Gift Pricing -How much is yours?

Speaking of Two Lovers the other day reminded me of an unrelated event from a few years ago…

I asked Mrs. Rumm what she would like for Christmas. She told me a plain white gold wedding band. The one she already had was the standard gold type. She wanted a white one to go with different outfits. Or something. Who am I to question such things?

I recall buying the wedding rings with her first time around. Both of us wanted nothing other than “a plain ring”. Nothing fancy. As a result, the two rings we bought were each in the region of £40 (Irish punts). Our taste in jewellery hasn’t changed.

Now it was maybe six or seven years later… 2004ish. We had a new currency (the Euro). We had gone through an economic boom. Prices were higher. So adjusting for currencies (bring it to, say 55 euros), inflation (80ish?), a bit of greed (90ish), some more greediness (100ish), gold price fluctuations (….?) ..and a bit more on top, I estimated the absolute maximum cost such an item could possibly be would be 130 – 150 euros.

“OK,” I said. “No problem.”

Next day I entered a Jewellery Store (this sentence seems odd to me, but if I said “entered a Jewellers” it’d have a whole different connotation to my dirty mind).

“Can I help you?” enquired a pleasant-looking, well-presented male assistant in a calm voice that sounded like melted chocolate flowing over a lush carpet.

“I’m looking for a plain white gold ring for my wife,” I informed him, “Nothing fancy.”

“OK,” he smiled softly and lead me to the counter. He pulled a tray of rings from underneath. The first thing I noticed was the lack of prices.
The second thing was all these rings had something fancy about them -diamond studs, ridges, fancy engravings, etc..

Instead of jumping immediately to the vulgar issue of price, I hummed and hawed and finally asked if he had anything plainer.
“I’m really just looking for plain white gold -no decorations or anything.”

He considered this quietly and carefully before selecting one of the more plain bands from the same tray. It had only a few small indents here and there.

“Yeah, it’s not too fancy, I suppose,” I had to concede. “How much is it?”

“That one is 600 Euros,” he said as though his voice was massaging my temples.

Shocked, I couldn’t help myself.

“Six hundred!!?” I gasped.
“I told you it was for my wife,” I said, “not my girlfriend!”

Without batting an eyelid, the assistant creased his brow and nodded as though this made complete sense to him.
“I think we may have something more plain in our other store,” he confided. “I can ring them and have it here by tomorrow.”

“A simple, plain white gold ring?” I enquired, slowly turning towards the door.

“Yes yes,” he nodded.

“And how much roughly would that cost?”

He waved in the air and shook his head as though conjuring a nominal amount between old friends.

“Pah -no more than three-fifty,” he informed me, his voice having lost some of the chocolate softness.
“Come back tomorrow I’ll have it for you,” he smiled.

In truth, I almost felt bad not going back there the following day. It seemed a breach of trust somehow that instead I went down the road and bought the first one I spotted for less than two hundred -and that was difficult to find too let me tell you!

I still don’t see how it could be possible for something like that to jump to more than four-times its price in a few years. Madness I tells ya!

– – – – – – – –

Full disclosure: I can’t say for certain if the “I said wife, not girlfriend” line is truly original. It’s possible I heard it somewhere before. It sounds like something Rodney Dangerfield might have said. Either way it was fun using it. …A little disconcerting that the guy didn’t even flinch, but fun nonetheless. 🙂

Two Lovers Please

I like movies. I like non-formulaic movies with at least a little thought in them.

I’ve heard good things about the movie Two Lovers -at least enough to make me think I might like to see it. I’m sure it is a good movie, but I won’t be going to see it.

I generally go to the cinema alone. I prefer it that way, but anyway my wife has little interest in movies even if we did get time off together.
So the thought of walking up to the ticket office alone and saying “Two Lovers please” is just too much. I could buy online and collect at the door, but I despise the idea of extra charges for such things -THEY’RE SAVING MONEY BY HAVING NOBODY THERE why should we pay more??

Another film I felt awkward buying a ticket for was “Michael Clayton”. Thankfully I hadn’t realised how awkward it was to say it until I was standing there with cash in hand saying it. It just felt wrong somehow. Not entirely sure why with that one.

Are movies with people’s names harder to say at the ticket desk?

I recall having a similar dilemma paying for Amelie. I think that might have a longer name in some countries (?) but around here it’s just called Amelie. The problem for me there though was the young couple who paid before me asked for two tickets to “Ay-muh-lee-uh”.

Even though I knew it to be wrong I had a sudden burst of …FEAR, is the only word I can think of, that I was about to say it wrong.
It induced a kind of mental stutter that heard me purchasing “One for the same please”.

Have you ever felt awkward saying something or someone’s name?

[By the way, this post was first made (by me)  in a reply to a Jett Loe post in The Film Talk]


A little while ago my next door neighbour called to the door and asked if he could take some snips from flowers in our garden. I said of course, work away.

Long story, shortened: The previous owners of our house planted hundreds of flowers and plants all over the place. During the past 9 years of our tenure the garden has been forced to stand on its own two feet and fend for itself for the main part. If I’ve done nothing else, I like to think I’ve taught it some independence. Deirdre next door does some flower arranging every now & again. Her husband Con helps her gather what’s needed.

So Con went off and allowed me return to Series 1 of Damages (which incidentally is both awfully compelling and often just awful -a trend I’ve noticed in other TV shows such as The Tudors -it’s like they know they could be great, but are afraid to commit to being really great in case they lose the mass appeal. So every now & again they liberally apply Dumbdown (TM) and sprinkle it with an over-supply of Obviousness and pop it back in for a few minutes of crispy Crassness -a little something to please everyone, which results in nobody being happy with the end product.)

Glenn Close was being nasty and was about to make a nasty phonecall to another nasty lawyer when Con tapped on the window once again. It turned out he had made a discovery which can be summed up in two words: Dead Rat.


Continue reading DEAD RAT

Beautiful Rain

Yesterday John Poland and I  (with the help of other invaluable souls) shot another video. Our third. This one is called Beautiful Rain.

As you can imagine with a title like that, the video involved some rain. It was a tough shoot. Not very much went according to our simple plans.  On paper it was very straightforward: There are just two verses in this song, with a small instrumental bit in between.

The idea for the video was this:

1. We see rain.

2. JP sings the first verse while standing in the rain.

3. Gorilla sees JP, casts off his umbrella and begins dancing in the rain.

4. JP sings the 2nd verse while standing in the rain, turning in circles.

That, more or less was the plan. We even had a little actual rain, which was nice. But we knew we would need a little more rain no matter what, so we were prepared with a hose with suitable sprinkler attachment.

We did some practice takes, with rainwear, but only when JP removed his protective clothing and began singing under the falldown did it become apparent that it was too damn cold!

Unfortunately, in the spot we were filming we were unable to run some hot water through a hose, otherwise it probably might have been doable. But within a minute-or-so it was obvious this idea would have to be scrapped.

Take a look at a wet JP:

screenshot1“SMILE JOHN!”

screenshot2“SING THE WORDS JOHN!”





As you can imagine, I didn’t have it easy. Nothing I did or said could make it possible for JP to do it.

Anyway, initially we thought the day was a washout if you pardon the pun, but after thinking about it some more we came up with other ways of doing things. We made some compromises and added some alternative shots. That’s what happens with filming all the time, no doubt.

The important thing is WE WERE NOT BEATEN! We got the shots we needed -well almost all. We just need a teensy bit more -but we’re waiting for the right time to shoot.

Fear not -you will see the final video on here first, so keep checking back throughout the week to see how it looks. And did I mention the song is very nice indeed? Wait til you hear it -another great tune for our forthcoming Happiness Album !