What’s enjoyment got to do with it?

THE Current Mrs Feeney and I this week renewed our season tickets for Swansea City FC, despite the fact that the team has struggled in the relegation basement of the Premier League all this season.

It goes to show the amount of misery that the dedicated fan is willing to endure. People who do not follow football (that’s soccer, if you’re reading this over the pond) sometimes ask me; “Did you enjoy the game?” They really don’t understand.

Being a supporter (unless you follow one of the very few clubs guaranteed success – and I think that just makes you a pothunter) involves hope, belief and healthy doses of delusion. Enjoyment very rarely comes into it.

It’s all a matter of opinion

EVERY football fan, of course, has an opinion on the team. It’s amazing really that club managers, who have nothing except years of their own hard-earned experience at their disposal, do not make more use of all the free advice that is colourfully dispensed from the stands at every game.

It’s the same with films (see the comments below on my thoughts on La La Land.) I watched a DVD of Italian director Paulo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty one afternoon this week. I persuaded TCMrsF to watch it too.

I – who am overly fond of this sort of arty European movie – thought it was absorbing, playful and visually striking. TCMrsF thought it used up two and a half hours of her life that she will never get back.

On these occasions, we sit down and talk through our differing views in an open-minded manner, before agreeing that TCMrsF was right all along.

It’s murder at Christmas

WE are still catching up with the television programmes we recorded over Christmas. On successive nights we watched both parts of Witness For The Prosecution, based on Agatha Christie’s novel, and all three parts of Rillington Place, based on the notorious serial murderer Reginald Christie.

The two series had more than a surname in common. They both told dark stories that cast a spotlight on deep shadows in the human condition – or the soul, if you believe there is such a thing; perhaps that makes them more suitable for Christmas than they first appeared.

When I was a child, Christmas television always featured a World War Two film in the day, and big family entertainment shows in the evening. Now the scheduling seems to involve films for the kiddies all day, followed by murder and evil at night.

PS: so much for Agatha Christie being nothing more than the cosy middle-class creator of chocolate-box village mysteries. The woman knew how to insert and twist the knife.

I especially liked the bit where, um.

SWANSEA is a long way from London (well, it is if you’re British; I once had a neighbour who had lived for a while in the United States, and explained the difference between Brits and Yanks as follows: Americans think 100 years is a long time, while British people think 100 miles is a long journey.)

Anyway, we don’t get to see London theatre very often, which is why the increasing trend of live screenings from the West End to cinemas nationwide is very welcome.

We saw the National Theatre production of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land on Thursday. Pinter is often described as a writer who was as much a poet as a playwright. There were wonderful performances from Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart, but an hour after the play finished, I couldn’t recollect a line of Pinter’s dialogue.

I have no idea what that says about the relative importance of the actor and the play, or the quality of Pinter’s writing, or the state of my memory.


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