Hello everyone

I do hope you’ve all had an excellent Christmas.  We did although it wasn’t quite as we expected. In fact, we had our family Christmas Day on the 22nd, which was such a delight. I cooked a steak and ale pie with mash and gravy, which was much appreciated by everyone as it wasn’t the ubiquitous turkey, which we all think we want, but is usually rather tasteless and only made palatable with all the trimmings.  On the actual Christmas Day it was just me and Mr F with a small but very delicious organic roast chicken and loads of veg. Before our meal we had wonderful walk by the sea with British winter weather at its best with a bright blue sky, blue seas and even a little warmth from our sun. Here’s some pix of the walk.

Do you notice on the left of the pic some tiny figures by the sea shore.

They went into the sea and swam!

But when I say it was British weather at its best, I don’t mean it was actually warm.  Here I am wrapped up for the weather.

But yes, people in Brighton (and elsewhere around the UK) go in to the sea all the year round, and, apparently, as well as liking this mad activity, swear by its health-giving properties.  I’m not someone who goes around envying people but those winter sea swimmers?  I’d love to be in the sea with them, but in reality probably won’t ever do such a thing.  However, never say never!

Anyway, why wasn’t the day quite as we expected? Well, we got back from our walk and half way through cooking the Christmas chicken I started sneezing and realised I’d got the family cold, and two days later I have a full-blown streaming head cold. Then dear reader, just before I left for my walk I’d said my usual thing, which is, ‘where are my rings?’ I have a habit of taking off my wedding rings whilst cooking and there are only 3 places I put these precious rings.  Could I find them? No I could not. All day we searched in every place possible evening through the rubbish with all the vegetable peelings. End of story is that on going to bed I found the rings in the pockets of the woollie cardi I wear around my shoulders. Why they were there I have no idea, but put this down to my developing cold, which has made my head a little fuzzy.

And the third reason the day didn’t go quite as expected is that we watched a film of our choice, which turned out to be a right turkey (!) and unworthy of all the praise that has been heaped on it. We debated whether we would watch something we’d already seen and loved, Blade Runner 2049, or the newly minted and very much praised as the film to watch, The Irishman. We dithered and then chose The Irishman, and what a crock of s..t it was, that’s three and a half hours I’ll never get back. Have you ever watched something and felt that creeping, ‘why-am-I-watching, it-might/could-improve, but I’m-not-sure-about-this, yet we-need-to-know-how-it-ends’, feeling?

Look, I speak as someone who just a few months ago watched the entire series of The Sopranos, and I watch a lot of stuff, and nothing and no-one can top that. The film The Irishman isn’t setting out to be a TV series but yet it was like watching a very poor version of The Sopranos. The genius of that superlative series is that you begin to love Tony Soprano and you know you shouldn’t, but you do, you understand, you empathise, you see him, and then you think, no I really shouldn’t, he’s horrible, but then you understand, you empathise again, and you see him for what he is. Can Scorsese provide the depth and insight that The Sopranos had? No, he can not. Can De Niro reach the heights of James Gandolfi’s acting? No way, absolutely not. Do you love the main character as you do in The Sopranos? No you don’t, the main character is unloveable and actually rather wooden. And all that CGI-ing? It doesn’t work. The actors are old and you can see that. But. Ah ha, I see both Martin Scorsese and De Niro are producers of The Irishman. Well that sums it up.   The Irishman is an over-indulgent vehicle for their egos and nothing more. The film really is pants.

It’s interesting what the critics like and don’t like as opposed to what the public like. Currently, there’s a big hoo-haa about the film Cats, which surfaced in the UK last Friday with abysmal reviews. Indeed the critic Peter Bradshaw wrote his review in verse, which was a hoot to read and summed up his 1* review brilliantly. Other reviewers have given this film no stars at all – wow! Is it really that bad?  Thing is the trailer didn’t help, and anyway, here’s a truth that I hold.  I used to love theatre when I was in my late teens and twenties. I was nursing at St.Thomas’ (in the days when you did your training actually in  the hospital, and what a debate there is there as to whether nursing has improved by being a degree course – could write so much more here, but not now). Anyway, every day free theatre tickets were left for nurses, and so I went to the Old Vic (just round the corner from St. Thomas’) many times plus West End productions, and all for nothing. I saw Lawrence Olivier on stage twice and I even have a theatre programme with Helen Mirren in a Shakespeare production as a Lady-in-Waiting, not that I knew who she was, or would become, then. Anyway, having loved theatre at that age I slowly grew out of love with it as, in comparison to film, I began to see theatre as inherently artificial. Film has as much artifice as theatre, yet it seems to my eyes to be far more naturalistic and ‘right’ and therefore I hardly ever go to a theatre, and musical theatre – never. I cannot abide musicals. There, I’ve said it. Suddenly singing and dancing for no reason, I shudder, so to transpose a musical comedy from theatre to film, and have actors dressed up in fur cat costumes prancing around, and do read the lines about Idris Elba in the link above – noooo! Hilarious!

Hey, though, it’s begun to trickle out through Twitter and other media (plus a friend’s views) that people actually like Cats. Well there you are, you cannot tell whether a critic has the actual sense of what the public might like.  Remember The Greatest Showman?  It was totally panned by the critics but very successful at the box office, and much loved. Maybe Cats is going to repeat that. But I would never ever go, me, I’d rather see a John Wick film, although John Wick 3 was very disappointing. John Wick 1 had soul (yes there was a lot of violence but it was kind of unrealistic so I can watch that) 2 was OKish, and 3? Sorry, Keanu, it just wasn’t any good, please don’t do another.  Actually, the last Star Wars is out and on my must-see list and we have our seats booked for next week, when I hope my cold has gone, plus I hear very good things about Jumanji, The Next Level, which should be fun to see. Btw, I do watch serious films and in January I shall return to the film society in Hillcrest (that I used to run) and see the film Cold War, which is meant to be a very good film. Another good film, btw, neither too heavy or violent but clever as clogs, and great fun, is Knives Out. It’s brilliant!

And books. Did you get books for Christmas? I got the follow-up to Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, Olive Again. I love the character Olive, and was so pleased to find the mini-series (on Now-tv) based on the first book, which is excellent and not just because of the actor, Frances McDormand, who plays Olive, but because it follows the book’s storyline and is as good as the book. Don’t you hate it when they tweak the storyline. Anyone watched this year’s version of A Christmas Carol on BBC1? I decided not to watch the 3rd episode as really what were they thinking…… I’m  not shocked (very little shocks me, well apart from the stuff I write about on that other blog of mine) but so not sure about the changes and after our experience of watching The Irishman I’m not wasting my time again. Btw, those of you who live outside the UK there’s plenty of lovely happy Christmassy stuff on the TV, but we just don’t watch that kind of programme. Gavin & Stacey, for example, never watched, ever, should I?  But we do watch light entertainment and for some relief after watching a serious documentary or something like that we watch The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, which is so good. The frocks, the jokes, the script and although it does go slightly off in the 2nd series it’s recovered in the 3rd. We also love  Gogglebox, or Have I Got News For You, or something of that ilk

Back to books – just read a really great book found in a charity shop, The Muse, by Jessie Burton, the author of The Miniaturist, another very good book. But do have a look at The Muse as it’s intricately plotted with two timelines that look at love and deception and art, and, well, it’s wonderful.

At the moment and thanks to Christmas I have a pile of books on my bedside table to read including: Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine; My Brilliant Friend by Elana Ferrante (can I admit that I’m finding it hard going something about ‘the voice’ so I’m half way through and giving it a rest) and Olive of course, plus I’ve ordered Deborah Orr’s memoir, Motherwell: A Girlhood, which I’m so looking forward to reading.

So that’s it for today. I expect many of you have completely different views and tastes re: films and books, but hey let’s celebrate difference, and I’m interested – what are your favourite books and films? I need some recommendations as I’m probably staying indoors for a couple of days (croaking & spluttering ++ now) and it’s always good to write a list of possible reads and must-watch films. And it’s good to try things that are new and/or slightly out of one’s comfort zone. I’m ready and willing to look at anything you suggest 🙂

Happy New Year to you and thank you so much for reading me. I appreciate you all so much!

Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper


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42 thoughts on “Let’s celebrate our different tastes and views! Films & books to enjoy or not in the New Year!

  • 27th December 2019 at 11:58 am

    The greatest showman is that god awful film for me. Gave up after about half an hour. Total tosh imho
    Sounds like a great Xmas other than the cold. We are veggie so no turkey for us and reading some of the comments about bad turkeys from supermarkets think we were lucky 😆

    • 28th December 2019 at 9:24 am

      Never watched The Greatest Showman and never will! We think alike!

      Xmas has been good but Mr F has the cold now – it’ll pass 🙂

  • 27th December 2019 at 12:20 pm

    We got the box set of the X-Files I’d watched them years ago but my husband had never seen them. Now I think he’s in love with Scully, even 80 yos get crushes. We buy all our books in charity shops but we are lucky I think people leave them in hotels, here in Nice, and they pass them on to the shop they are almost always unread. My latest reading recommendation is The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, I think it’s about 10 years old and Translation by Kate Atkinson. I love reading book recommendations from ‘ordinary’ readers much better than critics.

    Happy New Year, Lang May yer Lum reek, as we say in Scotland.

    • 28th December 2019 at 9:28 am

      Ah yes, the wonderful X-files – good for you and your husband too!

      Thanks for the book recommendations. I’ve read the Lacuna and think Barbara Kingsolver is a wonderful author, but haven’t read the Kate Atkinson and will put that one on my list – thanks and a very Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  • 27th December 2019 at 12:23 pm

    I admired The Irishman, although it was impossible to imagine Robert de Niro as an Irishman – not even a hint that he was anything but Italian in origin – but then I liked the lack of graphic violence and the emphasis on how he got sucked into that world. His blank expression actually worked for me – reminded me of Heath Ledger’s awkward dancing in “Brokeback Mountain”, which told me more about his character than any of the dialogue. I watched it in three instalments, which helped. It wasn’t the most cheerful choice for over Christmas but I thought it was cleverly put together though the women seemed underused. And I gave up on the Sopranos after the first couple of series as I started to loathe him and the whole family. I was not that impressed with Eleanor Oliphant and adored Elena Ferrante – but try her “Days of Abandonment”. If you hate that then we really are chalk and cheese. I agree about musicals and feel the same about Bollywood movies and opera – I just can’t stand people singing dialogue though I don’t mind stand alone songs, as in Lagaan, which I would love to see at a film club, but I appreciate at 3 hours plus it’s too long. But I enjoyed many of the films you chose at the Hillcrest film club so we can’t be that different.

    • 28th December 2019 at 9:47 am

      Yes, I don’t know much about Eleanor Oliphant so hope that it’ll be an OK read, but gosh, how I love, Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Again, the writing, the writing it’s just so admirable and that character. Can’t praise it enough. Now the thing about the first of the Elena Ferrante trilogy is that irritating ‘voice’. Yes, I have to say it, I can’t stand it. I mean I will go back to it, and I will finish it, and I have the other two (all 3 bought from a charity shop) but I might, though, on your recommendation leave those and go for the Days..

      We watched a short review (by Ali Plumb on iPlayer) of Scorsese films and oh how he loves De Niro and Pesci and Keitel, they’ve been in so many of his films. But this latest film The Irishman, when you see all his favoured actors in his past films and then see them in The Irishman with that anti-ageing CGI – it just doesn’t work. It was self-indulgent and egotistical to think they could play the characters in middle age. What were they thinking? And the film itself? Tedious! So on that we’ll have to disagree 🙂 But it’s so good to discuss this.

      And Lagan we watched at the Duke of York’s some years ago and thought it wonderful. It could be watched at the Hillcrest with an interval – let’s suggest it as a possible future film!

  • 27th December 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Haven’t been to the movies in quite a long time. The boys would love to watch the Star Wars movie but we will probably wait till it comes out on dvd. I watch a variety of movies but stick to PG13 or PG as I cannot abide gratuitous language!

    • 28th December 2019 at 10:06 am

      We didn’t go to the pictures/movies/cinema much when we had kids but I know that we must have got a baby-sitter for the very first Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. It came out in 1977 and Susie our first child was born in October 1976, so yes, that was a big event for us, and the cinematic world. In the days before CGI that first opening shot of the space craft zooming in along the screen was truly mind-blowing.

      It’s funny what we can tolerate. I was a nurse for several years first in a general hospital and then an old-fashion psychiatric hospital and in both I saw a lot of challenging acts and heard a lot of challenging words. So hearing stuff in films doesn’t bother me, but I’m not de-sensitised as these days it’s politics and politicians and trends in society that shock me – we actually live in very challenging times. Sorry and big apologies as that’s a bit of My Other Blog coming in to this one 🙂

      I love it though that we discuss this here. That’s what we need to do – understand where people are coming from and then empathise and communicate. Here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year!

  • 27th December 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Such a great blog.I too have a seasonal cold!
    You made me laugh Penny .Thank you.
    I agree Jessie Burton is very good. Elinor Oliphant etc. is very good …..eventually.
    I am ploughing thro’ all three Philip Pullman His Dark Materials.You have to enjoy the genre ,and being either child or academic in my reading I relish them . The new Worzel Gummidge is great !! I tried The Lacuna , Flora,but failed.
    Gavin and Stacey…..I have never watched it
    Have I Get News for You, Dead Ringers (BBC radio 4) each score 10 out of 10.
    Every good wish to you all.

    • 28th December 2019 at 10:15 am

      Oh, bless you, hope the sneezing has stopped. Here in Brighton Mr F has now got the stuffed up nose. I’m a bit better. And yes, now I realise that Eleanor Oliphant isn’t that brilliant a book – I’ll give it a try though 🙂

      Actually, I really really love most of Barbara Kingsolver’s books but found The Lacuna difficult – did I finish it? Can’t remember. Now, interesting, just finished re-reading the first of the Dark Materials trilogy and wonder if I did actually read it the first time round. Anyway, can I admit to finding Lyra a bit irritating? However, the recent BBC televised version I found majestic and totally wonderful.

      Those half hour BBC comedic quizzes like Have I Got.. and QI and Would I Tell a Lie are brilliant but the dumbed down Saturday night quiz shows are just the pits.

      Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

  • 27th December 2019 at 1:07 pm

    This Christmas was our worst ever, my husband and I both had flu, along with head colds that we’ve had for ages. We didn’t feel like eating, so at least I got out of slaving away in the kitchen. We watched a LOT of TV to pass the time. The Irishman was really awful, so dreary and slow, didn’t make it through to the end. My daughter and I took my grandchildren, 9 and 8 to see Starwars, the kids both hated it, but my daughter and I loved it, in fact I think it’s the best one yet. We are watching Chernobyl, on TV right now, and it’s horrifying me, The Canadian government issue iodine pills to everyone living within a certain radius of a nuclear power plant, I am applying for mine, as this series has shocked me so much.
    Just finished reading The Lilac Girls, loved it, it is horrifyingly sad, but a brilliant true story.
    Happy New Year to you and Mr.F. Wishing you both an awesome healthy joyful 2020.

    • 28th December 2019 at 10:34 am

      Oh so sorry, Geri, hope you’re getting better. Our colds are pure head colds so we’re not feeling fluey but still it’s a bit debilitating and I had thought we’d do lots of walking and going out and about and like you, instead, we’re watching lots of TV. Last night finished watching Olive Kitteridge (on Now-tv) which is in two parts. This is outstanding TV. But The Irishman? So tedious.

      Chernobyl is probably the best thing one can ever watch. So well acted, directed, produced and the message for us? OMG. Be careful, people. Nuclear power is great in the right hands, but even so, even when it is in the right hands, the end-product? We’re going to store it for how many years????? Yikes! That’s television at its best.

      To cheer myself up, we shall watch Worzel Gummidge tonight. That’s a character who was on the TV many years back, but has been re-done and I thought, nah, not for me. But I see that some commenters have praised it and it’s been given 5* by my paper’s critics, and although they don’t always get it right, it seems that there is a consensus out there that this new series is a good thing to watch – so we will!

      Wishing you a Happy New Year 🙂

  • 27th December 2019 at 1:25 pm

    I completely agree with you about theatre. I used to go a lot, but found it more and more difficult to suspend my belief and it came to be a less enjoyable experience as a consequence. With the advent of streaming I now watch a lot more films both old and new. This year I discovered an Indian film called “The Lunch Box”, made in 2014, and a lovely film with Gianni De Gregorio called “Mid-August Lunch”. Both are feel-good films done superbly.H

    • 29th December 2019 at 9:15 am

      The Lunch Box is delightful and we showed it at our film society a few years back. On the night we actually had to turn people away and it was the most successful foreign language ever shown in our small town. Like you I highly recommend this film.

      I’ll look for the Mid-August Lunch – thanks so much for the recommendation.

  • 27th December 2019 at 4:37 pm

    What a time to start a cold! Poor you. I’m so relieved you found your rings, that’s the trouble when you’re not feeling 100% isn’t it? You don’t follow normal routines and find things in odd places.
    I’m pleased to see I wasn’t the only one not to enjoy Mr Brilliant Friend. I very rarely give up on a book but I honestly could not get into that one; it had rave reviews and yet I didn’t enjoy it at all. It’s nice to know I wasn’t alone!
    Hope you are feeling better in time for the start of 2020.

    • 29th December 2019 at 9:23 am

      Mr F has got the cold now so at the moment we’re a right pair of crocks!

      Yes, that book, it is so highly recommended and considered brilliant. I’m half way through and thoroughly irritated by it. I am determined to finish it but really wonder if I’ll bother with the other two. Why I wonder is it considered so wonderful when seriously the two books by Elizabeth Sprout on Olive Kitteridge are for me, beyond good, they’re very good. Takes all sorts, I know, but sometimes I do wonder about the literary type who critiques a book and rates its worth as at near genius level yet somehow doesn’t get what it takes to capture a reader. Hmmmm!

      Actually on reflection the Sprout books are written in wonderful sparse clear prose, while the My Brilliant Friend book is a bit florid and kind of dense which is a style I don’t like. There you are – takes all sorts 🙂

  • 27th December 2019 at 4:51 pm

    I agree with you about The Irishman, very poor. Seemed like a bunch of old actors indulging themselves. Lacked any character development at all. Disappointing as Scorsese has made some terrific films, this was just tired, full of stock characters. I hope that he makes another film and we can forget about this poor offering. We have both had the flu over Christmas so the festivities did not happen here! Onwards and upwards! Carole.

    • 29th December 2019 at 9:41 am

      After watching The Irishman we watched an Ali Plumb interview of Scorsese and review of his main films. Oh my word. Scorsese makes the same film again and again and uses the same actors over and over and over again. Having said that – some films were good. However, if the The Irishman was his last film it was a very poor one, and agree, so indulgent. De Niro when young was a lion of a man and supple and athletic, trying to be young even with the CGI was just sad, and didn’t work and Pesci calling him ‘kid’ was beyond parody – what!!!! I do not know why I continued watching!!!

      Both of us now feeling a bit under the weather as they say, but it’s only a cold and totally with your sentiment – onwards and upwards and here’s to another decade! Cheers 🙂

  • 27th December 2019 at 5:07 pm

    No dramas in our house medical or otherwise, just the usual boring stuff. Like you I had never seen Gavin and Stacey so I made the effort to watch it and… am I missing something? On the other hand we chortled our way through Worzel Gummidge and Paddington 1 and 2, even though we had seen both Paddington films before. What simple souls we are. I hope the cold is on the wane and best wishes for a Happy New Year Penny.

    • 29th December 2019 at 9:49 am

      Thank you Pamela. We watched Worzel Gummidge yesterday and enjoyed its gentle humour and light touch – it was a quality watch. Paddington 2 is outstanding but will leave it a bit before I watch it again.

      I think we need more of the simple television experience – it’s not to be sniffed at! And in comparison to the enormous sum of money spent on that dreadful Scorsese film I think a little less hype and dosh and slightly more quality would go a long way.

      Happy New Year to you 🙂

      P.S. Blinded By The Light is now available on Amazon and is a really sweet film about a young Muslim boy who finds inspiration and love through Bruce Springstein’s lyrics. Based on a true story its another light but lovely film to watch – see I don’t just watch JohnWick 😉

  • 27th December 2019 at 5:31 pm

    I find I am not interested in remakes of old movies. I’m 71. I have yet to see A Star Is Born, Little Women, and cut off Sling Blade after an hour. Nor am I interested in romcoms. British biopics are great as are British cop shows. I’m from North Carolina.

    • 29th December 2019 at 10:15 am

      Hello Nancy! Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, British TV can be very good, or it has that reputation, while US television has a reputation for less good TV but actually I think both countries make brilliant TV series, and actually the 3 best TV series ever are all American and they are: The Sopranos, The Wire and Breaking Bad. The French cop series, Spiral, is also outstanding.

      Funnily enough re: the Brits and British cop shows – a lot of Brits like the Scandinavian crime cop shows. They’re really good and kind of darker than anything the US or the UK would make.

      Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year

  • 27th December 2019 at 6:44 pm

    I do so enjoy your blogs ~ thank you, Penny and I hope you’re feeling human again soon.
    Our unusually bug free Christmas visit to Britain staying with our daughter’s family started with a service of Nine Lessons and Carols at a local Hove church then on Christmas Day after church (a different one ~ like to keep our options open!) a walk on Hove front with the world, his wife, his children and his dog. Beautiful weather, I agree.
    Last night we saw Cats at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing. We thought it great and we saw the original in London. Personally I preferred Elaine Paige’s Grizabella although Jennifer Hudson looked brilliant and her last section of Memories was wonderful. Also Wayne Sleep as Mr Mistoffelees was better too. All just my opinion, of course.
    We often find that the film the critics slam is the one we like and vice versa ~ LaLa Land being a case in point; quite ghastly!
    Thank you, Penny for your NY wishes. No politics but living in an EU country 2020 will be more worrisome than the last three if that’s possible ~ we’ve done everything to ease the bump that will happen but healthcare and pension increases have not been guaranteed as yet. One good thing is that above mentioned daughter etc are moving near us in July so leaving Hove and Britain ~ a huge change for our young grandchildren!

    • 29th December 2019 at 11:50 am

      Oh wow, glad to hear you enjoyed Hove and Cats! Critics are useful but don’t always understand what the public wants. It was such lovely weather on Christmas Day.

      And what will the new year bring, not sure, and not particularly happy about the situation we’re in. Your situation though – it will be lovely to have your family nearby and they will be brought up as Europeans, yay, big cheer and good for them. But yes, I would be wondering about the pension. However, friends of ours who have lived in France for simply years, decades actually, experience excellent healthcare. It’s funny how the politicians always look to the States when they seek change in our NHS but never look to France – very shortsighted in my view.

      Hope all goes well with their move 🙂

  • 27th December 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Visiting Sydney from Adelaide over Christmas was really like going to a different country. Discovered the new Light Rail service which we’d not heard about and clearly has had many detractors but we found very handy. Yesterday we saw Knives Out and your description echoes my feelings about it exactly. Don’t know if it’s just coincidence but we’ve been drinking Kombucha-the sugarless organic one-and been cold- free this year despite visits from grandchildren off school with colds…

    • 29th December 2019 at 11:54 am

      We usually get the colds that my grandson or teacher son-in-law get. I will try Kombucha – anything to build up the immune system – will look into it. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  • 27th December 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Hello Penny

    Ah, Paddington 1 & 2 and Worzel Gummidge: wonderful! Didn’t watch much else as busy having family fun – and reading!

    I’ve just finished A Man Called Ove and loved it. It’s about a grumbly old Swede whose gruff exterior hides a heart of gold and a brain as precise as Big Ben but who has no idea how to cope with a (to him) devious world full of folks who don’t follow the rules. For Ove, Order Is All. But this is no stuffy read, It’s quirky and heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, often one sfter the other and I can thoroughly recommend it. Next up is The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris, I am so lookimg forward to finding out just what the wind will blow into the life of everyone’s favourite chocolatier this time.

    I know you’re not keen on the theatre, but please give The Play That Goes Wrong a chance if it ever comes to town. It is funny, very clever, and needs a cast with nerves of steel to put it on. We saw it some time ago and still laugh over it. As for musicals, we were lucky enough to see 42nd Street actually on 42nd Street New York and I’d take bets that even as a non-musical lover, you’d have been impressed. I would sit through a performance of it again and again. Cats I’m less sure about. The cinema trailer looked interesting, the tv trailer less so.
    Maybe I’ll stick with my new book instead and put the cats out this time around!

    Happy reading! And Happy New Year! Z. x

    • 29th December 2019 at 12:01 pm

      I think I might have read A Man Called One and rather think I should keep a journal of all books read. Because of the move I let slip my film ratings. Yup I used to write down every film we saw and rated it which was useful when we ran the film society. New Year’s resolution is to restart the film ratings and write up books I’ve read. There’s something currently on the television that sounds like that play.

      And re: musicals. Yesterday, mainly because we felt ill, in the afternoon we watched Oklahoma on the TV. Songs were nice, the colour was so very colourful and it was actually very long. An interesting experience!

      Happy New Year to you too!

  • 28th December 2019 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for sparing me The Irishman, as I was mulling it over! I enjoyed Marriage Story, although it’s a bit bleak, and we’re finding The Witcher fun and a suitable replacement for GoT. My Christmas Day was similar to yours, just the two of us with an organic turkey crown (which was OK for turkey) and Oliver! I don’t like musicals generally, but Oliver! is synonymous with my childhood so I adore it.

    Have a Happy NY Penny and hope you’ve shaken off that cold.

    • 29th December 2019 at 12:04 pm

      The trailer for The Witcher is a bit over the top but I shall try it out. Do not touch The Irishman – I shall never get back those 3 and 1/2 hours!!!

      Cold is hanging on a bit (5th day) but it’ll go.

      Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  • 28th December 2019 at 3:15 pm

    I can thoroughly agree with you about The Irishman. We found it so slow, and the CGI was pointless- they still looked like old men! I saw Cats at the theatre many years ago and loved it. I can’t see myself watching it at the cinema. Knives Out however we really enjoyed. We also went to see Motherless Brooklyn, a strange little film, but we found it really enjoyable. Christmas tv was not very good this year, but we were with our children and their partners and played a few quiz type games, as is our tradition.
    Happy new year to you and yours.

    • 29th December 2019 at 12:06 pm

      Ah ah, I want to see Motherless Brooklyn as it looks to be interesting and well made and I really like Edward Norton. We played games and did quizzes on the 22nd and it was just delightful.

      Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  • 28th December 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Sorry to hear you’re unwell, Penny, hope you recover soon. Your Christmas sounded lovely.

    I would love to swim in the sea on Christmas Day but preferably in Ireland and I will in a couple of years!

    I don’t like musicals either so will not be going to see ‘Cats’. We recently watched a live screening of ‘A Winter’s Tale’ at our local Vue cinema and it was wonderful. Prior to that I watched ‘Downton Abbey’ at the cinema with my daughter, I only go to the cinema a few times a year as there is rarely a film on I want to see and the ones that I do want to watch are on limited release or only in London..I am the opposite to you in that I prefer theatre to films. How lucky were you to get free theatre tickets as a student nurse! No such luck for us out in St. Albans; in fact I don’;t remember any perks at all….

    Thanks for the heads up about Olive Kitteridge. I knew there was a TV series but not which channel. I will try and see if we can get Now TV. I’ve read every book by Elizabeth Strout and I love Olive – such a character!

    I loved Eleanor Oliphant, have read ‘My Brilliant Friend and the other 3 in the same series. Didn’t know about the Deborah Orr book/memoir so will see if I can get it from the library. Thank you for that. I’m eagerly awaiting delivery of a book called ‘Why Women Read Fiction: the Stories of our Lives’ by Helen Taylor as I was one of the people who took part in her research.

    Have a great New Year!

    • 28th December 2019 at 11:23 pm

      Hello Veronica
      I also took part in Helen’s research! It’ll be interesting to see the results, won’t it as I’d begun to wonder if would ever reach the bookshelves.

      • 29th December 2019 at 12:19 pm

        I shall look out for the book, Zepherine 🙂

    • 29th December 2019 at 12:19 pm

      Elizabeth Strout is a new author for me and I just think she writes so well. I shall definitely try her other books. The Deborah Orr book is not quite out yet – I’ve ordered it. I loved her Guardian columns and she was an amazing person but she died in October. So sad as she was only 57 https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/oct/21/deborah-orr-obituary

      I shall look out for that book in which you took part – wow! Live screenings are something that I want to do more of – we went to the live screening of Fleabag which was mega.

      Here’s wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year 🙂

  • 29th December 2019 at 10:15 am

    Hope you’re feeling better now. Likewise Bill.
    Viewing: The Irishman: brilliantly made, but dreary thank you to Scorsese’s favourite, regularly used actors. Yawn.
    Re: the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special: I was intrigued by the huge viewing figures so decided to refresh my memory with a few old episodes before watching the ‘Special’ yesterday.
    It was always a nice little (moderately funny) love story about nice, moderately funny ordinary people and their moderately funny family and friends.
    And that, I think, has something to do with the huge viewing figures of the ‘Special.’ A lot has happened in our country in the intervening ten years: austerity, the decimation of high streets and communities, the referendum, Brexit looming, the fear of climate change etc. …. People are tired and confused. So, it was reassuring – and interesting – to see these familiar ordinary people again (had they changed over that turbulent decade?)
    It was also one of the few easy watching shows suitable for ‘everyone’. I liked that fact that it is inclusive – LGBTQ+ and fat positive. But, it was no funnier than I remembered from years before.

    • 29th December 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Yes, a total yawn re: The Irishman. An example of how really the critics should have acted more like the little boy who said, ‘but, but, the Emperor has no clothes!’ On reflection and after seeing the Ali Plumb review I think Scorsese makes the same film over and over again. And all about male violence with very poorly developed female roles. He’s an old dinosaur who, in this instance, used old dinosaur and practically past it actors playing young men. That might sound ageist but would I ever say that about Ian McKellan? Never. Or any other older actor. No. But to call De Niro ‘kid’. I mean, what! Not impressed.

      Thanks for the critique of Gavin & Stacey. Similarly Worzel Gummidege wasn’t a laugh a minute or as hugely 5*ish as the Guardian critic made it out to be, but it was gentle and really quite sweet and was a nice, simple, television experience which we all need.

      Wishing you both a Happy New Year

  • 29th December 2019 at 11:21 am

    You look so cosy for the cold! it’s a shame you are sick though, I hope you can rest up and feel better soon! 🙂 We’ve been watching a lot of kids movies with the boys, haha! My fave is love actually but we haven’t watched that this Christmas as we watch a movie with the kids most nights and I don’t want to stay up late watching an adult one once they are in bed, ha!

    • 29th December 2019 at 12:32 pm

      I used to watch a lot of children’s films with my kids and then did the same with my grandson, but he’s getting on for 14 now and wants to watch JohnWick!

      Thank you for your comment and here’s wishing you a Happy New Year 🙂

  • 1st January 2020 at 12:23 am

    I have loved everything that Scorsese has produced, but several friends have told me not to watch The Irishman as it will sour my view of him. I saw Knives Out and thought it was a good Agatha Christie TV movie, nothing more.

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