Monday, 20 May 2013

18th and 19th May – Botley Hill and Longford Lake

Botley Hill.
A good weekend of cycling. We covered 46 miles in total having riden first to Botley Hill (on Saturday) and then to Longford Lake in Chipstead, Kent (on Sunday).

There were three of us on Saturday – Andy, Phil and yours truly – and on Sunday's run to the lake, it was just Phil and yours truly.

The weather was good on both days and, as last week, the pace was slightly quicker with a third person in the mix.

On Saturday, among other things, we discussed movie stars and how the greater publicity they attract (mainly through chatshows) the more diluted as actors they become. Ewan McGregor was a good case in point. His Long Way Round and Long Way Down programmes, his general popularity outside of his various film roles has, in my opinion, lessened his believability as an actor. I'd better explain myself: the more you see an actor in person on chat shows and documentaries, the more you associate them with themselves and not the character they're supposed to playing. I can't watch a movie starring Ewan McGregor without seeing Ewan McGregor and not the character he's billed as playing. This is, of course, very annoying.

It's not just Ewan McGregor and, let me make this clear, Long Way Round and Long Way Down were both excellent productions – especially the latter in which Charley Boorman seems to be visibly pissed off that McGregor brings his wife on the trip. There are many other actors who court the spotlight and, therefore, make an audience's ability to suspend belief, falter slightly. I was watching Jonathan Ross a few weeks ago when they had the actor playing the role of Spock in the latest Star Trek movie. So, we heard that he was gay (nothing wrong with that) and we heard that he plays the banjo (nothing wrong with that either) but if I went to see the new movie, as soon as I saw 'Spock' I'd be thinking about that gay, banjo-playing bloke that was on Jonathan Ross.

Alright, there's that thing about promoting movies and we all know that that's what actors have to do these days. In fact, Vin Diesel was on Ross's show recently and he was texting his daughter or sending her videos on his iPhone, showing us his tender side, perhaps, showing us that he, like us, was just a human being with a family. But we don't want to know that, do we? Now, though, if I watch any Fast & Furious movies, I'm going to remember Diesel being all soppy about his daughter and sending her videos from his iphone. This is not good and it's much more prevalent than it used to be: did Gregory Peck or Kirk Douglas constantly appear on shows like Saturday Night with Jonathan Ross or get involved in riding motorcycles around the world for a television documentary OR appear as the 'star in a reasonably-priced car' on Top Gear? No, of course not, They were proper actors.

It all reinforces my theory that, with the exception of advances in medical science, in most cases, everything is getting worse, not better. Movie stars ain't movie stars anymore; they're multi-tasking careerists (is there such a word) who are quite happy to discuss their career progression with a chatshow host. And then there's rock music; rock stars just ain't rock stars anymore for similar reasons, although talent (or lack of it) plays a greater role than with actors. In fact, take out that word 'talent' as it's diminishing rapidly in rock music where there will never be the great Rock Gods of yesteryear as we have to contend with bands like Coldplay headed up by the very sensible Chris Martin. I mean, he's not a rock star and the band's music is the sort of stuff you're likely to hear more often in a shopping mall than anywhere else. These days, rock stars don't rock, they don't drive Rolls Royces into swimming pools or throw televisions out of hotel windows, they don't even take hard drugs! I'm with Bill Hicks; I want my rock stars to rock! But they don't, not anymore, and film stars are not film stars anymore, as we've already discussed.

I'm sure it's the same in other spheres of life and culture – there are no more 'golden ages'.

Longford Lake

Longford Lake, Chipstead, Kent
On Sunday, Phil and I headed out to Longford Lake. The weather was good all the way there and back and we had a couple of chunks of fruit cake, courtesy of my mum. It's great riding to the lake for all sorts of reasons. Obviously, the ride itself is key. While being not that far from Croydon and, indeed, London, once we hit the Pilgrims Lane, we could be in the middle of rural Wiltshire or anywhere, despite the fact that, in reality, we're only a few hundred yards from the M25.

Chipstead village is lovely too. There's a Harvey's of Lewes pub and some nice houses, but also, of course, Longford Lake.

Phil and I sat on the bench enjoying the view and chatting about this and that before jumping back on the bikes and heading home. I was home just before 1045.

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