mr. zilla goes to town

Friday, December 30, 2005

the four worlds formed, again and yet again

Yobbo is always worth an occasional look in, but it's this tidbit of news that has the thirteen-year-old in me excited today:

A new version of the popular 70s series “Saiyuki” (Monkey) is to be broadcast from January 9 on Fuji TV, and will be the first Japanese drama to be shown at the same time in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The show will feature SMAP star Katori Shingo in the lead role, supported by comedy duo Uchan Nanchan’s Uchimura Teruyoshi.

The show is sponsored by JAL and the PR event was held at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport yesterday. JAL unveiled a jet decorated with Katori’s Songoku character from the drama, a historical first. The theme song, “Around The World” is to be sung by the group Monkey Majik, made up of two Canadian brothers and two Japanese.

Ms Z, a SMAP watcher from way back, also excited.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

marching maketh the man

After a lapse in attention to the blog here I usually feel some nagging obligation to provide an erudite bloat of an apologetic catch-up post. Well, sod that:

After four days nestled in a village in the Wiltshire countryside in which I did nothing but gorge, swill, and lie python-like upon the rugged hearth in an attempt to sleep off the previous few months' caffeine habit, the roundabout trip home saw me and a few travelling companions stopped in the Oxfordshire townling of Wantage (population 9,564 and a horse). World reknown as the birthplace of Alfred the Great, it's a travesty that the Wantage pub The Bell Inn isn't known and loved more widely, since it's the only place in semi-rural England you can obtain hot food after 3pm on a Bank Holiday. (It's the one on the right. Please form an orderly queue.)

Now it's hard to believe, but even better than the statue of His Alfredress through the window, better even than cream of tomato soup-tin, after arriving ruddy-cheeked and gasping for a pint in The Bell you can also peruse the promotional literature for the Royal Green Jackets, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire regiment of the Territorial Army. I tell you, such loin-stirring prose hasn't been seen in a pamphlet since Thomas Paine put quill to printing press.

For along with the usual guff slipped in by PR types and recruiters the world over about pretty uniforms, bonuses and defending the Kingdom from the rampant Danes like your mighty forebears, you'll find the most wonderfully honest statement I've ever had the pleasure of coming across in any military recruitment propaganda.

"We traditionally search for men who display intelligence and intitiative, and turn them into men who are proud to be Riflemen."

It made my day.

Monday, December 05, 2005

homage to Sutton Courtenay

Recently Ms Z and I caught a bus about 30 minutes to Abingdon, a small satellite townlet outside Oxford. From there we walked off through some country roads...

... across and back across the Thames a couple of times...

...till after a few miles we came to the mist laden and unremarkable village of Sutton Courtenay. Next to a pub called the George and Dragon stands All Saints Church.

Behind the church there is a very humbly marked plot, quite concealed by a rosebush.

It is the final resting place of Eric Arthur Blair, also known as man of the sword and pen, George Orwell.

Although apparently never a man of this particular church -- or indeed any other -- he was still very much a man of England, and let it be known before the TB took him that he wanted to rest in an English country churchyard.

Rest well, Eric. You saw pretty clearly through the fog around you, calling bullshit on the totalitarian apologists of the left perhaps even moreso that the ones on the right, even if only because they were closer to you. I patted the stone, asked his help to go forward with even a tenth of his courage or a hundredth of his voice, and went home through the mist to sensibly re-read Politics and the English Language.

Vale, Eric Arthur Blair.