Day 9 cntd (13th June 2009)
The Windemere (South Kenton) 4 x ½ Courage Best £5.40
Three stations in, and three very close pubs – we could actually see the Windemere from the station platform. It was hard to miss to be fair – another huge old estate pub, well worn inside and out.
It had a large empty looking (at this point, anyway) main bar, with a carpet that could only be described as threadbare. The usual mainstream lagers were available, and only Courage Best on cask, which had almost certainly been sitting in the pipes for a day or two before we arrived. There was a large doorway through to the back bar, which contained a sizeable drop down TV screen, a pool table, and, oddly, a gigantic tin of Brasso. This immediately inspired Liz to start singing a fairly fruity rugby song involving the aforementioned polish. She tried to maintain that it was a song she’d learnt “at Brownies”, but I’ve certainly never heard Brown Owl use language like that.
Despite being old and careworn, The Windemere did actually have some nice features, like the grand, ornate fireplace in the main bar, and the “hidden” toilet door that had exactly the same wood panelling as the rest of the room. Well, it would be hidden, if it wasn’t for the little sign saying “Gents” on the middle panel. We supped up our lukewarm beer and checked the notice board beside the bar before we left. There was a large paper poster there making an impassioned appeal to the Housewives of South Kenton:
“HUSBAND CRECHE. Is he getting under your feet?
Why not leave him here while you shop?
Free Creche – Just pay for his drinks.”
As we walked back to the station there followed a heated discussion about the name of the pub and its place in classic literature, and in particular the question who actually wrote Lady Windemere’s Fan? (Oscar Wilde, said Keith, knowledgeably.) But who, in fact, was Lady Windemere, and more importantly, who was her “Fan”? Turns out it was apparently Rhino – he used to follow her everywhere.
Bootsy Brogan’s (North Wembley) 2 x Corona, 2 x ½ Courage Best £8.70
It just seemed to be a day for huge pubs. Bootsy Brogan’s is absolutely massive – a giant pub positioned in the middle of a giant car park (which they shamelessly use as a paying car park for Wembley Stadium). “Like a huge O’Neill’s circa 1996. Only somehow not crap” Said our notes.
Despite the fact that this was an unashamed Irish pub, they had actually bothered to keep some cask ale on the bar, and it was immediately evident that the Courage Best was in much better condition here than in the Windemere previously.
The whole thing has decor that would be best described as eccentric, but just about stays the right side of “Theme Pub”. The walls are decorated with rosettes from all the Irish rugby provinces as well as various Gaelic football teams, and there were very cool old and new pictures of Croke Park, which is one of the world’s great sporting venues. There is a sort of pool room down one side of the building, and towards the back on the other side was “Bootsy’s Kitchen” which appears to be a large carvery station set up for the Sunday Roasts they advertise around the bar.
“I didn’t realise we were that close” said Rhino, looking at a sign on the wall saying “Limerick, 7 miles”. We had no time for crap jokes however, we needed to get a move on, and it was probably going to take us ten minutes just to find our way back out of the pub, let alone walk back to the station. Time to look at the important things in life once more.
INTERLUDE: Essential Pub Conversations Number 11 – What are the most pointless film remakes ever?
I know, I know, we’re back on films, but sometimes you just have to react to what’s around you. We were standing on the station platform when we spotted a poster advertising the release of a new version of the “classic” horror film, Friday 13th.
“What is the bloody point of that?” opined Rhino, arguing that the original was hardly Oscar bait in the first place, and bemoaning the fact that there seemed to be so much of this about at the moment. I suppose the answer to the question is actually that it a) saves anyone having to bother with new ideas and b) will probably be a giant money spinner, given that there are 7 or 8 sequels that could be remade as well. But let’s gloss over that shall we, and concentrate on the fact that this is just lazy film making by all concerned, and why can’t Hollywood actually come up with something new instead?
Sounds like a subject we can expand on. There are many candidates out there, but what did our movie loving quartet consider to be the most pointless remakes ever made? There have been some genuinely great films produced from old material (Scarface, The Fly, The Magnificent Seven, or even The Departed), but we were thinking we should put some effort into scraping the bottom of the barrel. The key factors in choosing these celluloid oddballs were: why would you remake a perfectly brilliant film and risk ruining it? Or why would you remake a famous but rubbish film and not actually make it any better?
The Most Pointless Remakes of All Time (According to the Awesome Foursome)
Firstly, anything that has been described as a “re-imagining”. It’s a really stupid term, coined so that directors can pretend they are doing something more than just a remake. Tim Burton – you know we’re talking about Planet of the Apes here.
Michael Caine: What is it with crappy Caine remakes? With Alfie and Sleuth, Jude Law has a lot to answer for. And let’s not even get started on Stallone’s version of Get Carter. The jury is still out on the Italian Job remake though….
Asian Horror: Too numerous to mention, but it does seem that nobody in the US can cope with subtitles and therefore they need to do exact copies, only less good and featuring Americans. Ringu/The Ring, Ju-On/The Grudge, The Eye, and Dark Water.
Teen Horror: This is a big one. So many horror films from the Seventies were made featuring kids in peril with thin storylines and cheap production values, and have now been remade in the last couple of years with thin storylines and cheap production values – The Last House on the Left, Halloween, The Hills Have Eyes and My Bloody Valentine (not even 3D could redeem it). Exempt from this of course, is the Dawn of The Dead remake, which is ace, and doesn’t even feature teenagers.
The winner: Probably the single most pointless remake of all time has to be Psycho. The original is a landmark movie – something the audience had never seen before, fantastic performances, groundbreaking score etc etc etc. It still holds up brilliantly today, but oh no, Gus Van Sandt decided it needed updating, so went off and blew huge chunks of cash on a carbon copy – a shot for shot remake where every single component of the film is inferior to the original. Well done Gus.
Final word must go to The Magnificent Seven. This gets a special mention because not only is it a brilliant remake itself (based on Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai), but it also spawned another of the most pointless remakes of all time – Battle Beyond the Stars – which was a truly awful “Magnificent Seven in Space” type effort that even the presence of Robert Vaughan couldn’t save.
This conversation rumbled on, and inevitably expanded further, as we were cajoled into producing a list of films that we would like to see remade, so very quickly here’s what we ended up with –
Tank Girl (Liz’s favourite film)
The Sicilian (Great book – shocking film, with Christopher Lambert in the lead. Not only is he French, but he is also possibly the worst actor of all time.)
Animal House (Both suggested by Rhino for updates, but both already brilliant films)
Judge Dredd (Everything about the film looks great. Right up until the point where Stallone speaks)
Mamma Mia! remade as a horror film. Although Rhino argued that it already is.