55. Film 4

Maureen and I can be decades slow on the uptake.

We have just started to regularly use Film 4, which began life 20 years ago. As part of my quest to avoid the dross on mainstream TV (Blog 40), we found that the channel was showing ‘Turner’ last week. Always big fans of director Mike Leigh, we downloaded it and just loved watching Timothy Spall excel himself as the early 19th century painter and watercolourist JMW Turner. Fascinating from start to finish. Particularly enjoyed Spall’s lengthening grunts, his use of spit on the canvasses and his take on Turner’s pragmatic relationships with females.

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The riveting attention to period detail by Mr Leigh made me book tickets for his very recent film, ‘Peterloo’, at the cinema last Friday. Important and horrific piece of class war history, but we both thought it was slow, and could have been edited down by half an hour.

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Our attention was seriously distracted by the cinema’s complete lack of heating, for which we persuaded the Chelmsford Odeon to dish out free tickets for another movie.

A couple of days previously Maureen had downloaded again from Film 4. Two films – ‘Hunger’ and ‘Shame’ – by another revered director, Steve McQueen. He made the impressive ‘12 Years a Slave’ – and these didn’t disappoint either.


Michael Fassbender was bountifully good in both. As a sex addict in ‘Shame’ and then as Bobby Sands, the IRA hunger striker. His acting made me think of Daniel Day-Lewis, each time.


I had a quick peek at the Odeon listings tonight. Generally dumbed-down mediocrity, but I noticed a film entitled ‘Widows’. And who should the director be….but Steve McQueen. We’re planning to go tomorrow.

Does that allow me to play the synchronicity card again?

Film 4 led us sofa-dwellers to Mike Leigh, and then McQueen. We get our arses out of the house, to change the scenery, but Leigh will again be followed by McQueen. Different seats, same pathway.

And now we’ve discovered the Sony Movie and Sky Cinema channels to help us get through the dark evenings. Better late than never. We are thinking about getting mobile phones soon. This autumn is turning out OK.



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