Lost false teeth are no laughing matter…


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My blog, Is this Yours?, has turned up another mystery.

Half a set of gnashers, unencumbered by their owners.

It reminds me of a story about my pal, Ian Sutherland, who once lost his teeth when he sneezed out the window of his delivery van half way down the A1 on the way to Berwick on Tweed.  His choppers lie, waiting to be discovered, on a verge to this day I suppose.

Maybe these are his?

I think it unlikely though, unless deliberate relocation has been actioned by a stranger.

So, who lost theirs on Dalmeny Beach?

Indeed was it on the beach itself that the loss initiated?

Were they vomited down a loo in Fraserburgh and made their way down the East coast of Scotland on tidal streams?

Were they the result of a violent orgasm in the darkness on that very beach, immediately interrupted by an approaching stranger as two middle aged adults sought gratification and had to scarper before they could retrieve their conjugal misappropriation?

Perhaps they simply slipped out of a mouth, unnoticed, during a gentle stroll.

They may have been overboarded by a passing trawler in high seas.

Are they male?

Are they female?

I’ve tried them on, but my own clackers made estimating size a tricky exercise and, besides, they tasted a little brackish.

Do we have any forensic dentists willing to carbon date them for me?

Can the media help me here?

 

 

 

Logan: Movie Review


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In which I see my first X-Men movie in a franchise that is now 10 episodes old.  So I know nothing of the back story.

I also have  no real fondness for Hugh Jackman after the disaster that is Les Miserables.

And I don’t much like superhero movies full stop, unless they have a twist.

So, that’s what made this an excellent evening’s entertainment.

The twist.

It’s no spoiler to reveal that the twist is Wolverine (Jackman) is losing his powers.  He’s an OAS (Old Age Superhero) and, as such, it doesn’t take much for his superpowers to run out long before the Duracell Bunny would like.

And that opens up a depth of storyline that is seldom seen in these franchise affairs.

It requires, and is given, a quality script and a complexity of performance that makes it both engaging and sustaining throughout.

It won’t be my movie of the year by a long shot (and it fails to breathe the sort of life into an old vein that Mad Max Fury Road did two years ago) but it’s an excellent evening’s entertainment and I’d recommend it.

Elle: Movie Review


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Paul Verhoeven has a track record that would not immediately make you think he could make a movie that would empower a strong central female character, particularly one where sexual politics (and sexual violence) are key to the narrative.

He’s the man behind Showgirls and Basic Instinct and, errr, Diary of a Hooker after all – essentially exploitation movies to a greater or lesser degree.

And it’s highly debatable whether Elle succeeds in its goal, if indeed that is it. Because, despite the incredible central performance by Isabelle Huppert (rightfully Oscar nominated) it takes her from rape victim to rape fantasist over the course of its two hours.

Or did I misread it?

The opening brutal rape scene knocks you back on your feet and Huppert, as Elle, a succesful career woman, recovers from the ordeal remarkably sanguinely and continues her active lifestyle whilst setting out on a revenge mission of sorts.

But that mission is deeply twisted and her horrendous experience seems a little ironic perhaps when we discover she is the owner of a games design company that produces games with dubious sexual morality.

What’s more her father has a deeply unpleasant past, also wrapped in violence in which she was implicated as a child.  This only serves to complicate the morality message of the film as a whole.

I found it gratuitous overall.  I didn’t think Huppert (despite an excellent performance) advanced female rights and I think the whole thing turned out to be verging on tawdry and certainly too ambiguous to make its point effectively.

 

Personal Shopper: Movie Review


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Personal Shopper is very French.

It has the languid pace of the French New Wave, letting the movie breathe gently as its story of loss and identity gradually unfolds.

But it won’t be the average horror (even ghost) movie fan’s cup of tea.

It has no shocks for one thing, although a lot of tension.

It’s a movie that completely embraces Kristen Stewart in all her glory.  She is superb throughout with a highly naturalistic performance (that, as is her way, includes little in the way of humour and very few smiles).

Glum.  That’s the way to describe her.

She’s barely off screen and acts with mobile phones, deserted buildings and the odd human.

If you like action avoid at all costs, but for an intelligent supernatural story with brilliant acting and a highly original premise this should be just your cup of tea.

The enigmatic Mrs McKay.


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You may not yet have stumbled upon my selfless contribution to society that is known as “Is This Yours?”.  It’s a blog that posts the things I find on my perambulations, mainly around South Queensferry, but also in Big Edinburgh and beyond.

It’s selfless in that I see it as a service whereby lost shoes, hats, scarves, underwear, dog tags, combs, toothbrushes, babies dummies, bows, pencil cases, nautical accoutrements and more – much, much more – can be reconciled with their owners.

But this one’s a strange one.

Mrs McKay.

That’s it.

No Christian name, no middle name.

Just plain old Mrs McKay.

Is she a character from a downbeat Dickens novel?  One of his latter creations where the creativity had run out in his nomenclature?

A private detective, perhaps?

Why no Christian name?  Not even an initial.

What has she to hide?

Why the obfuscatory nature of her financial transactions.

And why was it found watched up on Dalmeny Beach?

Is Mrs McKay no more?

Is she an ex-spy?

Are her decomposing remains lying in wait in a crab-infested rockpool somewhere in East Lothian, or worse, Fife?

If anyone can shed some light on this mystery I would be indebted.

In the meantime, go see if I’ve found anything of yours at Is This Yours?.

Brilliant piece in the Independent (written by an English journalist) about the frankly disgusting arrogance of Theresa May.


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Regardless of your position on Scottish Independence, and I am not making a call here – that will come later, the disdain with which Theresa May is conducting Brexit for the entire population is beautifully captured in this piece…

The last time two powerful women were embroiled in an Anglo-Caledonian power struggle, it ended in 1587 with the Scot losing her head.

This time, according to the snap response to Nicola Sturgeon from south of the border, that’s how it started. The First Minister must have taken leave of her senses to demand another referendum now, squeals the shrilly authentic voice of English self-entitlement. She has to be either wildly irresponsible or driven by self-interest, or both, to plunge the UK’s Brexit negotiating position (whatever that might prove to be) into even more comical confusion. Surely.

That’s one way of analysing it (there is another to which we’ll come below). But if Sturgeon detonated her bombshell for maximum impact, hours before Theresa May was expected to activate Article 50, why would she have done it any other way?

This is politics – and while the Prime Minister lapsed into her most aggravatingly schoolmarmish mode to tell Sturgeon that “Politics. Is. Not. A. Game”, she knows that’s cobblers. Politics is absolutely everything, and a chunk of that is a hybrid sport mingling the complexities of grandmaster chess with the raw brutality of heavyweight boxing. This is largely why it fascinates, regardless of the dullness of most players.

Timing is crucial in all games, and in this one Sturgeon’s was gorgeous. Just as May was preparing to advance her Brexit strategy, she walked onto a scything sucker punch that left her bamboozled as she took the standing eight count.

Even making allowances for the wooziness, she then made a hideous tonal mistake. The last thing a British prime minister should do, when a first minister calls for a referendum, is treat them like a mischievous kid. Whatever politics is, that’s terrible politics.

Traditionally, the Scots have never much cared for being patronised by haughty Home Counties types belaboured by a powerful sense of English superiority. They didn’t like it from Thatcher in her post-Falklands reinvention as Brittania, or from David Cameron, Slayer of Unions, when he waited 2.07 seconds after the 2014 referendum result to raise the spectre of “English votes for English laws”. They won’t like it from May if she comes over all Gloriana, blackening her teeth and putting on the neck ruff to treat Sturgeon as a naughty younger cousin with foolish pretensions to being a grownup.

So the advice to the Prime Minister is to dismiss the notion that Sturgeon pulled a stunt to shore up sliding approval ratings, or distract from SNP problems with education, or strengthen her bargaining position over fishing rights in trade talks to come. Obviously these considerations may have played some part. A myriad of factors must have fed into an incendiary decision which Sturgeon must recognise as the gamble that will define her career.

But May should forget all that, and focus on the central reason for Monday’s coup de theatre. Sturgeon has always believed independence offers her country its best future. With Scotland a backseat passenger in a vehicle careering towards the cliff’s edge, she probably believes it more passionately than ever.

Now, you can agree or disagree with her there. For what incalculably little it’s worth, I agree. Were I Scottish, I would be mad for independence. I’d say sod the crude oil price, sod the Barnett formula and sod the pernicious English meme that poor wee Scotland hasn’t a prayer of making it across the road without Nanny May holding her hand.

I’d also say sod the uncertainties. With Brexit, how much more uncertain can it possibly get? And I’d certainly say sod the buffoons of Brexit – Gove, Boris, Fox, and the rest – who argued last summer that liberation from a union which restricted self-determination justified any risks, but will now counsel the Scots to keep a hold of nurse for fear of something even worse. How transparently hypocritical do these people need to get before a residue of self-respect automatically shuts their mouths?

That, sadly, is a purely rhetorical question. Within hours of Sturgeon’s announcement, the tabloids were unleashing the very scaremongering about economic calamity it found so distasteful from Remainers last summer.

Anyway, as I said, we’re free to agree or not about whether Scotland’s best interests are served by independence. What no one has any right to do is condescend Nicola Sturgeon by questioning her sincerity. She is not just an outstandingly bold and smart politician, but one of conviction as well.

Perhaps eventually the Home Counties will learn to respect her for that, though I guess she’ll need to win two Wimbledons, two Olympic golds, a US Open and a Davis Cup to even come close.

For now, the auld arrogance prevails to hint that each imperious rebuke from May will nudge Scotland closer to independence. Whether or not that would be a boon for the Scots, it would be a tragedy for those in England and Wales whose appetite for a Tory one-party state has been sated by the hors d’oeuvres they are being force-fed.

Elizabeth I was hyper-cautious in dealing with her cousin, delaying her execution time and again because she saw the risk in inflaming Scottish public opinion against her. It’s a lesson Theresa May might study. If she wants to nullify this threat, a little basic respect for Sturgeon and her cause seems a useful way to start.