain, lacking spark, intelligence – when Fritz summons a painter for her portrait, the artist is unable to do his work, for he sees no question, he is not challenged by the girl and abandons the project, thus the would be husband has to use a miniature for the ring he intends to give her when/if they become man and wife

The hero calls his betrothed his Philosophy, in reference to her name and the love of wisdom aka Sophia that is involved in the Greek name, the love affair – if we can call love what she feels, never mind his infatuation, for the girl is too young to understand it – is inauspicious, to say the least, for the bride-to-be falls severely ill…


The Bookshop http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-bookshop-by-penelope-fitzgerald-10.html


Goodbye 2022

Last Note on Film for 2022 - Papa ou Maman 2

vineri, 30 decembrie 2022

The Queen, 9, Orgies and Innuendo That Make You Want To Do This http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world


The Queen, 9, Orgies and Innuendo That Make You Want To Do This http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world



We now jump from 1990 straight on to December 2, 2022, or more precisely yesterday, when friend Hunter – let us stick with this pseudonym, until we get his all clear to maybe insert his, or some other label for the character, if we get the approval that is, for he often is an outré figure, I mean he does not care much for quite a few things and this could be baffling…take this picture which is on one (actually three) of the blogs where I put my shit (Hunter could argue it is that…literally) https://formogosoaia.blogspot.com/2022/11/nobody-cares-about-climate-change.html that proves the reckless, disgusting waste taking place around here, there is this Park and Cultural Center Mogosoaia, with an awful management, where they have closed the gates to the public, and yet they have carnival lights on, an amount of energy that is way too profligate even when you have public attending (they are not there to make research with the microscopes after all) but when the public is not allowed, this becomes a mockery, if we talk of saving the planet and reducing emissions and what we do is just burn the coal for lights that are no use for anyone, on the contrary, they bother the owls and other animal life that resides in the area, then this is just the poster for a doomed humanity…


My friend (the jury is still out on this one, if we take the Thomas Mann definition http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/09/the-magic-mountain-is-classic-that.html one that was stating that we are wrong when we say ‘my love, or friendship is beyond words’, when in fact these are words that we find in fiction and rarely in real life, where when we test the friendship, we see that we do not really feel so close to those fellows, or vice versa, perhaps it goes both ways) was not interested in the photo and what it tells about the waste, the incredible amount of pollution, money thrown out, and he had some arguments, including one in which he says America is throwing so much plastic and it will never end, therefore why bother about such things, and I am losing the peace this way.

His reasoning sounds familiar, indeed I often realize that others do not care about the same things – as Hunter was emphasizing yesterday – and it is futile to try and reach people of authority to do something about this (maybe you read this and you have some way to reach some fella who can push the button) I have written to the ones in charge there (hopeless cases in my view), then the town hall’s office, which in a silly, we should say incompetent manner sent my message to those who sleep on the job, responsible for the malfeasance and the reply from the Center was absolutely pompous and arrogant


They feel they can do what they like down there and it is not just the lights that are on when there is no public – thus we have a Kafkaesque Public Lights with the Public forbidden to be near them, benefit from this opulence and waste…opulence, because even with a public, there are too many of them – but all sorts of others things: they have placed an ‘art installation’ right on the walls of the historical monument – this is not a question of doubtful art, because the installation was just many dead branches thrown at the architectural and historical monument, the issue is put your goddamn art elsewhere, you do not have a sculpture by Damien Hirst placing the formealdeheide on the Mona Lisa, you put it away, in another collection – the fools have brought in rocks for the alleys so that visitors and joggers ruin their feet, a rock festival has been organized there, the proximity being anathema for a monument, which is also used as the setting for…weddings, when the area is closed for…the public.


Some private individuals have just taken over property of inestimable value, that is supposed to have a cultural role and they use it for their own interests, as the above demonstrates, they misuse the money they get from the tax payers, close down when they want to, oh, and I forgot, they have numerous posts for guards, but in a number of cubicles the employees have learned that nobody is bothering them (after all, they close down the whole thing, and let the lights on, between evening and morning) and thus they no longer bother to come to work, but get the paycheck, while in almost all the others (it is safe to presume that it is in All the others though) the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ pull the curtains (they have those, and other amenities necessary not for their role, but to make rest more plentiful) then they switch off the lights in their booth (not the over one thousand that just bother the owls and rest of the wild life) and go to sleep…this is not just blabber, I have the proof, pictures…

Coming back to my pal for a few moments, he does have a point when he says that others do not care about what I say and think – look at the traffic on the sites, which is paltry for yours truly, the repeated diagnosis form the spouse, which can be summarized in the line from Fawlty Towers https://realini.blogspot.com/2015/12/fawlty-towers-and-evaluations.html the best comedy series in my book, with John Cleese in top form, albeit I have read in The Memoirs of Kingsley Amis that the actor was ‘the most insecure and maybe he has reasons for that’ I wonder what Magister Ludi meant by that…the line is ‘you’re a waste of space’ – and the evidence is in the replies I get to the complaints…


Let us see what the latest brings, just as I was writing this, I realized that I should make another attempt, hence I stopped writing this for a bit and then sent the message to the…President (well, his administration, which had received my email some months back, in which I showed them avenues with thousands of lights on, when the sun is well up, and a representative from the town hall has answered in the meantime, saying ‘they have repairs going on’ which is nonsense and phony, because what I signal is not an event that is seldom happening, it is a continuous profligacy and insult to climate Change policies and measures) showing the closed gates and the picture you can see at the site – the link is inserted somewhere above

To come to the Queen issue, which is supposed to be the subject of at least a good chapter of this preposterous autobiographical would-be roman fleuve, Hunter told me that she has been on a boat for a ‘posta’ mission, involved in an orgy, while she was attending the Las Vegas Miss Universe pageant…well, not really while she was on stage, absorbed in the parades and what not, but presumably during a break and I wonder what does this say…not about her, fuck her and all her immorality and debauchery, I mean I was at the time down here in this god forgotten place, waiting at my uncle’s place for her call, for we did not have a phone installed in 1991, never mind a mobile one, while she is fucking around, literally…but still, what does it say when I do not believe it, that denial thing which has psychological explanations…let us explore tomorrow, Insha’Allah, and see if it is about pride, mystification or what



Beauty Queen, 6, Souvenirs, Party Tricks, Novelties...as in Top Secret

78 ouy of 100 for The Crown, Episode Foundation

joi, 29 decembrie 2022

The Friends of Plonk by Kingsley Amis, author of I Want It Now http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/10/i-want-it-now-by-kingsley-amis-author.html and another seventeen or more masterpieces 10 out of 10


The Friends of Plonk by Kingsley Amis, author of I Want It Now http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/10/i-want-it-now-by-kingsley-amis-author.html and another seventeen or more masterpieces

 10 out of 10


This short story is absolutely hilarious and original, somebody has called it a new genre, SF- Drink, https://www.prosperosisle.org/spip.php?article209 and indeed, together with The 2003 Claret, this tale explores the progress or otherwise of making and indulging in Plonk, as the future arrives and brings changes to drink, habits, rituals and the surroundings of the people who take to alcohol in the following decades


We have seen Simpson in the previous tale, The 2003 Claret, travel through time and he is sent again to see what the new world looks like, one thing they want to know is who won the presidential election in America, where a Rosicrucian fellow is sent to the Black House – presumably it will have been Black by then.

His Serenity Sir Kingsley Amis is clairvoyant and though he moved the figure, the USA did have a calamity in the still White House, the ‘very stable genius’, as he calls himself, elected by almost all the evangelicals…his promotion to the most powerful position in the world (maybe we could argue over the fact that Xi and Putin are not restrained as tyrants, but then neither has Trump shown respect for guardrails) was incredible.


If I were to see a movie in which you have a character like Trump elected to be president of The United States of Erica – I think it was in Lake Wobegon Days that I have read about the name, it would have been more appropriate to call them USE, because Erik of Norway had a more important role than Amerigo Vespucci http://realini.blogspot.com/2020/08/lake-wobegon-days-nine-out-of-10.html incidentally, this is the book where you find the Wobegon Effect, a majority of people think they are better than average drivers and so many other things, which is an oxymoron – I would say come on, it is incredible.


You have to read The book of Saints for the movie business, Adventures in The Screen Trade by William Goldman http://realini.blogspot.com/2017/02/adventures-in-screen-trade-by-william.html who is the winner of two Academy Awards for Best Script, for Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid and All The President’s Men, and find that there are impossible situations that happen in life and it is hard to put them on screen.

William Goldman gives two examples, one is included in The Crown, the Netflix series where we see the event, one man finds himself on the wrong side of the fence, among the multiple rooms of the palace, he gets to the ‘right one’, all the guards, the personnel are absent, or he does not cross them anyway, and then he is face to face with the most important person, which if we see on the screen, we dismiss.


Only this happened to the Queen of Great Britain and the other realms, and the other example comes from World War II, where there is an attack on the Nazi forces, and during the crossing of a river (maybe it was the Rhine) the fog they had counted on, or some other elements go wrong and the wave of soldiers is massacred, while the next units prepare to and then cross in the same circumstances…

William Goldman had this and other problems to deal with for the script of A Bridge Too Far, where notwithstanding the reality of this double attack, the screenwriter has to contend with a public that will rise from their seats in the cinema theater, if they are presented with a story they do not find credible…


I was talking about the Friends of Plonk and somehow ended up far and away, on a tangent for which I should excuse myself, only this kind of game is the regular fare on these pages and then, one needs an audience to ask forgiveness from, and few if any read these lines, which is for the better, since the ones that do not reach this far do not really miss anything, they are better off doing something worthwhile.

Revenons a nos moutons, Simpson finds that there will have been a nuclear war – something which is possible alas, Putin and his goons keep talking about the probability that their Ukraine calamity could escalate to the use of atomic bombs and if they are cornered, pushed back more, the stakes are higher, and seeing that Ukraine has been winning on the front lines recently (and suffered losses too, with a third of its energy systems damaged, people are suffering from the freezing temperatures, articles in The Economist argue that tens of thousands will die throughout Europe, not just in Ukraine, because the high energy prices will cause more to die this winter, and who knows about the next) if they reach Crimea, the tyrant in the Kremlin might feel his position is threatened and then he will not stop.


In the nuclear war from the short story, an area about the size of Europe is obliterated and crops will have vanished, vines, barley and much more, besides, another Prohibition will come to effect and that, together with the annihilation and the loss of tradition, make the drinks available so terrible, it is hilarious to read about it.

However, some people get together and form a society called The Friends of Plonk, they look at a film they have found from two hundred years back (around 1945, for the date in the future when Simpson makes his landing is 2145) and try to overcome the adversity, lack of traditions, ingredients and make some alcohol from…shoe polish and other ghastly materials, the result being similar to ‘having a tear gas shell explode in your mouth’ for one ‘drink’ and then it is like ‘having your face pushed into a bath of acid’ for another in this society which was ‘Established 2139 for the drinking of

Traditional liquors in traditional dress and in traditional surroundings’, as alternatives, you find at that time ‘Martian manatee drink, Iapetan carnivorous-lemon juice, while the Beaujolais has become Boojly…when Simpson is leaving, his new friend is asking ‘what, you’re not staying for the coal gas in milk? Turns the brain into absolute jelly…what a wonderful, spectacular short story this is




About The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald

One of The Most Important Movies of 2022 - She Said

luni, 26 decembrie 2022

Rumpole and The Penge Bungalow Murders by John Mortimer, author of Charade http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/12/from-list-of-1000-novels-everyone-must.html and Titmuss Regained http://realini.blogspot.com/2019/03/titmuss-regained-by-john-mortimer-10.html both included on the 1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read List - 9 out of 10


Rumpole and The Penge Bungalow Murders by John Mortimer, author of Charade http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/12/from-list-of-1000-novels-everyone-must.html and Titmuss Regained http://realini.blogspot.com/2019/03/titmuss-regained-by-john-mortimer-10.html both included on the 1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read List

9 out of 10



This reader is not particularly inclined to indulge in detective books, but notwithstanding that, there are some magnum opera that make the expedition worthwhile, given that Umberto Eco has opened our eyes to the potential eternity involved in reading - “The person who doesn't read lives only one life…The reader lives 5,000…Reading is immortality backwards’- why not try to navigate through the lives of criminals (and detectives) to see what it is like to be a thug for a change – assuming readers are just like me, noble, innocent, god fearing humans – besides, you can find some extraordinary facts from such novels, take The Daughter of Time by Josephine Fey http://realini.blogspot.com/2020/10/the-daughter-of-time-by-josephine-fey.html for instance and the revelation from it…


William Shakespeare has made the world (well, we need to wonder how many know of him today, never mind read his masterpieces) know Richard III http://realini.blogspot.com/2018/07/richard-iii-by-william-shakespeare.html as the epitome of Evil (with a capital letter, to throw one of the favorite mannerisms, the hyperbole) while the investigation in The Daughter of Time makes plain that this was just…myth, or what might be called ‘fake news’ in the lingo of the present, for Richard III had not killed his nephews and alas, he will be known by most as a monster, when he was if not a good man, then just ordinary…

John Mortimer combines in the Penge Bungalow Murders humor (both Charade and Titmuss Regained belong to the Comedy section on the list of the 1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read List) with drama, for we have two murders in the plot, two bomber pilots that have flown in World War II missions are shot dead and the son of one of them is accused, arrested and put on trial for the killings, while the hero of a series, Horace Rumpole, is assisting in the case to begin with, then becomes the sole defense of Simon Jerold.


The two bomber pilots are killed during the night, but in the prior evening they have met for a small celebration, during which Simon’s father has started to promote some martial ideas and attacked his son for his unwillingness to fight, show desire to participate in wars, a more than awkward position given what we will find out (spoiler alerts) and his dejection during the World War II, which at one stage he had become sure that Hitler is going to win, and it is pointless to keep fighting, better see the inevitable

This will be an important part of the defense plan of the young Horace Rumpole, albeit at the start, he has a leader, CH Wystan, he has to work under, only this barrister does not show an interest in the saving of Simon, he is sure the young man will be sentenced, ad executed in those days, and it is therefore in his interest to avoid annoying the court, his strategy is anyway one that keeps decorum at all costs


Hilda, or She Who Must Be Obeyed, is the daughter of the leader and will play a crucial role in the narrative, however less she participates in some schemes than she declares, for she does promote Rumpole, then tells him and the readers about her intention to get married, does encourage the aspiring Horace Rumpole, but her support, their dialogues are marred by her imperial perspective, she will force the young man to accept her desire, even if that concerns one of the most important decisions one can take

Seeing that he is not defended by the leader, CH Wystan, Simon Jerold tells him he does not want him for the defense anymore, and he will choose Rumpole instead, because it had been evident that the latter wants to save the client, while the leader is really concerned with other matters, given that this is a lost cause anyway, everybody knowing that it is the young man who did it, so we have a Face Off here.


When his father has been determined to push around the too pacifist son, Simon had taken a gun and said something to the effect of ‘if you are so bloody minded to push others to war, see if you can take this, I will shoot anyone of you who approaches me’…the older men had been keen to rough the son around, but this stopped them and later on, it was the clear ‘evidence’ that the young man had wanted to kill the father, then his pal, and other circumstantial proof was summoned to make a shut and closed case…

Nonetheless, Horace Rumpole has seen that the boy is innocent and is going to try to make sure he is acquitted, he finds more about the defeatism of the dead father, then a witness provides key testimony, having heard from the bathroom a dispute – when the two pilots returned from a Nazi prison camp, they claimed that the third man of the team had died in the fire, when the plane was shot down, only there are witnesses that had seen a dead officer, shot next to a laded plain and that sheds a different light.


It looks as if the bomber pilots with a wish to abandon the fight (one critic says this is improbable, and we have to agree) could not convince their navigator (was he that, maybe this is a mistake) to join them in their surrender and treason, so they had shot him dead, then pursued their goal of seeing the sitting the rest of the war from the safety of a Nazi prisoners of war camp, however, when they returned, one of their air force mates, present on the evening of the murder at the small party, has had his suspicions.

Those doubts became a conviction that they had killed their navigator, he confronts the killers (it does look as if they had done it) and talks about execution and treason, something heard from the bathroom, this and other facts pieced together by brilliant Horace Rumpole might win the day and save the innocent Simon Jerold, something for which the leader might try to take credit, the way privileged fellows do…


Beauty Queen, 5, Present Ataraxia

82 out of 100 for Don't Tell

duminică, 25 decembrie 2022

The 2003 Claret by Magister Ludi Sir Kingsley Amis author of a magnificent magnum opera, one of which is Take A Girl Like You http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/06/take-girl-like-you-by-kingsley-amis-one.html - 10 out of 10


The 2003 Claret by Magister Ludi Sir Kingsley Amis author of a magnificent magnum opera, one of which is Take A Girl Like You http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/06/take-girl-like-you-by-kingsley-amis-one.html

10 out of 10



The 2003 Claret is a mesmerizing Short Science Fiction Story wherein we have a (brief) look at time travel and the surprises it can bring, as scientists send one man called Simpson into the future, 2010 to be more exact, and they try to do this before the Russians will have developed time travel on their own.


We can see the devastation they have inflicted on Ukraine, for about ten months now, and the monstrosity of the Putin regime – mind you, it is not just the would be emperor who suffers from the Napoleon complex on some fronts, it is a problem with many, for the demon could not do all this by himself – which is now sending missiles to destroy the energy system of a peaceful country, killing hundreds of thousands through cold, and not just in Ukraine…an article in The Economist was looking at the high figures of the deceased in the rest of Europe, where the high price of gas will make many become victims of the war.

One of the things that Simpson has to do in 2010 is to…taste the wines, he is one of the Knights of Bordeaux and does not get inebriated, but the humor is present – what if he turns back a raving lunatic, it will be our fault, say the scientists in charge of the project of playing with time travel around 1970 I think it was – and the serious purpose of claret tasting is described thus ‘find how people treat their port and you find out a lot about the kind of people they are’ so this is a social experiment as well


Now, if we look at what has really happened in 2010, there are some mixed messages on this alcoholic front, because I think I remember reading that alcohol intake is decreasing, at least for large segments of the population that is health conscious, then there are many who dedicate more time to careers that sipping Bordeaux, and there has been the pandemic, albeit that is a decade after 2010 and the jury is still out

One pressing question is if there will be any war, and the hilarity of the response if ‘there was no war (as witnessed in 2010, in the imaginary world of the tale) but ‘it would have been better if there had been one ‘because what Simpson finds is quite appalling, notwithstanding the fact that Russia has joined the Western Customs Union (that would be the European Union of our days, in its prehistoric form)


Russia therefore joined the Western Customs Union in 1993, China some time after 2000, when in reality they are both adversaries of the West, the former openly, it is waging war on Ukraine, but through the pains, deaths, economic, social, financial, humanitarian and other crisis it inflicts on the rest of the continent, we can say it is in open conflict, with the exception of some rogue regimes, such as the would be despot Erdogan, rough goodfellas in Serbia, the lost case of Belarus and then the usual monsters elsewhere – North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and some other sheep in wolves clothing, Modi of India, regimes in the Gulf that try to play with both sides, from MBS to sheiks of the Emirates…


The Royal Air Force is to be disbanded in the fictional 2010, but that is more a joke made by Zen Master Sir Kingsley Amis, who was sure this will not happen, but just threw the idea on paper for us to laugh with it; when Simpson arrives at Hyde Park, he changes the raw gold that he has with him…to cope with the problem of changing currency, paper banknotes and such, plus the inflation, he has to work with a pawn shop.

To explain his peculiar outlook, he says he is from Australia – which is yet another comic gem from His Serenity, the author – but that will not prevent the awkward, bizarre new generation from showing contempt – apparently, the future as seen from 1970 is one where the fashion is to wear crumpled outfits, worn for many days in order to be acceptable and this shows His Holiness is also clairvoyant, I mean look at the torn jeans that were (are they still one wonders, for they are to be seen in our metro aka Tube, if that is an indication of them being still trendy or just that people have to wear what they have bought some years ago is hard to tell) the norm some years ago, which could be a more resilient fashion (yes, this is an oxymoron, fashion is by definition temporary) seeing the need to protect the planet and apply more Stoic norms, such as ‘wish for what you already have’, avoid consumerism http://realini.blogspot.com/2020/08/stoicism-stoic-approach-to-modern-life.html


For the last short story, I discovered an article in The Guardian that looked at Irritation and the massive presence, the role it has in the works of His Serenity Kingsley Amis, who, according to his first wife, was grumpy and permanently on the lookout for negative traits https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/06/kingsley-amis-irritation-ending-up-martin-craig-brown - nonetheless, I see him as one of the best providers of happiness, what with his humor, fabulous writing, immense talent, visible not in one or ten books, but already more than fifteen, and I still have about as much to go through

This is an intriguing paradox, The Holiness and his fabulous magnum opera is on the one side so illuminated, enchanting, hilarious most often, though there is the Irritation present for sure, such as in Ending Up http://realini.blogspot.com/2018/07/ending-up-by-kingsley-amis.html and on the other we learn that His Serenity was grumpy, perhaps just like Martin Seligman, co-founder of positive psychology, who lived for fifty years or so in a negative mood, only to give the world the gist of the science of happiness


What must have helped is The Upside of Your Dark Side as described by Biswas Diener in his book

http://realini.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-upside-of-your-dark-side-by-biswas.html for instance the negative people see better the details, while the positive ones have a better view of the big picture and there are domains where one is better as a negative individual: detective work, financial analyst, traffic controller…




Beauty Queen, 4, Alternative History - The Woman in The High Castle

One of Realini's Top 250 Films - Feux Rouges aka Red Lights

sâmbătă, 24 decembrie 2022

The Getaway by Jim Thompson, adapted for the big screen, with Steve McQueen as Doc McCoy and Ali MacGraw as his wife, Carol http://realini.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-getaway-based-on-novel-by-jim.html - 9 out of 10


The Getaway by Jim Thompson, adapted for the big screen, with Steve McQueen as Doc McCoy and Ali MacGraw as his wife, Carol http://realini.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-getaway-based-on-novel-by-jim.html

9 out of 10



As I was reading some chapters of The Getaway, a sense of déjà vu descended, with the adagio that I have passed the point where too many novels have been read to remember much, if anything from many of them yes, I know, why keep at it…well, there is the Umberto Eco quote “The person who doesn't read lives only one life…The reader lives 5,000…Reading is immortality backwards’ and coupled with this insurance policy of going through infinity, there is the analysis of Malcolm Bradbury in To the Hermitage http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/09/to-hermitage-by-malcolm-bradbury-author.html


From to the Hermitage we find how much more captivating, intense, alert, clever, vivid the events happening in novels are – unless we are talking about Kafka or Beckett, which is such fine humor to include – how exquisite, wise, fabulous the characters are (as opposed to real life, where they often are boring, overwhelming, ghastly, think about the most powerful man in the world, until January last year) in fiction…in the words of the author ‘Fiction's people are fuller, deeper, cleverer, more moving than those in real life…Its actions are more intricate, illuminating, noble, profound…There are many more dramas, climaxes, romantic fulfillment, twists, turns, gratified resolutions…Unlike reality, all of this you can experience without leaving the house or even getting out of bed…What's more, books are a form of intelligent human greatness, as stories are a higher order of sense…As random life is to destiny, so stories are to great authors, who provided us with some of the highest pleasures and the most wonderful mystifications we can find…Few stories are greater than Anna Karenina, that wise epic by an often foolish author…’

However, to try and come back to a point left being many lines before this, there is a limit to reading and the plan now is to read fewer new entries and try to read again some classics that I have enjoyed (read encore une fois, provided I see that this is an encore) and recently there have been some comebacks, for instance to The History Man http://realini.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-history-man-by-malcolm-bradbury.html alas, I have just noticed that, albeit I had known of a previous encounter, it was just revealed by looking on the blog, that quite sadly, the new read was in fact the…third


The Getaway is one of the 1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read (a list which you can find at the Guardian site, or you can ask me about it, find about 780 on my blog, where you should subscribe, share and like) and indeed, it has oomph, intensity, surprises aplenty, style, smart plot, what, everything you can expect from a thriller, with complex characters, yes, Doc is a killer, but he testifies to the fact that ‘he hates killing’ and when he has to do that at some point around the border, he adds that he hates it in that circumstance in particular, but he will not hesitate – the Robert De Niro line from the other quintessential motion picture, Heat, comes to mind ‘I will not hesitate, I will take you down, if you threaten my plan, my team’ http://realini.blogspot.com/2019/05/heat-written-and-directed-by-michael.html words to that effect


Indeed, Doc will be on edge and we do not know what will happen between him and his wife, Carol, we may have that doubt up to and perhaps beyond the end of the narrative, because if they love each other ( a big if, for if we take the Thomas Mann definition from one of his short stories, love means a lot, and we must not throw that word around, which is what most do, they love an ice-cream, a color of paint on a wall, and so much more…in a recent promotion for Qatar, and oppressive state, Beckham was silly in stating he loves about fifteen things in one minute, food, market, sand, all that was paid for with good money, to advertise a repugnant regime) they come to a clash.

A bank robbery is organized and the result is a few people are dead, the other, third partner, Rudy, has the notion that he can take control, keep Doc under threat, and eventually Getaway with the money from the bank, but the latter pulls a gun from his hat and shoots the enemy, however good the main character is in his shooting, his partner in crime escapes with a serious injury, later cared for by a vet.


The vet, Harold Clinton, saves the psychopath, but he is taken hostage with his freaky wife Fran Clinton, and the end is nigh (spoiler alert) for the unlucky veterinarian, whose spouse takes a fancy, has a passion, or even an obsession for the macho, violent, rude, cruel criminal – feminists would be outraged and I would be banned, if only I were to have an audience, especially this far into the note, there is likely nobody still looking at this…if you are still here, what do you say, have a go at this – and the drama unfolds.

Spoiler alert, at least for this part where poor Harold is concerned, they take to the road, and in order to keep them under supervision, Rudy has the couple staying with him in the same room – he can take time, because he has realized that Doc will be severely delayed, now that at this stage, his crimes have been advertised by the police – and Fran fornicates with the bandit, right next to her husband, who is so appalled by all this, being forced to help a killer who copulates with his spouse that…he slashes his own throat.


At least one other episode is magnificent, that where Carol has to wait with the bag containing in excess of 100k (was it 250, I can’t remember), which would be close to or more than one million today (and maybe two next year, what with inflation and all) at the train station, and when she tries to put the bag in the locker, a goodfella comes to her to explain the mechanism, he opens, puts the bag in and gives her the key…only we will learn from doc, when he arrives, that this is one of the oldest tricks, for she was given another key, to an empty box and the crook now has the whole stash with him.

We are facing here with the couple the end of the world, they have killed, risked their lives and/or interminable sentences, perhaps execution, and all they have done it for has just disappeared, and they have no means to continue their run from the law, they are left hopeless and desperate, unless doc finds the crook…



Beauty Queen, 3, Influence - The Principle of Respect for Authority

87 out of 100 for Mama's Boy

vineri, 23 decembrie 2022

Memoirs by Kingsley Amis, author of Take A Girl Like You and more than a dozen other masterpieces http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/06/take-girl-like-you-by-kingsley-amis-one.html - 10 out of 10


Memoirs by Kingsley Amis, author of Take A Girl Like You and more than a dozen other masterpieces http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/06/take-girl-like-you-by-kingsley-amis-one.html

10 out of 10



This could be the fifteenth opus written by this Magister Ludi that I have enjoyed and it is clear from that that I am an admirer, indeed, he is one of my three top favorite authors, the other two being Marcel Proust and Somerset Maugham.


The danger with reading these Memoirs (or other) would be that coming to know the author better, the reader might feel like distancing himself (herself or themselves) from the human being that has written this and other works and might be deterred from reading more by the same person, as may happen if you come across Intellectuals by Paul Johnson, wherefrom one gets a closer look at the lives of Leo Tolstoy, Ernest Hemingway, Henrik Ibsen, and especially Jean Jacques Rousseau – the latter left his children at the door at a time when nine out of ten kids in that situation would die – and finds the very dark side, one that repels http://realini.blogspot.com/2014/06/intellectuals-by-paul-johnson.html

Alhamdulillah, there is nothing outrageous in this autobiography and one does not end it with the feeling that one wants no more from the same source, on the contrary; however, what could happen is a sort of detachment from other figures that one admires, such as Evelyn Waugh – author of the tremendous, fabulous Brideshead Revisited and at least another phenomenal books

http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/11/brideshead-revisited-sacred-profane.html - who appears in the Memoirs as less than enchanting: there is character that says Waugh was ‘a horrible little man, ingratiating himself with the powerful and the rich and very courteous and flattering while the person in question was a lady, and then totally ignoring her, once she has lost that title’, now whether we could believe this or not is another question, but the comments around a BBC interview suggest Waugh was rather difficult.


Another writer that I admire is Anthony Burgess, author of the dazzling, effervescent, magical A Clockwork Orange, about whose title we learn from the Memoirs that it could refer to something strange, in old tongue, and then Burgess explains that it could be related to the word that means man in Malay and thus we could interpret it as ‘Mechanical Man’, which is what the protagonist is turned into at some point http://realini.blogspot.com/2016/12/a-clockwork-orange-by-anthony-burgess.html

Kingsley Amis is rather ironical or even cynical about the notion that someone is obsessed with language – keeping language in high esteem is fine – and thinks this name choosing takes the matter too far – well, words to that effect I hope – and then we find more about the relationship with Anthony Burgess, who has written reviews praising the works of Kingsley Amis, but the latter could not do the same in all honesty with the books of the former (not all of them anyway) so he avoided writing about some of  them, until he reached the autobiography, in which he found some points to disagree with.


Thus, at their next meeting, Anthony Burgess came abruptly to the point (as always, Kingsley Amis is hilarious in rendering this and all other encounters, scenes, dialogues, well, everything) without so much as how are you, and says something like ‘I have always treated you well, lauded your books and you found little to say about my work’, and then end of conversation, but with the next book, Burgess returned to the same good review; we find from the wondrous, exhilarating Belles Lettres Papers http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/05/the-belles-lettres-papers-by-charles.html that Anthony Burgess was very nice on almost or all authors and their books…

Most writers, or those that I know of, admire, come out with their reputations untarnished, and even the aforementioned example, is just a case of Anthony Burgess being perhaps to kind to books that deserve more criticism and then expecting a similar treatment for some of his lesser output; one other Magister Ludi who is on my list of ten favorite luminaries is Anthony Powell or Tony, which is how Kingsley Amis refers to him, the one that gave humanity (Tony) the absolute chef d’oeuvre A Dance To The Music Of Time http://realini.blogspot.com/2016/07/a-dance-to-music-of-time-by-anthony.html


One issue w may have with reading these Memoirs, and for that matter, almost any book by Magister Kingsley, would be what it does to the fellow that wants to write and understands that he, she or they cannot reach this glorious level, and then the thought of what Demigod Amis would say about your production could be daunting, he is very clear on quite a few of those who are appreciated by the public, he dismisses most American writers, if not all, with the caveat that, were he to navigate (he does not like flying and I realize that I have placed the present tense here and see that he is alive for me and so many others, I hope) more to the other side of the Atlantic, he would maybe change his view…

A few pranks come to mind, one concerning him, when he received a letter that purported to have him called for military duty to Burma, then for Philip Larkin (who looks like he has been his best friend) there is a threat that he could be prosecuted for looking into some dirty magazines (there was no internet then and thus no widely available porn) and finally, Magister Kingsley moved one car from its place with some others, to make a joke on some people who had been quite nasty, plus the Nashville trip


Nashville was a period in the life of the mesmerizing author that he regrets, he thought he would join academia and people with reasonable views, only to find himself trapped in a vile, racist, inept society, with professors expressing the most disgusting attitudes towards African Americans (who were called with other, insulting terms then and there) and this has reminded me of my own experience working for AT&T, when they have treated me often with the most contemptible methods, if not a slave, then I have not been a respected employee either, what with the shameful wages, the calls for overwhelming activity, the request that I attend various shindigs (right, it is good to fly to Lisbon, Cairo, Madrid and other such places, but then you have to be able to afford it, both in terms of money spent and extracting yourself form your other duties, because the multinational treated you as an employee that gives 100 hours every week, but paid you as a contractor to avoid the pension, medical and any other costs on top of the fucking two hundred and fifty dollars they sent you, when they did not forget that)


The style, humor, depth of analysis, kindness, self-criticism are exemplary and then we have the added pleasure of meeting and finding some details about Elizabeth Bowen, Anthony Powell, Philip Larkin, Martin Amis and many other luminaries

Beauty Queen, 2, Girl Interrupted

`91 out of 100 for Mr Roosevelt

miercuri, 21 decembrie 2022

The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, one of the most celebrated writers of Science Fiction, author of the excellent Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep https://realini.blogspot.com/2020/10/blade-runner-1-aka-do-androids-dream-of.html the original material for the much more famous Blade Runner - 9 out of 10


The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, one of the most celebrated writers of Science Fiction, author of the excellent Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep https://realini.blogspot.com/2020/10/blade-runner-1-aka-do-androids-dream-of.html the original material for the much more famous Blade Runner

9 out of 10



This reader is not a fan of Science Fiction, although with the list of 1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read containing over one hundred titles, he is getting to the point where he will have read about thirty, in the next sixty two years or so, and Philip Dick is one of the story tellers that does entice and seduce the audiences, with gems like the aforementioned Androids and Sheep, with Ubik producing and equally lasting  good impression https://realini.blogspot.com/2020/04/ubik-by-philip-k-dick-10-out-10.html


The Man In The High Castle therefore should be no surprise, when it captivates and delights, however different the theme would be, for we have here an alternative present, wherein Britain, America and their allies have lost World War II, and now humanity is controlled by Germany and Japan.

However, all is not well between the latter and once the new Fuhrer is dead, all hell could break loose, with plots (some spoiler alert might be necessary here) to use a pretext to launch a nuclear attack, which would wipe out the imperial family and multitudes along with them, presumably making Germany the sole ruler of the planet, imposing its vicious rules on humankind, exterminating adversaries


We could think of the present and the lucky break we have had, with the Americans, British and Soviets winning the war, instead of the Nazis and the Japanese, and realize that it was a close call, there could have been events, decisions that had they happened or taken place, we would live in the world described in the novel.

As it is, we worry about what the future holds, with the prospect of China dominating the planet, with Russia as a weaker sidekick, and we already have plenty of material to look at – take the scolding given by tyrant Xi to democrat Justin Trudeau, the latter has had to explain that Canada is a democracy and thus he needs to tell the press and electorate what he is up to, including in dealings with China.


We have to consider what the war in Ukraine is going to do to the world, it has already crushed the long peace in Europe, the prices of energy have soured, and so did those for food, most importantly though is the fact that hundreds of thousands have perished in this calamity caused by one man (however much prompted, supported by acolytes, oligarchs and other vermin) and for the longer term, we have to refer to luminary Yuval Harari, author of three fabulous masterpieces, Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind, Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/02/sapiens-brief-history-of-humankind-by.html who has written an article in The Economist.


In that, brilliant Yuval Harari writes about what the conflict will do to budgets, as states will look at what Russia has been doing and increase their spending on defense (something anticipated by the thinker and confirmed by what has happened in the meantime) a move which will spark a wave, because others will follow the same trends, so that they are not left behind and vulnerable and this vicious spiral will also affect climate change measures, for there will be less and less left to spend for adaptation, funds under discussion at COP conferences (one is about to wrap up now in Egypt) for developing nations that face big threats, in the case of islands, they could be under water in the very near future…

Thus, if we do not descend into World War III and annihilation of humanity because Russia will use nuclear weapons (which it has threatened to do multiple times) or they attack a NATO country (a missile has landed in Poland, but Alhamdulillah, it was just an accident, a defense rocket from Ukraine was responsible) and then we have the most catastrophic scenario on our hands, and then we say goodbye to it all.


I have been mesmerized by Vaterland aka Fatherland by Robert Harris http://realini.blogspot.com/2020/12/fatherland-by-robert-harris-10-out-of-10.html and find that there are similarities between Vaterland and The Man in The High Castle, since they both present an alternative end to world War II, in which Germany wins in both novels, albeit in the latter this victory is shared with Japan, and dissatisfied with that, there is a plot to use the hydrogen bomb to eliminate the Empire of the Rising Sun…http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world

Good Science Fiction book are very useful in making us think what the future will look like – positive psychology has a happiness rule on that, called Imagine The Best Possible Future, which has a few advantages, one that you get closer to what you wish, readier, better prepared, another that you are enjoying in the present, which becomes brighter, this potentially successful future, and then positive, optimistic humans live longer, have better private and professional lives, get sick less often and when it happens, they stay so for shorter periods, but what about the calamities that seem to be expecting in the wings…


There are advantages to being negative, indeed, there are professions tailored for that, in that they encourage negativity – such as financial analyst, the one looking for mistakes aka negativity, lawyers used to be the most depressed, with the highest rates of divorce and suicide in America, I don’t know the more recent statistics, and they were the butt of so many jokes, such as ‘a shark finds a lawyer in the water and avoids him, what do you call that…professional courtesy’ – but it is also the other way round, as in there are domains where one needs to be negative for the task to be well done, since the optimists have a better view of the ‘big picture’, but it is the negative ones that have a more accurate image of details.

Therefore, you want a  negative human to investigate crimes, to be the traffic controller for your airplane and so on…as for what we have to wait for in the future, let us hope that China (eventually with Russia, or some other rogue state as partner, or without one) will not take the place of America (flawed and debilitated as it is by the trump [without capital letter intentionally] years, and the perspective of yet another four years of mayhem and disaster) and put us all in the commie big prison…





luni, 19 decembrie 2022

Something Strange by Master Zen Kingsley Amis – this marvelous article shows one side of the magisterial author https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/06/kingsley-amis-irritation-ending-up-martin-craig-brown - 10 out of 10


Something Strange by Master Zen Kingsley Amis – this marvelous article shows one side of the magisterial author https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/06/kingsley-amis-irritation-ending-up-martin-craig-brown

10 out of 10



I have just read part of an article (the link is above) that looks at the role irritation played in the writing of one of the greatest novelists – and one who has written poetry, short stories, such as Something Strange, Science Fiction, nonfiction on music, drinking and much more – ‘Some writers obsess about love, or memory – Amis built an empire out of irritation’ with reference to Ending Up, one of my absolute favorites http://realini.blogspot.com/2018/07/ending-up-by-kingsley-amis.html where the humor is exhilarating – there is one scene which I remember (getting more mature, not old, I have some of the flaws the characters are afflicted with, such memory loss…what was I mumbling about, oh, yes this is just an approximation) where the gesture is so outrageous as to be compared with the waiter of the Ritz (maybe, or some other fancy place, or just no hint of that is in the book, only twisted imagination) bringing the coffee, might just be an order, then sitting down for a chat…hilarious, isn’t it?


‘The desire to irritate and annoy animated Amis all his life…He was both irritable and irritating, equally adept at feeling intense irritation and dishing it out…he said ‘If you can’t annoy somebody with what you write, I think there’s little point in writing” the humor is evident in One Fat Englishman

“It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children’ http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/08/one-fat-englishman-by-kingsley-amis.html and everywhere else in the magnum opera

Martin Craig has made an excellent in his laudatory article and we can take irritation and see it is present in the Short Story Collection, starting with My Enemy’s Enemy http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/11/my-enemys-enemy-by-magister-ludi.html where we have irritated and irritating army personnel, a general is sending special couriers with his laundry to Brussels, wherefrom he wants to get his cigars and wines, in the middle of a devastating war, while another officer is determined to pack off a fellow that irritates him and organizes an impromptu inspection


Then we have the Court of Inquiry http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/11/court-of-inquiry-by-messiah-of-comedy.html where Major Raleigh is irritated and irritating in his attempt to take to court Frank Archer, the one who has left behind an engine, which was useless and without parts, and the court is absurd, because they have one engine that nobody claims, which has parts furthermore and the absurdity is comical


Irritation is again at the center in Moral Fibre, where a social worker called Webster is bragging about the help she had given Betty, a fallen woman, mother at a very early age, left to fend off for herself, but who is at her best when she associates with the ‘business girls’ – the narrator explains that he thought for some seconds that this is about some shops maybe, only to realize quickly that those women were prostitutes, or sex workers in the parlance of the present – and she has sex with sailors, away for her Danish husband, and when she returns to the family hold she feels trapped, stifled and unhappy


Irritation is at the center of I Spy Strangers, where at the end of the conflict in Europe, with World War II over in that part of the world, an ersatz parliament is organized and extreme views are aired, from the left, camaraderie, brotherhood with the Soviet Union is promoted, advocated, such an outrageous, atrocious view for those of us who have had the ‘benefit’ of the Red Plague brought by the Soviets, we have suffered decades of famine, darkness, cold and the comfort of a huge prison camp, all courtesy of the Red Big Brother, which is now taking a different shape, but with the same disgusting habits…they have invaded part of Ukraine, which they are pummeling as we speak, sending more than ten million, in fact, they said it is a third of the country, into the Dark ages, literally…

The Russians have bombed schools, residential buildings and now they concentrate on the energy infrastructure, thus leaving the poor people without heat, light in the middle of winter, with freezing temperatures and snows coming these days, Speaking of Irritation…how could be civilized if we still have this in the world, it is incomprehensible – well, I mean it is that fucking, goddamn rotten human nature, vile in its lust for more power, territory, material gains, fame and so much more, which are urging that short dictator, suffering from the Napoleon complex to kill with impunity and millions, indeed, not a few months ago, a majority of his subjects bask in the ‘glory’ of torturing others for their sick dreams of ‘greatness’


Finally saying a few words about Something Strange, the short story deals with…Irritation, yet again, this time in a space station, a metallic sphere where we have four characters, Bruno, Myri, Covis and Lia, is the place where we have Something Strange happening, albeit not within the sphere, it is always outside, a thick brown substance covers the station, at one point, then a ‘creature made exclusively of bone makes signs’,  then they hear human screams, but there is never something like that inside.

Oh, and at one point an object is approaching on a collision course with incredible (or credible) speed and when it is very close, just one thousand five hundred miles away, it disappears and there is the puzzle of what is going on here, are these illusions and if so, what is causing them, are they the result of intelligent activity?


I am not a fan of Science Fiction, but this story proves the rule that if the author is great, then it does not matter what the genre is, and the experience of reading about seventeen of the works of Kingsley Amis has proved to me that indeed, he can take on any subject, for his Memoirs are fabulous, and Russian Hide and Seek is Science Fiction in its best shape and form http://realini.blogspot.com/2020/07/russian-hide-and-seek-by-kingsley-amis.html - Margaret Thatcher though was not pleased with the subject and told at a dinner that Sir Kingsley Amis should try a different subject…


From the Guardian article:

‘His first wife, Hilly, noticed Kingsley’s remarkable two-way capacity in this area soon after they met at Oxford in 1946, when he was just 23 years old. From the start, she was aware of his “endless complaints about what seemed to me harmless things like apparently ordinary, nice people going through the swing-door at Elliston’s restaurant. He would start muttering, ‘Look at those fools; look at that idiot of a man,’ and so on. If doors got stuck, or he was held up by some elderly person getting off a bus, or the wind blew his hair all over the place, he would snarl and grimace in the most irritating fashion.”


As a young novelist, he seemed to know instinctively how to channel this curse into prose. Throughout his oeuvre, irritation plays on the Amis landscape like sun on sea. His first novel Lucky Jim (1954) bristles with it. Its antihero, Jim Dixon, lacks any sort of capacity for brushing things off. “He wished this set of dances would end; he was hot, his socks seemed to have been sprayed with fine adhesive sand, and his arms ached like those of a boxer keeping his guard up after fourteen rounds.”


Queen of Beauty, 1, Antiquated

An Alternative History in 1945 by Kingsley Amis

82 out of 100 for Joy

duminică, 18 decembrie 2022

The Elephant to Hollywood by Michael Caine – reading this I thought maybe I have a chance in Hollywood, or a circus, seeing that I can do this http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world - 9 out of 10


The Elephant to Hollywood by Michael Caine – reading this I thought maybe I have a chance in Hollywood, or a circus, seeing that I can do this http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world

9 out of 10



This reader is not a fan of biographies, never mind autobiographies (which must be biased, the author telling you selectively about his past, or else, if we are dealing with a masochist, he would expose unsavory aspects, maybe invent some) and this could explain why I am not so enthusiastic about The Elephant to Hollywood, however readable, enjoyable and interesting it can be, coming from a movie giant.


Michael Caine was born in a poor family, and thus his ascent to worldwide fame and acclaim is astonishing, especially if we consider the obstacles that he has had to surmount, the conditions he suffered from when he was a child, his father was against him being an actor, he had ‘sleepy eyes’ and has had much to overcome in his journey to Hollywood, passing through straits, making some bad movies in the process,

We have many adventures in here, from meeting mobsters in Sankt Petersburg (and elsewhere) to filming in tough circumstances, in Alaska with none other than the repugnant Steven Segal (though Michael Caine does not complain about him and many, or any other), suffering from cold in Finland, also enjoying marvelous locations in Australia, where the food was great…the actor will become a restaurant owner, going into business with colorful people, such as the one who used to get very drunk and finally set himself on fire…


The love life is touched on in sections, the most important seems to be Shakira Caine (however, I looked her up on the internet and she does not seem to me the divine beauty described in the book, but this is surely in part because I was expecting a goddess and to get blinded by the image on the spot) and we have the amusing story of the narrator falling in love, while he stayed at home to watch television, something he almost never does, and then there she is, this actress doing a commercial and then he makes all the efforts to find her, ask her out and eventually, he would marry the woman that he admires so much

Michael Caine had been married before, and he is honest about being a lousy husband and father the first time around, when he had separated and went on because he could not his family – he would try and compensate later for Dominique, his daughter – a journalist asked about the origin of the name, and when the actor told him that it was from a book by Ayn Rand, the reporter was shocked that this ‘uneducated cockney’ (or something like that) had read the book and the name does not come from some popular show…


We have a lot of celebrities, stars in here, even the odd president, for Reagan has met him a few times, although the author has plenty of humor (he has a reputation for his jokes and funny manner) and admits that Ronald Reagan did not know his name, perhaps who he was – he is not the only one, when they filmed in Kenya, Kenyatta invited Sydney Poitier and then asked him ‘what does he do’ at the party


Frank Sinatra is here, Michael Caine has been going out with his daughter, and he was a tough man, with a team of acolytes and friends creating a bubble for him, when he went out with the car to some party, if his driver passed the twenty minute limit, Sinatra would say get back…Shirley MacLaine is the one who has invited Michael Caine to Hollywood, she was the one to select him for Gambit, then she three a welcome party for him, where all the glitterati from there would come and he would meet most of them…

Some anecdotes would offer good entertainment, as the encounter with John Wayne, who arrived at this hotel by helicopter, though it was forbidden to land there, asked Caine his name, told him to call him Duke, and gave some advice, such as talk slow, do not wear swede shoes (this one I had heard on some show) and then he explained why, because he had been at the toilet, where some guy turned around saying ‘you are John Wayne’ and while doing that, he pissed all over his shoes and this is why he needs to avoid it


On the other hand, some might be looking for more salacious material, inside into shenanigans of stars, but there is not much, if anything like that in here, except for some mild hints, here and there, such as working with Stallone on the set of a movie, where the American (one of those I do not see as actors, I am appalled by the way he talks, or mumbles and I can only have respect [and a good deal of it)  for Copland, where he does a splendid job] and I avoid whatever film he is in) was already basking in the glory of Rocky, preparing for Rocky IV, or maybe V, Caine jokes, and when he had had to wait (Stallone) he warned the crew that he would make them stand by for him and he would so, being late for three hours, and thus Caine made up a story, saying the 3 hours delay helped him with the lines, and could Stallone do it again, the next day, and hence the American star would not repeat the offence.

Hack Nicholson, who had been my all-time favorite (on the same level with our very own, but unknown George Constantin) is the one that will resurrect the failing career of Michael Caine, when he offered the part in Blood and Wine, and we get some insight, finding that Nicholson is a very nice fellow, womanizer, fun to be with, relaxed, but not much more than the episode when they are late for the shooting, and when Caine tries to hurry, Jack Nicholson says ‘relax, stroll Michael, otherwise they will know we are late’ or something to that effect.


There is a lot about many stars and films, from Sean Connery (who broke a golf cross in anger at Caine’s ineptitude at getting on with the game) to much younger actresses, such as Charlize Theron (they worked on Cider House Rules, a great film, for which Michael Caine will get another Oscar nomination, and when he has to give Theron a gynecological examination on the set, she wears the ugliest men’s underwear he has ever seen, or something similar) all this will surely help many would be actors to learn some rules, find advice, indirectly from those who had worked with the author and gave him their insight, nonetheless, this could be inspirational for many others, finding in the book lessons on delay gratification, resilience, determination to make it in the profession they love and have a calling for