Posts tagged: Vue

Thursday 14th February 2008

It was a historic day yesterday that will go down in folklore for this blog. After holding a Nectar Card, almost since the day they landed in the second half of 2002, I redeemed my first ever points (2000) in exchange for tickets at Vue, Reading. The facilities to exchange points for tickets at my favourite cinema chain started around a year ago but it has taken me until now to make use of the service. However, you would think with all the technology, they would enable you to use your Nectar card online or at least over the phone (it is 2008 after all). No, I had to go in and get tickets in person. So I made the decision on Tuesday, that I would drive into Reading straight after work on Wednesday evening, get the tickets and head home. There was no other time I could realistically go. I left the office at 5.15pm (promptly as usual) and got into the Oracle car park at 5.55pm. I rushed down to the Riverside, got to the box office to only find them cashing up. The two members of staff in the booth made no attempt to interact with me, but we were directed by a sign to head upstairs to get tickets. I got in the long queue, there was only one till open. A middle aged group of ladies ahead of me were rather annoyed and one wanted to go down stairs and tell those in the booth how busy it was. As she walked passed me, I told her she was wasting her time but nevertheless, she headed downstairs. Within a minute, a second till was opened and half the queue headed in that direction, so I just moved up. I was nervous, with Nectar card in hand and post-it note with seat numbers, film name, date and time. All rather unnecessary but felt better having written everything down after consulting the Vue web site. Eventually I was served, ordered the tickets and gave my preference for seats. I had checked on the site, they were perfect for Screen 4 (the largest screen out of the ten in the complex). My card was scanned and within seconds, 2000 points had gone. Yes, that is the equivalent of £2000 of diesel. I wonder if Pav will appreciate the most expensive cinema tickets known to man!

Nectar Redeemed

Let me just put that into perspective for you. Last year, I spent £1,072.32 on diesel and covered approximately 10,790 miles. So as you can see, it would take two years to earn two tickets to the cinema. Not exactly a fantastic reward scheme. However I insist on traveling down to BP West End on the West Wycombe Road, rather than using four petrol stations which are within walking distance (one where I used to work). My naive dream was to one day save enough points to pay for a honeymoon. Sure, I can hear you all now. Andrew, snap out of it!

I am really looking forward to Jumper tomorrow night. It looks excellent and it will be nice to see Hayden post Star Wars (and even Samuel L. Jackson for that matter). The tickets are booked for 9pm, so it will be early dinner for me and out the door around 8pm. I can catch up on the goings on in Albert Square via the fantastic iPlayer. Please please no one disconnect the router!

A rather strange working week I have to say. On Monday, I was informed by my boss to head over to London for an exhibition. Not a problem, was I really going to say no? I booked myself in for the Tuesday. Earls Court, when was I last here? Oh yeah, November 2006 and the five hour wait to get into the World Music Awards. However, we will get to the MJ related items a bit later in this post. I got to the show at 10.30am, an hour after it kicked off. It was quiet busy but very few stands relating to my industry and job. I needed to make this a military operation, so at the back by the coffee shops, I decided to get out the official guide, go to the company guide at the back and head to a section that related. Eight companies, I looked at the stand locations and consulted the maps. I would go to each of them in turn and see if they had anything to offer, get any material and move onto the next. This worked for two hours and then I decided to make a move. It was not as if I did not have loads of work to do in my normal job. As I headed back, on the tube train (on the District Line) I considered calling Ricki and seeing if she wanted to meet up for lunch. However, I only had my work mobile with me, so it would be a case of calling 118118 and also trying to remember the name of the company she works for. I opted to leave that option, grab a sandwich from M&S at Marylebone and catch the next train home. From Wycombe bus station, I caught the 100 (Park & Ride service) back home. However, I had not taken my keys with me (under the stupid assumption that someone would be home). When no-one answered the phone when I called, I realised I would have to wait for my Mum. It was 2.35pm, I had a bit of a wait until 3pm. Never mind, plug in my Zen, take a seat on the small brick wall (most people forget it is there when reserving their cars onto our drive). A couple of hours of working from ‘home’ and catching up with my boss on the telephone. Then around 5pm, I decided to get ready. The taxi was picking me up at 6pm. Oh, did I forget to mention? Curry with clients. I know, on a school night but it is a hard life, trust me. This hospitality lark.

Well I know for next time. Not to pre-order any album from Amazon. But in their credit, the item was dispatched on Sunday (10th) and I was given an estimated delivery date of 16th February. This would not have been a major problem, but I had given my work address for delivery. So you can imagine my surprise this morning, when I was handed the now familiar cardboard packaging. Yes! I finally owned the biggest selling album of all time.

Thriller 25

I would blast the new remixes and some of the original classics on the way home. However I was most looking forward to the Motown 25 performance of Billie Jean. All of them have now been ripped but need to sort out a further conversion so I can place onto my Zen but that is a problem for the weekend. I listened to the remixes and they are good but not awe inspiring like the original album. Just hearing Vincent Price on Thriller sent chills down my spine as I drove home with the volume quite high. I am glad I did not buy the 2001 remastered version or the original for that matter. It definitely has been worth the wait. Rumours are the album will be number one by the weekend after holding number four spot mid-week.

I get several e-mails from Arsenal Football Club every week: newsletter, match verdicts from the gaffer and ticket information. However the e-mail this afternoon was strange. A new Support Centre on the web site. So, I headed over to check it out. A glorified FAQ if you asked me but never the less an improvement of some description. I clicked on Membership and was curious about one question, “When can I expect my Season Ticket, I am on the waiting list?”. I was re-directed to the Arsenal Membership Box Office. Here I was shocked to discover the due date for my season ticket. Do remember I am 33001 on the waiting list.

Arsenal Online Subscriptions

Yes, in the summer of 2054, I will be the very young age of 72. If I last that long or climate change doesn’t get to us first. However, I cannot leave a blog post on such a negative dark thought. I am looking forward to a busy weekend, loads to get done and it all kicks off with Jumper tomorrow night. Before then, I am off to go and watch new comedy Big Bang Theory on Channel 4.

Monday 7th May 2007

My weekend unofficially began on Friday morning. I was watching music television, something I never really do during working weekdays. I was channel hopping, as I do and came across Bliss. They were playing music videos from the 1980s (Golden era of the music video) and the opening bars of ‘Take On Me’ played. I thought how much I could turn things around in the space of a three minute song, but let that thought drift out of my mind and concentrated on the weekend. I was excited. I was looking forward to every aspect, the drive down, the company, the whole experience. So, as the video ended, I switched off the television and headed out to the client office. It was just gone 9am.

I got into my car, just after 4pm and it was baking hot. I said goodbye to my manager and wished him a good weekend and let the thought of work drift away. Switching to holiday mode as I drove through Gerrard’s Cross. There was road works on the A40, so I was stuck in traffic for a few minutes. A woman in a 3-series BMW cabriolet, lost her patience and turned around, I waited in the queue and eventually we were let through. They were digging up the road opposite the BP garage, so had set up a traffic lights to control the flow of traffic. After this, I was stuck behind a big group of cars but did not care, I put the volume up and just relaxed. The weekend was about to begin and I was in a good mood.

As I pulled off the A4, into Sonning Common, I was stuck in heavy traffic. I took the opportunity to call one of my friends at their office and have a quick chat. The cars in front were not moving very quickly at all and I knew I would be stuck here for a while. I text Pav to let him know where I was and that I was on my way. It was 5.30pm by the time I pulled outside Pav’s house. The weekend could officially begin. I gave my spare key to Nige and then a few minutes later Pav arrived. He had the touch up paint he had picked up from Audi Reading on the way back from work. I got changed out of my suit. Other Nige had arrived now, in his new Vectra SRi and we then just had to wait for Melanie before we could head over to CostCo. I transferred all my bits over into the 528i and sure enough around 6.30pm, an hour or so after I arrived we headed out. We had to go and collect Foxy from the other side of Reading before heading down to junction 11 of the M4.

Wind Mill

The CostCo warehouse store is located just behind the Madjeski Stadium and just next to the wind mill that hangs over Green Park and is clearly visible from the motorway. We stocked up on drink mainly and we were in there for about thirty minutes, it was surprisingly busy. Several families stocking up for the long weekend. I was given the duty of pushing the trolley which was quite heavily stacked with boxes by the time we got to the till. Pav paid, as he has a trade card and we then headed for the exit. At the door, they had an employee checking off receipts with the goods in people’s trolleys. I over took an elderly gentleman, who then said to me, “In a hurry?” I apologised and took my space back in the line, behind him. Our receipt was checked and signed off and we headed to the car to pack. Pav had no space left in the saloon, so we had to dump everything into Nige’s Vectra. Then, it was a case of waiting for Kev and his friend to arrive. Foxy began to get into the swing of things, he was going to be the source of the majority of entertainment for the weekend. He started by blasting Lady Sovereign on Nige’s car stereo. I am trying to wonder what we must have looked like. A group of young adults, standing around two parked up cars, away from the rest of the cars, listening to grime at loud volume. We called Kev again to find out where he was, he assured us he was on his way. It was getting cold and dark now, so we opted to sit inside the cars. Foxy put on Billy Bailey CD and it had us all in complete stitches, particularly the homage to Chris de Burgh and Billy Bragg. We were still waiting for Kev and it was 8.14pm. We had been waiting for nearly an hour and some of us were getting annoyed. We should have just headed out onto the motorway and started our journey instead of waiting, but as we were waiting there was no point now. It was another fifteen minutes or so before Kev finally pulled up in his silver Leon.

Pav took the lead, as he had the TomTom running on his N73, with Nige following closely behind with Kev a little further behind in the convoy. I got Pav to let me know the stats for our journey down to the south west coast. I made a note in my phone so I could note it on my blog. Journey time – four hours and four minutes and a distance of 223 miles. We had a long journey ahead of us. We were listening to Radio One with Pete Tong playing the Essential Collection to kick off the weekend for a couple of hours. They were heavily pressing the big weekend in Preston next weekend, requesting for listeners to logon onto the web site and register. We switched over to local radio and listened to GWR Wiltshire for a while. The passengers in our vehicle decided to sing along to Bryan Adams – Run To You at full voice. After fiddling around with the tuner for a while, we switched back to Radio One as the quality on local radio was just so poor. It was coming up to 9.30pm and we decided to stop for food and fuel. We stopped at Tauton Deane services on the M5. The queue for Burger King was quite long but we waited patiently and they did eventually open a new till. I was tempted to get a whole meal but just opted for a burger. Mel got web fries, which were promoting the new Spiderman movie. After food, we headed back to the cars and around to the Esso petrol station to get some fuel, Pav only put in enough petrol to get us down to Looe. We then headed back out onto the motorway, which was quiet by now. It was 10.09pm and the TomTom estimated three hours giving us an ETA of 01.09am. We were keen to get there a little bit before then. We switched on the radio and it was Annie Mac with her Friday mash up. Great fun and played some excellent tunes. She has a segment on her show called Knight Riders, requesting those driving to give details of their car and passengers and destination. Emily text in but we were knew it was unlikely our text would be read out. Around 11pm, I drifted off into a shallow sleep for about thirty minutes only to get up and be wide again almost instantly. There is not much more of the journey to note really, until we came up to Tamar Bridge. Quite an impressive structure but the true beauty was lost as we were driving across in the darkness. The TomTom had been programmed to avoid the toll bridge, so kept advising us to turn around before hand, as there was a main roundabout before the bridge. After the bridge, the roads switched to single carriage away affairs, rolling through the countryside. Pav was trying to keep a steady speed through these roads but it was hard with the winding turns and dips. Plus, I am sure the tidiness from the journey was kicking in. We pulled outside the cottage at 12.30am. As I got out of the car, we could smell and feel the cool sea breeze.

Once we unpacked all our stuff, quite a bit of luggage for a couple of days we settled down in the lounge. Em put the radio on, for some background music and we all began to relax. We just sat around and had a few drinks to unwind before we headed back to bed around 3am. I had a spot at the top of the stairs on a soft mattress. I drifted off to sleep quite quickly, I was tired and looking forward to the next few days. Kev woke up early and his movements woke me up. I asked him the time, it was 6.40am, I sunk back into my sleeping bag and feel asleep again. We eventually did get up around 10am and once everyone was ready, headed out for breakfast just before 11am. The walk into town was relatively short, but it was not the distance that was the problem, it was the incline. The road is uphill and then around the corner, you cross a small park heading downhill. Then onto gravel path all the way down to the town centre. The view was amazing and I wish I had brought my camera along, but my stomach was ruling my head, I needed food. The weather was great, warm golden sunshine and the sandy beach just below us was very busy. As we entered the town, we looked around for a place surfing breakfast. We popped into the Golden Guinea and took up two tables. As tempting as it would have been to go for a full English, I went for something less demanding. After breakfast we headed around the shops, I was looking to buy some shorts and even a t-shirt for the beach but could not find anything. We headed back out to the coastline. We could see the beach was busy, so decided to plan our afternoon. We headed around the beach over to the people beach around the corner, just down the road cottage we were staying at. Mel headed over to the beach on her own, while the rest of us headed back to the cottage.

We changed and grabbed drink and food for the beach, we then were waiting for a few of the others that had headed for the shop to buy ice bags. Kev, Kev and myself decided to head down and give Mel some company as she was on her own. We headed down the road, walking past a construction site. A new house was being built into the cliff face. It was an impressive view with the trees just falling in the right place to give the perfect amount of shadow around the property. Oh, what it would be like to own a place like that one day? A retirement home or even holiday home with a view of the sea. As I came out of my day dream, we realised there was quite a walk down to the beach and the walk up would far from easy.

We got to the beach and putting on my sunglasses, I joined Kev kicking the football around. I also took the opportunity to take some photographs. I was keen to get a picture for FlickR but I did not want to force my hand. I was cautious to the fact that the shot would come naturally during the day. We were waiting for Em, Foxy, Nige and Pav to arrive with the cooling bags and additional drink. I had only been able to bring down a small crate of Coca Cola cans. The sun was high in the sky and it was very hot. Enjoyable hot, not too bad, as the sea breeze was making the temperature quite gentle.

CliffMel & Kev

Eventually they arrived and we headed further down the beach to a little spot by the rock cliff face away from a few other small groups. Generally speaking the beach was quiet. There was a family having a barbeque to our left and a older couple tucked away to our right but apart from that the beach was dead. The odd walker would go past, some with dogs but no hoards of tourists. We settled down, while Foxy & Nige decided to kick the ball around. Foxy, in his Tottenhem Hotspur shorts showing off his skills with kick ups. We were all impressed of course(!) We settled down and I think for the first time all weekend, I was fully relaxed. I was handed a cool drink from the chiller bag of ice and laid down and took in the impressive view. This was the life. The time just flew by as we relaxed and chilled out by the beach. A little boy, aged about 6 came over in his Spiderman outfit (including mask) and asked if he could play with Foxy and Nige. He was very happy to be kicking the ball around for a while and came back again later in the afternoon.

A little while later, Em, Foxy, Nige and Pav decided to go crabbing. Not quite British Open Crabbing championship standard I’m afraid. They caught nothing in their hour long attempt, even after I came to over to give some encouragement and take some photos. By now we were all feeling a little peckish, so we decided to have a barbeque on the beach. However, I do not think we could compete with the group next to us, having a banquet on a big table. I headed up the road with Foxy, Nig and Pav. We headed around the corner into Looe to the petrol station and then the local Londis store. Foxy, conveniently forgot his wallet but we paid for the food somehow (thanks to Pav). We then headed back to the beach. Instant barbeques, burgers and sausages all at hand. We then settled down again and waited a while before we actually got down to cooking. Or rather some of us did while the others supervised.

It had been a tough challenge for me over the course of the weekend but I succeeded. I had no internet from Friday until Monday afternoon. I used my phone as little as possible, sending only a handful of emergency text and two phone calls. I was proud of myself and generally did not feel as bad as I have before without being connected to the world wide web. Pav, had agreed he would go cold turkey as well but he let the side down. He was online via his N73 constantly over the weekend and sent bucket loads of text messages. His criminal offense was to inform us all that his snow board had been sold on eBay as we lay on the beach. Most of us had been struggling for any GSM phone reception but Pav was surfing the information superhighway via GPRS and 3G. I am proud I was able to switch off for a few days. Only to return home and jump back online 1.09pm today to find 5 e-mails in my Hotmail and a staggering 64 e-mails in my Yahoo! account. The world does not stop.

After eating we had a further kick about on the beach. Thought I should actually get these tired old bones working, so I decided to have a pass the ball around between myself, Foxy and Kev. Unfortunately no one had a camera, for the moment, when I tried to smash the ball across the beach, only to the miss the ball and fall flat on my face. Laughter all around. The tide was drawing in and the sun was beginning to set behind the cliff face. It was time to make a move, we backed up our things and headed back to the cottage. We rested for a while, putting on the television. We had missed Doctor Who, but I was not too bothered, if I am honest. Plus, it was not for me to place my geeky habits on the rest of the gang. We ended up watching Grease Is The Word reality television show. Foxy is a big fan and was filling us all in on the events of last weekend on the show. We got ready and headed down into the town centre. It was about 8.30pm. We were going to go to Tex Mex, the Mexican restaurant (you never would have guessed from the name would you?) but there was a birthday party and they could not cater for our party of eight. We headed back down Fore Street to Peking Garden. Yes Foxy had to say it as we walked in, “Let’s take a peek at the Peking Garden”. The restaurant was relatively empty and we got our table straight away. After ordering drinks, we were discussing the weekend so far and our ski trip in January. There was a bang and the next thing I saw in slow motion was Pav’s glass hurtled forward towards me. The contest spilt across the table and onto my jeans and t-shirt. I jumped up to try and escape but it was too late. I was soaked through. I headed upstairs to use the hand dryer to dry my jeans but as luck would have it, it was out of order. A little boy aged around 4 came in with his Dad. Looking at the state I was in, he made the comment as he left, “Dad, it looks like he’s wee’d himself!”. Thanks mate! :)

After dinner, which was very nice, we headed up the road to the Ship Inn. A busy pub with pool table and loud music. Just our type of establish then! We got some drinks in and headed over to the pool table, it was not in use, so Foxy took over. He introduced us to a game called Killer. I opted out, prefer to watch, while everyone else put in their £1. Pav won in the end, but Foxy took a percentage of the winnings for ‘backing the winning horse’. After a second game, we headed back out into to our next drink stop. We were informed that the one and only night spot (open until after 11pm) was the Admiral Boscarn. As there were about 5 minutes or so before the venue would open, we headed to the bar around the corner. The Decker maybe thirty yards from the Boscarn but it is 30 years in the future! We had a round here before heading into Looe’s one and only night club. As we went upstairs, we were told it was £3 entry. No problem. Foxy, who was ahead of me, asked if there was a cloakroom. No such luck. Perhaps down in the south west coast, they never require a coat or jacket in the summer months. We entered the main (and only room) to find a function room (converted very badly I might add) with a small dance floor in the middle, DJ booth at the back and bar opposite side. It was relatively empty but slowly filled up. They were playing classic radio friendly dance music, some several years old. The DJ was pathetic, not mixing in any tracks, simply playing one track and then after a gap playing the next completely different track. A selection of the tracks included, “Hey Ya!”, “Sexiest Man In Jamaica” and Madonna’s “Hang Up”.

We left the night club (if you can actually call it that, is highly debatable) around 1.30am and headed outside. It was quite a walk back to the cottage, plus the in the dark and cold, it would not be an simple walk through the park. Or so I thought. By the time we got to pathway cutting through the cliff, I was surprised how well lit the place was from the moon (not street lighting!). As we headed up, I was up ahead with Foxy and the rest of the gang behind. We heard some noise behind us but kept walking. We found out that Nige had fallen into the bushes and trees below and Em rescued him. the chances of him falling were small but he had been holding on to some stingy nettles and branches to stop him dropping any further.

This is turning out to be yet another long blog entry and I am sure only the dedicated readers will get this far. Suppose I will have to rush through the events of Sunday. We got up a little later on Sunday morning and decided what to do. We decided to head down the coast to Polperro for some lunch at a pub. It was a ten minute drive about five miles west. We parked up and at first were going to go The Mill pub on the edge of the village. However, it was busy and the group was spilt between going inside or staying outside in the sunshine. We decided to walk further into the harbour and find a pub. They had horse and cart offering a taxi service but we opted to walk, it was much better. Even the offer of a whipped ice cream did not get us rushing to jump on the trailer cart. We walked past several pubs but could not find one where we could sit outside and the menu to please all tastes. Eventually we came to the Three Pilchards. We got some drinks and headed to the roof garden before ordering some food. Foxy, had to be awkward and order two starters! After lunch, we strolled back to the car, a few of us picking up fudge from the local shop, and got back to the house mid afternoon. Now what was the plan. It was here the plans for the weekend changed.

Originally we had always decided to stay Sunday night and drive back on Monday mid-morning. However, Kev, Kev and Mel were driving back tonight, which would leave just the four of us. We decided to head back tonight as well but drive over to Plymouth, catch Spiderman 3 at 7pm and then drive straight over to Pav’s when the screening finished. So we decided to head into town for a final drink and pick up a few things and then wave goodbye to Kev & company before returning to the cottage ourselves, grabbing our stuff and heading to Plymouth. Great man! Pav checked the show times on his N73, there was a regular showing every hour or so, so if we were late it did not matter. We waited while Mel grabbed her things and Kev packed the car. They then drove down into the village while we walked down. We ended up drinking in the Salutation Inn. I over heard someone at the bar say that the Arsenal versus Chelsea score was nil nil with both Drogba and Cole out. I was missing the game and it was the first time in several years, perhaps even four that I was missing a big clash for the Gooners. It did not bother me that much really, I would catch any incidents on the radio on the way down to Plymouth. We started talking about the movie and how eagerly anticipated it was for us all. Being blokes we are all big superhero fans, but not really comic book. I just think that was not our era. It was the icing on top of a wonderful weekend and I was so glad that we had adjusted plans to do this.

We headed down to the a local fudge shop where I purchased an assorted box to take home. Then it was time to wave goodbye to Kev, Kev and Mel. They had just parked the Leon across in the car park opposite and were ready to roll. We then walked through the harbour to a chip shop, so Nige and Em could get some fish and chips. We then walked around back up to the cottage. By the pier, young kids were crabbing, some had caught three crabs already and were still going. We went to the wrong spot guys! We walked back up to the cottage and noticed the spot where Nige had fallen over the night before. The bushes were cleared and you could clearly make out where Nige had fallen and hung on for dear life. Back at the cottage, we packed the 528, while I switched on the radio to listen to the remaining ten minutes of commentatory of the match. It was 1-1 and Chelsea were within minutes of surrendering their Premiership to Manchester United. It was a close fought contest but in the end Arsenal hung on through the four minutes of added time to send the championship North.

I was getting excited as we got into the car, it was a short trip up the road to Plymouth. Plus it was at a Vue cinema, so I would still be able to enjoy the Pearl & Dean music before the advertisements. We left after 6pm and got to the cinema set in a leisure park just after 7pm. The reason for the long journey was Pav followed the TomTom directions, which meant we avoided the toll on Tamar Bridge but had to use the ferry service, which costs the same (£1). There was a strange six lane approach with a red light on all but the far inside lane. Then as we pulled behind the car in the queue, a green light appeared in our lane, so we headed down into lane two. We had a ten minute wait as the ferry rolled in and started letting drivers off so we could drive on. Then it was about fifteen minutes before we got to the other side, you could hardly tell we were moving. The send people around to collect the fee, no room for electronic pay tolls here.

As we pulled into the car park, we drove past a Renault Clio that had broken down. It was an old L reg model. Two guys were trying to push while their girlfriends stood to the side. It had started to rain. As we parked up, we offered to help. First, three of us pushed the car but it would not start. Pav then jumped in, replacing the driver (who looked about 17). Then we all pushed and Nige shouted “Go on Pav, hit it!” and in the next second the engine roared to live. As Pav climbed out of the car, he raised his arms in the air! Our superhero had come to the rescue! We now truly deserved to go and watch Spiderman!

We queued for tickets, it was busy. One bank of three ticket machines were ‘unwell’ and we assummed the other three on the oppossite side of the foyer were for ticket collection only. The queue was a handful of people deep and the cinema generally looked very busy. I was in the queue for ten minutes and got tickets for the 8pm showing for us all. We then thought we would quickly get a bite to eat. Pav wanted to go get a takeway from Nando’s next door but it was a fifteen minute wait. He did not want to risk it. We headed back to the cinema and grabbed some food before heading upstairs to queue outside screen 9. This was a 15 screen cinema, the highest number for a Vue I had ever been to. Yet another first for the weekend. In the queue, we quickly ate our cheese nachoes and got through quite a bit of the popcorn. We where allowed through and Emily commented on the fact that she had never ever queued to get into a cinema, she had never really come to see a film with the mass appeal of Spiderman. The first summer blockbuster of the year. When we got into the screen, we realised how big it was, much bigger than Reading and also noticeably higher up. We grabbed perfected seats, selected by Foxy. Great job T-Dogg, we were sitting directly in the middle of the auditorium with a fantastic view of the screen. As we took our seats, the lights began to dim and that famous music came on…

Spiderman will always be my second favourite superhero after Superman and perhaps this movie, went a long way to cement that in my mind. Do not get me wrong, a fantastic movie, with action, suspence, a love story and a few twists and turns but not quite up to the standard, we had come to expect. All in all, well worth going to see. It was great but not much more than that. I suppose with any franchise by the time of the third movie, it can be somewhat tired formula. As the audience we know what to expect, the ‘wow’ factor has gone to a certain extent. Venom was great and worked well with CGI but Spiderman still has not faced a villian of the status to really give him a believable challenge. Go and see it and enjoy but I am sure you too will leave the cinema with a little ounce of disappointment.

Thursday 3rd May 2007

As I drove to my piano lesson in Thame last night, I headed towards the sun, setting over in the North West. It was quite a picture postcard scene, with the sun just above the Oxfordshire chalk hills. As I turned around and came back just under three hours later, I followed the bright full moon home. This time in the opposite direction. If I had my camera with me, I would have take photographs of both these heavenly bodies. However, in the space of my 8th lesson (yes, 8th!) I came to realise the importance to enjoy the sight of such everyday wonders. You never know when you will be gone, to never see them again.

Potentially three days without Internet access as I head down to the South West coast, to stay in a friend’s cottage for the weekend. I am looking forward to it, particularly as I have never been to that part of the world before. The itinery is already semi-sorted, due to postings over on Pav’s forum. I am heading over directly from work. I say work, I am actually going to be Gerrard’s Cross, at a client site training. The plan is as follows but I will report back early next week on how close I kept to the master plan. I head over to Nige’s garage. Pav should be there ahead of me. I hand over my car and parts and perhaps take a few final ‘before’ photos. Then the car is the safe hands of Pro Installations. I will pick up the car as soon as I get back, with Matt planning to do the preparation work Friday night and the installation across the weekend. Then I will head over to Pav’s place in the trusty Rover, get changed and we head over to CostCo. Then, sometime around 7pm we will hit the road. It will take us around three and half hours to get to Looe. Pav has also hunted down a Vue cinema for me in Plymouth, so I can still enjoy the Pearl & Dean music before Spiderman 3. Normally the superhero flick (my second favourite after Superman) would be the highlight of any other weekend. But as you are beginning to realise, this is not any other weekend. I will take my camera everywhere and constantly be taking photos, so I have the perfect photograph from 5th May to upload to FlickR. We might come back Sunday evening or Monday, really depends how we all feel and what we get up to.

Been a highly emotional charged week for myself and I feel I should apologise. Apologise first, to my many close friends, to whom I am sure I have been an extra burden. I know I have been stupid, I know I have been thoughtless. I know I have been crucially careless. So here I find myself, late on Thursday evening, hoping and praying that tomorrow morning, I can turn it all around. I am not a magician, I am not a super hero, I confess my powers are limited. However, I have to believe that I have the ability to change certain things and be less bothered by those that I cannot. We shall see what news tomorrow may bring. My second and final apology, goes to you but hopefully sometime tomorrow morning you will get the message and get in touch.

Sunday 21st May 2006

After a rather lazy Saturday, where my only achievement was to go into town and get my haircut. I sat down to watch Eurovision on the computer, watching only the acts up to and including Daz Sampson and his Teenage Life rap. Then, I decided to shut down the computer and head for the living room to watch the Saturday night premiere on Sky Movies. National Treasure was a movie I recall my ex manager had seen at the cinema back in January 2005 and I had heard some good reviews, particularly of Cage’s performance. It was 9.14pm and thanks to Sky Movies Multi-Start I started my showing at 9.15pm. Fantastic, don’t you just love digital television. The movie was great, action packed and entertaining, even if the ending was mixed. In my opinion they took the easy way out, rather than going out with a bang. Perhaps they just lost motivation (or the $100 milion dollar budget!) I can say quite categorically that it was the better of the two movies I would see this weekend. Sean Bean portrays the likeable bad guy and Jon Voight while a bit part does play the convincing father figure. While there are some similarities with the big blockbuster released this week, I prefer this story. America has such a rich history and stealing the one document that means more to the people than anything else, is a stroke of genius. They are making a sequel, scheduled for released within the next two years, but I am not sure how exactly they can continue the story or for that matter find a new one. The Wikipedia entry states that is has many similar elements to the film I would see tomorrow, but they are minor in detail. Seems like everyone is searching for some kind of lost treasure.

Went to see The Da Vinci Code this afternoon at the Vue cinema, Reading. I have not read the book, so this review is based purely on the film and nothing else. Overall it was entertaining and in places gripping. However, the ending was rather a major let down. All the publicity with the big marketing drive from Sony, has meant most people are going to watch the movie just to see if it really is as bad as ‘they’ say it is. While I love conspiracy theories matched with a great hunger for history, I think the movie fails to truly explore the idea that could shake the foundations of Christianity. While I can understand many people feel it is blasphemous, I prefer to believe the story to is there to entertain and provoke discussion, rather than question anyone’s faith. Tom Hanks is an actor I enjoy watching and most of his movies I have seen. Here, he lacks the emotion and conviction for such a major role. Perhaps Ron asked him to play the role in this way and keep his distance from the plot, but being so involved and knowledgeable you would feel he would have a greater connection to the events unfolding before him. Given the movie is so long, you expect there to be quite a roller coaster ride, but actually once you realise the main twist, the movie begins to slow down and end on a bit of whimper. By all means go and watch this movie at the cinema, but do not expect to be blown away. It just is not that type of cinema experience. The saving grace is that the summer movie going season ahs only just began and there are plenty of other movies I am looking forward to seeing over the coming few months. Starting next week with X Men 3.

I have had a del.icio.us account for several months but hardly had the time to update it. This weekend I decided to change this over the weekend and have also integrated the links onto my Links page. I love the idea of tagging and grouping my links into bundles, but I need a bit more time to organise my collection. If you join the social ‘book marking’site feel free to add me to your list of contacts. My username is Teg.

Friday 22nd July 2005

The way the week panned out meant that Friday was going to busy, I knew by Wednesday that I would be under pressure to get laptops and PDAs out of the door by Friday, 3.30pm. The morning, therefore was busy, trying to meet this deadline, but this led to an afternoon lull, with a handful of calls coming to the helpdesk. As we headed for the busiest period of the working week, I expected to be overwhelmed but instead took two calls in the space of a few hours, when I would usually be taking up to six even eight calls. The day was dragging and I started to look forward to my weekend. The office gathers an eerie quiet around 5.20pm, when most of the staff have left, on time (sometimes early) for the weekend. There are is just me answering the phone to potential 900 reps, give or take a handful on holiday.

I left the office at 6pm sharp, aiming to be home before 6.30pm. The by pass was congested yet again and I had to take the scenic cross country route. Coming into my room, I rushed to get changed, switching on my television to Channel 4. Just in time, Hollyoaks was just about to start. Yet, I could not sit down and relax, I had to get ready and be out of the door within the hour. I grabbed some food, before heading off into the car and over to Reading. Under normal circumstances, I should have taken the motorway route, M4, A329(M) but opted for the A4 cross country route, via the picturesque village of Sonning. Arrived at Pav’s house at 7.35pm and unlike a few weeks ago, when we went to watch Batman Begins, we were in the Rover 216i and heading for the Oracle in no time. I had not paid much attention at the time, but the movie was to be shown on screen 4. Someone at the cinema must have a sense of humour. But actually. this screen is the biggest and with the best digital surround sound and seating. It was the first time since Toy Story 2, that I had been in this particular screen. Taken six years for me to watch a movie in here again.

As I mentioned on Thursday, the Fantastic Four are great band B super heroes, much like The Phantom or The Shadow. That is not to say the are not great crime fighters in their own right, with special superpowers to match the likes of Superman, Spiderman and Batman. I just feel they do not have the same mass appeal, as the gang of three, whom have a much popular following. Nevertheless, I came to the cinema to be entertained and it was what I got in abundance, along with some fantastic comic screen moments. What makes the movie work is the fact that you have four very different people coming together for one purpose. In reality, we all know that the Thing and Human Torch would never get along, and the writers have exploited this somewhat. The star of the show in my eyes, is Jessica Alba. While her performance in Sin City, was great, it was more of a bit part come eye candy role, which is shame, as she has so much more to offer. Here, placed centre stage, you get an idea of how well she is developing as an actress. The fact she is easy on the eye also helps. She is one of those people (few exist, believe me) that could wear anything and I mean absolutely anything and would make it look good. Even in this movie you see her, in mean superhero mode, in spandex, but also looking every bit the intelligent scientist, in a white coat and glasses. I still cannot believe that just over ten years ago, I was watching this young starlet on one of my favourite children television shows. When I saw the trailer for this movie, I expected more action, which was one of the main reasons I came to see it on the big screen rather than wait for the DVD. Overall there is something for everyone here and a great way to waste away a few hours. It may not have the impact of other superhero movies, particularly in comparison to reason attempts, but it makes up with the lack of twists and turns, with a solid plot, trying to explain the emotional responses to the gifts given to the main characters. (Johnny, perhaps gives the modern celebrity generation reaction to a new found talent!) Stan Lee as expected makes a fleeting cameo appearance, but I wish they had used him more. His character is more than a stand in part, as he has made in the Spiderman movies. The film leads up to a major battle between the Four and Dr. Doom, but I think this was played down for one reason and one reason alone, leaving the door firmly open for the Fantastic Four Return. Until then, once you too have seen the movie, only one place will be able to cater for your longing for more FF material.

Sunday 5th June 2005

In prospect, another boring Saturday. Determined to make things different, I text my friend Pav and asked if he wanted to go see Sin City. He replied instantly, as he always has done and it bought back memories our texts during college. He was in Southampton and had already seen the movie on Friday night. We agreed to meet up soon and perhaps catch Batman Begins on Friday night. Saturday morning was disappearing and having already been into town to carry out some jobs, I took a comfortable seat on the sofa to see what was on television. It was around 1pm and there were some big World Cup qualifiers taking place across three continents but I was not really interested. The showing on Sky Movies was appalling and after lunch, I fell asleep. Waking up at around 4pm, I dragged myself onto the computer. Perhaps there was one person who would want to go and watch this comic book action movie with me? I had mentioned it to Hussein briefly on Friday evening, so I grabbed my mobile and text him. Yet again, a swift reply with a positive response. He was happy to meet up an go watch the movie at the Vue cinema in Harrow. While I waited for his arrival on MSN, I quickly rushed over to the Vue web site to check the times, it was coming up to 5pm and I would be cutting it very fine, if I wanted to catch the 6pm viewing, so I recommended the 9.10pm screening. All confirmed, I booked the tickets and then tried to familiarize myself with where my friend lived again. (Give me a break, it was around 9 months since I had last been to his house).

The schedule from now on in was very tight. I had to keep my appointment with the Doctor and then rush out promptly at 7.45pm to get to Harrow in time for the movie. I quickly had some food, got changed and watched the final part of this weeks episode in my room, then headed out. The M40 and A40, were relatively quiet so that part of my journey only took fifteen minutes. It was here on in, that I made some stupid mistakes, which is unlike me. The directions I had recorded from Multi Map were relatively useless. Yet, there was something else special about the journey last night. I drove through Rayners Lane and just as I passed their road, I switched the radio over to Heart and the heavy bass of an introduction filled the car. I could do nothing to stop myself tapping away at the steering singing along and thinking of you. Thousands of miles away, on the other side of the world. The answer to the question from me, is a definitive yes. So, if only you could find it in your heart to tell me, “Can You Feel It?”.

I drove on and after taking a slight detour north towards Pinner, I tracked down the right street. Parking the car, I called to let Mighty Mouse know that I had finally arrived, and we headed to off to St. George’s Shopping Centre. I knew little about this movie, apart from the fact that it started British actor, Clive Owen. I had seen a poster, while waiting in queue to watch Star Wars a few weeks ago, and many people had approached the poster and turned to their friend, partner, girlfriend or wife and said this ia great movie, we have to go and watch. Let me just clarify my cinema going activities. Generally I only go to watch the big blockbusters at the cinema, but then again, in 2003, I went to the cinema only 3 times, so my choice of movie can be quite selective. I was looking forward to watching this comic book adaptation because it was so different. Yet, would I be impressed with the graphic violence and mindless acts of crime?

When a comic book comes to the silver screen, the director and writer face a great dilemma. What do they do? Stay true to the comic and risk alienating the wider movie going audience? Or cause controversy by altering the story for a more film friendly finish? This is a difficult balancing act. Some studios only think about bums on seats and therefore revenue generated from a picture and nothing else. This is a narrow minded approached. A movie such as this can appeal to a cross section of people. For example there will be those people that have read and loved the comics in the 1980s and waited a lifetime for this transition. There will be those comic book action hero fans, such as myself, who do not necessary read the comics but love the adventures of the superheros. Then there will be those going to watch the movie based entirely on the actors taking the real life persona of an still drawn image. As you can see, appealing to these groups (there are others but not as significant) can be struggle. The comic book fans, will come and see the movie regardless, no poor review on Rotten Tomatoes will put them off. Having now seen the movie, I can say that this is the closest thing you will ever see to a comic book coming to life on the screen. The action, story telling and pace all closely relate to how a comic book is written. I especially liked the use of colour, with the movie shot in black and white with the odd touch of bright colours (red, yellow, blue) to highlight blood, eyes and lipstick. Perfect. The casting was inspired and I feel Bruce Wills and Michael Rourke performed well in their stories, even if perhaps there was not the time available for character development. The surprise for me was, Jessica Alba. The spoilt brat from The Secret World of Alex Mack (which I confess, I did watch!) has all grown up! ;). There are three stories to tell and rather than go about intertwine them, the approach is to tell the stories seperately, but link in several of the characters that feature. This subtle hint, reminds you that you are watching one film, rather than three seperate movies. The beginning and ending are perfect at the overall finish article is a mirrored piece in terms of content. What also makes this movie different from others in the same genre, is that the villians are as human as the heroes (or anti-heroes if you prefer) and there are no special suits, jackets or weaponery. Everything is quite down to earth in this regard. Therefore, that is why the location, the setting is so important. It is only here, that mindless acts of violence are tollerated, because the police can be bought and corruption is rife. Perhaps Millier was just looking ahead to the future and trying to put together a comic book that reflected the road that society was heading down. Who knows?

My sister went to see the movie in a late afternoon screening in Reading and did not like it. She was evening going to warn me to not go and watch it. I think she felt it was more of a ‘bloke’ movie than anything else. Sure the violence, is graphic and at times insane. But with the source material, you have a licence, to let revenge take any form you wish and if that means cutting down the police force with an axe, then so be it. There are also some extremely comic moments, particularly in the Marv storyline, which remind you that this is not a true reflection on real life. There are already two sequels planned over the next few years, which sounds great. I just hope they have further intriguing stories to tell. Went I got home at 1am, I rushed onto the computer and read all the trivia associated with the movie, having avoided the page earlier in the day. You can see clearly what a difference it makes to have a fan of the comics directing the movie.

Thursday 30th December 2004

Three months and four days had passed since our last installment. Expectations were high, more so by the extended marketing exposure given this time around. Rather than billboards on the tube, there had been lavish television spots on the build up to the big day. The posters bore a striking resemblance to the final two from the Matrix trilogy. However, before I get to the action, let me start at the beginning. As soon as I saw the trailer for the movie, I contacted Nav and asked if he wanted to go and see the picture. He had been the one, to introduce Hero to me back in mid September 2003. Who was to know that almost exactly twelve months later, we would go and enjoy the experience on wide screen, having seen the first half on flaking VCD. The release date was awkward to say the least. Boxing Day. For a few weeks, it seemed that we would be unable to catch the epic story at the cinema. Nav was going to be in Manchester with relatives and would not be coming down towards London for some time. As chance would have it, Nav would be dropping his sister down in Ealing yesterday and would be able to catch the movie in the afternoon. As well made plans usually do, things changed. Instead we decided to catch the early evening performance, giving plenty of time to allow from the journey from Lincolnshire.

I left Wycombe just before 4pm, to make sure I did not get stuck in traffic on the A40. As usual, the roads were relatively clear and I made great time heading towards Ealing. I arrived just after 4.30pm, giving Nav a call on his mobile. It was off, sending me directly to his generic T-Mobile answer phone. This was a surprise, because he never has his phone off, unless unwittingly he has let the battery drain away. I waited for a short while, a few minutes more and then began to panic. Not a mad panic, but a mild panic, considering the options open to me if my friend did not materialise. Going to the cinema on your own is an experience I would not like to repeat, so therefore my plan was to wait until 5pm and then head over to the multiplex for a refund. Then head home and catch the big game in full. (Rather than catching only three quarters, as would be the case). Just as I was giving up, I looked out of my window and saw some bright headlights heading towards. The car, I recognised, as it pulled up directly in front of me. I smiled, my phone bleeped. Delivery report received. Nav had finally switched on his phone. We were present and correct and headed over to Vue in Acton. It was busy, but I found a parking space quite quickly and headed into the foyer. There was a large queue, one automatic ticket dispenser out of action. My attempts to obtain our tickets from the working machine did not work. No other option but the queue. This was a bad evening for the staff, the LCD information screen was out of action, so the details of film availability had to be given verbally (by leaving the safety of the booth). A man in charge fixed the second ticket dispenser, jumping out of the queue (a mistake) to once again attempt to have my cinema tickets printed. Did not work. So, we had to get back into queue to get our tickets. The clock was ticking, the film started in 5.45 and we had a few minutes to go.

Well after that episode or rather fuss over the tickets, I was actually looking forward to sitting down and watching the movie. With chocolate mint ice cream in one, hand and regular coke (with ice) in the other, I headed into the audiodoritium. Busy, but by no means full, we found some seats to the middle of the upper tear on the right. To compare The House of Flying Daggers with any other film I have seen, would be criminal. However, using Hero as a base has to be expected. My real criticism is with the storyline, although it did contained the customary twists and turns, even romance, it lacked the layered approached which made the previous film such a great success. The actors were average but it needed more star quality to get the passion across, as the story is based more on love than rivalry or a feuding battle. The direction is amazing, with some integral fight scenes and clever special effects. The plot is much more easier to follow although I think the ending becomes obvious far too quickly and then the pace slows down to compensate for the lack of action in these scenes. Shame because this could have been developed further. This got me thinking, why do people go and watch these films? The storyline come secondary to the action sequences. Therefore more time and money is spent on these parts of the movie rather than any other, which is understandable. You want to get as many people through the door as possible. I would therefore only recommend this picture to those who enjoy the genre. Otherwise you will leave disappointed.

I have been nominated as the best blog friend by Andrew Guilder. If you can recall this is the guy, I happened to sit next to on the National Express coach from Birmingham to Leicester exactly seven months yesterday. So feel free and vote. My blog of the poorest quality in comparison to the other five nominations. Make sure that comes into consideration when you place your vote.

Thursday 16th September 2004

It has been a while. Any prolonged break from my site, usually equates to many things going on in my life. Although this is not strictly the case, I feel obliged to explain my absence and fill in some of the gaps. My hours at work have been extended, so I am now working 8am until 6pm, which in reality means I leave the house at 6am and get back around 8pm. This new regime has only been in force since last week, but I am already feeling the strain. Not only is the week much longer, the day is just more physically demanding. By the time I get home and eat, it is very much time for bed. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? I am sure there is, for I have been here before and perseverance is the key.

This will be a rare weekday update for at least the for seeable future. Neglecting my blog is one of the few things I hate doing. Mainly because I want to record as much of my life (or events of my life) and as frequently as possible. This hit home sharply when I was indolently looking back at entries from last year. It was yesterday, last year when I moved into Sheffield Street, Leicester for my final year at University. Even now it feels like that was in a previous life. What takes me back in an instant, is the occasional brief e-mail from my old housemates coming to the end of their courses. The reflect aspect of the blog will be taken to another level, as time passes. It will be amazing, to be able to look back on four, eight even twelve years of my life on paper. (Have I been self indulgent enough now?)

What have you been up to? I went to see The Terminal on Sunday evening. I had little expectation but this movie showed great promise and brought me some warmth, with the flickering light entertainment. I would highly recommend you go and watch it, particularly when I tell you that, I was going to watch, Dodgeball. It is funny how when decisions are made for you, they do actually make sense in the end. Even if you feel somewhat bewildered to begin with.

Hoping to begin work on my next major web project in the next few weeks but with work taking up most of my time, I am not sure when I will get started. I also lack the creative inspiration that is always important when embarking on something new. What is the best way of selling yourself, without seeming too confident, even arrogant yet still aiming to demonstrate the power of your strengths and underline the insignificant of the few weaknesses that we all possess?

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