Sunday, 24 January 2010


I'm probably the very last person to see Avatar. It's taken a while.

The first time we set out to see Avatar was about two days after it opened here in the UK. The queue for the car park started on the motorway. After half an hour or so we still weren't in sight of the cinema so we went home.

We tried again another night. The night when the UK went arctic. We'd have been doing well just to get the car out of the driveway.

Third time lucky? We set out early. Not early enough. Sold out. Yeah, yeah, we could have booked in advance but then we wouldn't have been able to avail ourselves of the Wednesday night two-for-one offer. So we watched 'Did you hear about the Morgans' instead. (Oh my, was that a film worth missing.)

So this week we bought tickets three hours early, then went out for a meal, then reported back at the cinema thirty minutes before show time so that we wouldn't be sitting in the crappy seats eighteen inches from the screen. It was a close call. Five minutes later the theatre was full.

So, there has been some... anticipation involved in getting to see this film. Already it's an event. I am steeled for disappointment. I am ready to be dismayed. I am not going to be easy to please. The cold and unforgiving cynic is ready to rant.

And within thirty seconds my jaw is hanging open and I am the epitome of gobsmacked. Just the scene where he comes out of hibernation, he's in microgravity and it is so damn realistic. This is wonderful. And were not even down on the planet yet!

There are gripes: The story is simplistic and obvious; mountains don't hang in the sky unless you're a Yes fan with a thing for seventies album covers; the antagonists are cardboard villains straight out of Marvel comics (or government office). But who the hell cares - because the visual spectacle is so... complete. There are so many things to see it almost hurts. When I leave the cinema I stagger!

So there we are. I am not disappointed. It's the first true cinema moment since Star Wars IV, (the first one with the big ship going overhead at the beginning).

And I was there!

Imagine what miracles they could perform with a good script.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Having a Fall

At what point in life do you move from Falling Over to Having a Fall? I seem to be floating around the borderlands of the two states at the moment. Having fallen over during Christmas someone said (someone being a medical professional at A&E) 'Oh, dear, you've had a fall?'

No. I did NOT have a fall. I fell over. The distinction is not subtle. Having a fall implies passivity. It is a thing that happens to you; creeps up on you, like illness and age. But to fall over you have to be a participant. You have to be, in some important way, engaged in the process. I was engaged. I was running up the stairs without bothering to put my slippers on properly. I was at fault and I was doing something active to cause the incident. And again this morning, when my bottom made intimate acquaintance with the icy pavement following a spectacular one-legged shoe-slalom (no injury this time) the act of falling was precipitated by my own stupidity. I am proud to say - I Fell Over!

I am willing to believe that I am still 30 years away from Having a Fall. Zimmer's gonna get me, I accept that. But not just yet!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Being an Accountant

I haven't been blogging much lately. This is because I have entered the annual dark zone that we accountants call Year-End. This is when all other personas must die at the hands of the almighty pound. The accounting year for my organisation has reached an end and I and my colleagues have about two weeks to put the statutory accounts to bed.

Why such a tight time-scale? Because that's what we do – that's how we do it. We love this. We feel important. We work every weekend and stay late at night and eat pizza. We talk around imbalances and deferments and accruals. This makes us feel like we have a proper job with seat-of-the-pants excitement as part of the mix. I am, of course, using the 'Royal We' here. I'm not really a part of the Let's-stay-in-the-office-until-midnight-because-it's-cool brigade. I'm more of a Let's-get-the-bloody-job-done-and-out-of-the-way-quick kind of accountant. To me, Year-End is a necessary evil that keeps me away from my laptop. I suppose I could find some time to write, but it would be bad writing, and I have found that it's best to declare Year-End fortnight as a kind of involuntary holiday from writing. Holiday or jail sentence? I'll stick with holiday. This way I can recharge the writing batteries and I manage to avoid much of the stress and depression which comes from being kept away from the things I want to do against my will.

So I'm just over a week into Year-End. Then I get to do tax packs, and then The Auditors arrive and I have to be nice to them. (Actually, that's not so hard, most of them are okay, even likeable.) And to make all this extra deep-down fun, we are, in the UK, in the clutches of deep winter. Snow is on the ground for the first time in yonks and I don't even get to go out and play in it. This really sucks – it will be grey in-your-shoes slush before the accounts are done.

Hey ho. Tea break's over. Back on your heads.