Monday, July 8, 2013


What a palaverina! The computer genius in this house (thank the good lord for him) decided to change computers. I still don’t really know why. I have inherited Chris’s machine, Chris has Douglas’s and D himself has mine – I think that is how it is. Anyway to begin with it created a million problems because when it comes to computers, as I have remarked before, I am a Luddite and the complete A1 klutz. Changing computers is all very well but changing individual programmes is another matter altogether and to begin with  I was lumbered with a whole lot of Chris’s material, then half the amount as Douglas worked on it and, finally, it was cleared. Sounds like Scientology dunnit? It scared me half to death when I saw him taking two of the computers apart but, unlike all the king’s men and all the king’s horses, he put them back together again and all was well. I am not the only klutz in the world though. I don’t know what has happened in the rest of Greece but in our tiny corner of Crete going digital has been greeted by howls of anguish as televisions no longer worked, this despite the fact that we had two year’s warning. Eventually when the penny dropped Spiros in the hardware shop was selling decoders at the rate of knots. Holiday makers paying over a thousand euro a week for their villas with all mod cons and probably including satellite must have been furious.
 Sharp has released what it says is the biggest LED TV screen in Europe – ninety inches! In the UK according to research (the world is choc-a-bloc full of eager researchers all beavering away) 6% of television sets sold are over fifty inches with the market evidently growing though still, as they call it, a “niche.” The trend for large TVs is larger in the states. This evidently is down to people having larger houses with larger rooms that can accommodate them, particularly as they get slimmer and slimmer. (The TV sets not the people who tend to get larger and larger anyway.) Naturally the new sets can do more and more magical things other than make breakfast and have sex but do you really want to watch three channels simultaneously? Haven’t our brains got enough to cope with as it is? I remember way back in 1953 watching the coronation on a little black and white screen with an enormous magnifying glass in front to enlarge the picture. The set itself was as big as a medium size cabinet. What an advance in technology there has been since then.
Mentioning brains I read an interesting article which asks did our puny brains evolve with a predilection to be obsessed with celebrity? The question is put by anthropologist James Tehrani and I quote – “Fame is a powerful cultural magnet. As a hyper-social species, we acquire the bulk of our knowledge, ideas and skills by copying from others, rather than through individual trial-and-error. However, we pay far more attention to the habits and behaviours demonstrated by famous people than those demonstrated by ordinary members of our community. It follows that things are much more likely to catch on if they are associated with someone who is well known for one reason or another - even if the association is erroneous,”
But I haven’t been entertained by celebs or VIPs on an ultra-large screen. On the contrary YouTube and the small screen I see before me at this moment has provided me with movies I would never have otherwise watched, in particular Westerns, like catching up once again with “High Noon” and an interesting little historical piece, “The Great Train Robbery” ten odd minutes filmed in 1903, the very first Western.   
Watched a movie called “Armageddon.” Fantastic enormous explosive effects, cast of thousands, and a boring load of rubbish. On the other hand a war film “Hell In The Pacific” (what a dreadful title) just two characters stranded on an island, an American and a Japanese and totally engrossing from beginning to end despite neither of them speaking the other’s language. I see I can also watch “The Burmese Harp” and I wonder if I will find it as wonderful as when I saw it in Hampstead so many years ago and was left speechless by it. Among other films mentioned I talk about it in CELLULOID & TINSEL, Thornton King’s private eye adventure number five.

Finally, talking about size once more (!) have seen a photo of a production of “Rose Marie” in Doncaster in1949 with a cast of eighty! 1949, only four years before I landed in London and, today if you submit a play with more than two characters to a management it would more than likely not even be read. Timing is all. I submitted my play “The River Of Sand” to Granada Television once. It came back with a note like that famous American saying about “Gone With The Wind” “Who’s interested in the civil war?” only this read “Who’s interested in South Africa?” This was before Soweto after which everyone was interested in South Africa.

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