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Culture Vulture Schmulture – Z

In a feature shamelessly “inspired” by The Times‘s Culture Vulture, British Expat brings you the above titled (subtitled “Things you should own, if they’re the sort of thing you might like…”).

As the immortal Krusty the Clown would say: Hey, hey kids; as some band in a recent bad song would say: It’s Been A While. I can only apologise to the people who have been left emotionally and psychologically scarred by the passing of time since my last submission (both of you). You’re not interested in the whys and wherefores, I know. But it’s my column and, libel permitting, I’ll say what I damn (see) well choose. University is intent on screwing me out of money, so I’ve been dreaming up quality “Max & OBs” – Max and OB are dim characters from teen-soap Hollyoaks, always after a buck (that’s not rhyming slang) – and getting really drunk. I don’t remember large chunks of the last couple of months. But it’s a stereotype I have to fulfil, what can I do??

Let’s recap, for those who haven’t been paying attention much against the advice of Mrs Atwood (it’s a primary school thing). A through Y took around 6 years to complete, and we’ve (by we I mean Kay) been waiting 4 months for the saga to come to its conclusion. I would claim I’ve been on strike in sympathy with whoever else is today and their appalling, I mean just terrible, work conditions, but see above.

So we’re on to ‘Z’, which I’m taking my first break from Championship Manager (the only real reason I bought a computer) in order to write. I ask forgiveness, O great god Eidos.

There are several genuinely cultural possibilities (though U2’s Zooropa was the only real challenger), but let’s get one thing clear, eh? That’s not going to happen. It’s Zu-(“Don’t throw those bloody spears at me”)-lu. A word which, perhaps most interestingly, does not come up on spell check, brackets etc. notwithstanding. Notwithstanding is a brilliant word, and one which I was definitely not going to sign off without using at least once.

It (Zulu, you still with me?) was made in 1963 and has been shown every Bank Holiday in this country since then (occasionally set on an alternating complimentary rotation thing with Escape to Victory (qv). Not bad for a film about Welsh guys. Stanley Baker has the more well-rounded role, but it is as Michael Caine’s first high profile role that the film will always be remembered – Alfie‘s antithesis, perhaps. Anyway, the fact that the record for the most Victoria Crosses ever handed out for a single battle was set at Rorke’s Drift was always going to make this a great film. Action-packed, though never drifting too far from a relatively serious study of battle tactics and heroism, Zulu is great cinema. The characterisations are as comprehensive as you could wish (by that I mean simply that you actually start to care about who lives and dies – my personal favourite being Otto, the alcoholic Missionary. Reminds me of my own Parish Priest, y’see. Sorry Father John, just having a bubble (Kay – that’s Cockernee for laffin’, which is Manc for laughing)), and the dialogue believable (which will please Quentin Tarantino). Here endeth my entry for the upcoming World’s Longest Sentence Awards, hosted by Angus Deayton I have no doubt.

It is a true epic (Jonathon Ross speak – translated, it’s really long) and I will personally provide a prize for the first person to tell who narrates the closing list of names of those who died in the battle against thousands of fearsome Zulus. Not that I’m desperate to know that at least someone out there in Internet-land reads this rubbish. Still, at least it’s over now.

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