Sunday, January 15, 2006

The hidden blade

I went out to see the fil caled "the hidden blade" at the FACT cetre last night. This was set in Japan, just after the country opened up to the west. This was in the middle of the nineteen century if I remember correctly. The Samuri were having a hard time learning European warfare techniques. The scenes where they were learning to march were funny. Towards the end the Samuari were getting it. There was a rebellion soon after this peroid where many Samuri were beated by fott soldiers with guns. Anyway the story was partly a love story. The film was very beautiful with scenes of snow covered mountains. Of course I am not going to review any of this lovey-dovey crap, because there was a small amount of fighting as well. There was one duel where one person won using a "cowards technique". This involved almost turning your back on the opponent. A guards arm was broken using an efficient aiki technique. The hidden blade was a sword technique that was never really explained. I assumed that it was the was the hero killed the head retainer at the end, but I am not very sure. His sensi claimed it was not a real fighting technique, but it looked useful for assanation. This is more Ninja though. Watching the film made me feel good all day, perhaps more because I liked the maids smile and laughter, rather than the modest amount of fighting.

Friday, January 13, 2006


I can't help feeling that I am controlled by Many of of the books I bqquy are on the Amazon or Waterston best seller list. I just got a digital radio -- mostly to hear the lying new labour ministers get grilled on the today program. Anyway radio 6 had an interview with the lead singer of a band called the nightengales. When I was growing y up I remember a show by John Peel, where he read out a letter znd agreed that the nightengales were one of the best bands around. Anyway the nightengales around still around. There is hope for us all.


I spent an afternoon in Newcastle on Wednesday. I have wanted to visit there for some time-- particularly after I saw the film "get carter". I was sort o expecting a lot of pubs with people wearing cloth caps and talking abouy wippets. Perhaps, my domino skills would finally be challenged. The centre of Newcasle seems to be one endless row of sports bars pubs. It became clear that my quest for a pint of draught Newcastle brown was just an empty urban myth. I did try to write some stuff at the terminals of the Virgin magastore, but I found that banned and objectionable content included the home page of the guardian and indpendent papers. What pained me the most was that I hadn't realised there was a castle in newcastle. When I did read about it in the guide book-- it did seem sort of obvious in a kind of humiltaing way. I expect I spent that too much time thinking of Newcastle brown and dog racing. When I was at school I did a project on castles. I have always felt bitter that I only got a B in that course, but perhaps the historians had a point, if you don't see that there is a castle in Newcastle then perhaps you don't deserve aan A grdae, no matter how mch you know anout 1066 abd burning cakes.

Monday, January 02, 2006


I felt that the TV over the festive season sucked. There was nothing that I really wanted to watch. However, there is a school of thought that thinks that this holiday peroid is for family and children, so perhaps screeing not stop action films may not be appropriate. I obviously have my own stash of DVD to keep me amused. I watched Battle Royal last night. A class of children is taken to an island, where they must fight to the death to survive. The teacher was played by Takeshi Kitano with a kind of lazy depressed insanity that was awesome. I also watched a cartoon version of Ichi the killer. This is a more troubling film, because the violence is really insane and I wondered what kind of person would enjoy such a film. Finally, I also watched Ghost in the shell. This is beutiful piece animation set in the future. There was a lot of computer stuff to keep me amused. It ended too soon for me. I have ssen the sequel, but that didn't help me much. Mange rules!