Archive | March, 2008

The Chorus Film Review

les choristesThe chorus ‘Les Choristes’ is a charming and inspirational film about a teacher who moves to a boarding school for ‘misbehaving boys’ and encourages them to form a choir.

It may sound rather formulaic – in the mould of Dead Poet’s society: bad pupils – good teacher – everyone happy in the end. But, it is not like that. There is no easy path and the film has a simple charm and avoids any pretension. Not everything works out as expected Clement Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot) is the new supervisor and he has a wonderful role, failed musician, failed in love, and in the end we see him traipsing off into anonymity. Yet, his modesty and efforts to offer a different approach to the authoritarian rule of the headmaster do confirm the idea that most (if not all, can overcome adversity and find hope in unlikely circumstances.)

The music is at times ethereal and haunting. The fact that it stems from such a harsh environment only heightens the capacity of music to transcend difficulties and misunderstanding.

The Chorus is well done with a typical French flair and realism. It had me searching whether it was based on a true story or not.

Les Choristes at IMDB

Les Choristes at

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The Wrong Arm of the Law

The Wrong Arm of the Law is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in quite a while. It is beautifully scripted, classic British comedy. Their are strong influences of the Ealing comedies with a touch of Pythonesque humour. The characterizations are brilliant and the acting top notch.

The traditional British London crime mobs are done over by some visiting Australian criminals (pretending to be cops) Eventually, the British criminals get so exasperated they arrange to do a deal with the Scotland Yard to help catch the ‘rogue’ mob.

The cast list involves some of the great names in British film. Peter Sellers is on top form, alternating between a high class French ‘haute couteur’ salesman and a Cockney gangster leader.

There is a marvellous scene with the aggrieved criminals of London holding a forum where they air their grievances in the manner of a democratic trades union meeting. “It’s simply unethical that this mob is acting in a very underhand manner are disrupting the orderly function of crime in London, Comrades I move to a vote that we act now to stamp out this undignified behaviour.”

The script is scintillating with no shortage of irony, sarcasm, humour and wit. It’s a real delight – I was laughing all the way through.

If you like this kind of comedy, you will also enjoy

The Lavender Hill Mob and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

Cast Include:
Peter Sellers (Pearly Gates);
Lionel Jeffries (Inspector Fred ‘Nosey’ Parker);
Bernard Cribbins (Nervous O’Toole);
Davy Kaye (Trainer King);
Nanette Newman (Valerie)
John Le Mesurier … Assistant Commissioner
Wrong Arm of The law

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Football Fans Agree ‘Referee had the better view’

Despite losing 2-1 to a last minute penalty, Arsenal fans were united in their view that the referee made the correct view in awarding the debatable last minute penalty. As one Arsenal fan says:

“Well from where I was, it looked like there was no contact and Ronaldo just took a dive. But, you’ve got to remember I was at the back of the terraces and from there it is almost impossible to make a fair and accurate reflection on the decision. Fortunately, the referee was in a much better position than me; we’re pretty lucky to have such experienced referees in the premier league.”

The game was played in general good spirits with both managers praising the role of the referee. As the losing Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger said You’ve got to hand it to the referee – “He never took his eyes off the game for a moment. There were a few critical decision, but we all feel he made them with as much care, neutrality and balance as is humanely possible. You don’t really mind losing when you see refereeing of that kind of quality. It’s what makes football ‘the beautiful game’ really.

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The English Tea Shop

Every country has their speciality. The Italians have their coffee. The French have their boulangerie’s (fresh bread twice a day), The American’s have their Diners and McDonalds. With the English it is the traditional tea shop.

These are some characteristics of an English tea shop:

  • People speak quietly. ‘Children should be seen and not heard’ is one old motto that has a lot to be said for it.
  • Tea should come in a teapot.
  • Selection of homebaked cakes.
  • Tea should be served in bone china. Tea taste’s much better this way.
  • Tea always tastes better in a tea shop. I have never understood this mystery. But, you can never satisfactorily recreate the experience in your own home.
  • Toasted teacakes with jam make the perfect accompaniment for a pot of tea.

Cycling Cafes

Believe it or not, I never drank anything but water until I was 15. It was when I started cycling that I was introduced to the delights of the English Tea shop and inevitably I was pressurised into forsaking a strict diet of tap water to join in the communal tea drinking. There are some very good cafes which welcome cyclists

Is English Breakfast Tea Grown in England?

Yorkshire Tea and English Breakfast might give the impression that tea is grown in England. Unfortunately, this is not true. If you go to the Yorkshire Dales, you will see beautiful scenery and lots of sheep; but, not many tea plantations. Apparantely, the cold rain is not particularly liked by the tea plants. But, for one enterprising Yorkshireman this was no reason not to name a variety of tea after ‘God’s own Country’  By the way, Yorkshire Tea is a very good, strong blend. It actually does taste better in Yorkshire (or anyplace where the water is soft.) than down south.

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Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was an intriguing and inspirational figure. In truth I wouldn’t have thought much about him, but my Spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy saw in him some very illumining qualities.

Netaji braved all
To build a Heaven
Even in hell’s despair.

– Sri Chinmoy [1]

In particular Netaji embodied great heroism and had the power to unite the Indian people

“In the name of God, in the name of by-gone generations who have welded the Indian people into one nation and in the name of the dead heroes who have bequeathed to us a tradition of heroism and self-sacrifice, we call upon the Indian people to rally around our banner and to strike for India’s freedom.”

– Netaji

There is an article here “Replaying History” by Vidagdha about her recent visit to some significant places in Netaji’s life.

at Write Spirit 

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