Byzantium Review and other stuff

There is still time to catch Byzantium in Hastings!
We went down to the Odeon on Friday night. I must have had the seat with the stickiest patch of carpet in the entire cinema - at the end of the film my feet were superglued to the floor...
     Anyway, vampire films are generally not my thing, but I actually enjoyed Byzantium, even without the local interest and trying to spot anyone we knew appearing as an extra. I have never seen any of that Twilight stuff and wouldn't want to, but I would guess this film is more adult, arty and tasteful. Years ago I saw 'Nosferatu' with Klaus Kinski, and this had a bit of the same dark, languid eroticism. It was, naturally, very violent. Two people were actually decapitated, not particularly realistically, and there were gallons and gallons of blood, mostly to be scoffed up by the thirsty vampires. We did wonder why the Hastings Police were not more curious about the spate of bloodless bodies which would have been left lying about the town. The two vampire stars, Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan, did a good job, the one fiercely pneumatic, and the second fey and sensitive.
     The Hastings locations, mostly filmed at night in the rain,  looked very atmospheric - the film makers seemed very keen on Bottle Alley - much frenetic rushing up and down along there.
     As well as the 'Byzantium' hotel front, which is that lovely old building on the seafront near the Heart Foundation furniture shop ( I forget what the building is called) there were lots of views of the fishing beach, the pier, the seafront, the amusements, the West and East Hills and the Azur Pavilion transformed into a palm court restaurant - it looked quite good!
     Our friend Joe Fearn (who has now moved to Hull) was an extra, but they cut all his shots except for one, apparently, of him shuffling down Bottle Alley as a down-and-out. We didn't notice him, unfortunately.
      The film is well worth seeing. Reviews were generally OK too.
      What else? We made a flying visit to Birmingham at the weekend for our old friend Alan Wenban-Smith's 70th birthday party. It was a lovely day, so we were all out in the garden drinking too much wine. Nice to see people we hadn't seen for ages. I made one boo-boo. Alan's sister is married to Vince Cable. I encountered this man who looked terribly familiar so I assumed he was a friend whose name I couldn't remember. 'Hello!' I crowed. 'How are you - how lovely to see you'. The man greeted me in a polite but distant fashion. I returned to my group and asked what his name was. Vince Cable, of course - I expect he is well used to that sort of thing.
      Yesterday we made our annual visit to the Winchelsea Open Gardens - we missed the Saturday session but were pleased to discover they were open again yesterday.  Lovely, lovely, lovely. I did a blog post about it last year. This year everything was much less advanced in the gardens - very few roses, but beautiful clematis and wisteria.
      We will have been in this house a year on Friday!
Beautiful Winchelsea




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