Archive for the ‘People’ Section

Posted on June 22, 2009 in Movie People by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish13 Comments »

vanity-fair-depp1It’s all been a bit quiet on the JDOCD front lately. If you are new here and you don’t have a clue what I am talking about then all is explained back in 2005.

It’s not like, she assures me, the disease is waning here at Swordfish Towers. Any suggestion I may make on that score meets with one of those stares reminiscent of Paddington Bear. It’s more like it has gone underground and I don’t get to hear so much of what is going on. But, of course the next big event in the life of any JDOCD sufferer is looming with the imminent release of Public Enemies which premieres in London Monday 29th June. (Here is a link to the official website and if you can sit through the time it takes to load up then you must surely be infected).

My wife – as my posts over the years on this subject have detailed – has been to every London Depp premiere since Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So now I am going to impart some shocking news. She is wavering. That’s right – she might give it a miss. And if that isn’t a clear sign of gradual recovery from this debilitating ailment then I don’t know what is.

vanity-fair-depp2I thought perhaps I had hit on it the other day when she came waltzing in from the shops with a copy of the Vanity Fair magazine pictured above. See – one of the claims made by women with this disorder – and probably some men too but let’s not go there – is that Depp still looks the same as he always did. He doesn’t age, they say, but retains those youthful looks. Ha, thought I, catching sight of the magazine and holding it up triumphantly declared “look… wrinkles”!

She looked at me with sad eyes, a sigh and a slow shake of the head and then looked back at the picture. “Yes…’ she agreed. “Aren’t they cute?”

The bastard.

Read the other JDOCD items:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Posted on March 7, 2009 in The Other Half by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish4 Comments »

commander-dataWe watch very little television in our house but recently, late at night before bed, we have enjoyed unwinding by going through old videos we have not watched for a long time – mainly old TV shows. We worked our way through ‘The Prisoner’, the best of ‘Red Dwarf’ and followed that up with episodes from ‘Star Trek – The Next Generation’. We are not ‘Trekkies’ by the way but they can be fun and are undemanding – which is what you need when you are about to let sleep take you.

But I have found myself being a tad more critical about anomalies – and I don’t mean anomalies in the space-time continuum. The following short conversation may not be word perfect but is accurate in essence. I was pondering on Commander Data.

‘I wonder how Data is powered’ I said.

‘Good question’ came the response. ‘You wouldn’t want him running out of power in the middle of doing something would you?’

There was a brief pause before she wistfully added:

“Tasha Yar would have been pissed’.

She always said she would like a ‘Data’ around the house to do all the ‘chores’.

Read the other conversations items:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Posted on January 15, 2009 in Movie People by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish7 Comments »

patrickmcgoohanJust a couple of days ago I was musing here at home that we were getting to that age and stage in life where we should start to expect to hear of our childhood heroes and idols falling by the wayside. Many, of course, died young – Jimi Hendrix for example, or John Belushi. For some, their time came prematurely like John Lennon. And the last couple of years have seen Pink Floyd founders Syd Barrett and Richard Wright fall – two people on my own teenage ‘hero’ list.

And now Patrick McGoohan – John Drake of ‘Danger Man‘ fame but, more importantly, Number 6 of ‘The Prisoner‘, the short-lived but much loved 1960’s TV series that we still sit down and watch every five years or so.

McGoohan may not have been a great actor and he most certainly was not a prolific one but in ‘The Prisoner‘ he gave the world a seminal work that is unforgettable. Maybe it is auspicious that he has died before we all get to see the remake – or ‘reimagining’ as the production team have called it – due to be screened later on this year.

Posted on November 18, 2008 in Great People by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish4 Comments »

Way back in 1967, I was the first person in my small town to purchase the album ‘The Songs of Leonard Cohen’ – at least the first in the only record shop we had. I had heard the track ‘The Sisters of Mercy’ and had become instantly enchanted.

I am not sure of the actual year, but I believe it was early in 1969 that I managed to get tickets to go see Cohen at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I had box seats just below the circle and almost directly opposite the stage. This was actually my first time in the auditorium and it was, for me, a magical evening.

This is all leading up to another magical evening my wife and I had last night. She is also a Leonard Cohen fan and as a part of her recent birthday gift I managed to once again get tickets for what surely must be his final appearance in London. This time we had circle seats directly opposite the stage not a few short yards from where I sat 40 years ago.

If you had tried to convince me back then when I was just 18 years old that I would repeat the experience 40 years on I would, of course, have found it amusing and extremely unlikely. If I had done the math and realised that in 2008 Cohen would be 74 years old then the suggestion would be just plain absurd. But he is – and I did.

It was a truly stunning performance. The lady in my life has written a more interesting appraisal over at her site - the Depp Effect – so I wont repeat that here.

But I did want to say that knowing Cohen’s past struggles with depression, it was good to see a man who looked truly happy, his humour and mischievousness shining through, perhaps at peace with himself and as enchanted with the evening and the music as we were.

It will surely be his last tour of Europe – at least I suspect so. So… so long Leonard – thanks for enriching my life from time to time over the last 40 years. Oh yes – and thanks for singing ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ – one of my own favourites.

Posted on September 23, 2008 in Great People by Andy @ Yellow Swordfish2 Comments »

I have been meme-tagged by no other than my dear wife at The Depp Effect. This meme was, I am told, started by Lively Lottie who gets a link for making me think about it.

I don’t usually get involved in these memes. I think in the three and a half years of Yellow Swordfish I have completed just one. But this one is more interesting than most. My task is to come up with a special guest list for a dinner party of eight – that is people I would most like to invite to savour my wife’s culinary delights as I do not cook. Hang on a mo – this could be a problem because she doesn’t cook either. She has one of those humorous signs that says “I only have a kitchen because it came with the house” – only it’s not meant as a joke. It’s meant as a warning.

Right. So first task is to hire a chef, maid and butler. Well we’ve always wanted a butler. No – take that back. The wife has always wanted a butler although I suspect her preference for a young, virile Johnny Depp look-alike has little to do with buttling.

Luckily however, we do now have the table and chairs. It only took us sixteen years to find a table that we both liked but our guests are in luck in that department as we finally installed one just last year. And despite our problem with disappearing cutlery which has been discussed in these pages before, we do, currently, have a full set. And there are a couple of bottles of lovely Margaux just waiting to be uncorked and half a bottle of Hine for that post-prandial cognac with cigar. Oh shit… can’t smoke in the house and I rather suspect all of my guests are smokers and cigar smokers at that! Just have to be out in the garden then and hope we can trust the English weather.

What am I saying? My guests wont care about the weather. They are all dead. Well, apart from the wife of course. And me. So far. Of course she has already completed this meme and it’s pretty obvious who was on the top of her guest list! Still, she was good enough to invite Mariella Frostrup for my benefit so I can’t complain. There’s a thought. I wonder if I could persuade Mariella to be the maid for the evening…

Anyway – back to business. I can not compete with my other half’s glamorous list of actors Depp, John Cusack and Judi Dench, singer and poet Leonard Cohen and Chicago Bear Walter Payton. I am afraid my list is going to be potentially less exciting. One serious word though. Ideally, I would much prefer to have the following people to dinner one at a time as they all deserve my full attention but that is a different game. So – dinner for eight it is.

So – first up for the feast is Mrs Depp Effect herself followed closely by her father, Fred Buck. I sadly never met him as he died a couple of years before we were married but everything I have ever heard and been told about the man makes him sound like my kind of guy and I am expecting to bond. A printer by trade he was also a highly respected entomologist which explains why his daughter has a weird fascination for anything with more legs than one of our dogs, has a beetle named in her honour and is the remover of arachnids from the house. And he smoked cigars.

While still on the family thread my next two guests are my own two grandfathers, Sidney Staines and William Wheeler, both of whom had also departed this world before I was born. Sidney was an electrical engineer whose company – for which my father worked as a young man before the Second World War – was responsible for installing the newfangled magic into large areas of London’s East End. He also smoked cigars and owned the first motor car in the Essex village into which I was born. William was a rose-grower and, I am told, knew everything there was to know about roses. Unlike Sidney he was a country man and therefore did not smoke cigars. He did, of course, smoke a pipe.

Two of my own lifelong fascinations have been with historical politics and the history of America. This made my next guest a hard one to call. My first thought was Abraham Lincoln, a man to be much admired and, I believe, a smoker of fine cigars. He was also a very humorous man renowned for his joke telling, anecdotes and quick wit. But in the end the seat at the table goes to someone much more colourful, noted polymath and rogue, inventor of the lightening rod and bifocal lenses, Benjamin Franklin. He has to be one of the most interesting characters of all time, will hopefully be able to talk ‘electricity’ with grandfather Sidney and his presence before us will at long last dispel my wife’s absurd notion that I look just like him. He also almost certainly enjoyed the odd cigar.

This leaves just two vacant seats at the table and for these I am going to plumb another world that has always fascinated me and given much pleasure – that of comedy. I attach enormous importance to laughter and my two comedians were, in their day, true masters of the art and truly funny men who did not rely on a script but could ad lib with the best. No… they were the best. First up is Julius Henry Marx known to the world, of course, as Groucho. I was weaned on endless repeats of Marx Brothers movies and to this day still enjoy them. He will almost certainly have to sit at one end of the table to keep him as far away as possible from my other comedic hero, George Burns. And by this I mean the older, ’standup’ Burns, not the Burns of those terrible movies he made when young. It is also interesting to note that both Marx and Burns, er, smoked cigars!

And that’s it. I do not have a clue why, apart from my dear wife, all my guests are men. That’s just the way it is. Oh… and a tip to Mariella if she agrees to be the maid. Watch out for Groucho, George and Benjamin as they will all be on the pull and hoping to get you into bed. After the cigars of course.