Football, Tennis, Zoey and Thor

Last weekend Mr Esther, mini me and I travelled to the east of The Netherlands to see our Dutch national women’s football team play a friendly match against Finland. It was fun and mini me wished she could be on the field to play as well. The posed team picture was taken after the match but we saw them pose for that from where we were sitting. After the match we happened to walk past the stage door part of the stadium and indeed saw one of our national players (Merel van Dongen) come out and pose for pictures. The three of us are in the background of one of the pictures that was posted on social media.

The Netherlands won 2-0. It was fun seeing the sea of orange errupt after a goal (I really like that we have such a recognizable national colour) and we even had the wave go around the stadium as well…

What I really loved to see was that the audience was filled with young girls and women. Women’s football has really taken flight here the past 10 years or so and is really inspiring a whole generation of young women growing up now. It was fun to do this, my first time seeing a professional football match too!

I’ve also been loving following Wimbledon this past week and a half. There’s really some excellent talent coming up now and even two Dutch players (Van Rijthoven and Van der Zandschulp), who seem to be coming out of nothing, have done well. We’ve also become enamoured with young Spanish player Carlos Alcaraz and Italian player Jannik Sinner. Alas, all of them are out now but they do show that the future of tennis is looking bright. Oh, and I love that a two time mother, age 35, has made it to the semi-finals! I hope this German player, Tatjana Maria, can make it into the final.

Besides all that, I have recently also been watching a show called Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Only two seasons were made of this show in 25 or so episodes and I have just finished it, really enjoying it too. The show is about a smart computer coder, Zoey Clarke, who after an event magically begins to hear people’s innermost wants and desires through popular songs. Especially the first season with the terminally ill father storyline really struck a chord with me, culminating near the end of season two with my fave father-daughter performance…

I also really liked the diverse cast in this, especially Zoey’s gender-fluid friend Mo and Zoey’s colleague Simon. The second season was less strong, I felt, as was the final movie (a Christmas movie) they made, so I do get that the show had run its course. Still, it was a fun watch and if you like music and drama and some comedy as well, it might be worth a gander. A trailer:

And to finish it all off, Junior and I went to see the latest Thor movie in our local cinema this past evening – Thor : Love and Thunder.

I know not everyone agrees but I really enjoyed seeing Jane Foster again. The movie itself was fun although a little more gravitas to oppose the sometimes almost too much comedy would have been nice. In the whole Marvel universe Thor has always been my fave and I am looking forward to the next one, which will apparently be coming at some point. I heard some harrowing things during my refugee work stint in the afternoon, so watching this film in the evening was a good antidote for that.

That’s it for my little round up. It’s 2 am now, I really need to head for bed as I need to be sitting at my laptop again for work in six and a half hours. Good night!

What is it with Persuasion?

I love Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Persuasion adaptations and as I have grown older, I think it has surpassed even my love of Pride and Prejudice. A year ago I read there were two Persuasion adaptations in the making and I was curious to see how those two would portray the story and also how much they would differ. I now understand that the version with Australian actress Sarah Snook is not happening anymore, which is a pity. She says in an interview with Vogue magazine from last fall: “Case in point: Jane Austen’s Persuasion with director Mahalia Belo, which was meant to be her next project. “The short story is that Netflix decided to greenlight their own, so Fox abandoned the one we were doing, which is disappointing because it was a great script and a director I really wanted to work with,” she says with a shrug. “But had I been doing that, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come back to Australia so soon and see family and friends.”

Well, that Netflix version is now finally coming to the screen on July 15th and today a trailer was released:

The cast looks good!

I’m not a huge Dakota Johnson fan but she could be alright in this. I don’t know Cosmo Jarvis who plays Frederick Wentworth but he does look like he has some charisma. I wonder if his charisma can beat Henry Golding’s charisma. I really like Golding, I think he could have made an excellent Wentworth as well but he also looks like he can imbue Mr Elliot with just the right amount of charm and ambiguity. I also love the casting of Richard E. Grant and in the snippet we see of him he already looks perfect as the very vain father of Anne. Nikki Amuka-Bird as Lady Russell looks interesting too. I didn’t know her name before I looked it up but I did know her face instantly from bits and pieces she’s done on TV where she somehow always manages to capture my attention.

For me an adaptation really doesn’t need to be the same as the book (I unexpectedly really enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for instance) but it does need to capture it’s spirit somewhat. In this trailer, I do wonder about a friendship storyline that is hinted at – one of the big points in Persuasion is that Captain Wentworth is wounded and therefore outwardly very dismissive of Anne Elliot, so much so that there is no question of a renewed friendship until closer to the end of the story. Also, Captain Wentworth looks less stoic and unforgiving in this trailer so I do wonder how that will all work out. There also seems to be Anne breaking the fourth wall in this, which could be either very cool or very annoying.

No matter how good or how bad, I am very excited for this and I will definitely watch it as soon as I can. This adaptation has big shoes to fill, because I do love the Amanda Root / Ciaran Hinds version from 1995…

… but I don’t think it can be as bad as a Hallmark-ish version that was released two years ago (with the uninspired title of Modern Persuasion), which was quite terrible. I’m really curious on the take of this adaptation.

Besides the film/TV adaptations I also like reading Persuasion book adaptations and I just happened to finish reading one over the weekend. Even if the adaptations can’t always equal the original, the original storyline is quite strong and therefore the adaptations are really enjoyable for me too. So, I keep going back to them. Somehow I can’t seem to get enough of this story. I do keep wondering what attracts me to all these Persuasion re-tellings. Is it because the story is about a slightly more mature love? About second chances? Is it about learning from your mistakes or possible errors of judgment but also being grateful for them because they brought you to where you are today? It’s all of the above, I guess, and more. At the end of the book Anne Elliot says this:

“I have been thinking over the past, and trying impartially to judge of the right and wrong, I mean with regard to myself; and I must believe that I was right, much as I suffered from it, that I was perfectly right in being guided by the friend whom you will love better than you do now. To me, she was in the place of a parent. Do not mistake me, however. I am not saying that she did not err in her advice. It was, perhaps, one of those cases in which advice is good or bad only as the event decides; and for myself, I certainly never should, in any circumstance of tolerable similarity, give such advice. But I mean, that I was right in submitting to her, and that if I had done otherwise, I should have suffered more in continuing the engagement than I did even in giving it up, because I should have suffered in my conscience. I have now, as far as such a sentiment is allowable in human nature, nothing to reproach myself with;

I really like that. Even though the choice she made then caused her a lot of heartache, it still was the right choice for her at that time. It made her who she is but also drove Captain Wentworth to become as accomplished as he is. It also shows that timing is everything. There is a time to listen and take advice, there is a time to grow up and learn, there is a time when you can let experience lead you to another choice.

One of the great things about Jane Austen novels is how the main characters learn to know themselves better and what they want out of life and I think Anne may be Austen’s most self-aware character. She has loved and lost and has had time to absorb and analyse, thus maybe making her more wise and more empathetic than other Austen characters. She has had time to reflect and now knows who she is, she is level-headed and capable and she assuredly knows that if given a second chance she will grab it with both hands. I think it’s Captain Wentworth who is forced to make a bigger learning curve in this story, learning to deal with his petty anger, learning to understand himself, learning nuance (her youthful choice against him didn’t mean she didn’t love him) and finally accepting the fact that Anne, being steadfast and wise and empathetic, is indeed the best woman for him out there. I love Anne and that she stays true to herself and I love that she is able to inspire Wentworth to know himself better.

Persuasion is Jane Austen’s last completed novel. It is possibly her most nuanced one as well (despite also having some biting characterizations) and I think I will forever love coming back to it. Ah, the stories Austen could have told had she only lived longer!

Two favourites in one post

It’s the weekend! And I saw this lovely picture come across my Instagram feed this afternoon after I finished working…

Source

Apparently Damage has wrapped filming in Marseille and this is Richard with his co-star Charlie Murphy (an actress I don’t know yet but seems to also have been on Peaky Blinders). I have a feeling Richard is still wearing filming make-up in this picture but it’s such a sweet picture nonetheless! In his Instagram post Richard says he is ‘transformed’. I’d love to know in what way.

It reminds me of another sweet picture I came across earlier this week that I wanted to share of Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen: Mr Darcy 1995 (my absolute fave Darcy ever!) and Mr Darcy 2005…

They starred in their first movie togther and this was them at a premiere…

They seem to like each other apart from that Darcy connection and apparently only briefly exchanged Darcy experiences. They filmed a movie called Operation Mincemeat together about a British deception operation to disguise the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, using the body of a dead man, planting fake documents on him for the Germans to find. It’s based on a true story. I went to see the film with my friend last Tuesday (it was a pre-premiere showing). The cinema had a huge display to advertise the film…

It’s not Colin’s masterpiece and I could’ve done without that love triangle part of the story but it was a fun film to watch nonetheless. Ian Fleming, writer of James Bond, was part of the team who executed the deception plan and it was also very amusing finding out where M and Q in the James Bond movies seemed to have gained their names from. Colin and Matthew really play well off each other…

It’s not a film you really need to watch but it really was very nice to have seen it, especially with the added context of that Darcy connection. Although, I admit to not thinking much about either Darcy while I watched this, which is a good thing.

I love seeing my favourite actors making good connections with those they work with and showing it with a hug or a touch. It always makes me feel warm and happy inside.

Silent film comedy Ronnie

The other night I watched Ronald Colman’s 1925 silent movie Her Sister From Paris and these little moments happened…

Especially that second gif cracks me up completely! I think it may be my fave (Colman) gif ever.

It was a fun movie, co-starring Constance Talmadge, an actress I had never heard of before but who seems have to been a top star in the silent movies, famous for her comedies. Short synopsis: A housewife (Constance Talmadge) poses as her twin sister, a notorious dancer, in order to fool her husband (Ronald Colman) and teach him a lesson.

That last hair tousling gif from the movie is quite irresistible too. Ronnie really had very good hair! Here’s another hair tousling gif, from the 1936 (talking) movie Under Two Flags, co-starring Claudette Colbert (I like that little thing she does with the sand, so added that gif here as well)…

Anyway, back to Constance Taldmadge. Ronald made two movies with her. I saw the 1924 movie Her Night of Romance a few weeks ago and it really cracked me up. It’s about an heiress who travels to England disguised as a frump in order to ward off fortune-hunting men. Ronald Colman is a penniless Lord who falls in love with her and then impersonates a physician to get more closely acquainted. There are lots of misunderstandings and attempted cover-ups to hide lies and when attempts are made to make things right, everything gets even worse. There’s this whole section in the film where our hero and heroine tell one person they are married to cover up a compromising situation, then must at the same time hide their ‘marriage’ from the heiress’s dad. A lie is not so easily contained and in the end a whole village shows up to congratulate them. Ridiculous and funny!

All of it is of course quite fanciful and pretty contrived but really so much fun.

I also watched Kiki from 1926 with Constance’s real life older sister Norma as the star. Norma Talmadge was more of a dramatic actress and only made very few comedies but she did do this one with Ronnie. Synopsis: Kiki (Norma Talmadge), a poor young woman who sells newspapers on the street corners of Paris, is able to land a job singing and dancing at a nearby theater. While she is there, she invites herself into the life of the revue’s manager Victor (Ronald Colman), with whom she has fallen in love.

This movie too is quite a lot of fun. Kiki worms her way into the chorus, which is a bit of a disaster…

And at the end, in order to stretch time and to not have to leave Victor, she feigns a sudden onset of catalepsy…

This one’s a fun movie too, although my fave of these three is Her Night of Romance (despite it being the most convoluted one). A cool thing about these movies is that it’s mostly the women propelling the action. 1920s women sure were sassy, in a very good way. There is a down side to these silent films too, though: you can’t hear Ronald’s gorgeous voice…

(P.S. Should you care to watch any of these movies yourself, they are all availabe on Youtube for free.)

New beginnings

As of today I am all done with my old job! Woohoo! On to new beginnings and greener pastures.

Going away from my old job was a little weird. No one mentioned a farewell or anything and I didn’t want to ask. Just in case, I did have these little farewell gifts made for the whole team (20 or so people): a little jar with sweets and a sticker on it that said “It is not goodbye (‘doei’ and ‘dag’ both mean ‘goodbye’) but I’ll see you with a smile”.

I didn’t hear anything until this past Tuesday my manager contacted me and asked if we could meet on my final day, which was yesterday (on Thursday). I said ‘of course’. She asked me to book the meeting and a meeting room myself, it all felt like she really had no time to spare and this was just another little chore to tick off her list. So, I saw her yesterday and we chatted for a bit, which was pleasant but also a bit weird. “We haven’t spoken in a long time,” she said (yeah, duh, you cancelled on me twice when I planned something) and “Shall I remove you from our Microsoft Teams group today?” (um, no, seeing as no one’s here, so I’d like to leave a little goodbye message and tell them they can pick up their little gift with you). She gave me a nice bouquet of flowers and I saw 3 random colleagues whom I could personally give that little gift to. Earlier in the week I had also received a small bouquet of flowers and some ‘Merci’ chocolates at home from the team I had worked with for the most part. And that was that.

It just all felt a little off. Not that I needed or wanted a big farewell (heaven forbid!) and I’m staying within the same organization anyhow, but this just felt more like good riddance with a pasted smile than a friendly goodbye. Goes to show how good it is that I got out from there. Meanwhile, when I arrived home at the end of the afternoon, I found another bouquet of flowers waiting for me. This was from my new team, welcoming me. Very sweet, but so not necessary, as I had already gotten welcome flowers when I first started part time in the job back in February. The vibe in this new team is so different, way more my speed and I am thanking all my stars again that I made this transition.

On a side note, why is Greta Garbo underneath these flowers, you ask? This is an old desk that is quite big and came from my son’s room. We now use it as a work desk in our living room, replacing a tiny computer desk we had there before. The table has a glass plate and you can put pictures underneath it. We needed something quick while setting it up and I still had a drawer of old film posters and pictures that I could unearth. They used to hang in my bedroom before Mr E and I moved in together! I just never had the heart to throw them away and now they are in use again for the first time in 26 years. David Bowie and the two Richard Armitage pictures are more recent additions and I decided against including a Roman Holiday image as I have that around the house already elsewhere.

I still work from our dining room table for the most part, though, as we need a better chair at that desk. The one we have now doesn’t go high enough and my shoulders start aching when I sit there too long. I worked from there for a bit this morning so that I could easily look into our garden at the pretty scenery: it snowed (!!) last night. It really felt like spring with very pleasant temperatures earlier this week and now it feels like winter (for the first time this winter season, by the way, when it’s supposed to be spring now).

Anyway, enough babbling! I have new and much more fun work to get back to today. New beginnings indeed. 🙂