The rebirth of Bond


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Sadly I was brought up during Roger Moore’s (long) Bond reign. And consequently I thought Bond sucked. So much so that I’ve not even been tempted to explore the much lauded Connery franchise. Recent efforts seem to have been desperate attempts to get back on the rails, but have failed to convince me. But this. This is a proper movie. It is just great. Bond in love? Bond vulnerable? Bond nearly dying? Daniel Craig is simply magnificent. I loved his rudeness and hostility (he barely once says please or thank you during the movie) but when he has to be sentimental he is.

Funny? Ditto.

Sexy? Yip.

Forget comparing this to other Bond movies. Compare this to other movies. It stands up very well.

OK, it is a touch on the long side. But…

Bond is back.

Daniel Craig – if you stay as Bond I’ll be there every time.

South Queensferry – One of the Best


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Well it’s official, South Queensferry is a top community. So it says in this week’s Queensferry Gazette. This is of course a headline announcing that Queensferry were runners up, Highly Commended, in the Environment Category of the Calor Gas Scottish Community of the Year 2006 competition. Greenferry were delighted and would like to thank everyone for their help and enthusiasm because we couldn’t have won it without you.

Tom Martin, chairman of the Queensferry and District Council, said “The winners – Furniture Plus of Dysart – must have been good indeed to have beaten the excellent work that Greenferry has carried out in this community.”

If you would like more information on the Calor Gas Community of the Year Awards have a look at www.villageoftheyear.org/scotland/category-winners.

Thai Chicken Curry


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My mate Derrick (yes that is how you spell it –  his folks beat the Beckhams to it in the naming stakes when he was conceived in the middle of the North Sea) rang the doorbell at 11.30 this morning looking for this recipe.  I slid from my preternatural pit towards the front door in trepidation having ‘long-lied’ after a veritable feast the night before with a few of our good friends.

‘What d’you want?’ I groggily queried.  I managed to refrain from cursing.

‘Do you have a chicken curry recipe?’ he chirpily responded.

I then spent the next half hour sharing my life’s secrets only for him to…

1     Lose the recipe before he got round to preparing it for the aforementioned North Sea lovebirds and

2    Leave behind the ingredients that I gave him (fish sauce and Thai curry paste to be precise)

I thought that it called then for this week’s recipe to be the dish in question.

This is how you make Thai Chicken Curry.

First off you need a few exotic(ish) ingredients.

Thai Green Curry Paste (or Red if you prefer) – you’ll get it in a tub in one of my favourite Edinburgh Shopping Emporiums (Pat’s Chung Ying on Leith Walk)

Fish Sauce (ditto)

Coriander (ditto)

Don’t buy any of these (or for that matter peppercorns, dried garlic, herbs and spices, soy, coconut milk) from a supermarket – you’ll just get ripped off.  Get tae Pat’s!

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Take a tin of coconut milk.  To it add a large spoonful of the curry paste, the juice of 2 limes, 2 slugs of fish sauce and the stalks of the Coriander (retain the leaves).

Fry off four chopped up chicken breasts and then marinate them for half an hour in the coconut milk sauce.

Chop up a bunch of spring onions (1 inch pieces) lightly so they remain crunchy.

Heat up the marinade with the chicken and add the Spring onions at the end. (15 mins later I ‘d say)

Serve over boiled rice with the Coriander leaves sprinkled over.

You won’t need much salt because the Fish Sauce is salty.

You can add thinly sliced red chillis if you want it hotter and you can add mushrooms but they make the coconut milk go brown and look mingin’ (but taste good),  Stick in some red peppers too if you fancy it.

Easy, quick and spicy.  (Use half fat cocunut milk if you don’t want to be a lardass like me -doesn’t make much difference to the taste.)

Serve with lashings of Chardonnay and listen to Joanna Newsom’s new album, Ys, while preparing.

Kilmarnock Prison Blues


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Please don’t phone me after 3pm on Friday November 3rd (tomorrow) because I’ll be in Kilmarnock Prison at the latest Deacon Blue gig and I’ve been told under no uncertain terms to leave the phone in the car..  Probably the most exciting gig I’ve ever anticipated.  I hope it lives up to its potential.  Anyway you can be sure to read the revue here first.  Let’s hope it doesn’t  rain down, rain on down. 

 Then again, there’s a roof, so who cares.

True Scottish Grit


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I left the Edinburgh Film Festival Premier of Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcatcher in the company of the Marketing Director of The Scottish Tourist Board a few years ago and he commented that “there’s another Scottish movie we’ll need to overcome.”  I feel sure he would have made the same comment on leaving Red Road. 

It’s yet another depressingly bleak mood piece that Scotland (with the help of Denmark, through Zetropa Films) does so well.  In fact one of the key characters in this movie is Glasgow; in particular the Red Road Estate and tower blocks.  The Maldives it is not.  And yet, amidst this bleak and desperately unforgiving landscape there are stolen moments of kindness, happiness and hope.

The film is filmed in a Dogmeesque style (ie true to life with little or no special effects bar the closing music I suppose; which is haunting) but it feels rich and layered.

The direction is outstanding and the cinematography gripping.  The human characters are universally excellent (Kate Dickie, Tony Curran and a remarkably savage performance from Martin Compston – Whoah, I wouldn’t like to sit next to him on a train to London.)

It is a superb exploration of the human psyche, of remorse, bitterness and in a strange sort of way, redemption via a very clever and slowly unravelling plot and extremely believable dialogue.

Yes, it’s bleak.  But, at it’s heart I think it clearly demonstrates that there is good in everything.

Well done BBC and Scottish screen for supporting this excellent piece of Scottish drama and not pulling any punches.

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