“Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”fight club

When people learn about my love of movies they always ask the inevitable question “what’s your favourite film?”. The truth, I love films too much to narrow it down to one or even a few, but that isn’t good enough.  People want to know what I love in order to agree and justify their own favourites, or disagree the way we all ridicule sporting pundits on TV.  So what do I do?  I give people two or three of my favourites; usually a few classics like Some Like it Hot and Casablanca coupled with something more recent, Fight Club.  More recently I have added Oldboy and Pans Labyrinth to the rotation but the film I want to talk about is Fight Club.

As a motion picture it remains a masterpiece, but it has become something else.  Where it could have become dated and irrelevant, but it has become something different, it has a marker point in history.  It isn’t a social realist statement, it isn’t a historical document, it is more a satirical look at the lost and disillusioned feeling as the century drew to a close.  The hope and dreams of the mid 90’s Britpop era was losing its lustre.  It wasn’t like the Watergate, Altamont, Manson Family end to the 60’s.  It was a time when the bubble of superficiality was about to burst.  A time without direction or meaning.tyler durden

But then things changed.  Tyler Durden tells us that “we are the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place” he bemoans the lack of a great war or great depression.  But two years later the event that defined our generation happened, the terrorist attacks and the wars that followed will forever overshadow the our generation.  But the question lingers, has the unthinkable become so commonplace that it is the new norm? The once highly anticipated and Chilcot Inquiry seems to have been forgotten or at least overshadowed in the mess of Brexit and the leadership struggles within our main political parties.  But then Fight Club wasn’t foreseeing the terrorist atrocities or the wars that will follow, it wasn’t even a call to arms to the disillusioned, it was just a mirror on society telling us that there was something wrong and something had to give.  The financial crash/crisis of 2008 was the inevitable outcome of the generation described “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”

So what followed? what are the movies that have defined the era that Fight Club? Kathryn Bigelow is responsible for the two most obvious films of the era, The Hurt Locker (2008) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012).  The best depictions of the financial crisis came from J. C. Chandor, Margin Call (2012) and Adam McKay, The Big Short (2015).  But there is more to it than war and recession.  Alfonso Cuarn asked us to explore what it is to be human in Children of Men (2006), Joel & Ethan Coen did something very similar but in a very different way in No Country for Old Men (2007).  Park Chan-wook taught us about vengeance in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003) and Lady Vengeance (2005).  Christopher Nolan explored the despair of the time in The Dark Knight (2008) while Richard Linklater gave us hope in Before Sunset (2004) and Boyhood (2014), Sofia Coppola gave us both despair and hope with Lost in Translation (2003). As a body of work Clint Eastwood, despite a few missteps (Hereafter (2010), J. Edgar (2011), Jersey Boys 2014)) probably offers the best overview of the era with: Letters from Iwo Jima &  Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Mystic River (2003), Changeling (2008), Gran Torino (2008) and American Sniper  (2014).fight club

So where does this leave Fight Club?  If we are not already there, we will soon be at a place where we can enjoy David Fincher’s masterpiece as just a film without the weight or shadow of history to distract or detract.  If you haven’t seen it recently take a look and remind yourself just how great it is.

breakfast at tiffany's

1960:  Swedish actress Anita Ekberg plays the glamorous Sylvia in the fountain scene from 'La Dolce Vita', directed by Federico Fellini.  (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

1 million years bc



After a busy May, I only saw three movies in June for a number of reasons: A holiday (that also included me performing best man duties at a wedding), European football championships, lots of Films I couldn’t be bothered to see and few Films I would have liked to have seen that were not being shown at my local cinema.  The three I did see are:

Race: The story of legendry athlete Jesse Owens culminating in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  Beautifully shot and well directed but limited by an unimagantive anf by the numbers script and structure.   Stephan James is excellent as Owens.  An interesting side point, Leni Riefenstahl (played by Carice van Houten from Game of Thrones) appears as a character in the story, she is more sympathetically treated than in other films and documentaries about the era.Race

The conjuring 2: Worthy sequel that is only really let down by its lack of originality.  There are tense moments a scares aplenty, but it does nothing we didn’t see in the first film.  Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmigaare excellent, Franka Potente is wasted in a small part.The conjuring 2

Independence Day: Resurgence:  Surprisingly enjoyable sequel hits all the same notes as the original.  Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman are as great as you would expect.  Liam Hemsworth and Maika Monroe are the standouts of the new cast.  Enough fun most of the time to forget the absence of Will Smith.Independence Day Resurgence

Not much to choose between them, all three had good and bad points, the movie of the month is:The conjuring 2 poster

I share Paul’s disappointment at England not winning the game and with it the group. Paul seems relatively happy that he will be heading back to the south of France. It works out for me too, I will performing best man duties at a wedding, so am pleased to be playing Monday. Every cloud!


The day of the game and England can decide where they finish in this group and travel to for the knock out phase. Win and it’s a Saturday afternoon game in Paris. The best option for all concerned. Of course though this is England and we don’t do things the easy way. A chilled out morning getting ready, dinner in the apartment and a tootle on the bus into town to meet some of the other England boys. Enough time to grab a few beers before heading via a short tram ride to the stadium a few KM north of the city centre.

The centre of town was now buzzing pretty much taken over by the English spilling out into the streets all singing and in good spirits. I’m guessing most have been on it all day. The tram was rammed and was turned into a rocking singing carriage the…

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The day before the game. It’s Sunday and what to do. Figure out the transport system and thankfully that was simple enough. Saint-Étienne seems to be the most forward and planned city to host the Euros so far. They have really got into the spirit with bunting and signs everywhere. They have produced maps and guide books and have a transport app that you can download that allows you to buy tickets at a special euro2016 price on your phone. €3 a day for full travel on the bus and tram network. This city is a winner already.

We ventured out to the west of the city to Firminy home to Site Le Corbusier a famous architect who was given the space of an old mining town and allowed to produce his largest urban complex. And boy did he like concrete. It reminds me of our once beloved central Birmingham…

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Paul has made it to Saint-Étienne in preparation for Englands final group game. The name Saint-Étienne brings back memories of the 90’s: the good, the band Saint-Étienne, the bad, England’s penalties defeat to Argentina in the ’98 world cup. Let’s hope Monday’s final group game is more rewarding.


No blog yesterday as to be honest nothing much happened. After a full day of rain on our last day in Tourcoing this was my highlight.

This was followed by one final night at the drop out bar called Le Dof featuring all our favourite characters from the last three nights. Mo the bar lady, Sasha the owner, Ahmed the bouncer, Pepe the Portugese dwarf, Mickey the Pirate, Luigi the Milan fan, Lionel the Richie, Greg the crazy Frenchman and Ricky the Rentboy. Along with a smattering of English fans it was if nothing else a most entertaining evening.

Time to leave Tourcoing and head back South for our next journey. Up bright and early today for another travel day with three trains to catch to Lille, Lyon and eventually Saint-Etienne home to our final group game on Monday. And I can surprisingly report that for the first time this…

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Paul is surprisingly coherent after a night celebrating Englands victory over Wales:


It’s just past 3am and this is usual fodder for me. Shit. Can’t go to bed. Need to write the blog before I sleep. Yes it’s a late night. England won. And it’s been some night. Yes it’s a blog about football again.

It started off with a morning trip via the trains from Tourcoing to Lille and then onto Lens. It was raining outside and via the joys of another Stan Collymore Periscope video pissing it down in Lens. So raincoats on and no shorts and shades today we realised we were no longer in the south of France. For once all our planned trains ran according to times and we arrived in little ole Lens.

The train station modelled on a locomotive. Step back and you can see it. I’m sure many an England fan will have missed that. We got off the train to lots of the…

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