Friday, 31 December 2010

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This is the third installment in the Narnia books and sees the two younger Pevensie children, Edmund and Lucy, return to Narnia along with their obnoxious cousin Eustace.

Unlike its immediate predecessor, 'Prince Caspian', this film follows the book surprisingly faithfully with only the inclusion of the external influence of the evil Dark Island on events a serious deviation; in the book things like Lucy's desire to be beautiful like her sister were all internally generated.

The actor playing Eustace was fantastic capturing his nature down very neatly. Alas, this is going to be the last time we see the Pevensies for quite a while (assuming we do get the rest of the films!).

An unreserved 4/5

John Fairhurst

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

Having just seen the latest Harry Potter I ain't ashamed to say that I found it quite enjoyable - not that this is to say that the subject was particularly enjoyable!

He who must not be named has made his move, Dumbledore's out of the picture and the Order of the Phoenix decide Harry needs to be hidden. Harry's aunt, uncle and cousin move out from Primrose Avenue and Hermione bespells her family so she's no longer part of the family.

Various members of the order meet up at Harry's and half are bespelled to look like him so they can attempt a shellgame. But right from the off the deatheaters are after the members of the party so we get a chase scene that wouldn't embarrass Bruce in a Die Hard film and the producers don't shy away from casualties and we don't actually see anyone actually die, we see an injured Weasly twin.

We see a meeting Ingram the dark council with a somewhat dissolute Lucius Malfoy, and a frankly petrified Draco in attendance.

A change in the minister of magic sees a change in policy towards the muggles too and half-bloods with lists being produced of the undesirable.

All in all, the film makers went to a surprising degree of effort to make the new ministry look and feel like pre war nazi Germany. However, they've also managed not to be too heavy handed with this - not to be too cynical but there's that 12A rating to protect after all :-).

As this is only half of the book the ending does leave us hanging somewhat but in a rather intriguing way...

John Fairhurst

Thursday, 28 October 2010

UFO or not?

Is the blob in the sky a UFO or not?

Well, actually not. It's just a plane coming into the nearby local airport but for the few seconds that its course had it heading almost directly towards me it gave quite a good impression of an unidentified light just hanging there. Although not particularly uncommon this was particularly impressive as it broke through the band of dark cloud...

John Fairhurst

Saturday, 25 September 2010

New buses

The last couple of weeks have seen Stagecoach Manchester, my main bus company introducing brand new dual fuel buses to something of their routes down the Oxford Road corridor (once identified as the busiest bus routes outside London).

Even over the packed masses of students new and old for the two universities and several schools served by this route, the smell of 'new vehicle' has been a particularly nice experience both going to and coming home from work. Their far quieter engines have been more of a mixed blessing as those same students talk quite loudly!

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for these buses to come into general service.

John Fairhurst

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

NPfIT ignored NHS culture, says Halligan • The Register

NPfIT ignored NHS culture, says Halligan • The Register

An interesting article from Professor Halligan but I don't think that most people in the NHS would agree with this comment of his in the article:
Halligan said that the NHS had received too much money in the last decade.
"Bring on the recession, is what I say. We've had too much of it," with high
levels of funding allowing the introduction of new projects without fundamental
rethinks of how things work. "There will be more change in healthcare in the
next five years than in the last 10," he said, adding: "IT will be at the heart
of it."