Sigurd the Mighty, in fetching wolfskin waistcoat, toggled with attractive desiccated bear intestines. Little did he know what fate had in store for him as he beat off the crowds at the IKEA sale...
In this blogposting…
*What A Way To Go
*The Worst Film Ever Made
*1,001 Buildings…
So gird up your loins…

Kev has thoughtfully emailed me a 14-page list of gruesome historical deaths. These are all from page 2.

In 892 Sigurd the Mighty of Orkney strapped the head of a defeated foe to his leg. But the tooth grazed against him as he rode his horse, causing the infection which killed him
In 1063 Béla I of Hungary died when his throne's canopy collapsed (which is no more than he deserved for having a sissy name like Bela)
In 1135 Henry I of England is said to have died after gorging on lampreys, his favorite food
In 1219, according to legend, Inalchuk, the Muslim governor of the Central Asian town of Otrar, was captured and killed by the invading Mongols, who poured molten silver in his eyes, ears, and throat
In 1258 Al-Musta'sim was killed during the Mongol invasion of the Abbasid Caliphate. Hulagu Khan, not wanting to spill royal blood, wrapped him in a rug and had him trampled to death by his horses
In 1322 Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford was fatally speared through the anus by a pikeman hiding under the bridge during the Battle of Boroughbridge
In 1327, and maintaining the anal turn of events things seem to have taken, Edward II of England, after being deposed and imprisoned by his queen consort Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, was rumoured to have been murdered by having a red-hot poker inserted into his anus (and I'm not referring to the familiar garden plant here)
In 1410 Martin I of Aragon died from a lethal combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing
And finally, in 1478: George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, was executed by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine at his own request.

If you want some more selections from Kev’s grisly list, I’d be happy to provide them. Or maybe you have your own nominations…

How good or bad a movie is usually depends very much on who’s watching it. There are some films, though, which almost everyone agrees are truly awful. Whole books have been written about them, there are websites (like ‘Rotten Tomatoes’) dedicated to them, and they even have their own annual awards ceremony (the ‘Golden Raspberry Awards’, or ‘Razzies’).

You could have a lot of fun scratching the internet in search of them but, thanks to Wikipedia, you don’t have to. That omniscient portal to all the world’s knowledge has helpfully agglomerated known lists of cinematic catastrophes into one stomach-churning catalogue.

The list includes:
Glen Or Glenda (1953)
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)
Howard The Duck (1986)
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)
Leonard Part 6 (1987)
Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991)
Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
Gigli (2003)
SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004)

I now feel that I am at last in a position to add to this roll-call of celluloid dishonour. I would like to nominate the film that was shown to the Silver Screen cinema club at the Tyneside Cinema on Monday 4 April. It was called Young Hearts Run Free - and it was awful.

At this point, I was intending to launch a critique of the film - but I honestly don’t know where to start. The cinematography was cluttered and dull, the acting gave concrete a good name, the script was truly diabolical, the main characters were badly-drawn and inconsistent, the accents (the film was set in a Northumbrian mining village) were inauthentic, the cliches of the north-east announced themselves a mile away….

Even the typeface used for the opening credits is somehow ‘wrong’. Dammit - even the title of the film is misleading.

And that’s not all. The film was, apparently, made on a budget of less than £20,000. This means that the director could not afford wide shots - like street scenes - which would have been full of anachronisms like satellite dishes and Ford Focuses ( - the movie is set in 1974). So every shot is a close-up. Virtually all you see are talking heads. Even the interior scenes - and almost all the ‘action’ takes place indoors - lack ‘establishing’ or wide-angle shots. We don’t even get to see the whole kitchen or pub or shop counter; just looming close-ups of somebody saying something totally expected.

Budgetary constraints are one thing but cinematic carelessness is quite another. In one scene, the leading character is given a meaningful gift by his best friend; she is trying to encourage him to take up painting again so she gives him a paintbox. He actually opens it on-screen - except that the director maintains the head-and-shoulders shot so we don’t actually see what the gift is. And this is a seminal moment in the film.

It is also the moment when we decided to leave.

The wooden acting, the atrocious and predictable dialogue and plot, the cliches lurking round every back-street corner, the sheer claustrophobia of the direction - all conspire to make this film the worst I have ever seen or - hopefully - am ever likely to see.

What makes me angry is, firstly, the fulsome praise given to the film in the Tyneside Cinema’s current brochure - praise which they know was wholly undeserved - and, secondly, the fact that they chose to show it at Silver Screen. They’ve shown that they regard over-60s as cinematic dross who can happily be shown any old piece of tut because they cannot discriminate between good and poor movies.

Some films are so bad, they’re good. They achieve a kind of cult status, like Plan 9 From Outer Space. But Young Hearts Run Free is just bad.

It was the director’s first film. The next time he is offered a budget of £20,000 he should buy shares in a prefab in, say, Dawdon, buy two short planks of wood, soak them in water and watch them warp. I might join him. It would be more fun than watching this appalling film.

...will take place at 1100 on Wednesday 27 April at Birkheads Nursery, the road to which is just opposite the entrance to the Tanfield Railway.

Our guest speaker, should he wish to take up this offer, is the director of Young Hearts Run Free.

Here are the next ten buildings from my lovely book.

With this list, the tally of buildings I have actually seen rises to four, with San Miniato al Monte in Florence and St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice.

The buildings in the book are in chronological order. These date from between 998 and 1105.

If you’ve seen any of them, or plan to, please get in touch.

41 The Great Mosque, Cordoba, Spain
42 Chichen Izta Observatory, Mexico
43 Brihadishvara Temple, Thanjavur, India
44 St Sophia’s Cathedral, Novgorod, Russia (pictured)
45 Sal Miniato al Monte, Florence, Italy
46 Glendalough Round Tower, Laragh, Ireland
47 St Mark’s Cathedral, Venice, Italy
48 Qui Nhon Ban It Towers, Binh Dinh, Vietnam
49 Great Mosque of Masjid-i-Jami, Isfahan, Iran
50 Ananda Temple, Pagan, Myanmar

We are now 5% of the way through the list. National totals so far are:

Italy 10, Egypt 5, China 4, Ireland 3, Syria 2, Croatia 2, India 2 - then 1 each for Iraq, Greece, France, Libya, Turkey, Armenia, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Japan, Isreal, Guatemala, South Korea, Germany, Indonesia, Spain, Mexico, Russia, Vietnam, Iran, Tunisia, Myanmar and Uzbekistan.

Firstly, from outrageous leftfield writer Hunter S Thompson…
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"

And secondly, from a book I’m reading at the moment…
In my experience, when misfortune comes in by one door, philosophy leaves by the other.

Post comments on this blog or email me: truckshunters@googlemail.com


Ellie said...

Oh that makes me feel better. Such a long time since I had a good read... hope everyone is ticketyboo.

Ian Robinson said...

Hey! Hello Ellie! Long time no see. How are you?

Ellie said...

Missing you, Ian. I'm back working 3 days a week. You'd love the location - near Belsay Hall. Unfortunately this stops me attending the AGMs as they seem to be on Wednesdays. Never Mind! Perhaps one day.
Of course I still love your blogs - and ' Where's the book?'
Hope you are fine, lots of love, Ellie x