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January 5th 2010

The great thing about having grandchildren is that you can go back and play like a child again - all the games we used to play and all the silliness we got up to. In that respect children never change and it is nice to return to it once in a while. I have just been watching my two grandchildren for a couple of days while their parents went Arizona to watch a major College football game - the Fiesta Bowl. There are lots of Bowl games here in the US around this time of the year and they are all college games, Boise State University was playing a Texas team and won, I am happy to say! Boise, Idaho is where my son and family live and me- part time. The Americans take their national sport VERY seriously as we do football and cricket in the UK. But on the whole, are better natured about it. Whoever said the British are a reserved race! Some are, but in general, I dont think so.

Anyway to get back to the grandkids, they were perfect while Mum and Dad were away- lucky me. Dad came back last night at about 3am having flown his employers down for the game, Mum gets back today - there wasn’t room for her on the Company jet so she had to airline it. Hopefully the grandchildren will behave as perfectly for them as when they were away - somehow I doubt it - human nature. Children have a lovely way of ‘punishing’ their parents for leaving them!

Getting back to games - the latest thing is WII a game by Nintendo, played with joysticks etc on your TV screen. It is fun and really quite difficult. The thing is to have great hand eye co-ordination, this ability started to develop strongly when my son was a little boy - the kids today are amazing and he was pretty good. The good thing about WII is that the whole family can play it and it is not really a one man game- so is much more social. I am hopeless at the race track games - quite good at golf though. I wonder why!!?

Christmas here was fun and very cold. I was in the mountains at my son’s in-laws. They are real American country folk, with all the practical skills that go with living in a testing environment. The temperature was between 12 and 25 Farenheit and father-in-law Ken had the two grandchildren shovelling snow. Then he said to us “if you feel your face start to go numb, go inside, it could be the start of frostbite”. He is full of these little titbits of practical, sometimes alarming information.

Someone mentioned to me that I write too much about the past. But I do that to engage and amuse you - I think it can be quite entertaining. I have met quite a few people over the years and many that you will know, so I shall continue. As I have said ad nauseum I am a person rooted in the present, but one has to think fondly, as much as possible, about times past.

I return to the UK this week and we will be getting on and finishing the short film - “Beware of What You Wish For”. The audio edit will be finished and the music and the whole thing completed this month I hope. Then on to the job of marketing it. A challenge to say the least.

Other goodies to look forward to are seeing all the films for the BAFTA and Oscar voting. I am glad to see that “The Hurt Locker”, a film I rated highly this year is doing so well and winning many awards. I think “Invictus” will do well and garner Morgan Freeman some nominations and indeed Clint Eastwood, a charming man- I’ve met him. In fact I had dinner with him, I wish I could say alone, but sadly this was not the case. We shared an agent at the William Morris Agency for a brief time - Lenny Hirschen- I believe Clint is still with him and we all went out to dinner, with Clint and his current wife. I later bumped into him on the back lot of Universal studios and was pleased that he remembered me. Be still my beating heart. There are one or two big stars that have that extraordinary charisma off the screen, as well as on and he is one of them. Clint is a modest and quiet man to meet, but that magical energy still transcends those qualities and hits you in the solar plexus.

I saw “It’s Complicated” with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin (brilliant) and Steve Martin, being serious for once. It is a terrific and very funny film and a very grown up piece of work. I think Meryl Streep is one of the greatest if not the best actress of our age. Her versatility and depth are phenomenal. I loved her in “Julie and Julia”, but I think she may be even better in this, having a more multi dimensional character to play. Whatever nominations she gets this year, I hope she wins everything!

That’s all folks, a great 2010 to us all and please above all - peace and some common sense around the world.
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