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A brief break for indulgences. The genre movie thing is over for a little bit. We DID watch Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011) with Gary Oldman, who excelled as usual. He was my absolutely lifetime favourite villain in The Fifth Element, and he seems to have had as much fun with the role of George Smiley as he did in that, and for that matter, with Count Dracula.

I appreciate the sparsity with which the complicated story was told, and without any spoon-feeding. A large part of the charm of George Smiley in the LeCarré books is the utter deadpan with which the story is told through the actions of Smiley, and his inscrutable manner. But discussing it with my BIL, he raised an excellent point: I can't see Oldman's Smiley in Smiley's People. He simply doesn't have that nondescript people's skills that bring such loyalty out of Connie and the old gang, whereas Alec Guinness was able to convey them with a minimum of fuss and no spoon-feeding. But, apparently, Smiley's People is in the cards with Gary Oldman, so I hope to be pleasantly surprised. And it would be marvellous if they could get Patrick Stewart to play the elder Karla as well.

I also approve of the departures from the book, which brought the LBGT angle up-to-date. In the bad old days, the secret services were an excellent place for Gay/Lesbian person to get ahead. Especially among the analysts, they were already bunged in with an odd lot, so there was plenty of camouflage, and you were expected to keep your private life discreet and private. Mostly, though, there was always the option of outing you which meant that your lords and masters felt like they had control over any rogue tendencies that you might conjure up when you'd learned how the inside worked and, perhaps, found it not to your taste at all. LeCarré captures a bit of it in Connie and her post-operative gang, and although it was a departure, I think the film's addition of Lacon's homosexuality and heartbreaking choice to protect his lover was a good touch.

But I have two other indulgences. The first is that there is a kind of seedless Concord grape. It tastes like a Concord, and it has a Concord's skin and texture. It's called Coronation up here; must be a Loyalist name.

But! No seeds! Which means: YOU CAN EAT THEM FROZEN! Frozen Coronation grapes are the great discovery of this summer.

And another indulgence in magical thinking. I had a dream the other night, where I left with the phrase "Siek Globe! You've been watering down your conventions, old boy." On a whim, I've looked up Siek Globe, and discovered this lovely little story about an independent bookseller in Boston and an independent publisher teaming up over a friendship and a desire to bring new narratives to the concept of Terrorism. Does anyone know "Back Pages Books"? I wouldn't be surprised. The story is from 2007, but they seem to still be doing well, despite the downturn. And I'm seeing in the publishing business a kind of CSA operation, a small-scale high-quality relationship between publishers and retailers, as if we were bringing back the old in a new form. Which means shares might be in order....

Got me thinking a thinky thought. I'll have to go there for a bit and report what I find.