The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Thursday, 4 June 2009

When you can snatch this pebble from my hand...

When I was going to university all those years ago I lived for two years across the road from this really interesting 72 year old guy. Alex was one of those people who has done everything. I met him one day as I was walking back to my house and he invited me to stop a while to sit on the porch and have a beer (and not in a creepy old guy way, either). As I had the beer (what student would ever say no to free beer?) I discovered that conversation between us flowed easily and the "beer on the porch" soon became an almost daily ritual. We had great conversations, though it was mostly Alex doing the talking - he did have fifty one years more material than I did. It was from Alex, who had spent some time at the end of WWII in Thailand waiting for his naval ship to be repaired, that I learned that for a little bit of coin you can get ANYTHING in Bangkok. ANYTHING!

Ahhhh David Caradine...

This is how I want to remember him.

Looking back now, I know Kung Fu was cheesy. I know it was, but for an eight year old kid it was the coolest thing on TV. I wanted to be Kwai Chang Caine - minus the bald head, of course.

Actually, I really wanted to be Master Po - far better, I think, to be the gent holding the pebble than the poor bastard trying to grab it.

Anyway - it is sad to see him gone. Some reports say suicide, others suggest auto erotic asphyxia. Regardless, the news did not surprise me. All the police will officially say is that they found him hanging in his hotel room's closet with a curtain cord around his neck.

He was in Bangkok making a movie called "Stretch"

Really - that was the name...

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Up lifting

I promised a more cheerful post after the unpleasantness of the last one.

Today, in conjunction with celebrations of my wife's birthday, the whole family went to see the new Pixar release, Up.  We went to see it in 3D.  

I have avoided the new rash of 3D movies for a couple of reasons.  The clips I've seen have always made the use of 3D look gimmicky, as if scenes are contrived to take advantage of the effect while lending nothing to the story.  The second reason was the last 3D movie I saw.  Many, many years ago, long before kids and small town living, we had friends living near Los Angeles.  On a visit to California, we went to Universal Studios and watched this in 3D.  Not only was the 3D effect fairly poor, but there was the emotional damage to contend with.  Needless to say, the entire thought of a three dimensional motion picture was tainted for me from that day forward.

I am so happy that the technology and subject matter have advanced leaps and bounds.  The 3D effect in Up is just magical - as is the story.  It was a deeply moving picture and there was something for all ages.  It dealt with so many issues and pulled no punches.  It was masterful story telling and, in my opinion, is the best of the Pixar movies to date.

One little note about the 3D glasses - I must have received a defective pair because at a few critical, emotional junctures in the movie the glasses caused my eyes to inexplicably water.  Now that I think of it the whole theatre must have received a defective batch.  

At times there wasn't a dry eye in the place.