Sunday, May 04, 2008

I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour

The Coles made their debut at Cheltenham Spa’s Cineworld complex last evening. The latest Mike Leigh offering, Happy-Go-Lucky, lured us over and I am pleased it did so. I have long been a fan of Leigh’s work, from his early made-for-TV stuff like Abigail’s Party and Nuts In May to his later, mainly fairly bleak, features such as Naked, Vera Drake and Career Girls. Happy-Go-Lucky was, er, happy-go-lucky in comparison but the trademark emphasis on character and insightful glances into ordinary lives were evident. One doesn’t watch this director’s work for gripping and twist-dominated plot-lines. The film focuses on optimistic and overtly cheerful primary school teacher, Poppy, and her interactions with flat-mate, driving instructor (supremely played by Eddie Marsan), colleagues, family and, towards the end of the feature, a new love. The dialogue was sharp, witty and had the adlibbed feel that one associates with Leigh and, apart from one bizarre interlude where the heroine meets and interacts with a tramp late one night, the gentle but compelling plot proved fascinating.

Well, I fully expected the famed Gloucester club to lose, and possibly fairly heavily, against the rugby side known as London Wasps. As it happened, our young and brave team scored two tries in the first ten minutes and held out magnificently in the face of some relentless pressure from the home side not only to vanquish, but to deny the black-clad south-easterners a losing bonus point. I listened online and was entertained merrily. My word, it was tense. I salute these heroes. Next week, Bath visits Gloucester in a battle to discover which West Country outfit shall top the table at the end of the traditional season. The Somerset fellows are on fine form, destroying a powder-puff Saracens at The Rec yesterday, but key Gloucester players (the noble Bortolami, Lamb, Wood, the young prince Simpson-Daniel, Qera inter alia) appear to be in the form of their lives right now. It should be a cracker.

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