The Guard (2011)

“I thought only black lads were drug dealers … and Mexicans?” interrupts Galway Garda Sergeant Gerry Boyle as the visiting (black) FBI agent Wendell Everett is delivering his briefing. I groaned as I watched this clip before being persuaded to go along and see The Guard.

However, my fear that this would be In the Heat of The Night played for cheap laughs was entirely misplaced. It is a light, whimsical film with an outstanding performance by Brendan Gleeson as the eponymous policeman who has a touch of the Lieutenant Columbo about him – outwardly simple with an underlying depth and intelligence.

The villains too are multi-dimensional. Whilst undoubtably ruthless they are also capable of discussing the writings of various philosophers as they drive through the night, and in this I was reminded of some of Vincent and Jules’ conversations in Pulp Fiction.

It’s a fantastic, funny debut by writer and director John Michael McDonagh and I look forward to seeing more from him soon.

Highway 61 Revisited …

… and many others, when Shôn and I met up again yesterday to reminisce about our working holiday in USA.

It has been thirty five years, no less, since we last saw each other. Mary Kay from Cleveland had stumbled across my 1976 diary posts and got in touch last week. This prompted me to find Shôn who is now living less than half an hour from me!

It was an almost surreal experience. We were the same people; we shared the same vivid memories of Cleveland and our road trip. Yet we have more than half a lifetime of not knowing each other. Neither of us has entirely escaped the ravages of time, and we are now both clean shaven. So we don’t look the same as those two students way back then.

It was nice – a bit like rediscovering an old pair of shoes at the back of the wardrobe. Shoes which are familiar, easy to slip on, yet which feel strange. Comfortable but different.

Carol from Cleveland is visiting the UK soon. It would be great if there was a way for the three of us to meet up once more.