Edinburgh Castle is not amused.


I don’t really know what was happening here. Normally on a stroll by the castle I glance up at the beastly fortress and briefly envision the Wars of Scottish Independence as I whistle a chunk of James Horner. This Sunday, however, I saw some randoms chucking around a large fluffy dice. Weird.

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Phil Collins is in Hook (1991).


I am fistpumping like Nadal today because I reached the magic 10. That’s 10 folk to whom I’ve now disclosed the crucial trivia that Phil Collins is the cop in Hook (1991). It took me until the age of 28 to realise this. It was a Saul on the road to Damascus moment.

Phil Collins immediately elevates a film a couple of stars.

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The Thin Red Line (1998) is from another world.

Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters

Fuck knows what Terrence Malick was doing between Days of Heaven (1978) and The Thin Red Line (1998). Malick goes period again, the slaughter of Guadalcanal complete with a who’s who of Hollywood ‘big names’. One could be forgiven for thinking this a contemporary The Longest Day (1962), a spot-the-star marathon. Malick clearly used these ‘stars’ as a means for making this entirely personal ontological exercise.

The least political war movie ever, the battle starts and ends and the company depart, characters question their place in the grand scheme of things, quite the number die. The cinematography is breathtaking, the score transcendental. It’s the closest ‘commercial’ motion picture to extended movie montage, à la Koyaanisqatsi (1982). There are no stock good guys and bad guys or retreading of traditional war movie tropes.


Martin Scorsese summed it up quite well: “The Thin Red Line” is so important. You could come in the middle of it, you can watch it. It’s almost like an endless picture. It has no beginning and no end. People say, “Well, sometimes I can’t tell whose voiceover it is.” It doesn’t matter. It’s everybody’s voiceover.”

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Rose Street – Edinburgh’s Shambles.


Rose Street is somewhat like the famous York Shambles but with more pubs and less Romans. Princes Street is an adjacent hellhole – chav clobber galore and rickety buses – but Rose Street almost takes the stench away. A lovely street.

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Ryanair aren’t even the Lada of the skies.


Ryanair are fucking dreadful. A flight with them is always an ordeal. The gate is called and you rock up to find a big fuck-off queue with no plane in sight; the staff are pumped-up scavengers, stalking the heaving gate for any carry-on item with dimensions bigger than a tub of Bold 2-in-1 Washing Capsules; their luggage policy metamorphoses weekly from nuts to bonkers to insane then back to nuts; the interior of the plane makes one sick in its tackiness; you can’t get a wink of sleep for lottery or scratch card announcements and trolley-dollies peddling hyperinflated savoury snacks. What else? Oh yeah, there’s quite the high probability that your flight will be cancelled. This is when the ground staff disappear into a bush which features in a Homer Simpson meme.


Ryanair staff in a crisis.

Worst airline ever. Yet we still fly with them in droves because we’re either poor or miserly.

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Robin van Persie and the last great Manchester United moment.


It’s 22 April 2013, and Man United run away with the league by some margin (11 points), Sir Alex Ferguson’s final squad easily his weakest ever to dominate the 38 matches of England’s top tier. It was the meekness of the competition at the time, coupled with a peak van Persie, what done it. Captured from Arsenal in the summer, here was a flying Dutchman – and formerly a ‘sick note’ – hell-bent on a first Premier League title after a near-decade spent languishing with post-Invincibles Arsenal.

Not many saw Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement coming that year, but the omens were there in Groundhog Day gloom in the Champions League. In retrospect it’s as if he knew the outfit couldn’t get any further in Europe, that it was time to release himself from continental heartbreak.

That volley, though. In this simply majestic goal the best of the Fergie years are encapsulated – the pure aesthetic qualities of football, the possibilities beyond 4-4-2 Anglo-Saxon ‘hoofball’. Moyes, van Gaal, and the snores of Mourinho, the Red Devils haven’t had a moment like that volley since. Bring back Fergie.

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Bigfoot on London Road, Edinburgh.


I must confess I found this most amusing – three seats symmetrically arranged for the grand spectacle that is a foot sculpture in a park. Is the purpose to sit there and stare at it? Amidst the dog shit and the litter, the football casuals and the junkies, this monument to the human foot is the regal gateway to Leith.

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The Predator (2018) is hell in a cinema.


I’ve had shites that were more enjoyable than The Predator (2018), and one time in 2014 in Tokyo I shat out nothing but green water for 11 straight days. How can you go from peak Arnie circa 1987 to this garbage? I thought right-wing US governments were meant to bring about a seismic change in film discourse? Like, proper satirical stuff masquerading as flag-waving propaganda. Apparently not.

This film was so fucking atrocious I fell asleep for half an hour, spilled Coca-Cola on my £11 Sainsbury’s jeans, and had a dream about Warwick Davis dropkicking Kenny Baker into the Death Star. My movie-watching colleague had to wake me up with smelling salts.

Worst film I’ve seen in years.

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Wee drizzle on London Road.


I’ll never understand why the alleged ‘hard-as-nails’ denizens of Edinburgh shit their nappies when the rain arrives; you’d think it’s a hurricane descending upon The Burgh, Bill Paxton en route with his gear.

Here is a standard ‘thunderstorm’ … and a pale local (based on physiognomy most likely a junkie) with an umbrella eyeballing me as he sucks on a lollipop. Wanker.

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A secluded beach in Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is I have been told the northernmost town in England. It’s alright; the Morrisons is large and there is also a McDonald’s. And this wee beach is sort of cinematic. The locals speak funny – a bit like Gazza but slightly more coherent.

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