Saturday, 20 February 2016

In Preston Today

The English Defense League held a small national rally in Preston, bringing their message that immigrants are not welcome. This is the group that, when it was able only a few years ago to demonstrate in large numbers and was not heavily policed, ran riot and attacked Asians.

In response, Preston City Council, Preston Trade Unions Council and Preston Mosques held a "One Preston, One Community" rally with music, speeches and free food provided by the mosques. An officer of my former public sector union helped to organize the event together with the national Unite Against Fascism campaign. Several hundred people, including families with children, attended and a Muslim community leader proposed that this become an annual event. We occupied the central square of the city.

The EDL, escorted by the police, held a brief rally in a nearby side street, arriving long after us and leaving long before us. We saw the tops of their banners above a police barrier. We were not visible to them because of the barrier but made sure that we were audible. The Leader of Preston City Council and other Councillors of his political party went as a group onto the stage. He spoke of refugees who have recently been welcomed into Preston and have become members of the local community. He also linked this to the welcoming of Jewish refugees in the 1930's.

We were able to return home after an enjoyable event, confident that the EDL message of hate and division had been decisively rejected.

Sunday, 15 November 2015


This Blofeld is authentic to Fleming's novels because he is Polish and realizes the importance of information and also to the Connery films because:

he presides at a SPECTRE meeting with his face in shadow;

the meeting pauses and everyone stands when he enters;

he acquires a disfiguring facial scar across one eye;

in an impressive SPECTRE headquarters, he addresses Bond from off-stage before entering to meet him in person - like Doctor No who, in the films, was also a SPECTRE operative.

Addendum, 18 November 2015: The octopus rings are also authentic to the Connery films.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Man From UNCLE

The new film could have begun by reproducing the visuals of the TV series but would then have had to go on to do more: to ground the series firmly in the Cold War period. Instead, it did something as good or better. It began with the period. We see Kennedy and Khrushchev. We do not recognize any theme tune or background music. The action starts in East Berlin. Solo is with the CIA, Kuryakin is with the KGB and they are trying to kill each other. Kuryakin is recognizable but bigger but that fits. He should be physically powerful.

Will UNCLE appear or has it been replaced by two real organizations, the CIA and the KGB? It has to appear because it is in the title - but does not come on stage until right at the end. This is partly a prequel and partly a rewrite. What we saw before was a popular TV series. This is the real thing. UNCLE might remain a four-person task force or could grow to fill a building in New York. The series could move in either direction.

A threat from corporate crime and surviving Nazis is big enough to bring together a covert operation involving Waverley, Solo, Kuryakin and a new version of the Girl. THRUSH may or may not emerge later.

The Girl In The Spider's Web

He does it right. He develops the characters and situations and introduces new characters and situations that fit. He does two good things with Bublanski. He adds an appropriate comic book connection. The story of Lisbeth's criminal family is not over yet.

This text is not based on any manuscripts left by Larsson so I hope that someone else will develop them. Two parallel Millennium universes.

One minor difference: Lagercrantz's text is less dense. It concentrates less information into each square inch of the page. But that does not prevent this novel from being an authentic continuation. I hope that Lagercrantz writes more. He plants clues that more will come: the sister and another brother.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Millennium Volume III

In the book, the Section exists and is so named before Zalachenko. In the film, it is set up to handle Zalachenko and is code-named "the Section" by another department that is investigating it. The book is able to present much more information about the history and operations of the Section.

In the book(s):

Gullbeck returns to Zala's room to kill himself whereas, in the film, he commits suicide in the corridor;

the Prime Minister and the Justice Minister get involved;

Blomkvist has a different affair in each volume on top of his relationship with Berger.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Millennium Volume II

I am not going to catalogue every difference between book and film but a few more spring to mind:

Blomkvist's relationship with Harriet Vanger is left out of the second film;

the book gives a better explanation of how Blomkvist came to have the keys to Lisbeth's new apartment;

in the book, Blomkvist quickly deduces the code for Lisbeth's alarm whereas, in the film, Lisbeth remotely cancels the alarm for him;

in the book, Lisbeth releases the guy that she nearly hanged whereas, in the film, she leaves in a hurry and the guy's daughter finds him like that (usually, changes delete characters whereas this change creates the daughter);

when Lisbeth interrogated the guy in the car hire firm, she hired one of his cars in the film but did not need to in the book;

the films leave out Nierdermann's hallucinations, superstition, capture by Blomkvist and escape from the police;

Erika's husband does not appear in the films.

Lisbeth and Zala sure are resilient, surviving when they should be dead, Zala twice.

"At the kitchen table Zalachenko looked up when he heard the sound of the falling crossbar." (Vol II, p. 559)

Does Zala not only hear a sound but also know that the sound is of a falling crossbar? If so, then this passage is narrated from Zala's point of view. Otherwise, it is narrated by the omniscient narrator, as are some earlier passages like when we are told that Bjurman did not know that he was sitting near to Blomkvist.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Millennium Films I And II

I have watched the second and third films and will now have to reread the books. It is obvious, first, that the films are authentic and, secondly, that they had to leave out a lot:

Lisbeth's adventures in the Caribbean; 
Erika going to work at a newspaper;
the guy at the newspaper harassing her by email;
Mikael's more complicated means of communicating with Lisbeth in the hospital;
Mikael's affair with a policewoman;
Mikael guessing the right code when he has tripped the alarm entering Lisbeth's apartment.

I liked the first novel's island setting but prefer it when the action is back in Stockholm. Zala is like Blofeld but there are people to track down even after Zala has been killed. It is good to see one government agency going after another.