Coronavirus Days 37 & 38 – Palace & Prisons

Sunday Night at the Movies – Galway

We took a fortnightly grocery run today. The supermarket was fully stocked except for the old TP. There were some boxes of tissues available for the first time in a while (one per customer). Possible light at the end of the toilet bowl.


‘‘Twas a spectacular Sunday so we took a long walk up Skyline road after our shopping, It starts at the bottom of our driveway and runs uphill for a couple of miles. It was quite the a change weather wise from yesterday’s snow.

We’re Shopping


Since we are all feeling pretty confined these days, my binge recommendations tonight are all prison related.


I could write a whole blog on Michael Mann films. In The Jericho Mile (1979), Peter Strauss, hot off the international TV success of Rich Man, Poor Man, plays loner Murphy, a lifer in Folsom. He’s down on a conviction for murder. When Murphy’s fast mile is noticed, running the facilities’ track, the prison officials try to qualify him for the Olympics. Sympathy for the Devil has never been better utilized than in the opening sequence on the yard. This made for TV movie was so good it got released in international cinemas. That’s how I got to see it in the Claddagh Palace, Galway.

Sunday Stroll – Ancramdale


Speaking of the Claddagh Palace – back in the day they left the sliding letters for the marquee sign outside, hidden on top of the overhang. My brother Mark (again) and his friends would sometimes climb up there late night and get inventive with movie titles on the banner. His proudest work was arranging Riddle of the Sands into Piddle in the Hand. Pretty apt, as it was a piss poor film. Mark, much like his older brother, is easily amused.


I’m not sure if this was Mark’s work. I like to think it was.I’d guess it started as Crocodile Dundee II. The Claddagh Palace got a lot of our drunk foot traffic after a night in the Salthill clubs. Mark swears the Nun sign was not on him.

A Popular Screening at The Claddagh Palace


The Claddagh Palace was where I spent a lot of my Sunday nights growing up. You’d get there early with the girlfriend so you’d get one of the double seats on the balcony. It didn’t matter what was showing, I went every Sunday. Not much film viewing was done from those sofas of love. Just lots of hidden fumblings going on under wet duffel coats – the devil’s work. I was glad I never got to see what those seats looked like with the lights up. The Claddagh Palace smelled of damp teenagers, Tayto and cigarette smoke. Remember those ash trays in the backs of movie theatre seats?


I did learn at a midnight Saturday screening of Dirty Harry that fools and drunks are indeed protected by some higher power. There was an almighty thump and the whole row of seats I was in shook. Some middle aged stew bum had fallen off the balcony 15 feet above. My seat was directly below. It was the part where Harry Callahan stabs his switchblade into the serial killers leg. I didn’t want to be distracted. The drunk struggled up from the floor after a few minutes and staggered out of the theatre, much like the serial killer hobbling wounded from Mount Davidson Park in the film. Excellent parallel drawn there I thought.

I’m not a Doctor but I’ll take a look if you like.


Dirty Harry is an iconic 70s five star classic. It’s the rogue cop movie that defined them all. The plot is loosely based around the Zodiac killings. The third in the Dirty Harry series, The Enforcer, has its climax set in Alcatraz, to keep slightly in step with my prison theme. Dirty Harry is not a film that will pass the snowflake sniff test. Harry Callahan was not PC, before PC was a term.


The Shawshank Redemption was a commercial failure on release but has risen to the top of many favorite film lists over the years. Passive Andy Dufrense is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in 1947 Maine , for the murder of his wife and her lover. Andy befriends lifer Red and utilizes his big brain and intellect to survive incarceration. This is another film based on a non horror Stephen King Novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.

And I think I’m sooooooo smart.
Stacey is sometimes right. I’ve been putting laundry detergent in the dishwasher for the past five weeks. That may explain the bubbles that have been leaking out.


Oz was groundbreaking when it first started airing on HBO in 1997. For 6 seasons 56 episodes I was on lockdown with the inmates and wardens of Oswald Maximum Security aka Emerald City. 0z was an R-Rated hyper realistic soap opera, where going to soap up could be your last living act. This was HBO’s first one hour drama and it launched a lot of careers, including Edie Falco’s. Oz is grueling but addictive and definitely NOT for Shelley.

The 1969 memoir Papillon tells the tale of falsely accused murderer Henri Charriere’s 1931 incarceration on Devils Island , the hardline French Colonial Prison. Neither movie adaptations are particularly great, the book still is.

Saturday – Ancramdale


A movie adaptation that did justice to the the original source is King Rat, adapted from the novel by James Clavell. Peter Marlowe, one of three main characters in the novel, is based on Clavell himself, who was imprisoned in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during WWII. The 400 page novel from 1962 is Clavell’s first and by far his shortest. I never thought of rice balls the same way after this book.


My nephew Ryan attempted his own Peaky Blinders hair cut. He got the blind part down.


King Rat is part of what’s referred to as Clavell’s Asia saga, loosely linked books that span centuries. My well read friend Amy Kingswell recently completed Shogun on my recommendation. I think she had a love/hate reaction.

I streamed The Killers today. They performed as part of the One World Together at Home – Global Citizen fund raiser. Dozens of performers from around the world contributed this weekend.

The Killers


I did see The Killers at the Barclay Center January 2018 with Jeanine, my most frequent concert company. I went with zero expectations not knowing their music beyond some singles. We were blown away by their live performance – it was high energy and Las Vegas in the best of ways. Check out their single The Man. Those Mormons rock!

The Killers

And speaking of great bands, my bestie Lauren Fry’s brother’s band Worriers is shooting up the charts. Congrats Frank – very cool! For those that don’t know, Lauren , one of my concert buddies, is quite the singer herself.
Sunday – Ancramdale

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