Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wipe that smirk off your face

This is my second favorite film after 'Billy Liar' (see blog entry below ) Its called 'The loneliness of the long distance runner' Why is it your second favorite film you ask? O.K. you didn't ask. I will tell you anyway. I am also very busy getting ready for my trip back to Miami tomorrow, that I'm not even sure I have time answer why..... O.K..... I will always take time to talk about myself (as some of you have already noticed) well someone has too.
Like the movie Billy Liar' this film had a huge effect on my life, even though it could not be further from upbringing. Basically its about a working class boy who gets into trouble with the law and is sent to a borstal (a boys reform school, 'Prison lite' one might say) He plays 'the game' to get in good standings with the school (much to his other inmates horror) and is selected to run against the public (private) school. The governor puts all of his (personal)hopes into the lead character (smith) only to be crushed at the end......I know we are all very busy in our lives doing god knows what. But I urge you to watch this little excerpt. It is the smirk at the end of the race, that has stayed in my mind since I first saw this film.Some people scream abuse, some people give the finger, some people smirk.I am, dear reader 'A Smirker' (not sure thats really a word). When ever I have been verbally abused or yelled at (that might be the same thing) its the little knowing grin on Smiths face that I pull from the deepest part of my soul (console, so to speak). I use to get in a lot of unwarranted trouble at school or at work. My teachers and bosses always thought I was laughing at them..I WAS, well not quite laughing. Its my way of saying 'you stupid little person, you don't fool or get me' I have met many many people in my life, who just were less than nothing.Silly little people, talentless hollow upstarts with power and a position to abuse (and they did) My weapon of choice was always my smirk (a grin if you wish).I don't suffer fools gladly.
So Im catching a plane to Miami tomorrow (oh joy!).I will try to use my expired gold American Airline card to get through the express line. It nearly always works.Once it didn't, and a very angry man starting lecturing me about standing in the proper lines, queuing etiquette of sorts.He wouldn't stop, he was loud and very frothy around the corners of is mouth.I thought maybe he had rabies.All this yelling!.....I stood there avoiding his spittle missiles for at least five minutes. I waited till he finished his rant. Then I gave him 'The Smirk. It works everytime (well at least for me)... I suggest you try it sometime, its very satisfying...The film is a little dated and hasn't really stood the test of time, my smirk on the other hand.

Now where did I put that gold card?

smirk |smərk|
verb [ intrans. ]
smile in an irritatingly smug, conceited, or silly way : Dr. Ali smirked in triumph. See note at smile .
a smug, conceited, or silly smile : Gloria pursed her mouth in a self-satisfied smirk.
smirker noun
smirkily |-kəlē| adverb
smirkingly adverb
smirky adjective
ORIGIN Old English sme(a)rcian, from a base shared by smile . The early sense was [to smile] ; it later gained a notion of smugness or silliness.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

to catch a thief

I would like to start this blog entry with a very simple question (although I fear your answer may not be that forthcoming) Question; When is the last time you stole something? Just to remind you what it means to steal, here is the Oxford dictionary's description....
steal |stēl|
verb ( past stole |stōl|; past part. stolen |ˈstōlən|)
1 [ trans. ] take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it : thieves stole her bicycle | [ intrans. ] she was found guilty of stealing from her employers

O.K. now that that is out of the way we can proceed...or rather I can (I'm starting to sound like a trial lawyer...sorry)
When I was about eleven I snuck up to London with my friend (who we will call John) because that really was his name.We didn't tell anyone we were going to the big city, we just went. We also didn't really plan anything, we just went from museum to museum.It wasn't that we were into learning or anything(we were eleven for Gods sakes) it was that the gift shops we were after, easy pray for out thieving little fingers.
On this occasion we happened to be in the Victoria and Albert Museum or was it the Natural History Museum, I forget. It doesn't matter.We found ourselves in the bookstore, slash, gift store. John and I started to wander separately around the store. I actually found a few books that I got lost in, and yes I really was drinking in all the 'stuff' but I couldn't tell John, I felt it would let him down somehow. The next thing I know, I was awakened from my million mile away dreams by a big nasty hairy hand on my shoulder 'Do you know this young man' the gorilla in a uniform asked?'pointing to John with his other ape like hand, 'Yes Yes ' I stuttered. 'Come along with me sonny' the ape barked(O.K. I'm not sure apes bark, but you know what I mean) We were led to a small stale cream coloured room at the back of the store. Its at times like this that you really notice that one have a heart pumping away.Mine at this point was working overtime. The prime 'evil' asked us to empty our bags.THANK GOD IN HEAVEN, I didn't have any stolen goods from the boring educational book store.No pillage, haul, spoils, ill-gotten gains, pickings; informal swag. NOTHING...TOTALLY EMPTY HANDED....John on the other hand had enough literature to open a small library(a kind of Victoria and Albert bookstore 'EAST' East of London, that is...thats where we lived).I'm not sure I will ever forget the look on Johns face as they called his parents. I on the other hand felt pure and clean (maybe even a little smug with a pinch of innocent written beautifully across my stupid young face) and not really in the same league as John.I was a free man (boy).It was a long journey home I can tell you (and as you know, I am). I felt I should take some of the blame of my friends shoulders, but I couldn't. I didn't really steal things. I really didn't. Poor John, he didn't even want the stupid books.Why do we steal things we don't really want.Well, John, went on to steal many many more things ,and well, I just didn't ....until now.
Ever since I have been coming to Paris (22 years) I have had my eye (both of them in fact) on some really old beautiful gates (photo above) I fell in love with these gates from the moment I saw them. And who wouldn't.They are old, weathered and very very beautiful.The sad thing is ,that in there day they must have been very grand gates, to what was a very beautiful house.The house is long gone and the property has a nasty concrete block wall around it.But the splendid gates remain.....So what do I do? I walk past 'my' gates at least twice a week and wonder how I can remove them and install them in my posession .If I don't take them, they will just rot and fade away, like the house.I know it would be wrong to take them, because they do not belong to me, but if I just sit by (or in this case walk by) they will crumble and be gone forever.I think really hard about what to do. I think what would be the best situation for the gates and me.I think what would John have done.I think I know the answer.
So when is the last time you stole something?

GROIN UPDATE: (for those that care)