Category Archives: Childhood

Review: Heavenly Creatures (1994)

The long wait is over. I have safely landed back into the blogosphere; blame my absence on MA work, Christmas and selling books.  Or just my laziness and over-tiredness. With my insomnia back in full spirit after its sip of mulled wine, I’ve taken a journey into the land of film, more specifically the fourth dimension of Heavenly Creatures.

Heavenly Creatures (1994) directed by Peter Jackson is certainly a marvel to behold. Based on a true story from Pauline Parker’s journal entries in the 50s, Jackson begins a devilish journey into the ‘fourth dimension’, where fantasy grips two young girls and leads them straight to Hell’s gates.

Image courtesy of A.V. Club: Friends forever.

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The Lost Daughter of the Clayr: Lirael by Garth Nix

For those of you who have yet to come across the internationally acclaimed author Garth Nix, you are certainly missing out on a big bucket of deliciously chewy treats:  a fantastic fantasy series aptly named The Old Kingdom Trilogy, featuring all things good, bad and witty. Starting with Sabriel, originally a stand-alone novel, Nix penned his two sequels Lirael and Abhorsen with such attentive delicacy that it is certainly hard to imagine my life without the story revolving around Lirael.

I can hear the cliché bells ringing when I say that this story changed my childhood.

But whether you choose to believe me or not, I respected the fictional character of Lirael. In a world where everything presents itself as fake, selfish and image based, the character of Lirael represented the opposite of the popular trend.

Lirael – my signed copy.

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Superman Without His Pants!

Snyder just got it all wrong. Again.

I’m about to give up hope; may as well just run myself off the edge of a cliff, because I know my hero won’t be there clad in all his glory to save me.

So what’s the dealio Snyder, Cavill? Costume designer gone on their vacation, to the land of no return? Took off with Supes underpants, in a hurry to take over the world!? I knew you were an evil man Lex, but stooping to that level…

In case you haven’t got the foggiest idea what I’m speaking of, here’s a clue: the latest on-set pictures to be released of the new Superman film has Henry Cavill with the iconic red underwear gone, and in its place, lo and behold, Cavill’s crotch.

Gone Commando Cavill?

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Opening the Door to the Past: Poverty in the Dominican

For the first time, I find myself having difficulty expressing my thoughts so succinctly and concise, but poverty is not a topic that can be so easily summarised. Sure enough, many of us watching television daily see commercials of the poverty in Africa; of the malnourished children and the slums they call homes. Many of us will turn a blind eye to the disastrous areas of the third world, but what happens when you are forced to look upon such devastation?

The Local Gas Station: A Gallon for 9 Dollars

You feel guilt.

That morning, I had set out for an adventure into the Dominican wilderness, to experience all things Caribbean; from the delightful cocoa, to the more-ish and wonderfully scented aromas of roasted coffee and the crunchy taste of the coconuts – I was certainly well catered for.

But what of the locals? The young girl that reached up into the jeep to give me a parting gift; an exotic red flower. What life does she lead, while I sit in blissful luxury in a five-star hotel just twenty minutes away? Looking into the deep contours and colours of the flower, I felt guilty, but incredibly grateful for what I had.

Her Parting Gift

Almost a year ago I created a blog on ‘The Importance of Being Grateful’, and of the family that claimed thousands in benefits, cheating the real poverty of our own country. What right do they have? What right do they have to take money from the homeless, the penniless and the tragic?

School Area: Brightening the Day

I was faced with one question: what could I give back to the Dominican locals?
What could I give back to the school that had trembled in its footsteps towards the future? Those grey wooden desk chairs, the rotting chalkboard and the basketball hoop hanging by its steel chains in the playground – what can I do?

Raise awareness.

The children and adults alike are happy because they know no different. They have pride in themselves, and they seemed to say ‘do not pity us, for we are proud of the way we live’.

If you are visiting the Dominican Republic, please spare a thought to the children and their education. Please donate crayons, pencils, colouring books, children’s toys, anything that may help them.

They are a proud nation, and their children deserve to play with something other than the discarded bottles of tourists.

The Makeshift Game: How many stones can fit into this bottle?

Rebecca Black: It’s FUN FUN FUN Friday

“YEAH Yee-ahhh yay yay yay!”
It’s Friday and we all know what that means. National Rebecca Black Day?!
Don’t worry I’m kidding, but if you haven’t encountered this ‘rising star’ in the past few days, then boy are you missing a treat.
Here’s the link to her mind-blowing video…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfVsfOSbJY0

She has been trending on Twitter for near enough a week now. The viral promotion video went from a few thousand in the first day, to 6 million on the fourth, and to an enormously and unbelievable 16 million views today. Unfortunately it is not for her ‘spectacular’ voice, but rather for the atrocious yet annoyingly catchy lyrics.

So who is this Rebecca Black? We all know she likes to eat her cereal before getting in her friend’s back seat to go to school, but does she eat lunch and dinner too?!
The official website gives us all the information we need: http://arkmusicfactory.com/profile/rebeccablack

The question is how can a 13 year-old:
a) Afford a car.
b) Drive the car.
c) Or get her friend to drive the car.

Apparently in America 13 year-olds can drive a car, and they are always skipping school to go to some party, which is, of course, fun fun fun! But we all know music videos do not have to make sense any longer.

Personally, I’d like to see Rebecca Black actually sing, rather than become an auto-tuned robot. However, if the song wasn’t auto-tuned, would it get mass views on youtube?

I’d like to ask Miss Rebecca Black a few questions:
Does she have cereal every morning? What happens if she has toast, or god forbid an English Fry-Up! My apologies, I meant Fry-Day…
Is she a ‘belieber’?
Does she want to become the female version of Bieber?
Can we call her Rebecca ‘Black Friday’ – or is that taking it a step too far?

One thing is for sure, she can’t keep going to parties all day and drinking her body weight in non-alcoholic punch; the girls’ school toilets wouldn’t be a pretty sight.

Nostalgia

Rain sucks, to put it plainly. However, while the terrential downpour continued to hit the conservatory roof, I took the time to think what should I actually do with the day?
I started to sort through some videos (yes VHS, not DVD or Blue-Ray…) and happened to find a video entitled ‘Littlefoot’. That was what my Dad labelled it years ago, but it’s correct title is The Land Before Time. The film was released in 1988 and executively produced by legendaries, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Of course, I didn’t know this as my 6 year old self as I watched it all those years ago… but as an adult I did a little research.
I was surprised to find that it only lasted 53 minutes. I mean… WOW. A film that doesn’t last more than an hour?! What are the odds?
How is it then, that a film can have a beginning, a middle and an end, whilst building three-dimensional characters and producing a whirlwind of emotions? The only films I can remember that did that was in the ‘My Little Pony’ collection… you know the one with the massive spider blocking the way and the ponies get caught in its sticky web? No? Okay just me…
The animation in ‘Littlefoot’, is simply quite stunning. Okay so it’s not 3D, big deal! Who wants to wear them glasses anyway? They hurt my eyes and my nose, mainly because I have to put them on top of my own glasses. (N.B. Can someone invent 3D prescription glasses?)
I love a film that can give me a good cry, while eating ice-cream and chocolate, and trying to wipe my tears before falling into my food! And ‘Littlefoot’ was no exception; I didn’t cry as much as I would for The Lion King, but the film still trapped me in tangles of emotions, and to me that’s what makes a good film. It may be predictable, it may be childish and it may not be 3D, but it has a purpose, a moral and most of all it is a simple tale.

After watching the film, I decided to sort through masses of junk that is piled into a ‘walk-in-cupboard’ that you can’t walk-in. You know that Friends episode when Chandler finally gets into Monica’s cupboard and is mortified and surprised when it’s full of junk? Well imagine that. It’s bad.
Within three hours, the bottom floor was tidy and 8 plastic bags were thrown into the bin full of junk – of course I couldn’t do it without the help of Mum!
During this time I found many things that filled me with such nostalgia, that I ended up just reading or looking at things instead of throwing things away.
I came across letters from pen-pals when I was 11 (nine years ago), and letters from my best friends and cousins. I found myself thinking, technology can be rubbish.
E-Mail. Electronic Mail.
It’s just not the same as having letters written by hand with ink whether it be from a bic pen or gel pen. You can keep these for years, and you somehow feel closer to the person when you know they have taken the time to handwrite the letter instead of typing.
Yes, it’s more convenient to type and email and it gets sent to the recipient within seconds, but it’s not as personal.
I wish I could handwrite this blog for you all, but alas I’m the hypocrite, it’s just faster to get my thoughts out there by typing.
Write a letter. Watch a film from your childhood. In twenty years time, if our children are learning how to type than learning how to write – we have problems!