Saturday 29 September 2012

The Invisible Mancunian

I read a book when I was a teenager – and I loved it.

It was The Invisible Man by H.G.Wells, the story of a scientist who makes himself invisible and falls victim to all of the consequences of his actions.

I have recently been watching a science fiction series called Alphas and also enjoying that. Alphas is about a group of people with special abilities, some of which are very desirable. I started thinking about which ability I would like and my mind drifted back in time to when I read the masterpiece by Mr Wells.

I quite fancy possessing the ability to become invisible at will. Unlike the anti-hero in The Invisible Man however, I would like to change a few things.

If you have read The Invisible Man you will know that Wells thought of almost everything when it came to the drawbacks of invisibility.

First, in order to exploit you invisibility, you would have to take off all of your clothes. Unfortunately that would expose you to the elements, especially here in Britain, where the temperature can be quite unpleasant.

Walking around in the rain would leave a film of water over your naked invisible body, thus rendering you partially visible and scaring the hell out of passers-by. And that’s not to mention the dirt that would cling to your feet and hands as you padded down the street. You would look very strange indeed.

Most horrible of all would be the need to eat. Imagine food being visible as you chewed it in your mouth and then swallowed it, being able to watch its progress as it travels down to your stomach. Worse, and something I don’t think Wells wanted to mention, would be the natural process that converts food to energy – and then to waste.

I don’t really want to imagine seeing an invisible man who needs to go to the toilet.

If I were offered the ability to become invisible, I would accept it with the proviso that everything I wore, everything I ate and everything I touched also became invisible. This would enable me, for example, to carry money down the street without making people gasp in astonishment as a wad of ten pound notes floated past them.

Now then – having accepted this ability – what would I do?

I can sense your dread, dear reader, anticipating all sorts of nastiness as the evil part of me rose to the surface. What you have to understand, though, is that deep down I am a nice guy with no desire to perform any acts that are criminal or hurtful (unless it involves humiliation of people who deserve it); what you need to understand most about me is that I am a mischievous imp. Mrs PM does indeed sometimes call me The Imp when I am in the mood to have a bit of fun at her expense.

One of the biggest benefits of invisibility, for me, is the fact that since nobody can see me, I can go anywhere I choose.

This, I think, would be my first way of exploiting my ability.

I would go to London and sneak in Number 10 Downing Street, causing mayhem at the cabinet meetings, mainly to George Osborne. After that I would haunt the Houses of Parliament by throwing water at random politicians as they started pontificating and lying to the public.

My next target would be musicians, although I would only use my invisibility to sneak onto concerts and join my heroes on stage as they performed to an adoring audience.

In a similar way I would sneak into major sporting events and I may even be tempted to administer justice on cheating footballers. I am sure you have seen a Premiership footballer, paid £200,000 a week, tumble into the penalty area as if he has been shot by a sniper from the stands, sometimes gaining a penalty - an unfair reward for his dishonesty. Such cheating would be stamped out by my invisible alter ego. Although I would be tempted to actually injure them, I am not a violent man at all so I would wait until the trainer came on and then assault the cheating wretch with the magic sponge or whatever other painful means I could extract from his bag. I would then pursue the cheat throughout the match, tripping him up at every opportunity, pulling down his shorts, slapping his face or yelling in his ear as the ball approached him.

Other targets for my mischief would be people like Simon Cowell; I would be merciless. Sharon Osbourne threw water over him – for me it would be indelible black ink.

I would of course, become a fly on the wall and spy on people. I have always been nosey and the thought of listening to people having secret meetings or making crucial decisions in a locked room would simply be too irresistible.

Imagine being able to find out what really happens in American politics?

I could combine my love of travel, with my curious nature, to travel free in first class to America, stay in an empty suite in the best hotels and sneak into various government buildings to find out if aliens have really visited planet Earth or whether George W. Bush really did fix the election.

Even more exciting would be the ability to “meet” celebrities. Of course, I would want to avoid revealing my invisibility so I would somehow get close to them when they were meeting ordinary people and then pop back into the visible world armed with an autograph book and a quip.

My travels would not be restricted to just the United States. There are many places worth visiting and invisibility would give me the opportunity to travel freely and in great comfort, eating the best foods and sampling the delights of the elite all for free, without anybody knowing that I was there or ripping them off.

Technically, if I did such a thing, it would be slightly criminal as I would be getting something for nothing, but my moral compass would accept such actions. I mean, after all, if a hotel room is empty, what would be wrong with using the bed? How about walking around an expensive restaurant cherry picking the best food? I would only be eating scraps (just lots of them). And anyway, people tend to leave food anyway. What about sneaking into concerts and sporting events for free? I wouldn’t technically be taking anybody’s seat would I?

I could live with myself.

And I would write a book about my exploits – imagine what a fun read that would be.

So be careful, dear reader; if you suddenly feel a presence next to you when you are out and about, or a bit of food goes missing from your plate when you are in a top class restaurant, or you see a bucket of ink poured over the head of an obnoxious arse – it might be The Invisible Mancunian.

Don’t forget – I love to travel so an Invisible Imp might just turn up in your neighbourhood wherever you live.

Rest assured, though, that I will not do anything nasty – mischievous but fun.

Over to you: what would YOU do if you suddenly gained the power of invisibility?

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Britain - Your Questions Answered

Regular readers will know that I am British – or maybe just a weirdo from Britain.

The year 2012 has actually been quite a year for our little islands and I’m sure that the world has noticed us a little bit more than usual.

The Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and the Paralympics have all helped to put us on the map (we have always been there anyway – just off the North West coast of France) but perhaps more people have taken notice of us this year.

On my travels, people have asked me quite a lot of questions about my home country and in order to educate you, if you are from outside our islands, I thought I would share some of those questions – and, indeed, answer them.

I have genuinely been asked some of the questions below – others are just a few I stole from the internet with the aid of my good friend Mr Google.

The answers are all genuinely true – well mostly – possibly.

Do you live in London?

All people in the UK live in London – that’s 62 million of us. There is no other city or town in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. 

We were all born there too. 

When the Romans invaded Britain in AD 43, led by Emperor Londinium, he was so enamoured with the River Thames that he decreed it to be the site of the greatest city outside Rome. 

Why do American films always have a British bad guy?

The answer is simple; we are all evil megalomaniacs who want to take over the world – all 62 million of us – even James Bond. 

It started with the Beatles in the 1960’s and since then we have conquered most of the known world, in a subtle way, of course.

Recently they were questions about Barack Obama when Donald Trump accused him of being born in Kenya. This is of course wrong. I can now reveal that Barack Obama was born in London, in the same street as me.

Furthermore, Vladimir Putin’s real name is Vince Putin and he was also born in London. 

Have you met the Queen of England?

Liz and I are the best of friends. We have afternoon tea every day. In fact, she has contributed several posts to this blog. Can you guess which?

How can you be British AND English?

England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are all aliases for Britain, which is an alias for London and also the United Kingdom. Since we all come from the UK we are also Ukrainian.

Why do you all drink tea?

At 4pm in Britain, everything stops for tea. We down tools, go to a tea room where we are served lashings of tea served by men with silver trays, snooty faces and whose name is Jeeves or Perkins. Accompanying the tea are scones, tea cakes and a stiff upper lip.

It is tea that gives us all rotten teeth and stiff upper lips (due to grimacing when we drink an extremely strong brew).

Why is your beer warm?

Our beer is not warm – it is served at room temperature, which in Britain averages -10°C.

Does everyone in Britain sound like the Queen?

Yes. This young man from Scotland has a perfect British accent… 

As does this guy from Birmingham (I used to talk a bit like him - really!):

Why do you spell words incorrectly?

Nobody in the United Kingdom can spell. Those guys across the pond have got it right.

I have been taking lessons to improve my spelling, actually.

I now know that:

Colour should be Color

Tap should be Faucet

Nappy should be Diaper

British should be Limey

Are you impressed?

What is a bloke?

The official definition of bloke in the Oxford English Dictionary is “not a woman”.

What language do they speak in England?

We all speak Latin.

How do you play cricket?

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

Why is Monty Python funny?

I don’t know – you tell me.

I have a friend in London called John Smith. Do you know him?

There are 30,000 people in London called John Smith – and I know them ALL!

Who feeds the Loch Ness Monster?

There’s a little Scottish fellow who lives in London, who travels 560 miles to Loch Ness every week, with a lorry full of fish and spends three days throwing them into the Loch before setting off back to London to fill up his lorry for the following week.

Why are British people so grumpy?

Because we are constantly asked stupid questions.

And finally …

If you have any genuine and serious questions about life in Britain, please feel free to ask me and I will try to give you some serious answers (instead of flippant and facetious answers like those above).

Saturday 15 September 2012

The Art Of Underachievement

When I look back on my life, I do so with a sense of satisfaction, a touch of sadness, a lot of euphoria and smidgeon of pride. I have achieved enough to keep me happy and one thing is certain: I have not sold my soul.

I am comfortable and the balance in my life is not that far from perfect; it could be better but it could also be far, far worse.

Yet there are certain people in the world who might look at my life and call me a failure – or at least an underachiever.

Such people rule the world; such people sacrifice everything to climb the corporate and social ladder. They have one goal in mind – to be the best – or even the best of the best – or, absurdly, the best of the best of the best – you catch my drift I’m sure.

Such people look down on me because, in their eyes, I have the potential to move on in life. They probably look down on you too, dear reader.

I have a problem with this philosophy and there are good reasons why.Let’s take one of these rulers, these overachievers and give him a name: Mr Motivation.

Mr Motivation is driven, so driven in fact that he is blinkered. His focus is his career or his determination to climb the corporate ladder, or to achieve absolute greatness in whatever field he has targeted and he will do anything to get there.

While his ambitions may be admirable, the cost of achieving those ambitions is too high for somebody like me.

I will illustrate what I mean with a conversation between me, as an underachiever, and Mr Motivation as an overachiever.

Mr Motivation: What have you achieved in life?

Plastic Mancunian: I have a job, I have a lovely lady, two kids, a car a house, three cats and I get to travel, write a blog and relax as and when the need or the desire arises. I’ve achieved enough.

Mr Motivation: Sounds dull. How much do you earn?

Plastic Mancunian: Enough to keep me happy and pay the bills.

Mr Motivation: Well, looking at your car and your house – and the area where you live, you just seem ordinary to me.

Plastic Mancunian: That’s what I am – an ordinary bloke.

Mr Motivation: How boring. You could be so much more. You have a degree and you are obviously intelligent. Why are you not running your company? How can you be happy with your life as it is?

Plastic Mancunian: I prefer a decent work/life balance. I go to work; I do my job; I come home; I do the things I want to do.

Mr Motivation: Pointless. You should strive to be the best. That’s the kind of drivel I hear from underachievers everywhere. Let me tell you what I have achieved in the last ten years. I am the managing director of a multimillion pound company. Last week alone I secured the biggest deal in the history of my niche. I drive a Bentley, own two Porsches and a seven bedroomed house in the Cheshire countryside. I climbed to the top in record time. I work my fingers to the bone. I don’t just “do my job”; I excel at my job. I go above and beyond the call of duty every single day of the week. I work as many hours as I can to achieve what I want – and it doesn’t stop there. I want to move on and earn millions.

Plastic Mancunian: Nobody cares.

Mr Motivation: Excuse me?

Plastic Mancunian: Nobody cares. Of all the billions of people who live on this planet, how many people do you think give a damn about your promotions, your cars, your house or the fact that you secured a multimillion pound deal?

Mr Motivation: Aren’t you impressed?

Plastic Mancunian: Not really. And let me tell you this – neither is anybody else. Your friends may congratulate you but really only those closest to you will care. Joe Bloggs in the street won’t give two hoots. So – you’ve bought a new Ferrari. Big deal. I’d like to drive one, and I’d be happy to be a passenger if you offered to drive me around – but impressed? Nah!!

Mr Motivation: That’s so sad.

Plastic Mancunian: Why?

Mr Motivation: It just shows that you have no goals to better yourself.

Plastic Mancunian: Do you believe that you are better than me because you have material goods? Because you have sacrificed so much time to get where you are? My soul is intact – is yours?

Mr Motivation: What do you mean?

Plastic Mancunian: Well I can’t help but notice that you are carrying a Blackberry that has been chirruping constantly during our conversation.

Mr Motivation: That’s because I am important. I am constantly on call and need to be able to react to get things done – to make more money – to be the best.

Plastic Mancunian: But it’s Saturday afternoon. How many hours work do you do on average?

Mr Motivation: I work 60 sometimes 70 hours a week. You have to do that if you want to be the best.

Plastic Mancunian: Okay – but that phone is still chirruping – so you probably work longer.

Mr Motivation: I reap the rewards. You can see where I am.

Plastic Mancunian: Well I think you’ve sacrificed your soul to be the best. The problem is that aiming “to be the best” while admirable, is not always achievable and it comes at a cost – you are blinkered and don’t see life outside your tunnel vision. Tell me, when was the last time you had a decent holiday? Or spent quality time with your wife and kids? When was the last time you relaxed?

Mr Motivation: You’re just lazy. I am hard working and that’s why I am where I am and you will remain stuck in a rut.

Plastic Mancunian: I’m happy in my rut. I have ambitions but not materialistic ambitions. I want to be happy and I know what I need to do to make me happy. The difference between you and I is that I haven’t sold my soul to achieve it. I realise my own limitations. And I don’t want to be unhealthy because of it.

Mr Motivation: Unhealthy?

Plastic Mancunian: Yes – stressed. Don’t tell me you aren’t stressed.

Mr Motivation: Absolutely not. Nevertheless, my goals demand constant attention and until I achieve them, I am on edge. I work best when on edge.

Plastic Mancunian: You’re stressed then. Tell me something else: can I be the best?

Mr Motivation: Yes – everybody can be the best.

Plastic Mancunian: That’s not true though is it? How can everybody be the best? Surely only those people who are the best can be the best. How can everybody, say, in the UK “be the best”?

Mr Motivation: Now you’re just being facetious.

Plastic Mancunian: But I’m not though. If you go for a promotion with two colleagues and you all work your bollocks off – and you achieve that promotion and that seven figure salary – what have you achieved? Sure – your family might be happy at more money – but the two guys who failed will not be the best, will they? They will have failed. And you will have worked stupid hours, sacrificing your life and another chunk of your soul, just to say that you are the best – until the time you fail. Is the money really worth it if you can’t enjoy it? Will the seven figure salary really make your life easier if it means that you now get 200 emails more a day, have to work every weekend for the next six years, only get a week or two off and have to take your laptop with you if you go on holiday? That lifestyle is not for me. I’m happy with my own balanced, stress free life.

Mr Motivation: You’re an underachiever.

Plastic Mancunian: If that's what you think then I'm proud of it.

Thursday 6 September 2012

The Great Car Park In The Sky

I bought a car in December 1999. It was a three year old bright shiny blue Ford Escort.

I loved it.

And now, after 13 years, it’s gone to that great car park in the sky.

And I’m sad.

People who know me might think I’m a hypocrite because I have been known to mercilessly mock those boy racers who seem to be in love with their cars. It is almost as if their car has been an extension of their manhood (and I’m not trying to be rude here – well maybe I am; the phrase Big Car; Small Penis leaps to mind).

“Look at me! My car can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3 nanoseconds. It roars past every other car on the motorway because, it is a machine for a MAN!”

Or as I like to think “a machine for a MEATHEAD!”

To me a car has always been something to make my life easier. If it gets me from A to B in a reasonable time, that’s good enough for me. It doesn’t have to have a body that gives meatheads orgasms, it does not have to have a gargantuan engine that eats bears for breakfast; it doesn’t have to be faster that the Starship Enterprise racing at Warp 10 to save a planet from the Domesday Machine.

All it needs to do is work. All it needs to do is get me to where I need to go, carrying everything I need when I get there.

My trusty blue Ford Escort did that.

It did that for 13 years.

It wasn’t fast but it had a reasonably sized boot, a modestly sized engine and radio that allowed me to sing along with rock songs at an embarrassingly high volume as I drove.

Only once did it let me down in all that time. I was on the way to Yorkshire and it broke down on the motorway. A hasty call to a breakdown company soon rectified the situation and a quick repair later and it was as good as new.

My trusty old Ford Escort took me, Mrs PM and the two lads to Eurodisney in Paris, all the way from Manchester, via London, Dover and some beautiful villages in northern France, even driving on the wrong side of the road, as these mainland Europeans tend to do.

My faithful car negotiated hellish conditions in the centre of Paris, sparring with French cars driven by angry lunatics whose sole mission was to destroy every other vehicle on the road.

Recently we had two horrific winters with huge quantities of snow and temperatures that plummeted to 10 to 15 degrees below freezing; yet my car started first time every day and somehow got me to work and back despite the conditions causing chaos for other road vehicles.

My car was my ally, my trusty sidekick – my friend.

And then came the day, three years ago when the mechanic uttered a sentence that sent shivers of dread down my spine.

“This car is nearing the end of its life.”

The annual MOT was due and it failed because of deteriorating bodywork. All of the rain and misery of British weather had taken its toll.

Happily, the mechanic told me that he could repair the damage with his faithful welding kit.

“The engine is fine – but I would consider getting rid of it.”

Mrs PM and I talked about the situation and decided to keep the car.

The following year, the problem was the same.

“The engine is fine but it needs more welding – and we’re running out of bits to weld to. It will be fine though. But I seriously recommend you get rid of it.”

I remember staring at it out of the window with its new body repair in place as the rain cascaded down its outer shell. My Escort seemed happy, content to sit in the rain waiting to serve me.

I decided to leave it for another year.

Last year, the mechanic said nothing and against all odds, the car passed its MOT with only a few minor issues due to natural wear and tear. I was delighted.

Last week, however, I was told the bad news.

“I can get it through its MOT but it will cost you a lot of money. The body work on the other side of the car is in a bad way. I just don’t think it’s worth it. The engine is fine though.”

The state of the engine was little consolation. I imagined driving around in a rust bucket with bits of the bodywork dropping off in the wind until I was left sitting there open to all the elements with a fine engine but nothing else.

I had to make a decision. And sadly I made it.

My faithful, dependable and loyal car is no more. I told my work colleagues. Some of them mocked me:

“Finally you’re getting rid of that bloody shed on wheels.”

Others were shocked. One guy said:

“Dave – I almost fell off my chair when I heard about your car.”

One guy was totally sympathetic:

“I know how you feel. It’s really hard getting rid of them.”

The boy racer gene took over in most cases as people urged me to splash out on a monster girl magnet with an engine that could get me to Mars and back.

Last Saturday I bought my new car. I picked it up yesterday. It is a three year old silver Vauxhall Astra.

And it is beautiful.

And it drives like a dream. Like the Ford Escort, it is reliable, trustworthy and so far has managed to get me where I want to go, with all of the things I need when I get there.

As I drove back from work this afternoon, I took an alternative route via the motorway and allowed the boy racer gene to kick in for a brief moment. I put my foot down and my new car responded, accelerating in time to a progressive rock track on my flashy new radio. I looked in the mirror and saw a man, smiling as he sang along to a song about a car; Red Barchetta by my favourite band Rush:

Wind in my hair
Shifting and drifting
Mechanical music
Adrenaline surge...

Well-weathered leather
Hot metal and oil
The scented country air
Sunlight on chrome
The blur of the landscape
Every nerve aware

That man was me.

And I realised that I had found a new friend.

And in honour of my Ford Escort, here is Red Barchetta. OK - I know the car wasn't red and it wasn't a Barchetta and I didn't race it along the highways of Canada.

Nevertheless I shall always remember my trusted companion of 13 years when I hear this song.

I will miss you.

Saturday 1 September 2012

A Movie Meme

I am a big lover of films (or if you are American, “movies”) and I simply couldn’t resist a meme that I have just stumbled across – stolen originally by the mob at Sunday Stealing; now stolen again by me.

Here we go:

1. What is your all-time favourite movie costume?

That’s a tough question for me because there have been so many great costumes. However, being a shallow science fiction loving geek, I will choose what many of you may think is a bland and tedious choice. The Matrix trilogy. For any full blooded males, however, can I just remind you of Trinity’s outfit? That swings it for me.

2. What classic film would you nominate for a remake?

I would really love to see a remake of War of the Worlds but more closely related to the novel itself and set in the last few years of the 19th century in Britain. Don’t get me wrong; I love the two versions that have made it to the silver screen but I was disappointed that the remake that Tom Cruise starred in a year or two ago was set in modern day America. I guess it had to satisfy the demands of the American public but I think a gritty version set in old England would definitely be a winner.

3. Name your favourite femme fatale.

Does Uma Thurman’s performance in Pulp Fiction count as a femme fatale? Who cares – I nominate her anyway.

4. Name the best movie title.

There are loads of great film titles from the sublime to the ridiculous. 

Here are great some titles I like for good films:

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
American Psycho
Inglourious Basterds
Shaun Of The Dead
Cowboys and Aliens

And here are one or two good titles for utterly dreadful films:

Sex Lives Of The Potato Men
Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes
I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle
Killer Klowns From Outer Space
The Ghost In The Invisible Bikini

5. Describe the worst performance by a child actor that you’ve ever seen.

I have a problem with films with precocious brats as the stars. I love kids generally but spoilt brats with a “sense of humour” make me reach for my soapbox. Being a sad geek I will have to choose Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

That film was so wrong in places and one of them is the portrayal of Annakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader) as a child. And if you mention Jar Jar Binks I might just have to reach for my soapbox again.

6. Who gets your vote for most tragic movie monster?

I would say Godzilla in the 1990’s remake. I was with Godzilla all the way and wanted him (her?) to incinerate most of the characters in the film. What happened to the poor beast was a tragedy. America wins again – GRRR!!!

7. What is the one Western that you would recommend to anybody?

I’m torn between For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. They are both brilliant films starring one of my favourite actors of all time – the wonderful Clint Eastwood. 

I recommend them both.

8. Who is your ideal movie-viewing partner?

I would like to say Mrs PM as we partially share the same taste in films. However, she does like some absolute garbage (like Marley and Me – she dragged me and my two lads to the pictures to see that dreadful load of sentimental bilge and all three of us had to share the vomit bucket). 

I would also say my two lads but they like some pretty weird stuff as well. 

So my ideal movie watching party is a clone of me because I am the only person who likes the same films as me.

9. Has a film ever made you want to change your life? If so, what was the film?

The Wedding Planner made me choose never ever to watch a film starring Jennifer Lopez and/or Matthew McConaughy ever again.

10. Think of one performer that you truly love. Now think of
one scene/movie/performance of theirs that is too uncomfortable for you to

Clint Eastwood again – from Paint Your Wagon – singing “I Talk To The Trees”.


11. On the flip side, think of one really good scene/performance/movie
from a performer that you truly loathe.

I like action movies but the worst “action” star is probably Steven Seagal. He simply cannot act and his films are generally awful. That said, I actually really like Under Siege – despite the fact that he is the star. 

12. What is your favourite romantic comedy?

I generally think that romantic comedies are awful. The formula is the same, the plot is the same and the acting is lame in most if not all of them. 

There is one such film that I like though, even though I am not a huge fan of the main stars. 

That film is Notting Hill

Why do I like it? Because it is quintessentially British and I genuinely like the characters.

13. What is your favourite drama?

There are so many to choose from – but I have to say that the one that keeps popping to the surface is The Shawshank Redemption. Ask me again next week and I will choose a different one, I’m sure.

14. Worst film you've seen?

There are so many to choose from but I have to go for Highlander 2: The Quickening for the simple reason that I loved the original film, Highlander and this turd of a movie completely ruined the magic of that first film. I struggle to watch the original now because this cesspit of a sequel, a film that belongs at the bottom of Satan’s toilet, reminds me that all is not what it is meant to be.

15. How do you feel about the majority of romantic films being labelled "chick flicks"?

Let’s be honest; they are really for women because most men I know can’t stand them and, like me, only agree to be dragged to the cinema to see them as a consequence of dragging their ladies to the cinema on a previous occasion to see a “highly explosive action thriller”. 

The term “chick flick” may be a sexist way for them to be described but my feeling is that they should be consigned to a box labelled “For Ladies” or something similar.

I know that I have to suffer penance in future for dragging Mrs PM to see Avengers Assemble (or The Avengers if you are in America) earlier this year – oh and The Dark Knight Rises last week (despite the fact that she liked both of them).

16. Favourite on-screen couple?

I presume you are talking about male and female here. I’m going to choose John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis in A Fish Called Wanda. I love this film – a brilliantly quirky and hilarious film (the main reason I chose it).

17. Favourite off-screen couple?

I don’t have a favourite off screen couple because I don't care about celebrities. . Me and Mrs PM perhaps?

18. Best kiss in a movie?

The two dogs in Lady And The Tramp.

19. Favourite scene?

Again there are so many to choose from. However, here is one that leaps to mind immediately. The lobby scene from The Matrix – full of guns, bullets and great music.

Oh – and the freeway scene from The Matrix Reloaded: cars, guns, thrills and utter mayhem.

Oh - and the various action scenes from Inception, like Paris folding up on itself and … and …

I think I need a separate post for this subject.

20. Who are 2 film characters you wished had gotten together, but never did?

I think James Bond and Jason Bourne really should be put together, either united against a really nasty villain or, probably better still, against each other.

21. Two actors you think would have great chemistry, but have never done a film together?

It would have to be a few years ago, when both actors were younger, but I think Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford should have made an action movie together. Sadly, poor old Clint is just too old now (actually so is Harrison Ford).

22. Favourite song in a film (doesn't have to be from a musical)?

Well, being a massive rock fan – it has to be this from the Vin Diesel  film XXX.Not the greatest film but the song introduced me to the band – and I haven’t looked back since.

Just watch those pyrotechnics!

23. Best score from a film?

I think a lot of film themes are modern day classical music, powerful and beautiful. A recent favourite is the theme from Inception. Just listen to this wonderful piece or orchestral magic – it is truly spine-tingling.

24. Best film quote?

Again there are millions to choose from. Here are a couple of my favourites:

25. A film you'd recommend that is a "Must See" for us to watch?

Apart from the ones I’ve mentioned above? Well - not one film – but three – the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

That was an interesting meme. Please feel free to steal it because I love listening to people’s views on films, particularly if they have recommendations.

Over to you, dear reader - what is your favourite film?