Monthly Archives: April 2013

Keeping the British End Up

I don’t want to add to the enormous pile of Maggie Thatcher related stuff clogging up the internet at, but this clip of Maggie (actually impressionist June Brown, who made a living as a Mrs T impressionist for many years) being a Bond girl in For Your Eyes Only is super-freaky:

(Ignore the comments at the bottom of the clip, by the way. Unless, of course, you wish to make yourself enraged for some some reason. They’re right about the prominent box of All Bran. Bond has classier things to plug these days, like manly watches and cars.)

James Bond is, of course, far too busy skinny dipping and having sexy times to talk to the PM. So he lets a parrot do it instead. Note that the film version of Thatcher preens her hair in that way in which ladies apparently do when receiving attention of a flirty nature. Imagine the real Margaret Thatcher doing that. Brr.

Note also that poor old Q gets the blame for Bond being too busy shagging to accept an official congratulations. And that Bond’s communication device (digital watch/phone hybrid. It probably does other stuff, like shoot lasers or balls of flame) looks pleasingly lo-tech. It looks like the kind of thing a schoolchild would wear on their wrist and would spend many happy hours getting the built in calculator to spell out things like ‘SHELLOIL’ or ‘BOOBLESS’. Ah, the 80s.

It’s just possible, in the world of the film, that James Bond paid Maggie a visit one evening, raised his eyebrow and asked if Dennis was in only. Only for Mrs T to tell him that her husband was asleep on the sofa and she would be well up for rewarding 007 for keeping the British end up/having a stiff upper lip.

Interestingly enough, the D.Craig (and P.Brosnan) Bond has a complex relationship with an older lady boss. But you wouldn’t catch Dame Judi being all taken in by Bond’s charms. And she would probably be able to tell the difference between a parrot’s voice and a man’s voice too.

E.M

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‘There’s Blood on my hands from what you made me do.’ – Dead Man’s Shoes

Good Friday in Central London. Some people are are well into Bank Holiday drinking mode, namely downing booze as though it’s about to be banned. In Covent Garden, a young bloke wants to get a call and response thing going on, ‘When I say “chicken” you say “legs”!’ A slurred voiced joins in from across the piazza. ‘Chicken!’ ‘Legs!’ ‘Chicken!’ ‘Legs!’ All of this would be charmingly silly. Except I’ve just re-watched Shane Meadow’s splendid 2004 film Dead Man’s Shoes at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. So there’s a bit of an edge to the jollity.

‘Dance at my party!’ Richard (Paddy Considine – super intense yet also believable – he could be a real bloke brimming with anger in the pub, perhaps glancing satirically at the ‘chicken legs’ lads whilst supping a pint) demands, as the targets of his vengence as they flop about the room under the influence of spiked tea. He’s a former soldier, back in his small hometown to track down the fellas who mistreated his mentally handicapped brother.

It’s a Western, basically. Richard is the British of the Man With No Name. What the gang have done is horrific, but Richard finds it impossible to destroy them without turning into a ‘monster’.

Dead Man’s Shoes is an experience. It shook me up when I first saw it and seeing it again (with a live soundtrack, no less) on a big screen made my brain ache. In a good way.

The following clip is a 2008 live version of Vessel in Vain, the song that plays over the film’s opening credits, The soundtrack to DSM is marvellous – Americana really works over scenes of violence in the damp English Countryside.