Wiseman has been looking at my monthly website stats, and has pointed out that his page is the most popular of the character pages. I would reply that this is because I haven’t put anyone interesting on there yet, but it seems a little harsh.
Had an extensive cinematographic experience this week. That is, I watched two DVDs – following up Batman Begins on Monday night with Blue (as in Trois Couleurs: Bleu) on Tuesday. I was expecting to enjoy the latter more, ambitiously fancying myself as one of the cognoscenti in these matters, and occasionally in the past having found arthouse cinema (what little I’ve seen of it) extremely enjoyable/moving/disturbing (Talk to Her, for example).
What actually happened was I found Batman Begins brilliant, and Blue just weird. I began to wonder if the experience was analogous to how a cup of coffee with my usual one sugar tastes somehow less sweet when drunk after munching my way through several pieces of chocolate cake.
Anyway, I have shelved my aspirations to join the cognoscenti for the moment, and can’t wait for the sequel to Batman Begins. There’s something very appealing about films which feature men with limitless money getting to build Bat Caves and cavort around a city in costume beating up baddies. With gadgets. I suspect this may be a bloke thing.
As I write, the England team are aboard a plane bound for Sydney, as the Ashes tour finally gets underway. I am beginning to fret about England’s chances in the series. It strikes me that their bowling unit, which was so devastating in the last series, is creaking at the seams. Steve Harmison, who can destroy the best batsmen in the world when it suits him, has been spraying his deliveries around like water from an unsecured hosepipe with the tap on full. Flintoff, who is as good as any bowler in the world (and better than most) on his day, hasn’t bowled an extended spell since the early summer. He got to bowl a few overs in India during England’s final game in the Champion’s Trophy, but that hardly counts for much, and unless he gets some serious overs in during England’s warmup games, he’s going to go into the First Test pretty rusty. Matthew Hoggard is not expected to prosper as much as he does under home conditions (truer pitches and a different make of cricket ball which will not swing as much). However, it’s worth remembering that some of his best performances in an England shirt have been overseas – in New Zealand, South Africa and India. And as Hoggy himself said only today – “At the end of the day, it’s just a red thing that you wang down the field and hope to land in the right areas.” Brilliant.
My own feeling is that Sajid Mahmood, until now a bit hot and cold, especially as regards accuracy, could be a revelation on fast bouncy Australian pitches. And Monty Panesar will, I think, be very effective. So all is not lost. Not yet, anyway. Plenty of time for more hand-wringing before 23 November, mind…