At last saw Mission Impossible 2--it's lingering on at a cinema in town. John Woo's stock trademarks are in it, but they've been used to better effect in his earlier and better movies (Hard-Boiled, The Killer, even Face/Off) so that here they're merely clichés. One sniggers in derision rather than gasping in wonder. For U.S filmmakers Sydney is the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House, just as London is Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and red double-decker buses, and Paris is the Eiffel Tower. At the end of the movie is a scene in a park near the Opera House--people picnicking and mingling with jugglers and street performers and the like. Any visitor to Sydney notices in 1 minute that the metropolitan population consists of a large number of Asians (the best-dressed people in the city)--Chinese, Japanese, Koreans all clearly visible in the streets--but no, not the makers of this movie. It seems they hired only Anglo-Saxon extras for that scene. As absurd as there being almost no black people in Notting Hill's Notting Hill.

Reading The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt, Volume 1. Wyatt (1918-97) was a Labour MP a couple of times, wrote columns in The Times and The News of The World, was Chairman of the Horserace Totalisor Board, and became a peer and sat in the House of Lords. This book is his diary for October 1985 to December 1988. Almost 700 pages. I've reached July 1986 so far. Although he was a member of the Labour Party, Wyatt was a close friend, almost an advisor, of Margaret Thatcher, and was very fond of her. He saw her as a force lifting Britain out of the sludge of Socialism in which it had been mired for decades--she modernized the country, privatized nationalized industries, gave the people opportunities for betterment which they'd never had before. What a contrast to those who consider Thatcher an Iron Maiden who created the highest unemployment rate since the Depression, forced the unemployed to uproot themselves from their homes and get on their bikes to find work elsewhere in the country or they'd lose the dole, widened the chasm between rich and poor, brought in the Poll Tax, encouraged the USA to have a nuclear presence in Britain, got rid of the Greater London Council. (There is only an oblique reference in the Journals to the abolishing on April 1, 1986 of Ken Livingstone's GLC, which in a way was an implacable foe of the Tories.) I have to wonder now which view of the Baroness is correct. In addition, one of Wyatt's best friends was Rupert Murdoch.

This week I found out Nathan French is dead.