Fawlty Towers

Series or films that we watched when we were younger always make us wonder where the actors are nowadays and what they look like, especially if they are no longer in the public eye. One of my favourite comedy series from the 70s is the BBC’s “Fawlty Towers”, based on a real hotel owner in Cornwall, UK. Here’s what the cast looked like in their prime and how they look today in a cast reunion.

Fawlty Towers Cast

My Top 10 Films

Those that know me will probably already know what my top 10 favourite films are but if you find yourself looking for something new to watch on TV or video, then here is a selection of 10 flicks that you may not have seen before.

Stoffer's Top 10 Films

Click for full size

1. The Princess Bride (1987)

As the Grandad (played by the late Peter Falk of “Columbo” fame) who relates the story states, it’s full of fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love and miracles. The humour in this film is very witty and contains lots of famous phrases that are still repeated today. A very feel-good tale about true love with a great cast and wonderful scenery. This is a film that I never tire of watching.

2. Charade (1963)

A classic humorous thriller starring Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn as the main stars but with the stellar support from Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy to name a few. After the death of her husband, Audrey Hepburn’s character suddenly finds herself surrounded by people demanding the fortune that her husband apparently stole from them. Who can she trust?

3. Avatar (2009)

If you’ve not heard of this film then I don’t know where you were during 2009. It is filmed entirely in 3D and was the first live action 3D film that I went to see at the cinema. It deals with the themes of man’s abuse of nature (albeit on a strange planet) and how one man overcomes his disability to fight for the alien natives and save their home. Although it may not sound like much, the CGI scenery is absolutely spectacular.

4. The Towering Inferno (1974)

They don’t make films like this anymore, probably because Hollywood can’t afford to pay the astronomical fees of modern A-list actors. It’s seems as if they had a real party of the creme-de-la-creme of Hollywood 70s actors starring in it: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Richard Chamberlain, O.J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn and Robert Wagner. The film takes place within the world’s tallest skyscraper whilst a fire takes hold of the upper half of the building, leaving the occupants with apparently no way to escape their doom. The tireless services of the Fire Department are highlighted as well as the dangers of man’s greed and putting money ahead of safety.

5. North By Northwest (1959)

A film by the master of suspense: Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant and Eve Marie Saint. A case of mistaken identity proves dangerous for Cary Grant. Nothing more to be said really. It has been beautifully restored in the BluRay version and is a real treat for all Hitchcock fans.

6. Back To The Future (1985)

I can’t believe that this film is nearly 30 years old. Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly who gets trapped back in 1955 and ends up putting his own future in jeopardy when he meets his parents, with disastrous consequences. Helped along the way by Christopher Lloyd as the almost crazy Doc Brown, Delorean cars became iconic and left us all wanting to drive at 88mph to see what would happen!

7. Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home (1986)

I’m a fan of anything Star Trek but this makes my Top 10 as we get to see the crew of the Starship Enterprise return to Earth but in “modern times” (well at least they were back in the 80s!) The film has an ecological “Save The Whales” theme but is fun watch for all the family, even if science-fiction isn’t your thing.

8. Three Amigos (1986)

The 80s was a good decade for comedy films and this one is no exception. Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short star as out-of-work actors in the early 1900s who get given the job of a lifetime: to act out the fight against deadly Mexican bandits in a small Mexican town. Little do they know that the fight is real! Look out for a “plethora” of funny moments.

9. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Two con artists, Steve Martin & Michael Caine, from opposite ends of the food chain find that the town isn’t big enough for the both of them so they set about on the con of a lifetime where the winner takes all. A brilliant display of both British & American comic talent. I can still remember rolling on the floor, crying my eyes out with laughter at the “so you vont feel zis sen” scene.

10. Asterix & The Olympic Games (2008)

A French children’s comedy originally entitled “astérix et les jeux olympiques” that is full of typical French slapstick comedy. Gerard Depardieu is the perfect Obelix and the film is true to the style of the comics. Nice cameo appearances from the likes of F1 Champ Michael Schumacher too, whilst Alain Delon makes a very believable Caesar (“Ave Moi”) . I’d recommend watching it in the original French to get the full nuances of the comedy, even if you have to read it with English subtitles.

Breakfast Thoughts

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that variety is the spice of life so I thought I would do a post about my breakfast experience this week! We do our big shop (once a month) in Mercadona for the general foodstuffs and then in Iceland for the unique-to-UK stuff. Did you know that you can’t get bath foam for love nor money in Spain?!

Bacon for Breakfast

During the visit to Iceland last weekend, I came across the twin pack of bacon that you see pictured above (hopefully). Now as my iPhone doesn’t take great photos in low light, coupled with the fact that I’ve not got a steady hand, you can’t see very clearly what it says on the red section under the ’20% extra’ bit. Believe me, it says “For cooking instructions see back of pack“. That leads to my question: who the heck doesn’t know how to cook bacon? I’ve known how to cook it since I was about 8 and not even allowed near the frying pan: so it was always the grill at that age! Any thoughts? Would anybody really need to read the instructions? The bacon was OK lathered with the obligatory HP sauce but nothing to write home about.

Choccy Cornflakes for breakfast

My second purchase (made in Mercadona) was this packet of Kellogg’s Chocolate Cornflakes (only ‘the original & the best’ for me). I couldn’t quite picture the two together but in the interests of culinary investigation, I paid a small fortune for this 375g packet and to my surprise found that they are rather tasty. Not too sickly and not plastered in chocolate. My only suggestion for improvement is that they team up with Cadbury’s and use their Dairy Milk chocolate to cover the cornflakes with instead of the generic stuff they’re currently using.

That’s all folks. Toodle pip!

Vulcan Chris Portrait

Just a quick Blog post to show you this latest work of art by my friend Steve McKenzie. Before you start wondering if it’s an abstract drawing or whether Steve’s been at the whisky again, he based his little sketch on a Photoshopped version of me, altered to look like a Vulcan from the universe of Star Trek. I’m quite pleased with the result. I may indeed use it on the back cover of my album…if and when I release one! Thanks Steevie!

Vulcan Chris by McKenzie

Steve is also a pretty flash photographer and you can see his work on INSTAGRAM.

How About A Little Empathy

The American writer Henry David Thoreau once said, “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” This video attempts to help us do that and have empathy with others. Instead of just judging at first sight, we are encouraged to put ourselves in their shoes. Although it is actually an advert for a Hospital Clinic, it doesn’t come across as such and in fact, portrays a very deep and meaningful message that encourages reflection.

Yolanda & El Mosquito

(English Translation below) Aquí hay un post, en realidad de mi amiga Yolanda Rueda. Ha hecho un post en su página de Facebook que me parecía tan graciosa y única que quería compartirlo con mis seguidores también. Es su “carta” al mosquito que le estaba molestando.

Yoli & el mosquito

Carta al mosquito

Querido mosquito porculero:

Te agradezco que quieras acompañarme en esta CÁLIDA noche de verano, pero estoy cansada de levantarme con las piernas llenas de arañazos de tanto rascarme. No logro entender ese empeño de tu familia y tuyo por dejarme las piernas hechas un cuadro. ¿Qué pasa? ¿No hay más gente en Málaga? ¿Tenéis que picarme todos a mí?

Te agradecería eternamente que abandonases mi cuarto y me dejases dormir solita. Con el calor que tengo, el timbre de voz de los muchachos de los bancos de enfrente y el resonar de los ronquidos de mi padre me siento bastante acompañada, de verdad.

No es necesario que me susurres al oído. Preferiría que hablásemos mañana por la mañana que seguro que entre cliente y cliente tengo un hueco para ti.

Atentamente,
Una que te recordará con amor cuando suene el despertador mañana por la mañana.

(ENGLISH TRANSLATION)

The other day my friend Yolanda Rueda made a post on Facebook about her annoying experience with a mosquito during the night. I found it so funny and clever that I wanted to share it with you all.

 Letter To The Mosquito

Dear pain-in-the-butt mosquito:

I appreciate you wanting to join me on this WARM summer night, but I’m tired of getting up with my legs full of scratches due to them itching so much and me having to scratch them. I do not understand this obsession that you & your family have for leaving my legs in a state. What’s up with you? Are there not any more people in Málaga? Do you all have bite just me?

I would be eternally grateful if you would leave my room and leave me to sleep alone. With me suffering from the heat, the sound of the lads’ voices sat outside on the benches and the echo of my father’s snoring, I feel quite well accompanied as it is thanks.

I do not need you whispering in my ear. I would prefer it if we could talk tomorrow morning as I’m sure that I could fit you in between my clients.

Sincerely,
One who will fondly think of you when the alarm goes off tomorrow morning.

Doctor Who Number 12 Revealed

Many people, especially newcomers to the BBC Doctor Who saga, just think that the series began in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston staring as The Doctor. However, Doctor Who goes way back to 1963 and is a sci-fi series about a Timelord who, instead of dying, regenerates a new body; cue new actor.

Doctor Who 12 - Peter Capaldi

There is a 50th Anniversary Special planned for the end of the year but this evening it was officially revealed by the BBC that the twelfth Doctor will be portrayed by the actor Peter Capaldi. According to the official Website, and I quote, “Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer says : “It’s an incendiary combination: one of the most talented actors of his generation is about to play the best part on television. Peter Capaldi is in the TARDIS!””

Still Wondering Who Is Doctor Who?

Then look no further than the Official BBC Doctor Who Site to fill you in on the past 50 years and an eternity of cult history. Enjoy!

The Art Of Spanish Guitar

Jorge & Lorenzo plus guitarYesterday I attended a friend’s wedding in Fuengirola and at the reception we were treated to several guitar and song performances by two local artists: Lorenzo Ruíz and Jorge. I have had the pleasure of seeing Jorge sing and play guitar before with my friend and ex-workmate Enrique. It amazes me how he manages to play seemingly without any effort at all but then that’s due to his experience and natural talent. What surprised me is how humble he is and during his breaks from playing, he mixed with the rest of us dancing and chatting. The same can be said of Lorenzo, who I just met for the first time yesterday.

Guitar, Rumba & Music Box – What A Combo!

Lorenzo took the lead in singing and sat atop the music box, a very popular instrument here in Andalucía, whilst Jorge astounded us with his dexterity on the guitar. Below are two videos recorded live from the event, that will hopefully give you a taste of what we enjoyed. They were recorded with an iPhone 4 so the quality is not great (as a side point, I’m slowly being converted over to the Dark Side in favour of a Samsung Galaxy S4 if anyone has one that they want to give away)!

Tápame

Tápame Lyrics:

(Chorus) Tápame con tus manos…que tengo frío…
Porque ya no me dices cariño mío
Y acurruca mi cuerpo entre tus brazos
Y déjame que crea… que estoy soñando. (Bis).

No quiero que se pierda nuestro cariño
Y si no te apetece no estés conmigo
Siento que el amor nuestro se está enfriando
Y a solas me pregunto, ¿Qué está pasando?

(Chorus)

No sé por qué motivo me has olvidado
Ni quien en tu camino se te ha cruzado
Por que cuando te hablo estas ausente
Dime si me queda algo por ofrecerte.

(Chorus)

La vida que me queda yo te la ofrezco
Por si salvar pudiera este amor nuestro
Pero no me traiciones con tus mentiras
Que el amor verdadero no se mendiga.

(Chorus)

Pot Pourri of Spanish Rumbas

Yolanda’s Star Trek Uniform

When Star Trek Becomes Reality!

Imagine my surprise today at work when my work colleague Yolanda is there sat at her desk, mobile in hand, dressed in what I can only describe as a Star Trek: Next Generation officer’s uniform. Both Yolanda & Kelly have very modern dress sense but today, Yolanda shot to number one in my opinion. Sporting a gold and black two-tone dress, it resembles the command colours from the TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.

After taking a photo (what Star Trek fan wouldn’t?) just so I could show my friends, I decided to put my limited Photoshop skills to use and show a ‘before & after’ picture. I’m quite pleased with the result but decide for yourselves.

Yolanda - Star TrekThanks again to Yolanda for her unending patience with me and my photography & Star Trek obsessions! As always, comments are welcome. The original photo is shown below so that you can compare the two. Just click on it to see full size.

Yolanda in Star Trek Dress

Making trivia an art form!