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A (Canterbury) Tale As Old As Time

As the ancient saying goes: the older one gets, the more films one forgets. As time drags on and stuff happens in life (kids, work, new pin codes) the brain space for old movie plots is overwritten by other stuff. Factor in the number of brain cells disintegrated by booze over the years and the room for retention just isn’t there. This is a good thing, because new films are mostly rubbish – so going back to watch a movie you know you loved but whose plot you’ve forgotten is a freebie!
As it happens, I’m married to someone who has seen precisely three films: Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing and Love Actually. Whenever I ask “Do you rememeber the bit in that film when…?” The answer is almost always no. So, as I forget plots and my wife has never learned them in the first place, we have decided to go back to revisit some classics. As we do, I hope to write down a few notes on each. Not a review as such, just a few thoughts.
This week, we were chatting about the upcoming 2017 Beauty and the Beast live action feature starring Hermione Granger among others. We watched the teaser trailer which has that brilliant sample/hint at the original Beauty and the Beast theme tune from the singing Murder-She-Wrote teapot. So we decided to watch it with the kids on Saturday afternoon.
B&TB in 1991: the time before Tinder
Some thoughts:

It’s a bit scary in places for a 4 and a 2-year-old. Honestly, it’s a bit scary in places for a 35-year-old. Just sayin’.

In the intro/narrator sequence we learn that a rude prince turns away a haggard old crone from his castle. Turns out this crone was a beautiful enchantress and she turns him into the beast. He has until a magic rose wilts on his 21st birthday to get someone to fall in love with him. We later find that it’s been ten years since he was cursed, making him 10 or 11 years old when it happened.

It’s a bit much cursing a child for being a bit mean, no? Anyway.

We also eventually learn that the entire castle staff was cursed at the same time. They were turned into teapots and wardrobes and clocks, etc. So here’s a question: where did Chip, the child cup who’s certainly younger than 10 years, come from? Do teapots reproduce or was he already a child? If he was already a child, why hasn’t he aged?

The Chip anomaly: more questions than answers

Someone else has already posed this question in greater detail – which saves me asking it again, but it did occur to me.

And as a human, isn’t she a bit old to be his mother? I mean, I’m not judging. Fair play to her. There doesn’t appear to be a mister Potts on the scene and she has a whole cupboard of delph to look after on her own. A teapot of her age (antique) is to be admired in that situation.

Mrs Potts and Chip: after a decade as crockery, no outward signs of trauma

Finally, and most importantly, and you’re probably not gonna like me saying this: both Belle and the Beast are perfect for each other because they are both dicks.

The first time we meet Belle, she’s bitching about how shit her life is in her crappy little town. “Oh look, here comes the baker selling his shitty bread like he does every day. FML. #rolleyes” AND THEN THE POOR MAN SAYS HELLO TO HER AND SHE’S LOVELY TO HIS FACE! How two-faced!

She’s also into books and brags about it constantly. Okay. Jesus, you can read. You live in a poor rural French town in the mid 1700’s. Not everyone has the means to be as educated as you – stop being a dick about it. And besides, the last book you read was Jack and the Beanstalk, so you’re hardly a literature professor. John Lassiter wouldn’t let that kind of thing slide these days.

Finally (and this is a weak one but worth noting) the way she rejects the advances of Gaston is quite mean and a bit up herself. Yes, he’s a douchebag, but he’s still asking you to marry him. He’s putting his heart out there in his own clumsy way and what does he get for it? Well, after the proposal he ends up in pig shite and before the end of the film… dead! This was a guy who had a stupidly long song sung about him just a half hour ago!

As for the Beast, we already knew he was a shallow tool (the whole reason he was cursed in the first place) but it gets worse. There’s a very long (too long) sequence once Belle has moved into the castle under his house arrest where he wants her to come to dinner. AND THAT’S AN ORDER NOT A REQUEST! And as his staff – who clearly care about him – are advising him to be polite, to keep his temper, how to engage with her, he shouts at and dismisses them and Belle in several scenes at this point. This is all with the knowledge that, as he approaches his birthday, she is most likely his last shot at reversing the curse – but nah, he’s just gonna act the prick instead.

Also this weekend: Se7en, starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman (From IMDB) Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.

Pitt before Angelina, Freeman before Bruce Almighty

We didn’t watch this one with the kids.

We were chatting about this the other night after I’d read an old interview with the director David Fincher and I knew my wife wouldn’t have seen it so we stuck it on with a bottle of wine and a takeaway.

That’s mistake number one. The first murder scene (as we later learn is gluttony) involves a guy who’s fed until his stomach bursts. It involves Brad Pitt discovering a bucket of vomit under a table and graphic descriptions of the state of the corpse. Yummy! We had to turn it off until we finished eating.

Other observations: Brad Pitt is really good looking in this film – but can he act? At one dodgy part I asked my wife if he’s any good at acting and she replied “YOU ASK THIS EVERY TIME YOU SEE HIM IN ANYTHING! AND THEN YOU REMEMBER MONEYBALL!” Oh yeah, I loved Moneyball. But is Brad Pitt any good or did he just get lucky? In this, I think he’s properly bad in places and quite good in other places. Freeman, Spacey and Paltrow act their boots off. The scene where Gwyneth Paltrow and Morgan Freeman meet in the diner was really, really great.

Fun fact: Morgan Freeman is the same age in this (released in 1995) as he is today.

Idea! How about a classic film club? Any of your thoughts on these films or suggestions for others to watch? I would love to hear from you on twitter @rayfoleyshow

The Home Stretch…

We’re nearly there now! The finish line is in sight! A month away from the Rock’n’Roll Run (or Runmageddon as we’ve started to call it in our house) and… I think I’m pretty much ready for this! What is it they say about pride before a fall?


I’m jogging just over 7k twice a week now. I know it’s not the full course, but I’m reassuring myself that the excitement of the day and the enthusiasm of my fellow rocknrollers will give me the necessary motivation to bring me over the line. When I started out on this pavement-pounding process, I was barely able to walk to the end of the street, let alone 7k, but here we are.

Another thing that’s happened unexpectedly: it’s just part of my life now. In the early days it was a whole new experience and the novelty of doing something completely different was exciting. When it came to writing these updates or telling people about my training experiences, I always had something to say, or some observation to share – but these days I just go for a run. That’s all.

And I’ve started to find it as enjoyable as those running fiends in my life have always claimed. They were right: not only do you get the exercise, but you get some time to yourself (a rare enough commodity when you have two young kids) and a little head space to think about the stuff in your life that needs thinking about. For me, that was never the intention of this challenge (I just wanted to do the run) but in the training miles, the value and enjoyment of some alone time has been a pleasant discovery over the last few months.

You do feel better when you’ve something to show for it too – aside from the cool medals. I’ve lost nearly three stone. I spent the weekend clearing out a heap of clothes that are way too big for me now that I hope to never wear again. There are five refuse sacks of big man suits, shirts and jeans going to the charity shop tomorrow morning and I’m pretty chuffed with myself. #humblebrag! Now, I’m still overweight, I’m very happy to be getting there.

File 11-07-2016, 19 56 27

Endorphins must have something to do with it too: science says that working out releases chemicals in the brain that give you a feeling of wellbeing and happiness, and that’s certainly the case. As happy as I am, I’m not quite as happy as this lady:


She’s delighted with herself! Suzanne Alcock-Thomson has just won a trip to Las Vegas! As you may know, the Rock’n’Roll Run in Dublin is one of a series of marathons and half-marathons all over the world, and six fantastic finalists were competing in the the Rock’n’Roll Idol competition for the once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Vegas run. Yeah, I’d say her endorphins are off the chart today.

When this mission began to prepare for the 10k run around Dublin on Sunday 7th August, I never imagined I’d be admitting: I’m looking forward to it now. There’s really not much else to do at this stage but run it! If you are planning on coming along, here’s some stuff you need to know (just click) and I’ll see you for a pint near the finish line.

Good luck.

The Jog Blog: 52 Days

Where does the time go? Just five minutes ago it was Christmas and I was polishing off a fifth tin of Roses. Just after that the call came to take part in the Dublin Rock’n’Roll 10k run and, while I initially declined, my wife talked me into doing it, pointing out that it was eight months away and I had loads of time to train for it. And now here we are, with only 52 days to go! I know this because the sadists over at the website have a helpful (read: terrifying) countdown to the event on the August Bank Holiday weekend:

ScreenHunter_03 Jun. 15 11.57


I think they asked me because I’m not a runner. I’m the perfect example of the average lazy Irish dad, with a few pounds to lose and up for the challenge of doing the run. I’m not sporty or athletic, I’m out of shape and just looking for something to get me off the couch. Either that or they just wanted to have a good laugh at the fat guy trying to run.

As I write, I’m mindful of those people who already own running tights and expensive runners, who do a half marathon before breakfast and have run in every city on earth. I can see you rolling your eyes scoffing at me and my puny 10k. I know loads of people who are mad into their jogging routine, who love to get out and pound the pavement, fire up the ipod and  get a bit of time to themselves while they crank up the endorphin buzz. I know some people who say they are addicted to it and that’s great. But I am not one of those people.

While I’m training, all I can think is “I want this to be over” or “are we nearly there yet?” or “ow, ow, ow”.

I’m running 8k twice a week now. I don’t think I’ll do the full 10k before August because then I’d have nothing to work toward. I sometimes train with my wife and I used to imagine us as those beautiful, toned fit couples: shades on, chatting in the sunshine, exercising together as other, slower couples look on jealously. That was the dream. The chat stopped about two minutes in because I had to concentrate on breathing and moving at the same time.

But the feeling of accomplishment for the rest of the day is fantastic. Controversially, I would even say it’s better than a fifth tin of Roses.

The benefits are starting to show in my waistline too: I’ve lost nearly two stone since I started training properly. When other people tell me how much better I look I always ask them why they never told me how awful I looked when I was fatter.

I’m not the only one seeing the benefits: I got chatting to one of the Rock’n’Roll idols at a photo shoot the other day and he’s lost eight stone. Again, I feel inadequate.

Actually, if you have a moment, your vote is needed: the idols are finalists in the running (literally) for a grand prize of a trip to Las Vegas for the marathon there in November. They each have an inspirational and powerful powerful story to tell and they’re well worth checking out:


Since I signed up for the 10k run, a 5k race and a fun run have been added to the programme of events. This was a source of some disappointment for me, since I would obviously have opted for the shorter distance, or better yet, the fun run.

“No worries!” they said, “you can do both!”

I laughed heartily at that until they explained the remix challenge to me: run the 5k on Saturday 6th and any of the races (fun run, 10k or half marathon) on Sunday 7th and you get an extra “remix” medal:

ScreenHunter_02 Jun. 15 11.48


Very ambitious, but it’s tempting. If you’re up for it and thinking of heading along, I’ll see you there. You won’t be able to miss me: I’ll be the big guy at the back unable to chat because I’ll be concentrating on breathing and moving at the same time.

run, fatboy, run

A 6ft 2 and wide, I’m not build for speed. Over the last three years I piled on the weight, mostly as a result of early mornings and not giving a damn – and danishes. I went from 13 to 17 stone. So once I stopped getting up early, I was thinking (only thinking!) I should do something about it.

Then in the cold, dark days after Christmas, I got a call from the lovely folks at the Rock’n’Roll Dublin Half Marathon, who wanted to know if I’d be interested in running. I had heard of this run before (from the year before) and it sounded great, with live music all along the route. They have them all over the world, including San Diego, Madrid, Liverpool and Las Vegas. This was January, and the run is on August 7th, the Sunday of the bank holiday weekend, so loads of time to get ready.

But half a marathon? That’s 21.0975 kilometres! That’s the same distance between the GPO and Bray! I checked! And no Dart! No chance, but thanks for the call.

But hang on, they have a 10k run too! Ah crap. Okay, I’m in. I need something to train for.

 4/2/16 ***NO REPRO FEE***Pictured is Rock ‘N’ Roll Dublin’s ambassador, Ray Foley, and Rock n Idol judge Anna Geary at the launch of the 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Marathon series, which is now open for entries. One of Ireland’s most anticipated race festivals, the 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon promises to be bigger and better than before with great miles, music, medals and trips to Las Vegas to be won.  Organisers announced today the programme for the action-packed festival of running, complete with an all-new 10k race, prolific half marathon and fun-filled Family Run, which will take place on a brand new date of the 7th of August 2016 across Dublin city.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series has also launched a search to find Ireland’s first Rock ‘n’ Run Idol 2016. The nationwide competition is calling on aspiring runners and those who simply want to get their feet moving a little faster to share their stories of perseverance, motivation and what inspired them to lace up their trainers and hit the pavement! The competition is open to runners of all abilities and anyone interested can go to to enter.
For further information please contact:Eilis Smith, TITAN,
Fiona Askin, TRA Brands,
Pic: Marc O'Sullivan

So I started training right away with the couch to 5k app on my phone. It starts you off nice and slow and you only do little jogs, but then week-by-week you build that up to 5k, which I know is only half what I’m going for, but it’s a start. You should know: I have NEVER run any proper distance in my life.

So I was  just about finished the 5k plan and feeling great about it when… I got sick. I’ve had this chest infection for the last few weeks that I’ve only just managed to shake, and (any excuse) I’ve been out of action. So, I’m heading back out this weekend.


That’s so sexy. If you’re interested in running, take a look at the website or click here:


And while you’re there, take a look at the voting for Rock’n’Roll Idol competition, where one person from the Dublin run will be sent over to the big Las Vegas event in November. Amazing. You can read about each of the Irish finalists and vote for your favourite every week here:

Screenshot 2016-04-23 09.30.56

If you are running, I’ll see you in August. If I’m still alive in August. Good luck!