Friday, 22 October 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly II

No, I'm not going to write about Clint Eastwood films, or Sergio Leone. Instead, there are three unrelated matters that I want to draw to your attention, for very different reasons. I did G, B & U once before, here.

The good
My local independent art-house cinema is showing a series of scary films late on Fridays. It's already showed The Exorcist, which I had to miss unfortunately, and next month it's showing the original version of The Omen, which I'm going to try to make. Most exciting of all though is tonight's showing of Alien. This will be the first time I've seen Ridley Scott's masterpiece of intelligent science-fiction on the big screen and, frankly, I cannot wait. It's the director's cut too, so I will be looking out for any differences from the original theatrical release. All this makes me realise how lucky I am to have such an excellent cinema close by - it wasn't so long ago that I was enthusing about their special presentation of 2001, remember? In fact, it's so good, I'll give it a plug. Oh, and is this a good time to mention the (frankly sacreligious but strangely amusing) Bun-o-vision Alien parody...?

The bad
What kind of blithering idiot is Wayne Rooney? Not content on cheating on a woman who loved him before he was rich and famous (and when I say cheating, of course I mean throwing money at whores), he now claims he needs to leave Manchester United because he wants to win trophies... obvously Man U haven't won much in the last twenty years, have they? Yes, those words do stick in my throat, but it's the truth, so what can I do? Perhaps Man City are showing the ambition that Rooney apparently seeks. Oh, and coincidentally they may also show the sort of ludicrous wages that will keep him in whores for months. It's a very sorry saga. And then as soon as I write this, United announce that the ogre-faced, dirty little thug of a footballer has just signed a new five-year deal to keep him at Old Trafford. Tawdry lunacy...

The ugly
I know what you're thinking - surely Rooney should be The Ugly, right? But that would have been too easy, wouldn't it? No, The Ugly in this trio is represented by Vodafone and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. The former owed the latter £6bn in back-taxes. That's right, six billion... not to labour the point or anything, but that's £6,000,000,000 (and before anyone contacts me about the number of zeroes there, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, British English has now "standardised" on the US definition of billion). So what does David Hartnett, HMRC permanent secretary, do, at a time of severe austerity measures and drastic cuts in just about every area of public spending? At a time when public sector employees face the very real prospect of real-terms pay cuts, increased pension contributions or even redundancy? He writes off the debt. No, seriously, he writes off £6bn that you, me and every other Joe Taxpayer are owed. Why? Who knows? Certainly not me, and I've Googled it to death. But whatever the reason, please can someone explain to me how this doesn't stink?

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