"for the happy, the sad, I don't want to be, another page in your diary"

Sunday, 8 January 2012

If No One Decent Turns Up

L had tried to get into a race up in Rother Valley today but that was so badly advertised it was cancelled due to lack of interest. There was one in Birmingham, a five miler and it looked like we would be heading there. I didn’t really mind where we went, I intended to be on bacon butty duty no matter what but then L found something far more local. The Burton Joyce 10k. It sounded ideal. If it was on... as it wasn’t exactly being heavily advertised but it wasn’t far to go if it’s cancelled or full.

When we found some details, it confirmed the main thing, that they had bacon cobs. Although I quickly became tempted with the run. The photos on the website show people running on tarmac and not through some muddy field. It’s also the sort of race I might do well in... e.g. badly advertised and no one decent turns up, but only if I prepared properly the night before... e.g. four pints of something 5% followed by a whisky chaser. Which I haven’t done, unfortunately.

It says that if you walk the 5k you get a free bacon cob – all for £2, or you can run the 10k for £6 and buy your own. Incentive? Not. Decisions decisions. If I was a mileage slag like L I wouldn't have such a tough decision to make.

Then L expresses concerns for my street cred, not that I thought I had any. What if someone I knew saw me doing a poncy 5K walk? Could I live it down? Could I have a pint of Abbot on the back of a 5K walk? Clearly there's much more to think about than a mere bacon butty.

So here I am, on the start line. However you can scrub that doing well. There are quite a lot of entrants and they look a pretty fit bunch to me. We start and the first thing to say is I’m not sure about the km marking. 3:38 for the first km and then 4:40 for the second doesn’t sound right. I also find the ‘Fun Run’ signs all the way around unnerving, they seem to imply either I’m on the wrong course or I should be enjoying it. I’m not particularly; it hurts all the way around due to Friday's run.

They make us run back past the finish, which I assume is where you stop if you’re only doing the 5k. However we’ve only done 4.5k, which makes the £2 ‘Meal n Walk Deal’ even better.

I’ve made my choice though and now I’ve got two laps of a 1k loop around the pub, where there’s no one counting your laps and I suspect a few short cutters. Before I even get on to my first loop though the winner blasts past me in the opposite direction, in the lead by some distance. I’m not even at the 7k marker, such was his lead.

Finally loops done, I’m on the final stretch and I hear someone coming up behind me heavy-footedly, I'm knackered so I decide that he can go past, I won’t fight it. That is until I realise there's three of them. That puts a completely different complexion on the matter, I can't allow that. I try and speed up, ultimately holding them off.

I cross the line, having flogged my guts out all the way round, only to discover there’s no one taking results at the finish. Now I understand the bloody ‘Fun Run’ signs, only it wasn't.

At 43:47 I’m about a minute quicker than I have been doing and allegedly 9th but I can't confirm this. There’s a good time for L too, who’s back in the 58's.

Then after coffee and ball chucking with the dogs its home for a Full English, a hot bath and some last minute Puss in Boots persuasion.

Ok, ok, I give in, we’ll go.

It opens with Puss crawling out of the boudoir of another cat, though not only is Puss (Antonio Banderas) gaining a reputation with the kitties, he’s become an outlaw. He’s a wanted cat with a price on his head.

One night in a bar he hears that Jack and Jill, murderous outlaws obviously, are in town and in possession of the fabled magic beans that they have stolen from another Jack (he of the beanstalk) who’s in jail. You may already be spotting here that the story is not exactly faithful to the original Puss in Boots story but some hybrid collaboration of fairytales.

Puss wants those beans but is thwarted when he tries to get them by a fellow feline in a kinky mask. This is Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) - master thief, useful with a sword, on the dance floor and potential love interest.

Unfortunately Kitty is working for Humpty 'Alexander' Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). I kid you not. I kind of lost it at this point and spent the rest of the film wondering why it had a giant egg in it. Though, I guess, once you base a film on a talking cat, it isn’t much of a stretch to include a talking egg as well... but Humpty Dumpty? Oh my.

Hump and Kit want Puss to help them get the beans but he wants nothing to do with them. Well not with Humpty anyway; the over-sized egg had betrayed him once before and clearly he doesn’t wish to end up with egg on his face again. Kitty on the other hand... flutters her eyelashes and... oh, ok then. He’ll do it to try and restore his good name. Puss was once in an orphanage before being taken in by a kind-hearted woman called Imelda. While living with her he gained the trust and respect of the whole town before it all went wrong thanks to the egg.

So they steal the beans and plant them at a ‘special’ spot from which sprouts a beanstalk to the heavens. All they now have to do is shin up to the Giant's castle which lies at the top and grab the goose that lays the golden eggs. Sound familiar? I’m not sure how Puss thinks that snatching a baby goose from its mother will restore his good name but anyway. At least they’ll all be rich, maybe. Maybe not.

I went into this film with very mild expectations, they were not exceeded. Puss himself was quite good but he was clearly working with a very amateur supporting cast and as for the scriptwriter, oh dear. Some of the cat jokes are clever but it’s not enough to save a very lazy plot. It’s a family film obviously but I think as a child it would have bored me. Years ago, this was the sort of thing that would have been a mere TV series, shown at 4pm on the BBC’s Children’s slot. Definitely not put on the big screen. It’s certainly not a classic that they’ll be dragging out to reshow year after year. Could have been a lot better.

We head to the Keans Head in search of our own fabled beans or rather the fabled Midnight Owl, Castle Rock’s winter ale that went down a storm at the Nottingham Beer festival but which has proved totally illusive ever since and winter/time is running out. No luck in the Keans either, although they have trusty Salem Porter on.

We pop in the Ropewalk on the way home, once home there’s homemade cheeseboard waiting.

(Sunday 8th January)

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