Sunday, February 28, 2010


In order to do some research for my previous blog post, I spent some time clicking through the various blogs offered up by blogspot's "Next Blog" button, taking a look at the community competition. Having seen a few dozen blogs, the conclusion I came to was that every blogger except me, Ezra Klein, Paul Krugman and maybe Tucker Max is a mommyblogger.

The blog that eventually halted my browsing was fairly standard - the phrases "precious angel" and "my crazy life" made their routine appearances - but I was astonished to discover that this particular woman was, in her own words, "married to the most wonderful man in the world".

Surely not, madam, I thought. The superlative "most wonderful" can only apply to one man out of a population of three billion... and you just happened to snag him? And if he is indeed the most wonderful man in the world, why is your blog predominantly about the unremarkable exploits of your children, and not a meticulously crafted and updated paean to this paragon? You are in a position to share with global civilisation the stories of the person who has achieved the apex of masculine virtue... and you blog about some slack-jawed toddler's birthday party instead? Are you, madam, bonkers?

However, just on the offchance that this woman was indulging in a little light hyperbole, I did a google search for the phrase "married to the most wonderful man". I was given two million, four hundred and ten thousand results.

Crikey, I said. Either monogamy is not one of this man's virtues, or there are at least two million, four hundred and nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine women out there who are laboring under false assumptions.

My curiosity piqued, I did a little further research:

Google results for "married to the most wonderful man" = 2,410,000

Google results for "married to the most wonderful woman" = 781,000

Oops. Across the world, 1,629,000 men are suddenly in BIG trouble.

To be fair, though, men and women are generally recognised as having different priorities. The things that a woman identifies as being great in a man are not the same things that a man identifies as being great in a woman:

Google results for "married to the hottest woman" = 442,000

Google results for "married to the hottest man" = 262,000

Ouch. Suck in those guts, lads.

Friday, February 26, 2010


According to Technorati, in 2009 there were approximately five million blogs on which at least one thing was posted in the month of June. 'Get On The Blandwagon!' was one of them (in fact I posted eight times, blogging machine that I am). Technorati has also determined that, of those five million blogs, mine was the 39,587th most influential.

This places my blog in the top 0.8% of blogs globally. Of this I am proud. Arguably most of the remaining 99.2% are compilations of knitting projects, unannotated holiday snapshots, spam blogs, Hong Kong teenagers transcribing the words to awful Cantonese pop songs with animated butterflies in the margins, collections of porn, "OMG CHECK OT THIS FUNY YOUTUBE VIDEO!!1! ITZ SO FUNY LOL LMAO WTF!!!!", and pictures of Every. Single. Baby. On. The. Planet. But I won't let that spoil the moment.

Meanwhile the 39,586 blogs that are more important than mine tend to be semi-professional jobs. Limited topics, multiple daily posts, multiple authors, and lots of Google Ads about single moms discovering the one or two simple secrets to weight loss, tooth whitening and unified field theory.

What I don't see, in either direction, are many blogs like mine. That is, random dudes chatting about whatever pops into their heads. This is the class of bloggers that appears to have been eradicated in the Great Blog Rightsizing of 2008, when the blogging phenomenon passed out of its infancy and into its adult life, having left behind an infant mortality rate to rival Bethlehem's circa 1AD. The fad ended, sorting the dedicated from the dilettantes, and the only ones left standing were armies of baby-bloggers, nerds spouting tech jargon at each other, and The Huffington Post.

And me.

It's lonely at the top. Well, thirty nine thousand, five hundred and eighty seven places from the top.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


*Original photo pilfered from the mighty Travis Pitts.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


My local council wants to convert my suburb to underground power. To this end, they have sent out a survey and an information pack to the residents. The survey asks if I'm willing to pay them $3,800 for this underground power boon. The information pack explains why this project isn't the brainchild of a pack of insane hyenas... or at least attempts to.

This is not, apparently, a cynical attempt to force the citizenry to pay for services which should already be covered by their normal electricity bills and council rates. Of course not. This is an "opportunity". The information pack notes that "the benefits for the community outweigh the costs involved". And such benefits! Man, you've never seen such benefits!

- Greater reliability due to decreased damage from storms, car accidents, vandals, attacks by 50 foot women and disoriented crows!

- Enhanced streetscapes due to the removal of overhead wires, which it seems look worse than dog puke or leprosy!

- Reduction in power surges caused by Western Power not maintaining the lines properly, resulting in fewer home appliances that you were too cheap to buy a surge protector for blowing up!

- Improved street lighting, although what this has to do with the powerlines being underground remains a mystery!

- Less pruning of street trees into shapes that look like Picasso portraits!

- Fewer people being electrocuted while pruning trees that aren't quite street trees but are close enough to power lines to be dangerous anyway!

This last item is, admittedly, a huge benefit to the community. I can't tell you how many times my evening constitutional has been ruined by falling bodies. As you walk down the street it's just one *zzzzzt* *aaargh* *thud* after another.

Oddly enough, most of the benefits for "the community" are actually benefits for Western Power and the council... and yes, I am as agog as you are. Underground power would mean fewer faults and call outs for Western Power, and less street tree maintenance for the council. The only benefit to the homeowners, who have to pay 50% of the project cost, seems to be the warm glow we get for making life easier for the aforementioned utility and the council.

The real killer for me personally was a note in the small print that mentioned, just in passing, that people on my particular street would only have to pay about half of the $3,800 levy. Not because we're inherently nicer or more deserving, but because the plan is only placing some, not all, of our powerlines underground.

So there you go. Because my house already has underground power (as required when it was extensively renovated in the late '90s), and because I won't receive any of the other benefits of underground power, I'll only be expected to pay around $1,600.

Sweet. Merciful. Crap.

Personally I'd rather spend the $1,600 on scientific research to determine how these people have managed to survive into adulthood with no apparent sense of shame. The benefit to human knowledge would certainly outweight the costs involved.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Just Say No To Drugs!

An open letter to the public
The Disco Godfather

Brothers and sisters of the ‘70s,

We live in uncertain times. The threat of nuclear war hangs over us all. ‘Soylent Green’ showed us a terrifying future dominated by Charlton Heston. Hell, you could wake up tomorrow morning and hear Hall & Oates on the radio. It’s just that bad. And yet my friends, the most horrible problem facing us here in the ‘70s is drugs.

This was brought home to me just recently, when my nephew Bucky staggered into my discothèque whacked out of his mind on angel dust.

Now I know what you're thinkin'. "People on drugs? In a disco? Has the world gone mad?"

When people say this to me, you know what I tell them? "Put your weight on it." Then when they stare at me in confusion, I add, "Don't be so naive. It's not like it was when we were kids back in the ‘60s.The young folk today have access to all sorts of mind-altering drugs."

Let's face it, people. This is the ‘70s. I'm wearing a pale blue spandex jumpsuit split to the navel, with enormous silver baubles and a freakin’ dog collar. We have cars that are bigger than Donna Summers’ hair, everything that isn't made of polyester is made of nylon, and nobody's seen a colour that appears in nature since 1974. Things are already quite freaky enough without mind-altering drugs being thrown into the mix.

Believe me when I tell you that drugs make you do terrible, unforgivable things. Rape. Murder. Stealin’ hats from jockeys. These are the sort of things we’re fightin’ against! It’s time to say enough is enough!

So I say "Attack the Wack". Or alternately "Wack the Attack". Maybe even "Wattack the Ack"... although I may be getting mixed up with my Level 24 Orc Mage there. I like to unwind with a little D&D after a hard day's testifyin'. Anyway, fight back against the scourge of drugs!

Hear what I’m tellin’ you, young men of the ‘70s! Give up the drugs and the loose living! Why not be like this guy, who seems to spend a lot of time at my disco?

He's livin' a clean life, full of fitness, roller skating and other outdoor pursuits. I hear that he's very good to his mama, and doesn't fool around with girls. Instead he spends a lot of time down at the YMCA, playing basketball and taking showers. Why can't you young men be more like him?

In closing, we stand before the promise of a clean, disco-filled, drug-free ‘80s. If we all band together and put our collective weight on it, we can prevail and live to boogie on down another day.

Yours in grooviness,

The Disco Godfather, OBW*

*Order of the Barry White

Monday, February 22, 2010


I recently bought a DVD boxed set called ‘50 Drive-In Classics’ off Amazon, and it arrived last Wednesday. I had assumed that these movies would be “classics” in much the same way that tuberculosis is a classic disease, or shoving bamboo slivers under someone’s fingernails is a classic torture. I duly called my fellow Bad Cinema aficionados together for the first of what will be many screenings, and we were not disappointed. Our introductory movie, 1974’s ‘TNT Jackson’, was a classic in the vein of the Tay Bridge Disaster.

The stars, in order of relative blaxploitation importance, were:

Jeanne "she ain't no Pam Grier" Bell as Diana “TNT” Jackson.

Jeanne Bell did quite well in her acting career: it's a long way from Playboy centerfold to blaxploitation martial arts queen. Or maybe not all that far, since the most memorable scene in this movie involved Jeanne delivering righteous smackdown on some bad guys while wearing nothing but a pair of tiny panties. It’s her first starring role, and she still somehow manages to invent an entirely new martial art: Boob-Fu.

Boob-Fu: it’s the martial art that’s sweeping the world! Or at least certain grubby cinemas.

Stan "he ain't no Richard Roundtree" Shaw as Charlie.

Charlie is a more than just an amazing afro with legs. He’s a drug runner with ambitions to take over the whole damn business. He also hopes that someone, someday will invent the button so that he can at last do up his shirts.

Charlie has an eye for the ladies, especially the ass-kickin’ chocolate sister who’s just wandered into his life. Too bad that a) she’s preoccupied with finding her brother’s murderer and b) he is that murderer.

Pat "she ain't no Roberta Collins" Anderson as Elaine.

The role of skinny uptight white woman is an essential but thankless one in blaxploitation. She's the character who keeps the narrative rolling along while the stars strike disdainful poses and call each other "sucka". In this case, Elaine is the gangster’s moll of Sid the drug lord, although it turns out that she’s really a government agent who has infiltrated his cartel. Personally if I were her employers I’d be a tad concerned about the Occupational Health and Safety implications of requiring her to boink skeezy drug pushers as part of her job, but I guess things were a little more relaxed in the ‘70s.

Ken "he ain't... well, anyone, really" Metcalfe as Sid.

Sid is the drug kingpin, who rules over the sales of heroin in Hong Kong with a pale, WASPy fist. Ken Metcalfe had a decades-long working relationship with producer/director Cirio Santiago, which explains why he turned up in so many of the latter’s films, including 1976’s ‘She Devils in Chains’ and 1978’s ‘Vampire Hookers’*. However in addition to the acting ‘TNT Jackson’ was also his first effort as a scriptwriter. He thus stands doubly condemned.

Given that the first precept of good writing is to “write what you know”, one wonders why his very first script was a piece of blaxploitation… he is, after all, whiter than a Mormon family picnic. Does he have experience as an oily and heartless drug dealer, or as an oppressor of the black race?

Then again, I did say that writing what you know was the first precept of good writing.

So much for our characters. Success in blaxploitation comes from a surprisingly subtle blend of charismatic actors, groovy costume and set design, a health dash of social commentary and a fun story. And if you’re going to blend it with the kung-fu action genre, it also needs convincing fight choreography. When Tamara Dobson or Chuck Norris kicked ass in ‘70s martial arts movies, they gave the impression of knowing exactly what they were doing. However Jeanne Bell and Pat Anderson have kung-fu scenes that sputter along like a drag race between a couple of early model Trabants. Jeanne obviously had little experience with martial arts, to judge from her faltering movements and awkward gestures, although the action becomes much smoother when her stunt double takes over.

Costumes? Well, they certainly took their flares seriously. Set design? It’s supposed to be Hong Kong but it was actually shot in the Philippines, so Honkers looks a little more downmarket than normal. Social commentary? The title character does rail against “the pigs” at one point… so I guess that counts.

But at least the makers of ‘TNT Jackson’ had a triumph in realising that, at its core, any blaxploitation movie really only needs two things: breasts, and plenty of them. There’s a veritable Benetton-style United Colours of Boobies. Asian breasts! Caucasian breasts! Afro-American breasts! And more Asian breasts! And that’s before we even get to the introduction of Boob-Fu.

Ah, Boob-Fu. Yes. A small reminder:

Mmmm. Good times.

* a film, incidentally, that I will not rest until I own.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Music reviews in twenty words or less:

Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

It's as if Billy Bragg and Hello Kitty somehow had a baby, then adopted it out to ABBA. Woot!

Cody ChestnuTT - The Headphone Masterpiece

Who sings a lullaby with the word "muthaf*cka" in it? Cody ChestnuTT, that's who! Muthaf*cka.

Beirut - The Flying Club Cup

You can play the bouzouki and name your songs in French all you want: you're still from New Mexico. Ha!

Monday, February 15, 2010


We don't expect a high degree of literacy from rugby league players, as their professional duties largely consist of crashing into other large men. However if you're someone who writes words in indelible ink on other people's bodies, a certain familiarity with the English language might be considered part of your job description.

One tattooist messes up, all tattooists mess up.

The newspaper's caption read, "Yam Island's most famous son, Sam Thaiday, carries a constant reminder of his heritage on his chest".

Sadly he does.

Fishy (Addendum)

Yesterday evening I sat by the edge of the goldfish pond, sprinkling food onto the water then sitting still while the fish came up to eat, quietly watching them. It turns out that there aren't three baby fish in that pond. There are at least ten baby fish. Some are quite large, perhaps half the size of the biggest fish. Others are miniscule, pretty much the perfect size and shape to fit in The White Supremacist's mouth. Still, they seem to be surviving, hiding in the pond plants until they're big enough to choke on.

So... does anyone need any goldfish?

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Sometimes when I feed the goldfish in my backyard pond I linger for a few minutes, watching them swirl and skitter as they come up for their food. A few days ago I was doing this when out of the corner of my eye I saw a tiny flash next to a lily pad, which momentarily looked like a Mini-Me goldfish: just like the others but one eighth their size. I dismissed it as a trick of the light.

Then when I fed them yesterday morning, I noticed a small fish with an all black body, except for some orange markings around its gills. The thing is I've never bought a fish like that - I have two pure gold fish, a pure black one, a white and gold speckled one, a tortoiseshell one and the large pale one that we call The White Supremacist (because he's larger than all the others and bullies them mercilessly).

That evening I took The Flatmate outside to show him. He claimed that goldfish can change colour as they grow older, but as we watched it became evident that all of the original fish were present and unchanged. Then there was the black one with the orange gills. Then suddenly there was another black one with a silver belly. Then Mini-Me flitted up, snatched a fragment of food flake, then darted back into the depths. We have at least three additional fish in the pond, and I can only conclude that either someone has been stealing onto my property and restocking my pond, or this is the result of a Mummy Fish and a Daddy Fish loving each other very much.

Goldfish are notorious cannibals, so I'm surprised that there are so many bite-sized babies surviving in the pond. However it's interesting to note that all of the newbie fish are mostly black, rather than gold or white. Perhaps there's a good dose of natural selection going on in this pond, as the dark baby fish vanish into the shadows while the brightly toned baby fish get devoured by The White Supremacist.

Or maybe The White Supremacist just doesn't like the taste of emo fish. Who can tell?

Friday, February 12, 2010


The astute reader will already have established that I am a tremendous nerd, but for the slower and duller among you, here is all the proof you need. I have dug my old Lego catalogues out of the cupboard and scanned some choice pages.

This is from 1978, before the highly specialised bricks, smirky faces and movie tie ins of today. The fact that they'd gone beyond the original palette of black, white, red, blue and yellow bricks to produce a green and a grey was something of a daring move. Sigh... it was a simpler time.

Of course in 1978 real people were wearing orange paisley and purple corduroy, so perhaps Lego's reticence is to be all the more admired in hindsight.

"1. Build a one-storey house."
"2. Open it up."
"3. And play at being a housewife."

Not included:

4. Read Helen Gurley Brown, burn your bra and become an astronaut. Hey, if Barbie can do it then so can you, sister!

Obviously it took a while for 70s feminism to reach Denmark.

"Now even the tiny LEGO mini figures have movable arms and legs and can carry things in their hands."

It's mundane now, but let me tell you, this was pretty revolutionary in 1978, especially if you were 10 years old, and used to Lego figures that looked like this:

Shudder. Featureless, unmoving, blank-faced nightmare fuel. Banished by the now-classic smiley faced minifig that dominated Lego through the 80s, 90s and into the current century.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Over the last few days I've been thinking about the quality of my life. This is pretty much a direct result of watching 'Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour'.

Although I am increasingly trying not to be, I'm a huge fan of Kevin. I love 'Grand Designs'... but so does everyone else, and I find my love being tainted by my inherent mistrust of anyone who is too successful. Let's face it, Kevin's head must be so big by now that it's developing its own gravity well. Everything he's touched has turned to televisual gold.

But while I suspect that he might be absolutely insufferable in life, on screen he remains an engaging host and a discerning judge of good design. In short Kevin = Quality. We can be pretty sure that he won't be lowering himself to any 'Surprise 30 Second Renovation!'-style shows, arguing with some shrieking chav about hot pink feature walls.

The Grand Tour hasn't let me down. In it Kevin reenacts the Grand Tours undertaken by young Englishmen of the 17th and 18th centuries through France, Italy and Greece, and relates this back to the life and architecture of Britain. Thus we see how St Paul's Cathedral would not have existed without the Duomo in Florence, or Covent Garden without St Mark's in Venice. Interspersed through the art and architecture are the other things that opened the eyes of these young men: food, wine and a heckuva lot of debauchery.

As Kevin shuttles about examining the construction methods of everything from the Duomo to parmesan cheese, it's hard not to be beguiled by the classical simplicity of the lifestyle he's purveying. I can remind myself that it's all as contrived, if not fake, as the average episode of 'Top Gear'. But it doesn't help. It's all simple food, simple cars and simple travel, rather than energy drinks, iPhone apps or the monstrous idiocy of Facebook.

It's made me recall one of the most memorable meals I had in Europe, which was a dinner at a vegetarian hippie hostel situated in a ramshackle French castle. There was wine, a local cheese, some fresh bread, and a salad which consisted of lettuce and a vinagrette. I first saw it and thought, "No meat? No variety? No dessert? HOW WILL I COPE?" But it was all delicious, and elegant in its simplcity.

It's also reminded me that the southern Europeans have a priority of doing things well, while the Americans have a philosophy that any good thing can be made better. Thus the Florentines invented gelati, made from eggs, sugar, cream and dessert wine, which Kevin pronounced "divine", and the Americans have triple choc cookie dough icecream with peanut butter ripples. If the former is "divine", the latter is idolatory. It's easy to get caught up in the creeping featurism of life, whether it be in food, cars, architecture or technology. But the pleasures of going back, especially with food, are enticing.

And so I drool at the thought of some good bread, locally made proscuitto, fine cheese and fresh herbs. But then I remember that I'd need to drive halfway across the city, and pay twice as much, to get it. So instead I have a Pepsi Max and play with my new iPod Touch. Fool that I am.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Going through a design site yesterday, I came across this picture of the front door on a house in Texas.

It's welcoming to be sure, but something about it seemed a little twee for Albert Camus. He was, after all, the most nihilistic and moody Frenchman ever to glower over an ashy Gauloise. So I did a little research and eventually came up with the original quote:

"I knew a pure heart who rejected mistrust. He was a pacifist and libertarian and loved all humanity and the animals with an equal love. An exceptional soul, that's certain. Well, during the last wars of religion in Europe he had retired to the country. He had written on his threshhold, "Wherever you are from, come in and be welcome." Who do you think answered that noble invitiation? The militia, who made themselves at home and disembowled him."

This bodes rather badly for the homeowner and her family. However the house is apparently on the market, so hopefully a) the militia won't come until after the sale closes and b) it will be bought by Adam Sandler.

Monday, February 08, 2010


The name says it all.

Man, it's uncanny: it's basically the soundtrack of my thoughts when I walk into a Harvey Norman store.


Following a tip-off from a friend of mine, I went out yesterday evening for a late night hot chocolate at Chocolateria San Churro in Subiaco. It's a member of an upscale franchise of Spanish-style chocolate cafes, with lots of designer fonts in the menus and statements of smug corporate philosophy plastered over every available surface. And some nice orange chandeliers.

I don't know how authentically Spanish the Chocolateria San Churro experience is - I suspect not very - but the hot chocolate is amazing. Expensive, as you'd expect, but served thick and hot with lashings of chilli and cinnamon. The cinnamon lulls you with the rich blossom of its aroma, then you get smacked in the face with the chilli. I basically sat there going, "Mmmm... owww... mmmm... ouch... mmmm... ooof..."

However the most interesting part of the experience came afterward. As I was walking down the street with my friend PM, I said, "Sweet merciful crap, I feel so good!"

"Yeah, it was good," he said.

"I mean I feel... buoyant. Almost exhilarated! What the hell was in those hot chocolates? Other than chocolate. And sugar. And cream. Wait, I think I just answered my own question."

Apparently this is what happens when I go on a strict low-carb, low-calorie diet, then give my body a little indulgence: the sudden slug of sugars goes straight to the pleasure centres of the brain. I've been on a New Years Resolution diet since the start of the year, and coincidentally I've also been in a perennial bad mood since the start of the year. Then I have a single belt of gooey Spanish hot chocolate and suddenly I'm as chirpy as a bird in a Disney movie.

"Now you won't be able to sleep," said PM, who likes to look on the bad side of things.

But he was wrong. Not only did I sleep, but I had the most astonishing, semi-lucid dream I've had in years. Of course most of it dissipated when I woke, but I remember being in a beautiful coastal city of soaring skyscrapers, trying to save a friend who was the key to overthrowing a plot by the Norse god Loki. Because it was semi-lucid, I knew that it was a dream so I could relax and enjoy the ride. It also came in handy in rescuing my friend from the mental hospital (which is, oddly enough, where one puts people who claim to be trying to stop Norse gods): I convinced the hospital director to let him go by causing the dilapidated 1940s building to morph around him into a glorious art deco institution, all lofty ceilings, sleek furniture and ornate plaster mouldings. For some reason there were stylised pineapples in the plaster mouldings - I would have thought bananas would be more appropriate, but like I say, the dream was only semi-lucid.

Usually when I dream I wake up feeling disgruntled, more often than not relieved that whatever frustrations and fears I just experienced aren't real. But this one had me frantically grasping at the wisps as they evaporated. Skyscrapers... Loki... art deco pineapples... wait, was that woman who was helping me being played by Scarlett Johansson? Damn!

Chocolate: is there anything it can't do?

Thursday, February 04, 2010


As I've mentioned before, my old friend JC has a remarkable talent in selecting movies. If he thinks a movie looks good or interesting, it's a sure bet that it will turn out to be bad. If he thinks that a movie might be bad, it generally proves to be kind of interesting, or even, dare I say it, good. Over the years this dichotomy has gone far beyond being an amusing coincidence and become one of the immutable laws of the universe, like gravity, pi or Margaret Cho being unfunny.

So it was with some trepidation, at least on my part, that we approached the first of two Audrey Hepburn DVDs that he gave me for Christmas. He'd mentioned at the time that he'd thought we should perhaps watch some "good" cinema rather than our usual Cheap-Rubber-Monster-Versus-the-50-Foot-Bikini-Girls fare. After all, how can you go wrong with one of the 20th century's most celebrated actresses?

It seems that this question can be answered with one word: 'Bloodline'.

Based on a novel by Sidney Sheldon (a fact that should have most cinephiles recoiling like Ingrid Newkirk presented with a copy of 'Home Butchery for Beginners'), 'Bloodline' tells the story of Elizabeth Roffe, who finds herself heading a massive multinational corporation following the death of her industrialist father in a suspicious mountain-climbing accident. Her extended family, who are all members of the board, want her to sell up, but she decides to follow her father's wishes and maintain his empire. In the process, she finds that she's likely to have her own "accident" unless she can find out who among her extended family is a killer.

Meanwhile there's a subplot about some guy making snuff films. It bears no relation whatsoever to the rest of the story, but it does give the movie makers plenty of opportunity to show naked 70s girls slathering themselves with baby oil before a muscular bald man strangles them. And there you go; it makes no more sense here in print than it did in the movie.

'Bloodline' had a lot of money spent on it, from Audrey Hepburn's lavish Givenchy wardrobe to the hire of helicopters, Ferraris and French chateaus. And yet, as I noted about twenty minutes in, "They've spent a hell of a lot of money just to show nothing happening." Then about fifteen minutes later, after we'd leapt from a villa in Sardinia to an office in Zurich to an English country house all in the space of less than 90 seconds, I was moved to exclaim, "Sweet merciful crap, it's like this entire movie is being conducted in shorthand!"

I was convinced that 'Bloodline' was actually a much longer miniseries that had been edited down to movie length. That would explain the scenes that lasted for two lines of dialogue, the ambitious sets that were only used for thirty seconds of screen time, and the presence of old troupers like James Mason and Omar Sharif who were still a little too upmarket for guest appearances on 'The Love Boat'. After all, miniseries based on sprawling airport novels were a staple of the late 70s and early 80s, when Danielle Steele and Barbara Taylor Bradford were at their gaudy peak.

But no. Apparently there was a lot of footage removed from the theatrical cut of 'Bloodline', but there's no mention on or other sources of it being intended for miniseriesdom. Much of the edited footage appears to have been even more gratuitous dead boobie scenes, suggesting that the film was originally to have been a bizarre mashing together of feminised lifestyle porn and masculinised actual porn. However the bulk of the deceased naked chick ogling was removed so that the film could attain an R rating, rather than an X rating, in the United States.

So what was a classy dame like Audrey Hepburn doing in this bloated piece of euro-trash, riddled with soft core porn like a sideboard infested with borers? It seems that she was coming out of a difficult divorce, and, in her low state, was vulnerable to the flattery of director Terence Young. Never mind that she was more than twice the age of Sidney Sheldon's original heroine, and miscast for a role which really called for a flashy young starlet rather than an elegant and poised veteran. She was shoehorned into this aimless, convoluted movie to give it some undeserved credibility. Unfortunately rather than giving the movie credibility, she had hers smothered.

Hello, I'm Audrey Hepburn, and I'm too old for this crap.

At least JC's singular ability with movie choices remains unbroken.