It Has Arrived – Again

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Something I’ve been really looking forward to for ages is the new “It” movie. You know the one – the Stephen King story about a creepy clown who kills children, appears everywhere and seems to be immortal, ensuring that generations of children are terrorised by this creature who represents everything children fear most in this world.

I saw the original “It” movie at my very first sleepover (slumber party, if you prefer). Picture a sitting room crammed with 11 year old girls who were experimenting with the most badass, rebellious thing any of them had ever done – rented an over 15’s movie.

Bold, or what?

So, we turned off all the lights, piled up all the snacks, snuggled together in a wodge of sleeping bags and pillows… and pressed play.

I have no hesitation in admitting that I was honestly never as scared as I was watching that movie for the first time. I had no real issues with clowns before then but that movie completely unnerved me and I couldn’t sleep for weeks afterwards. It was probably the first time I had properly and completely scared by something. It was months before I stopped looking over my shoulder, checking under my bed and always ensuring there was a wall behind my back when I walked just in case something might creep up on me from behind.

After a few more horror movies and sleepovers, I slowly started to get braver and eventually I actually became a big horror movie buff. There was an old movie rental shop in my town and they had a great horror section so when I’d go babysitting, I’d rent out three movies for a fiver (oh, for the good old days…), turn off all the lights and watch them by myself – see how hard core I became 🙂 From teen slasher movies like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legends, to classics like Psycho, Candyman and Silence of the Lambs, I could watch them over and over again.

So it was, that when the trailers were released for the remake of It, I was suddenly right back in that moment of anticipation, excitement and complete fear. Really want to see it, really DON’T want to see it – because I know I’ll have to sleep with the lights on, check under the bed and make sure I’m not alone for a single moment lest It should appear when he gets me on my own…

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Ahhh… turns out I’d nothing to worry about. The It remake was disappointing and not scary at all. The plot is slightly different, which is not a bad thing but the story they replaced it with was too simplistic and the movie was too long given that very little actually happens in the movie. Then there’s the clown – Pennywise – he’s on camera a lot, which is unusual for horror movie stars. They usually exist in the dark or are invisible for the majority of the movie and typically don’t make a visible appearance until the end. Not the case here. I thought they did a good job from a filmmaker point of view of not making Pennywise laughable when he appears on screen – the new Pennywise is positively demonic in appearance and the makeup/ outfit is to be commended. However, I cannot say that I found new Pennywise even remotely as creepy as the original. Original Pennywise had a genuine clown look going on and it was only when he suddenly became evil or you noticed his eyes (or the hideous teeth) that you suddenly became aware that this was not about to be a happy clown experience.

I have to give a mention however to the kids in the movie, who are just brilliant and easily the best thing about it. Great cast and exceptionally entertaining.

New It merits 3/10 stars from me. Old It merits 8/10.

It’s okay. I probably wouldn’t be recommending this movie for anyone to go and see. Instead, I would without a doubt, be recommending you find an old DVD of this movie (or online if you can), pull the curtains, turn out the lights and have a good night scaring the life out of your good self.

Off you go now…

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Riding Around (this wee country)

Riding Around

There are lots of reasons to like cycling. Exercise, fresh air, environmentally-friendly way to travel, genuine tanning opportunity and people tend to think you’re pretty hardy. I’ve also mentioned the coffee stops too and the inevitable accompanying piece of cake. But the best bit about cycling, for me anyways, is speed. That feeling of whizzing through the air, preferably down a hill, wind bellowing past your ears and bringing tears to your eyes as you soar through space feeling like a superhero.

It’s utterly childish and utterly wonderful.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is taking my bike out for a ride one afternoon after school and homework had been completed (I’m nearly sure it was a Thursday afternoon and I reckon I was 10-11 years old). It was hammering rain outside and I just suddenly got the urge to get on my bike. My Dad, you see, was very liberal in his child-rearing views so he wouldn’t have objected to my apparent lunacy of going for bike ride when it was pouring rain outside. What I remember is pedalling, standing up on the pedals and going absolute full throttle down the road from my house, no rain jacket, no helmet (wouldn’t advise this now, mind you!), rain spitting up from the road and coming down from the sky and it felt amazing.

Pure unadulterated, unrestrained freedom.

I felt free, I felt invincible and I felt I could do absolutely anything.

I don’t do stupid things like cycle about without a helmet anymore, but I do still have moments of speeding down hills as fast I can go on my bike, big stupid smile across my face and feeling thoroughly heroic. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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I’ve also taken to being more adventurous with my cycle routes in the last few months – trying out different areas and even driving to a start point a bit further away so that I can explore new areas and unexplored territory. Not gonna lie, it hasn’t always proved a roaring success and there have been some not so good road surfaces and just predominantly boring areas of Ireland that I would quite happily not miss ever seeing again. But mostly, it’s been great seeing new parts of the country and enjoying different landscape and towns of our fair green isle.

 

Sitka spruce and lodgepole pine dominate most of the coniferous woodlands of the Slieve Blooms, the largest cover of forestry in Ireland

Today, I took a venture around County Laois. I started from Monasterevin in Co. Kildare and headed towards Emo (because I always wanted to visit this place with it’s very cool name…), then Mountmellick  and on to Clonaslee and the Slieve Bloom mountains. I passed through quite a few small towns and villages along the way. Most of these towns were old, delapidated, small towns with not more than the usual old pub, shop, church and great looking GAA club. I was hoping there might be a coffee shop somewhere along the way but if there was, I didn’t see one.

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I like seeing these small towns, as there is something reassuring in the way there are so many towns around Ireland that are exactly how they were 30 years ago. Sure, the cities are modern and progressive with all their fancy dancy wifi, frappuccinos and chic male haircuts, but take a short ride out to the countryside and let you be in no doubt whatsoever – you won’t be getting no fancy wifi down here.

Lest you be getting notions about yourself 😉

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This is Rosenallis, not far from the Slieve Bloom mountains. Quaint, you might say.

It was nice to see rural Laois and they did have some lovely cows and friendly locals, but some of the roads weren’t the best (poor road surface makes for gritty cycling…), the scenery was not special and the towns were disappointing. I probably wouldn’t return here again unless there was a cycle race in the area. Rather, I think I’ll be trying out another area the next time.

The good news? It didn’t rain, I didn’t get lost and I had a little weekend adventure – and that’s good enough for me to feel just a little bit heroic for the rest of the day.

Happy weekend!