Went to the cinema to see James Bond with the explorers. I did put in the email that the explorers should tell their parents what they were about to see, even though it was rated 12A. Lesley spent half the film hiding behind a Christmas card, having not enjoyed the explorers previous choice of film on a hostel trip in Newcastle.
So on to the film. I think Casino Royale was Flemming’s first bond novel, so Eon productions have taken the chance to start over. The film depicts Bond as an established agent at the begining of his career as a 00. Many, but not all, of the conventions of Bond films which were beginning to weigh the franchise down have been discarded in order to start afresh, but this is still very definately an Eon film from the makers of all the others. As well as learning from their own legacy they have also brought in elements from the books previously glossed over. Yet this film is definately part of the same legacy of the others, and even learns from other makers of the spy genre.
Daniel Craigs bond for all his violence and detachment is a more human and realistic than previous bonds, while the script still keeps the film within the realms of fantasy. Whereas the Connery bond would tell jokes about his victims Craig only jokes about his own escape from death. It has also been a criticsm of previous films that if Bond was as smarmy and good looking as all that he would stand out too much to be a good spy. Daniel Craig’s facial features make him a more realistic Bond, while I’m told his physique still gives the girls something to look at.
While I thought the violence was a little too much, I did approve of the slightly less comic book approach. This bond does nothing without a struggle, no quick dispatching of the bad guys and walking away with just a crooked tie to straighten. The violence is shown to hurt, and killing is shown to be horrible, not some jolly fantasy to aspire to. The Bond girl is traumatised by James’ actions, even though they were in self defence against villains. While it made for a less pleasant film, it also made for a better and more moral one.
This interpretation of James Bond is as much rooted in the early 21st century as Brosnans was in the 90s and Connery’s was for the 60s. It dragged toward the end, but was still very good.
And we still have “Bond, James Bond” and the cumquat song.
Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday. We impressed on the explorers that it would be nice that they turned up on Sunday, and was pleased some of them did. Explorers tend to be exempt from sponsorship agreements with places of worship, so there was no obligation for those that turned up. So I was really impressed with the turn out from Blacksheep.
Actually the Explorers have impressed me a lot lately. I planned and ran quite a serious evening on mental health issues last Wednesday. It was quite a serious topic, and even though there was a small amount of chatter, most of it was relatively grown up discussion of the topic in hand. I was very pleased with the way the evening went, it was a great success.
Back to Remembrance Sunday, and I have to admit some concordance with both James G and James C over the self righteousness of White poppies, with a Christian group deeming Red Poppies “politically correct”. Some people I know have very sensible reasons for not wearing the red poppy. Howvwer beyond the news story the last white poppy I saw was back in my days as a Venture Scout when the leader of Dovers VSU was an ex-serviceman, and we were childish. I don’t see the red poppy as glorifying war, given remembrance is all about reflecting on those who were killed in battle. Nor do I buy the idea that those who wear red poppies don’t remember civilian casualties. Contrary to what is suggested in the latest furore the poetry then red poppy image comes from doesn’t in an way suggest war is a Good Thing.
During the service at the Church, Barry Overend, the vicar, gave what I thought was a good talk on the meaning of some of the traditional remembrance hymns. It made it very clear why St Chads goes in for the less modern side of its hymn books given his enthusiasm for the musical history of the church. However it may have been better aimed at a Women’s Institute or musical society evening than a sermon to a general audience, as I was a little bored, let alone the cubs.
The weekend brought up various conflicting ideas regarding what people in the war fought for. Two things spring to mind. This morning a friend of a friend sent a link to a Daily Mail article about an unrelated subject, and I noted the poppy at the top of the page. On Friday the odious Nick Griffin was cleared of inciting racial hatred, and was depicted wearing a red poppy. I realise the poppy is an emblem from the great war, but both the Mail and Griffin stand for the very values that we fought against in the subsequent conflict, even in the diluted “secure the borders” mildly xenophobic message prevalent in the mail.
And yet there’s a dilemma. Silencing these people would also be insulting the efforts of those that have died for us because it would be fighting fascism with fascism. The fact that what Griffin said was not illegal does not make it right, and nor does it mean we should be toughening the law to make sure it’s illegal. We should let people like that have their say, and they can condemn themselves out of their own mouths. Unfortunately freedom sometimes means having to hear things we dislike.
I arrived at Lofthouse village hall opened the boot- and found I’d left my day sack at home. Fortunately I had packed enough spare clothes and food to cope with what I had, and had put the maps in the main part of the car.
When we arrived at Kilnsey the first few teams had already been through. Blacksheep team X were long gone. But the other two were there. Two Explorers had dropped out of the all male team meaning our junior team had to lend them a member to let them carry on as “Team 301″.
After they left the minutes ticked by. Half an hour after the checkpoint closed to through traffic, we set off. It was a pleasant walk, far more pleasant than an hour before when the explorers set off. We split and followed the two obvious routes on the map, a gravel track and a footpath. After just over an hour we arrive at Moss Dale.
We though it was all going swimmingly, as we’d seen no stragglers on the way. Unfortunately it was not to be, as the checkpoint informed us that two teams were missing.