Film Review: Christmas Vacation [dir. Jeremiah S Chechik; 1989]

I wonder if, in twenty or so years’ time, part of the pleasure of watching a screwball comedy made in 2011 will come from seeing what will, by then, have become ‘period details’. That’s certainly the case with this particular instalment of the National Lampoon series, which tells the story of creepy-as-ever Chevy Chase trying to bring his wife, children and in-laws together for a … Continue reading Film Review: Christmas Vacation [dir. Jeremiah S Chechik; 1989]


A few weeks ago the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, made a speech which generated a fair bit of controversy. Here’s why: “Parenthood,” he said, “involves massive sacrifice: of money, attention, time and emotional energy. Where today, in European culture with its consumerism and its instant gratification – ‘because you’re worth it’ – in that culture, where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for … Continue reading Orange


Here’s a little story to tide you over whilst walls and ceilings continue to topple around us. Two years ago, the Divine L and I hopped over to Bruges for a couple of days. We decided to have dinner at a cosy little fondue restaurant where the friendliness of the proprietor prompted us to engage him in some polite conversation, not least about the fact … Continue reading Yellow


A turkey neck simmering for two hours. Kilos of butter stacked in the fridge. Potato peelings everywhere. The signs are unmistakable: the year is drawing to a close. I cannot wait for the peace that follows Boxing Day, but I’m also rather fond of the manic preparation that goes into trying to ensure that everyone who comes over to our place is treated to a … Continue reading Mark


I don’t get Facebook. Yes, I know I’ve signed up to it, but that’s because of my insistence on holding on to the deluded belief that it’s little more than a global email address directory. If long lost friends want to try to find me on its pages, I have no problem with that at all. But of course, Facebook is so much more than … Continue reading Defaced


Everyone’s coming over to ours for Christmas this year. This is why the Divine L and I are feeling slightly perturbed by the fact that the bathroom doesn’t have a floor, the bathtub is in the hall and the kitchen (which, we thought, didn’t require any more attention) is currently being seen to by two loquacious gents who are repairing the repairs carried out by … Continue reading Timing


I went to a wonderful Christmas party the other day (thanks again for the invitation, J!) which convinced me that, despite my fears, English eccentricity is alive and well. Take this line from a speech given by one of the evening’s hosts: “And now for the Thank you’s. There will be four Thank you’s this evening. If you would care to clap after each one, … Continue reading Party