Monday, 13 October 2014

Romanticised crime...

Does anybody else use the app Flixster as a guide as to whether or not it's worth watching a film or not?  It's basically the app version of the Rotten Tomatoes website (I'm guessing), I often find myself 15 minutes into a film thinking, "this looks crap", at which point I log on and check out what other people thought of it as to decipher whether it's worth committing 90 minutes or so of my life to it. That's not a good thing is it? That I allow myself to be governed by other peoples opinions? Hmmm, I may need to make some adjustments.

Anywaaaay!  I eventually settled on a Tom Hanks movie called Captain Phillips. This is not a film review, I'm just coming to a thought I had whilst watching it. The plot is basically that Tom Hanks' character, the aforementioned Capt. Phillips, sets off on his cargo ship and eventually get invaded by Somalian pirates and a hostage situation ensues. It's a decent film but lacked character depth for me. 

So, these pirates.....they're nothing like the pirates we grew up with. The pirates we dressed up as and pretended to be.....wooden legs, eye patches, parrot on the shoulder, "argh".....you know the type. But there's no difference in job description, but we look at them completely differently. First of all, you can't really beat a good old fashioned pirate ship.....certainly not with a knackered old little boat with an unreliable motor on the back that these somalian guys were "commandeering"!  If the pirate ship ride at the fairground looked like that, nobody would have bothered. There we go see, a ship used to transport murderous, looting criminals, filled with fairground revellers screaming in delight.....bit strange really.

What if there was a 'Hijacked commercial airliner ride'? Would that have taken off? Excuse the pun, I could have taken that much further but I have standards, deep down. The answer is no, we'd not even entertain the idea and the general consensus would be that it'd be in very poor taste. So what's the difference? It must be that any crime that took place before a generation were born, or a when criminals wore fancy attire is now fair game, all is forgiven! Events that happened a long time ago can be manipulated, facts can be distorted to turn people into legends, icons even.

Terrorists are vilified today, and rightly so, obviously....although in most cases, the 'powers that be' have brought it upon themselves with mindless bombings of countries they have no right to invade....that's another issue altogether.  Back to my point.....wasn't Guy Fawkes a terrorist....a failed one at that.  When we celebrate the 5th of November and burn him on the bonfire, I'm confused as to what the message is. Are we celebrating that his plan failed, and the house of commons survived to continue governing us unfairly for centuries beyond? Or are we celebrating the fact that at least somebody had the balls to try and blow it all to smithereens? Kids collect money in his name, what's all that about? Is it still called "penny for the Guy"? You can't buy anything for a penny in 2014, maybe that's why the charm went out of it. They generally looked more like Worzel Gummidge anyway.

Others on this list include, armed robbers Bonnie & Clyde.....it's a man, AND a woman, it's romantic! The great train robbery robber people, who are pretty much lauded for their efforts, despite the fact that someone was killed. Although anyone who manages to get money out of the Royal Mail gets a thumbs up from me.....I'm still licking my wounds after a decade stuck in that hell hole. Add Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid to the armed robber Hall of Fame too. I watched that again recently too and found it massively overrated, aswell as being far too gushing in praise for people who were essentially thieving bastards! The Kray twins are remembered fondly for keeping a society in check so I'll hold fire on them, although I'm guessing they were less than savoury characters too.

Back in 1991, me and a friend of mine were 1p short of being able to buy tea-for-two in Boots' cafe. Keep reading, all great tales of theft begin with 11 year old lads drinking tea-for-two in Boots, didn't you know? So anyway, we decided to go looking for a penny....we were quite the Indiana Jones pairing, I think you'll agree. We found ourselves in John Menzies (going way back now!) and my friend saw a cricket ball for sale. He was of Bangladesh heritage and loved his cricket....but we didn't have tea-for-two money, nevermind cricket ball money. He stated his intent to steal this cricket ball and I told him to do it whilst I was outside the shop....I hated cricket and certainly wasn't risking my whiter than white status being nabbed for stealing a cricket ball. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we both got pinched and ended up being escorted to a police cell in a bloody riot van!  I just thought, we should have made a Guy, then I'd never have been arrested and the taste of the sweet Boots tea wouldn't have evaded my lips forever. 1p can change the course of history, who'd have thought it.

I'm not sure why I told you all that? Just high on crime for a second, obviously. So tell me, why is it that today's criminals aren't given the heroes reception that the "baddies" of yesterday posthumously enjoy? There are more films and television series about Jack the Ripper, than there are about Malcolm X, Ghandi, Jesus Christ and Mohammed Ali put together. That can't be right, can it? It probably isn't right, I was just making a point! Will the 9/11 terrorists become crime-icons in the future? Will child killers get their own chat-show slots upon being released from prison.....I wouldn't be surprised actually, the way things are going.

Here's to Nick and Majid's great John Menzies cricket ball heist becoming a legendary tale in a hundred years time! Penny for the Guy?






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