Zero-nine-eight

Zero-nine-eight yanked down on the stiff metal handle of the giant metal door; it didn’t budge.

She pulled down on it with all her weight, then she jumped up and pushed down on it. Nothing.

Almost out of energy, she tugged hard and pulled down again, her skinny arms stretched upward as she hung from it and her bum grazed the floor. It wasn’t giving even slightly.

She looked about with a mix of fear and anger on her face. She had been running around in a labyrinth of corridors for what felt like hours and her bare feet were so cold they hurt.

There was a keypad too high up to reach next to the door but she didn’t know what she could do about that anyway, they always used a different number on the one in her room.

Brick walls lined the long corridors of concrete floors. There were three different kinds if lights; Long fluorescent strips in the middle of the ceiling which were off at the moment, small tinted round red ones on the wall about 2 metres apart, which were also off, finally small white rectangle ones evenly spaced between the red ones, which were on. Most of them didn’t work and there wasn’t a great deal of light, but Zero-nine-eight could see there were no vents, no holes, no spaces to hide in or crawl through.

As she was about to head back the way she came, the hall lit up with the red lights which seemed to be swirling, followed by a shrill siren which sounded three times and stopped.

They were back.

Zero-nine-eight fell down, startled. She scrambled herself backwards into the corner next to the metal door. There was a light beeping noise followed by heavy metal grinding noise from behind the door and she saw the handle move downward. Frozen in the corner, the door swung open, trapping her in the space behind it as it opened slowly until wall stopped it. For the moment she was shielded from the those coming through the it.

“Lieutenants, round up Zero-nine-zero through to Zero-nine-nine”, boomed a voice.

“Yessir, Commander”, came two more voices in unison.

“Take them to the ship, but be discreet. There are a lot of people about this time of day. Use the Trojan.”

“On it Sir”, and that was it; the bright white fluorescent strip lights came on in the ceiling and the red swirling lights stopped. She heard footsteps heading away before hearing the beeping noises again and the door began to move closed.

It swung closed slowly and she crept around following it. She peered around but it was completely black. As the gap becamr smaller she gulped and taking a big breath back, she went through.

Spice Girls: Part 2

It was going well… too well.

We had picked up driving snacks and water in Asda and my co-pilot, Sam, was passing me crisps dipped in sour cream and slices of broccoli quiche as we went. We only stopped once an hour after leaving Hull; I wanted a Soya Milk Cappuccino from Starbucks – nom.

Only as we were approaching the last few junctions into Coventry, did I lose my head. My leg began to ache again and I could feel the skin around the bite getting tight.

So when a van with three men in the front pulled out on me at the roundabout, I shouted every swearword, held my horn down and made sure they saw me sign them. Naturally when I saw they were shouting something back, I was enraged.

“Ugh – who do they think they are? Shouting back?!?! I’m going back round!! I’m gona drive into them.”

“Oook, calm down, calm down -” everyone soothed.

Trying my hardest to get a grip of myself I said, “Sorry, I’m tired and my leg hurts.”

“Shall I drive the last bit?” Sam asked.

“There’s only 18 minutes left, I’ll be ok” – I could almost hear everyone’s thoughts: You might be ok, but we aren’t, you psycho. “- thanks though.”

A few minor rants later we were at the Apartment we had booked.

We parked up next to an SUV with its windows down and plumes of Ganja smoke pouring out.

“Let us in”, I joked.

And that’s when the heavens opened, no really- let us in, I thought.

On the way from Hull we had gone from fluffy clouds, rain, big black grey clouds and stunning sunshine. We really had no idea what to expect from the weather tonight. Google had changed its mind every time we looked.

We grabbed every bag and case we could, nobody was going back out in that – and we scrambled for the front door and sweated up 2 flights of stairs.

It was 3pm.

For the next few hours the rain came down like it was trying to cleanse Coventry of some biblical stain. Never mind Spice Girls, it was looking more like Drowned Girls. The doors to the arena opened at 5pm but there was no way we would be there by then and none of us could see sense in getting there so early.

The others were only too excited to go to the concert and all I could think is how much I wanted to put my PJ’s on and rest my leg. Going out in the cold rain was the last thing I wanted to do. I may have been feeling sorry for myself, but I was genuinely gutted.

The day was ruined.

Within half an hour I was pretty much done and ready. It worked out well because I don’t think I could have managed any other Spice. I had the easiest dress up; trainers on my feet and Braids in my hair.

“I need help with my eyelashes”

“I can’t do my make up”

“What can I do with my hair?”

– well lucky for these lot, I was a bit of a Skilled Spice too and after a bit of sticking and a bit of spraying and lots of puffing and blowing and yanking – I had a Baby Spice, a Scary Spice and a Ginger Spice to go with my Sporty Spice.

….It only took 2 and half hours.

Ok, so everyone looked amazing and I couldnt help feeling excited again.

Time for a photo shoot – well, a phone propped up in front of the TV with a timer on – shoot.

We Zig-a-Zig-ahhed, peace signed and pouted for a good 20 minutes before I looked out the window – ughhh it was so deflating, but Sam and Kate and Alex seemed completely unaffected. All I could think is how gorgeous they all looked and how washed out we would be after the rain got us.

“Did anyone bring a brolly?”…

“No”, everyone chimed.

Sam was counting the Uber down and we knew we would have to make a run for it. As the Uber approached it seemed the rain was getting worse.

“Eleven minutes”

We all started to check and pack our little bags.

“Seven minutes…”

We touched up our make up.

“Cigs, phones, keys…??”

“Three minutes, ok lets head down”, Sam shouts.

Everyone chugged their final drinks.

“Have you got the tickets?” Kate asks.

“Oooh my God, noooo”, shouts Sam with a giggle, “I almost left them”.

“SAAAMMM!!!” we all shout.

“I’m too excited”, she squeals as she shoves them into her little pink backpack. Thank God for Kate.

We made it down the stairs without falling down them, which was a win considering the Heels on everyone but me.

By the time we were in the Uber, the downpour was so horrendous, we could barely see out of the windows.

I was now Grumpy Spice.

I’m just going to stand at the bar, I want to go home, is it over yet, my leg hurts so bad, this is shit… of course I didn’t say any of that, but you could have probably read it on my face.

As we were pulling into the side of the arena, Sam, Kate and Alex were a gaggle of gorgeous squealing Spice Girl fangirls; meanwhile, I was looking for those people selling ponchos on the side of the road because that was where I was going to ask the driver to pull up.

There were two poncho sellers as we got out the car. A woman first then a man almost right behind her.

I saw immediately what they were selling were little more than bin-liners with hoods.

“How much for four?” I call to the lady.

“Three Pounds each!” She says and I can’t help but scoff.

“Give us four for a tenner?” I ask and she shakes her head in disgust and mutters something under her breath.

The guy behind saw me and I shouted the same over to him, he resisted a little, but Sam was on it and already pushing a soggy £10 note into his hand. Defeated, he dished out the hoods.

“Yessss!” Why I felt this was such a win is beyond me, but I was chuffed to bits with my tinted pink bin-liner hooded poncho.

So with my mood lifted, despite the god-awful rain, the only thing really messing me up now, was my leg. The cues were only a few people deep, so we had timed it perfectly… or had we?

We weren’t waiting long to get into the arena and out of the rain but once inside, there was a 15 minutes wait for the toilets, (I wasn’t bothered about that- I was just happy to be out the rain) and the brief moment on the loo was sweet relief to my poor foot while I was sat down.

The next cue was the food and beer cue!! This was easy going to be half an hour. There may have been nobody in the cues outside, but that was because they were all in cues in the arena waiting for beer and burgers.

In all our waiting about in different cues, I noticed all the men. From 16 to 60!! There were loads of them. What were they all doing here. Spice Girls had a following that surpassed a thousands of 8 year-old school girls and I was shocked to see the range of their audience. But the more the merrier, I guess.

Through the gaps in the stands we could see the rain was stopping. Even in our plastic ponchos and half sodden, we were still the best dressed Spice Girls in the arena and I was chuffed to bits at how awesome everyone looked.

I won’t say what we ended up paying for 4 pints and a burger, but what really pissed me off was that it said there was a veggie option on the menu and when our own Ginger Spice, Kate, asked for one, the server said nowhere in the arena does veggie food!! She was a total bitch about it too (we even saw someone with chips a bit later, but it was way too late at that point). So I hope karma gets a hold of her and gives her a severe rash or something for being so rude. Poor Kate settled for a bit of a burger bun, but she was far too excited to care.

Anyyyyyways!!! Finally we were getting somewhere, the rain had become nothing more than a trickley spit. That was enough for Alex and Sam – they tore off their plastic ponchos in an epic effort to show up the real Spice Girls! Alex even looked so good she ended up on Mel B’s Instagram. G’wwwaaan Alex!

As for me and Kate, we were a little more skeptical about the weather and ours stayed on a little longer. I was keeping mine on because as soon as we found a spot away from the crowd down the side of the arena, I planted myself on the floor. I was going to drink my beers and rest my leg.

I didn’t care who was looking (everyone looked). I’d had less than 3 hours sleep, I’d driven two and half hours and barely sat down since I got out the car, I was cold and wet, my leg hurt and worst of all… I WAS THIRTY TODAY!!!!

Yes, I felt sorry for myself. More than anyone had felt sorry for themselves in the history of feeling sorry for themselves. I was sitting on the floor of that stadium until I had finished this beer and that was that.

It was my birthday and I’ll sulk if I want to.

Ten minutes into my resting-sulk, a ripple of commotion began fluttering through the crowd. It was too early for Spice Girls so it could only be Jess Glynne, the support act; one of Alex’s favourite singers.

I had no choice, something was starting and as patient as Kate and Sam and Alex had been, they needed to be closer to the show – who was I to hold them back.

Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was the atmosphere, (or maybe I really just needed that ten minutes on the floor) but as music started I was lifted (figuratively and physically, because I needed a hand up). Alex, Kate and Sam’s excitement and squeals were infectious.

To me and a lot of others around us, Jess Glynne looked a lot like she was coming out of a Ket-hole and she seemed tired and bored. My sister on the other hand, couldn’t have been more thrilled and was having the time of her life, so that was good enough for me.

As the crowds grew louder laughing, singing and dancing, it was as though the Sun wanted in on the action, and glorious orange beams of light began to light up the arena; it was time to lose the ponchos.

… and go for another wee… and get more beer!

Alex and Kate went first, missing the last two songs from Jess Glynne’s Crack Set and with only minutes to spare Sam and I decided to brave it.

After fighting our way through the crowds… well I smashed people out the way dragging Sam behind me – we finally made up to the stairs, then down to the toilets where 40 other women waited in line. Now if there hadn’t of been attendants checking the male toilet doors, we would have happily hovered over a urinal but not wanting to get thrown out, I restrained myself. So from Stand 23, I dragged my Baby Spice all the way to stand 36 where we waited all of 3-4 minutes for a loo.

As it turns out, Sam’s feet didn’t hurt until I made her run 13 stands worth of arena…

“Aw no, we still need beers”, Sam reminded me. Feeling a little bad for being the most comfy and agile Spice Girl at this point, (as well as for my Grumpy behaviour) I decided to take one for the team because minutes before I was due to be served, we heard the Intro to Spice up your Life.

“Sam, Go Go, get us a little vid of the opening!!!” I shouted, getting butterflies and goosebumps all over. It took everything I had not to start screaming with the overwhelming excitement I felt in that moment.

“No, I can’t it’s your birthday, you go”, Sam argued.

“Get your Baby Spice Ass up them stairs now, I will be up in a minute I am almost being served” I shouted. With the biggest grin and a little squeak she was flying up the stairs!!

Moments later I had 5 bottles and was running up the stairs after her.

AND THERE THEY WERE!!!!!!

Every good thing I remember about being a little girl was right there!! The Mother Ducking Spice Girls Baby!!!!!!!

It took my breath away!! The real girls were stood right there, singing their hearts out. Trotting up and down the stage like they did in their 20’s. Here they were now, with a whole generation of life and experiences behind them like we all did. They had all grown-up!! But here we were and I felt eight years old again.

Grabbing my hand and with so much hysterical energy that it almost came off, Sam took over dragging us both back to the spot where Alex and Kate were waiting.

When they saw us through the crowds we were finally complete. We were a frenzy of screams and squeals.

We sang, we laughed, we cuddled, we screamed, we cheered, we danced we screamed and cheered some more!

I was not prepared for how overwhelmed and emotional I felt seeing our childhood superstars chatting and laughing and singing right in front of us. I imagine a lot of people might think, Oh Come On, it’s only the Spice Girls for God sake; but to think when I was a little girl, going to concerts just didn’t happen to us, they were just too expensive. So stood there, in that moment, it was like we were at a concert we had been waiting 20 years to go to.

It may have been a helluva day –

But it was nothing compared to the birthday night of my life.

The night was mindblowing from one song to the next! The Spice Girls, from what I have read, have had some rave reviews. I aren’t going to go into much detail about the night with the girls on stage. They were absolutely fantastic and deserved every bit of praise they get and if you didn’t get chance to go then I am sorry you missed out.

Thanks Dad and Sam – you did good!!!

Spice Girls: Part 1

Eight years old.

That’s how old I was when Spice World, the Spice Girls movie came out in 1997.

Spice World: the movie 1997

I remember knowing every single dance move and every word of every song. I had their official Spice Fever cheap bubble bomber jacket that I wore until there were big tears with fluff coming out.

Let’s just say, like millions of other young Girls, my sister and I thought we were real Mini-Spices!

To many of us Generation Y kids, they were the original Girl Band. Baby, Ginger, Posh, Scary and Sporty – a girl for almost every personality. Good or Bad – thousands of us Loved It.

Imagine my excitement when my Dad’s Girlfriend messaged me and my sister to say she was dragging us both, with her friend, to see Spice Girls on my 30th birthday (courtesy of Dad’s bank account – thank you, Dad).

Geri, Mel C, Emma, Mel B

The date was June 4th. The place was Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

No expense would be spared. This was the concert of our lives. There were going to be t-shirts, dress-ups, playlists and poses!!!

On the lead up to an event we had been waiting for months, we made so many plans for the day, it had to be just right.

So naturally, when it came to the actual day, a LOT of things went wrong.

THIRTY

I had been lucky enough to have a birthday party planned by my friends on the 1st of June. It was Festival themed – with tents, music, a BBQ and acrobatics in the grass. Despite my friend Amber, spraying us all down numerous times with bug repellent, I was bitten by some cheeky little nipper on my foot.

Nevermind, one bite is annoying, but manageable, ay? Hahahaa, nope!

As midnight rolled over and the 3rd of June became the 4th (my birthday), I was on the phone to emergency doctors worried I may need my foot amputating. Of course, I was being dramatic but I did have a bad infection and I spent the early hours of the morning seeing a GP who had to prescribe me with antibiotics (for a brief moment I was devastated until he advised me that alcohol was not a problem with this particular brand – what a win).

Off I went, hobbling home in pain, now dreading the concert I had looked forward to for the most part of the year.

I flopped into bed gobbling down my first Antibiotic, and with a cold flannel on my poorly, bright red and purple throbbing balloon ankle I tried to sleep.

When I woke up a few hours later I threw back my covers in a panic because I could still feel the ache. Although it still looked like I’d been bitten by zombie, my leg was a lot less swollen. Thank God, I thought.

Keep your leg up, everyone said – and ohhh did intend to. There was a two and a half hour journey to Coventry – plenty of resting time.

From a mixture of road-rage, stress and headaches I’d given up my car over a year ago, but I could still bomb about in my Dad’s if I needed to. On this occasion though, Dad’s girlfriend, Sam had opted to drive so I looked forward to keeping my leg firmly rested on the back seat

We all planned to meet at my Dad’s house, so at 9.30am my sister picked me up with my bags.

I was surprised to walk through the door and see banners, balloons, party poppers, a cake, cards, presents, a breakfast banquet and everyone lined up shouting Happy Birthday.

I was immediately happier. The ache in my foot was fading away and being replaced by excited squeals.

So, let me introduce you to the Spice Girls from Hull. There was me, I was Sporty Spice. Alex (my sister) was Scary Spice. Sam (Dad’s Girlfriend) was Baby spice. Kate (Sam’s bestie) was Ginger Spice (Posh spice wasn’t doing the tour so we weren’t too bothered about finding our 5th traitor Spice).

After a photo shoot by Dad (a real photographer), we had our t-shirts on and our bags packed – the car loaded up and Spice Girls CD at the ready; so it was time to get on the road.

– oh, er after we went to Asda… Oh, and then the petrol station… Oh, and back home for the SatNav…

That was it, really…

…but just as I got my poorly leg sprawled out on the back seat (over my sister’s legs) -“Oh no”, shouts Sam, as we set off for the 3rd time, “I haven’t taxed my car”. We all look at each other.

“I’m on it”, shouts Alex, “what’s your Reg Number?”

They to-and-fro questions and answers as Alex tries to make the transaction on her phone.

“Unable to complete- MOT Out of Date. Sam, when is your MOT due?” Says Alex.

“Whaaaaat?” Squeals Sam. “Not for, like, another month. Let me call your Dad.”

At this point we are only approaching the town centre and not too far away from home.

“Dean, we can’t tax my car it says the MOT is out of date”

“Whaaaaat?” He laughs down the speaker phone. “Hang on, let me have a look.” There’s a pause, some scrambling and paper-shuffling noises at the other side of the line — “Sam, it ran out yesterday.”

“Saaaaam” Me, Kate and Alex shout in unison.

Sam let’s out a nervous giggle and a much quieter “Oh No”. We all see her look about the car and realise she needs to pull over.

“Dad, I shout from the back, can you get your car to us on St Andrews Quay? We will pull over there. You can take Sam’s car home and we will take yours.”

“Going to have to, aren’t I”, he chuckles.

The phone clicks off. There’s a silence before we all burst out laughing and start ribbing Sam.

“I can’t believe it, I thought it was next month”, obviously a bit shocked, she then says, “erm, I can’t drive your Dad’s car though”. Before anyone can get anymore concerned about the situation –

“Don’t worry I love that little Golf”, I pipe up, “it’s a right go-er, I’ll do it.”

“What about your leg though?!” She says, a little worried.

We turn into the car park of the Quay.

“It’ll be fine, I’ll only be using it to accelerate, if it gets bad, you might have to bite the bullet – but Kate and Alex can both drive too. We’ll be fine.”

Thirty minutes pass and my little brother rolls into the car park.

“Yayyyy,” we all cheer, “Thanks Ben.”

We repack the cars, going from a 2006 Ford Fusion 1.6 TdCi to a 2006 Golf 2 Litre SDI 60mpg car in a few minutes. We weren’t messing about.

I strap myself in, adjust the mirrors, make the seat low and get into gear.

We tear out the car park before Sam shouts again, “Oh no, WE LEFT THE CD IN THE OTHER CAR!”

More laughs!!

“Let’s just get there shall we”, Kate and Alex shout.

to be continued…

- Spoliers Alert -

film review. aladdin

MOVIE: Aladdin

YEAR: 2019

DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie

WRITER: John August & Guy Ritchie

MAIN CAST: Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Merwan Kenzari

RUNNING TIME: 2hr 8min

So as far as I’m concerned, if Guy Ritchie wants to make more Musicals then I will back that situation 100%.

Aladdin follows the almost identical story-line of its 1992 cartoon original. Aladdin, a poor thief on the streets of Agrabah, meets Princess Jasmine and falls in love with her. It’s not until Aladdin finds a magical Lamp and a Genie within, that he can become a Prince and be worthy of her. Of course, an evil sorcerer threatens all of these wonderful romantic plans so it is up to Aladdin, his monkey-friend Abu, a loyal magic Carpet and Aladdin’s Genie to save them all.

Jafar Genie Aladdin Jasmine Daliah

As for all things technical; when it comes to the way this film is shot, in all it’s bright and beautiful glory, I was wide-eyed and taken in. I have always enjoyed Ritchie’s style of camerawork and editing, and this film is different from his usual grit. It’s vivid and colourful from start to finish, mimicking the rich vibrancy of the cartoon. Compared to Live-Action, there can be a lot of unnatural manoeuvrability with camerawork and lighting in a cartoon, so Ritchie’s style is a perfect match since Disney clearly wanted a ‘live-animation’ equivalent of the Original.

The setting of the City and the Palace is almost stage-like, which is a common design for Musical Movies because they’re built for ease of dancing and movement (not only from the actors but the set and props too). It’s a layout which adds to the feel of animation because of how it moves in the background to make way for the action of the characters.

Although I can understand the stage-like layout of the film, despite the controversy attached to the place, props and detail (more on that soon), I was really disappointed in the costume designs. They were very Disneyland-esque and I won’t be surprised if they are on mass production for the staff in theme parks, or when identical outfits are flying out of Disney stores the world over.

From late last year, I heard a lot of dubious comments and opinions from people when it was announced that there would be a Live-Action Aladdin, and of course there were going to be; an unknown fact about Disney’s original Aladdin cartoon, was that it had a bit of bad press back in the day when it sparked racial controversy. It may have claimed more than a whopping $500 million at the Box Office, but between racist lyrics in the songs to the prejudice depiction of the antagonist characters, it really hit a nerve with Middle Eastern and North African audiences, and rightly so.

A real problem with blockbuster movies and the size of the audience they command (especially in a young audience, like Aladdin), is that prejudice representations of any creed or cultures leave a real-world impression ( to be fair, any negative stereotypes perpetuate adverse impressions on races, sexes, sexual orientations, religions… the list goes on). In some ways I see it as borderline irresponsible of film-makers, when its possible their audience could be naive enough to take these depictions seriously.

Characters and Lyrics aside (because Ritchie has changed them somewhat), Orientalism is the main perpetrator casting a shadow over both Aladdin movies.

“Orientalism” is a way of seeing that imagines, emphasizes, exaggerates and distorts differences of Arab peoples and cultures as compared to that of Europe and the U.S. It often involves seeing Arab culture as exotic, backward, uncivilized, and at times dangerous.

Orientalism is something which has grown into a monster in terms of how the western world seem to imagine the Eastern world. It has been growing since the late 1800’s in things like art and stories which have almost always come from an outsiders perspective opposed to someone with knowledge and experience of actual communities and their cultures, traditions or beliefs.

Aladdin is a film that cemented Orientalism into the western perception far before Ritchie got his hands onto it. Despite how well I think Guy Ritchie has done creating a film with colour, more in-depth character development (compared to the cartoon) and humour (personally, I don’t think Will Smith had some bad lines); I think he still managed to ignore most of the free lessons critics and advocacy groups have expressed about the problems in the original.

Although there’s a lot of improvement in the characters (thankfully the Sultan isn’t a babbling man-baby and the Genie, for all his power, wants to go on a date), the costumes make the actors look like life-sized dolls and the whole city design from the Palace to the River to the Market is make-belief of all the pretty things from Asia and North Africa. There is no real depth, and for all the talk about ‘the people’ by Princess Jasmine, the film has almost nothing to do with them.

This film could be set anywhere, and its that transparency that acts as an affront to Middle Eastern and African culture insulted by the original cartoon. Or, perhaps the point was since Aladdin comes from a mishmash of cultures it is set in a place-less place; I aren’t sure that is good enough, maybe it should have been set in the Grand Canyon, Niagra Falls, Washington DC or on Route 66 if that was the case, and Disney should not make a culturally contraversial film if they aren’t going to do their utmost to respect and teach about the culture they’re portraying.

As it stands, on the surface, Ritchie simply made the 1992 Aladdin into a Live-Action Movie and not a lot more.

That’s not to say I didn’t like it though.

- Spoliers Alert -

film review. rim of the world

MOVIE: Rim of the World

YEAR: 2019

DIRECTOR: McG

WRITER: Zack Stentz

MAIN CHARACTERS: Jack Gore, Miya Cech, Benjamin Flores Jr., Alessio Scalzotto

RUNNING TIME: 1hr 38min

What a treat of a film this turned out to be.

Rim of the World: Dariush, Zhenzhen, Alex, Gabriel

Rim of the World is about four totally different kids that meet at a summer camp. Abandoned by the adults, it’s up to Alex, Dariush, Zhenzhen and Gabriel to save the world when Aliens invade.

If you watch it close enough you will see that is only one part of what this movie has to offer; there are layers, upon layers, upon layers to this film.

It is stuffed to the ‘rim’ of movie references from the last thirty-odd years making it a relatable, fun flick for adults and kids alike. It’s a mix of Sci-Fi, Horror, Adventure and Comedy genres, and it has absolutely no qualms with throwing every stereotype in the book into the mix.

Most recently audiences have been going mad for the likes of Stranger Things and IT for their nostalgic throwback to the Western World’s most favoured Adventure blockbusters of the last few decades. Movies like ET, Goonies and Breakfast Club were the backbone of Generation X. Unlike Stranger things and IT, Rim of the World is set in the present, but with the same sort of adventure format. Generation Z benefits from references of movies like Gladiator and Rush Hour and then more recently the Millennials will be more familiar with Wolverine and John Wick.

Using the countless politically incorrect inferences we have all grown up on to pack a funny punch; filmmakers have cleverly highlighted contentious issues, instead of hiding them beneath the surface as a cheap gag trick. The main clue that this film is openly commenting on politically charged stereotypes or agendas is when Carl & Logan, the Camp Leaders (who are also “the black men on Campus”) are sitting about the campfire talking about Toy Story 3. It’s not to say that Carl & Logan’s interpretation of Toy Story 3 is true (“the ruling class justification for the inferior conditions of the working class”), but it is how the filmmakers say to the audience, “yes, films are meant to talked about; yes, they have hidden meanings and agendas – including this film; and yes, we know what we are doing – that’s the point”.

I won’t list all of the film references in the movie, I am sure there are a tonne of websites that’ve already made it their mission to; besides, spotting them yourself is part of the fun because for many of them it’s just one line of dialogue or a prop or special effect that’s the reference instead of the actual name of the film.

What I think is so important to take away from the film is its coming of age theme and messages.

The guy that wrote the film, Zack, has mentioned in a few interviews about the emotional importance of the films he grew up on in the 80’s and the lessons they taught him and millions of others. They relied a lot on how kids in the audience identified with what the characters are going through. Childhood traumas like bullying, poverty, grief, peer-pressure or some sort of in-house/domestic abuse are usually used as part of the background info in most of the main character arcs. In Rim of the World, it’s all about abandonment. Alex’s Father died traumatically in front of him, Dariush’s Father is going to Jail, Gabriel’s Father leaves when he’s Ten and Zhenzhen is an orphan – Not to mention they’re all left alone by the ‘adult camp leaders’ when the whole movie kicks off.

Generally the plot of the all these Generation X movies features a Headmaster or Evil Grown-up, a Monster, or in this case Alien, which acts as the metaphor for the main characters’ trauma and how they overcome it is always based on how they pull together and ‘Stand By’ each other; it’s the lessons they learn through their friendship that gives them strength, not just in the immediate battle, but also the one they are fighting at home or school.

Rim of the World packs a LOT into an hour and half. I could mention that I thought the special effects were kind of wooden and I could say the introduction of the characters and even some of the interaction and dialogue sometimes felt awkward and unnatural and I don’t think many would disagree. However, the fact that it’s full of hints and clichés from the last forty years makes me thinks all of this part of its purposeful charm.

Overall it does well to be its own unique take on western pop-culture. It brings together the last three generations of audiences in a hilarious, albeit crude and obvious, complement of one-liners, shoddy CGI explosions and an evil looking monster while also facing the crushing trauma of family torment with your best mates at your side.

Nice one Zack.

tails from my cat-fam: Patch

It is no secret how much I love my cat-fam. Hugo, Patch, Jessie & Batcat.

The Cat-Fam

I’m so boring when it comes to my cats and I can almost feel everyone’s eyes roll into the backs of their heads when I start to tell yet another story about them. If I work with you, if you’re my friend, neighbour or family, or a stranger in the street, you will hear me talk about at least one of my four cats during an encounter.

This one is about Patch.

I used to have a beautiful black cat called Scarlet but she took it upon herself to leave me and I never saw her again 😦

She just never came home.

Since then, I have been dreading the day that I notice I’m a cat down.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that my cute but scraggly Batcat, had her momentous achievement of getting into the house through the cat-flap (it had been months of trying to coax, cajole and con her to use it). Since then, not only does she come in, but she goes out too; she’s a fully fledged cat-flapper-cat.

Alas, a few days after the cat-flap breakthrough, Patch decided that the day had come to put me through the same trauma as Scarlet.

Although Patch is one of my more aloof Kitties and only comes to have the odd bit of attention when no other cat is about,  I  can always rely on her come meet me in the street when I home from a night-shift..

On the fateful morning of April 12th I didn’t get my usual fussy Hello.

A little worried, but also aware of my tendency to over-react, I went to bed knowing I would be up in an hour or two for my new KCom Lightstream upgrade, (that’s fibre broadband to you non-Hull natives) and she would probably be home by then.

Less than two hours later I was awakened by my horrifcally loud door-bell and two very polite, smiling (& strapping) KCom engineers.

“In there fella’s,” I directed them to the living room at the back of the house, “help yourselves”. I stuck my head out of the front garden gate and gave a short whistle for Patch. Nope, still no sign (“don’t over-react, don’t over-react, don’t over-react”).

After a few trips in and out of the back garden, the odd whirring of drilling and stapling of wires, they were done “Bye, Love” they say, and they were off.

Still, in the hours to come, there was no sign of my fur-baby Patch. Thoughts of all the horror stories I had ever heard were beginning to race through my mind and by tea-time I had resided myself to the fact that she wasn’t coming home or she was cold, injured and hiding – alone and frightened somewhere.

I went out several times into the night looking for her. Every moment that passed only convinced me more that she was gone for good.

By the next day I had over 50 shares on a Facebook post, had driven about Hull with my sister following up on any dead cat sightings people posted about and replied to several comments and messages from well wishers and cat lovers alike providing me with comforting advice (which surprisingly enough, actually was comforting).

"She may have been spooked and is hiding until it's safe to come back"
"She may have just gone exploring, Cats do this from time to time"
cat post
"Mine was missing a whole two weeks before she came back, I  know what you're going through, try not to get too upset at this point"

Other comments included advice about when was best to go and look for her and different ways to lure her back.

It was a horrible day at work, I was worrying the whole time. It was so nice to hear from people and what their experiences had been. I was trying to convince myself that this was a normal thing that could happen and maybe I shouldn’t bee too worried at this point; it had only been a day (this was not me over-reacting by the way).

By the end of the day, one of my posts had racked up nearly 80 shares. That may not seem a big deal to some people but to me I was so grateful that there was a whole 80 people that wanted to help me out.

It was a late finish from work and it wasn’t until 11:30pm that I rocked up at home with a frog in my throat when I realised for a second day that she wasn’t home. All the comments and well wishing that had kept me calm through the day didn’t seem to mean much when I didn’t see her trot up to me in the street.

It was a little after midnight when I went back out shaking my treats, with no real expectation of seeing Patch… but who comes trotting around the corner like nothing had happened?

None other than Mohammed Ali… haha – kidding, it was my little fluff-ball, Patch.

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Of course I spent the next 20 minutes sobbing uncontrollable tears of joy and Patch did nothing but try and wriggle free wondering why I was being so clingy.

She hasn’t done it since. In fact, in the last few weeks since she has even taken to sleeping upstairs with the rest of the cat-fam. I aren’t complaining.

reading films: a breakdown

Films are multi-medial. They are a visual and auditory platform.

Because our imagination is stimulated by both sounds and pictures at the same time Films take command of more of our senses than most other Art to create special atmospheres, feelings or to bring out emotions.

The Visual and Auditory techniques used to tell the story are things like sounds, music, lighting, camera angles, and editing. Then films can be interpreted by the literary elements such as plot, setting, characterisation, structure, and theme and the text in the screenplay.

What is important is how all the elements are used together in making a good film and how effortlessly they blend together. 

Below are a few of the main things you to look out for when you’re reading a film.

Plot and structure

Plot is the pattern of events arranged to emphasise links between events

Setting

Setting is where and when the story takes place.

Conflict

Conflict or tension is usually the heart of the film and is related to the main characters.

Characterization

Characterisation is how the characters are described.

Narrator and point of view

The narrator is the person telling the story. Point of view means through whose eyes the story is being told.

Genre

Genre’s are a series of socially agreed conventions within the story (or in this case, the film) developed over time.

Imagery

In films imagery are the elements used to create pictures in our minds. They may include:

Theme’s

Theme’s are the universal ideas that shine through in the film (in other words, what is it about, in general)?

Soundtrack

The soundtrack is not only dialogue and music, it is all the other sounds in a film too.

Use of the camera

A camera shot is based on the camera’s distance from the object. A camera angle is how the camera is tilted while filming.

Lighting

Lighting focuses the audience’s attention on the main character or object in a film & it sets the mood or atmosphere.

Editing

Editing is the way in which a film editor together with the director cuts and assembles the scenes. The way the scenes are joined together creates the rhythm of the motion picture. Scenes can be long and drawn out or short and choppy.

Keep an eye out for my next post about reading films….

reading films: an intro

reading films? what is this girl on about?!!

Yes, I am here to tell you that reading films is a thing.  

Have you ever watched a film and felt puzzled at the end… and then had to Google the meaning? (and then wondered afterwards, who are these people that know this stuff?)

As it happens, they’re people that read films.  It’s not an exclusive skill and I bet you’ve even done it yourself a few times without realising and if you’ve ever spoken to anyone in depth about a film you’ve seen, then you definitely have.

Since over a century ago when films were invented there have been huge changes in what we expect from them. From at first not having any sound, to the soundtrack being one of the most important devices a filmmaker may rely on, to computer generated images opposed to handmade props and puppets. 

Like art and music and poetry and storytelling, film-making has been a fluid evolutionary process as it expands and experiments with new ways to project our interpretations of humanity.

That was a deep I know, it gets worse.  

When we study English in School, we learn how Shakespeare used storytelling devices like Metaphors in Imagery to convey the states or the emotions of the characters. More than that, they would sometimes communicate entire existential crisis’, like mortality!! There are now even studies into how Shakespeare may have been a political rebel, hiding subversive messages in his works.

Films are a great way to learn about people, kids, friendships, relationships, politics, cultures, humanity and even history (I know they’re generally fictitious but sometimes they inspire people to do a bit of research). As the years have passed the dramatic became more realistic, backdrops became Ariel shots and the suspense became more intense. Reading films is about appreciating those changes and asking why they happened. 

It’s not to say that every single film is trying to ask some life changing question or state some intense political agenda… However, many of the most famous (and infamous) films do use different devices and techniques to make some sort of statement, and that goes to show as an audience, that we like watching clever and meaningful film-making.

************ 

There’s a lot of places for Directors to hide clues and messages in plain sight. They reinforce something in the plot, create a theme or develop the characters and their motives but mainly, they show us the story, without telling it.  

Go to my next post reading films: a breakdown for what to look out for next.

mini midnight post

Yes, it’s been a while.

Here I am, having a catch up with myself at 2.30 in the morning, but it serves me right for having a 3-hour nap earlier.

I’m completely out of sync with my sleep this week and I’ve been unable to get back into a rhythm since my last night shift a few days ago.

If you work nights, you’ll understand the struggle of managing your day life and your night life and your social life and your health life and… I’m sure you get the picture.

So here I am, trimming and pruning the next few posts (I don’t like doing one thing at once… no, I have to do everything at the same time) while also writing this one.

But enough moaning about that I only have 2 more nightshifts and 3 very long and excessive day shifts before it’s all over and I change jobs. I may have enjoyed most of it while it lasted (it was an interesting experience), but for so many reasons I had to give it up.

It’s been an arduous month of interviews and multi-tasking and babysitting (so much babysitting), but I’m so excited to say that I’ve found another job and I will be working days again (and no more weekends).

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The photo above is an hour before I attended my final interview… er, yesterday I guess… after a night of, well, 3 hours sleep (like the picture says).

This has been one of the most testing months I have had in a while but I feel like it’s all been worth it even though I spent a lot of time worrying about things that seemed to just fall into place anyway.

It could be all the sunshine & vitamin D or maybe I’m finally just crawling out from under the rock I’ve been living under, but I finally feel excited for something and it has been such a long, long time.

my cinema: summer 2019

I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner but I guess it has been a while since I have made regular trips to Cinema.

My local Odeon Cinema, in Hull, recently had a refurbish, so I have been going almost once a or twice a week since my first time back there after it became all new and shiny. I’ve decided that I love going there so much more than any other Cinema (EVER), that I am going to make a point of going as much as I possibly can this Summer, hence the massive list.

I am even debating signing up for their Limitless Card, but I have a few commitment issues and as soon as I sign up for something, I stop wanting to do it… if that doesn’t make sense to you, then too bad; the things I do rarely make sense to me either.

There are are tonnes of films I’ve been adding to my list for a few months (here are twenty of them) and all I can do is hope they’re all going to be shown at Hull’s new Odeon.

So here is my light and fluffy (with occasional blood-soaked violence) list of films that I definitely want to see this Summer, and unless there are any secret productions that are going to drop onto my lap, I don’t see this list changing.

What’s left of May;

Aladdin 24/05/2019

Godzilla: King of the Monsters 29/05/2019

June;

X-Men: Dark Phoenix 05/06/2019

Men in Black: International 14/06/2019

Brightburn 21/06/2019

Child’s Play 21/06/2019

Annabelle Comes Home 28/06/2019

July;

Spider-Man: Far from Home 02/07/2019

The Dead Don’t Die 12/07/2019

The Art of Self-Defense 12/07/2019

The Lion King 19/07/2019

August;

Artemis Fowl 09/08/2019

Once upon a time in Hollywood 14/08/2019

Dora and the Lost City of Gold 16/08/2019

Where’d you go, Bernadette? 16/08/2019

Angel has Fallen 23/08/2019

The Informer 30/08/2019

September;

It Chapter Two 06/09/2019

The Kitchen 20/09/2019

Rambo V: Last Blood 20/09/2019