Once I had a Secrid love but it isn’t Secrid any more.


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Once I had a Secrid love
That lived within the heart of me
All too soon my Secrid love
Became impatient to be free.

Now I shout it from the highest hills
Even told the golden daffodils
At last my heart’s an open door
And my Secrid love’s no Secrid anymore.

My good friend Jaquie Sandison, who runs Edinburgh distribution company, Brand Agility, has been distributing these Dutch made wallets in the UK for some time and she very kindly gifted me a sample to try it out.

My verdict.  Perfection in walletry and has got a lot of comments in just the week I have been using it.

So it’s a tiny leather bound credit card wallet housing an aluminium container that carries 5 credit cards.

What’s brilliant about it is the internal mechanism.  A tiny lever on the bottom that fans out your cards so you can easily select the one you need.  It has a compartment for notes and a couple of pouches for keys/coins or, in my case receipts and train tickets.

It is literally the exact size of a credit card so snugly fits in my pocket.

The aluminium chamber not only protects your cards from damage but also prevents and damage from magnetism (like your phone) or radio waves.  So, all in all it’s a great little package and comes in all sorts of shapes, combinations of pockets/chambers etc and finishes.

I love it.  You can get them direct from Brand Agility in West Bowling Green Street, Edinburgh by emailing Jacqui at jacquie@brandagility.co.uk .

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Hector. Film Review.


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I was privileged to be at the premiere of this great movie at the Edinburgh International Film Festival tonight as guest of the co-producer, Simon Mallinson.

It’s a low budget tale with a big human story at its heart that is carried off with consumate ease by its eponymous lead, Peter Mullan.

Mullan has slowly but surely risen up the star league over many, many years, but few parts can have given him such screen time, such total empathy with the viewer and such character.

Most people associate Mullan with aggressive, gritty, hard Scottish character parts but this, although gritty and Scottish, is the complete antithesis of that.  He plays a long term homeless man that still cares about his appearance and his ability to integrate into his own form of society – his “real family” as he calls it.

It opens on Hector carefully going through his morning ablutions, only for the camera shot to widen and reveal that these are taking part in the public toilet of a northern Scottish shopping centre.  Such is the lot of a homeless person that cares about how they look.

It’s a road movie of sorts in that it follows the endless winter migrations of Mullen’s character, Hector, North and South across the UK, sleeping in the outdoors, public toilets, motorway service station car parks, shopping centres but more positively in a London Christmas homeless shelter where he has, over the years, become something of a cause celebre.

The tedium of his life is beautifully realised in the succession of lifts he gets from kind hearted (and possibly lonely) lorry and van drivers and the slow pace emphasises the sheer monotony of a life with no real purpopse.

And his situation, already bleak is heightened by the fact that every step he takes is contorted by some form of unexplained leg pain.  Hector’s life is clearly far from a picnic.

But, despite this, what lies at the movie’s core is the milk of human kindness.

Each lift acquired, each gesture of charity (a free cup of tea, a shared meal, the tenderness of the London homeless centre’s manager, played beautifully by Sarah Solemani) adds weight to the fact that homeless people are more often than not castigated for their situation, assumed to be beggars, spongers, theives.

But, the truth is, each has a story, a reason, for their situation.  And it’s this kindness that Hector elicits, dramatised in tiny vignettes again and again, that marks this movie out from the usual “it’s grim up north” docudrama that dwells constantly on the misery of life where one is cast aside from society.

It would be wrong to explain why Hector finds himself in his own situation, and for so long, so I won’t spoil it.  It sort of doesn’t matter, but we are curious.  What does matter is how Mullan crafts his perfectly rendered character into a lovable, sympathetic man and the absolute epitome of what makes people good.

To that end director and writer (based on a true story) Jake Gavin is to be congratulated on not only what is a decisive and confident debut but also a great human love story that potentially offers more to come.

Hector could come back, that’s for sure.

Mad Max: Fury Road. Review.


And the award for best use of garden fork goes to...

And the award for best use of garden fork goes to…

We’ll put to one side the fact that half way through the screening I was at in Newcastle a girl collapsed in the stairway which meant that I spent ten minutes or so helping her out.  (She was fine in the end).  But it certainly added a degree of drama to a movie that is anything but short of that.

It’s 30 years since George Miller last directed a Mad Max movie and in the interim he’s treated us to rather more lightweight offerings such as Babe and Happy Feet.

But clearly it’s Mad Max that has become his trade mark and this (the fourth instalment, with a fifth on the way) is the best of the bunch in every respect other than the fact that Mel Gibson makes a better Max than Tom Hardy although, truth be told, this is as much, if not more, Charlize Theron’s movie as Tom Hardy’s.  (She manages to look spectacularly beautiful throughout despite having her face covered in axle grease.)

It’s quite remarkable that a 70 year old man could imagine and then actually produce and direct a movie of this scale, scope and energy.  In fact, it’s mind boggling.

And mind boggling is a very good word to describe the experience that is Mad Max: Fury Road. (I saw it in 3D but I don’t think that added a lot to be honest).

There is absolutely nothing intellectual to discuss about a movie that transports a bevy of beautiful “breeders” across the desert and back again on board a tanker full of breast milk.

The dialogue, when you can hear it, is pretty vacuous.  The bevy of beauties are pretty vacuous but who cares, because it’s such a splendid romp and a visual treat from get go to end credits.

Time and again one’s jaw drops as the sheer audaciousness of the endless vehicle chases as they unfold.  Like most goody/baddy movies it is remarkable how inept the baddies are at killing the goodies who, by contrast, seem to kill with gay abandon, barely a shot or a strike not hitting its mark.

But if you can park your critical faculties at the door, sit back and just steep yourself in two hours of OTT nonsense then you will be treated to pure pleasure for almost every frame.

Cracking.