Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Survival of James Bond

With the release of the newest Bond film, Skyfall, I thought it would be appropriate to do a Bond-related post. My family have the box-set of Bond films and I’m ashamed to say we’ve made our way through all of them... The first of which, Dr. No, was released in 1962. The films have stood the test of time - despite every one of them pretty much following the same formula. The films are also rather sexiest. In every film, all the female characters fall in love in Bond and seem incredibly unable to defend themselves.

I think what still attracts viewers to James Bond after all these years is how England is presented. The secret services are shown as slick, glamorous and unstoppable. Bond is an idealised version of the sophisticated English gentleman. Everyone likes to pretend that this is what English is like, rather than the reality of fish and chip takeaways and council estates…  I think that with the exception of Americans (who probably do believe that this version of England is accurate) viewers enjoy watching a film where this idea of England is a reality.  

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Paying for our education.

I'm a big believer in state education. I don't agree with free schools or religious schools (but they're both whole other stories) and I would never dream of sending my child to a private school. But I was thinking today about education and I realised that to get somewhere, you really do need money.

The amount of money my parents have spent on books is ridiculous - necessary but ridiculous. Schools trips cost money. Re-marking exam papers costs money. Re-sitting exams costs money. And going to university without your parents' support (in terms of money)?... It doesn't happen for most.

I don't really know what the solution is. We have to pay for supplies... and can't expect the government to fund every individual's education. But it is a great injustice that those born into less afluent families suffer.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The incredible opening lines to an incredicle film.

"Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the 60's. Or maybe I was just a girl... interrupted."

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Radio stations reading out texts from drivers

I was just listening to Reggie Yates on Radio 1 (because my sister insisted on putting it on...) and he was reading out texts from listeners. One of them read 'Partying while I'm driving!'

I just thought about the fact that drivers text into radio stations while they are driving and how unsafe this is. I've heard so many texts like this read out on Radio 1. It occurred to that by reading out texts from people who were driving, the stations are arguably justifying using mobiles while driving. I think it would better to just ignore those texts and read ones out from those actually texting legally...

This may have been the most boring, old-Conservative-loser type blog post EVER but this just occurred to me!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Prince Harry and his Crown Jewels...

This week everyone (or those interested) has been discussing the pictures of Prince Harry naked in Las Vegas. I don't really have much of an opinion on it... I don't think it's a massive deal in comparison with other news (SYRIA FOR EXAMPLE?) but at the same time it doesn't seem very prince-like behaviour.

Some people have been saying 'it doesn't matter... why does anybody care?... he's a normal bloke and every bloke has done things like that... etc.' I find this view ridiculous because Prince Harry is not a normal bloke. He's a Prince. And he has responsibilities to act in a certain way. It's not exactly the sort of the thing you would expect from a representative of the country.

However other people have been saying 'it's just disgusting behaviour... he should be ashamed' or whatever. I don't agree with this either. He is just a young man who made a bad decision that night and whose minders weren't quite doing their job well enough... Everyone makes mistakes.

But then I also disagree with the view that says 'he's a very hard working man... he has a difficult life and was just letting off steam'. Yes he may work hard, I am sure he does. But everyone works hard. Not everyone has millions and a free ride in the way that Harry does. I don't feel sorry for him and I think that he should apologise for what has happened. 

So that's my view of the Harry situation. I don't really have a fixed position. I disagree with both sides of the debate about the appropriateness of his behaviour. One thing I do have a strong view on, is the Palace's decision to threaten papers who publish the pictures with legal action. I think this is ridiculous. They can't dictate what papers can and cannot do. As a public figure, Prince Harry is news. And that includes the pictures. There should be no exception just because he's royalty. The pictures can be easily found on the internet anyway so I don't know what difference the Palace think it's going to make. The Sun decided to print the pictures. This is obviously for money and publicity rather than anything else, but who cares? If they want to print them, let them print them. The Palace shouldn't be able to stop the paper.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Security at the Olympics

Everyone's talking about the Olympics - even while my family and I were on holiday everyone was asking why we weren't back in London to see it. So I thought I'd write an Olympic-themed post. Yesterday we went to watch the athletics because my dad managed to get tickets. It was a really fun day but actually what stood out for me was the way the security was managed. I was expecting an over-the-top, police everywhere with intemidating stares, approach. But I was actually really surprised at how calm and unobtrusive it all was. You weren't made to feel like a criminal when going through security or to feel uncomfortable when walking next to Police Officers/Soldiers. Everyone was very friendly and smiley. It doesn't sound very important, but it really does make a difference. I definitely feel that the way security was organised was just right. 

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Nonsense from Wimbledon commentary

I've been watching the Wimbledon Men's Final and I'm finding the commentary more entertaining than the tennis. Some of the comments so far have actually been hilarious. Here are a few of my favourites...

1. 'What an enthralling opening.' How dignified. None of that 'exciting' rubbish. At Wimbledon, we speak sophisticatedly. 

2. 'He will need to regroup. And he will, because he is strong.' This sounds slightly... well... something from Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech.

3. 'Wild. Really wild.' Getting a tad too excited are we?

4.. 'It reminds me of a football match now.' In what way exactly? The terrible chants from the crowds? The beer everywhere? The fact that every player has had an affair with every other player's wife?

4. 'The roof will be closed. How is this going to change things?' My Lord! The roof is being closed?! Why are the army not here yet?

5. 'The brave souls waiting on the hill.' Just a bunch of random people actually.

6. 'The lights on the scoreboard are so vivid now.' This is not Keats. 

And my personal favourite...

7. 'A nice light blue tie.' One commentator referring to what another commentator was wearing. The least tennis-related comment ever said by a tennis commentator. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

What's in a name?

For a while I've been choosing names for my future children. This will not be for a long time yet... but it's good to be prepared! Here is a list of my chosen names to date and why I love them.

1. Irwin. It's the middle name of the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg (who I love) and you don't come across many Irwins these days...
2. Winston. Well, this is the middle name of John Lennon (who I also love) and I did think it was unusual until Billie Piper named her son Winston. Additionally, whenever I tell people I like the name they say 'as in Churchill?' and I would never want people to think I named my child after him... so this one might come off the list.
3.Woody. It's the name of one of my favourite film directors, Woody Allen. I think it's a really lovely, interesting name, but I have a feeling my child would hate me if I named him this - everyone would say 'like in Toy Story'!
4. Edward (but called Teddy). I think this is a nice, classic, timeless name. But I would never accept anyone calling him 'Ed'... that would be horrific. 
5. Darwin. For the obvious reason that Charles Darwin is amazing. I would like to name my child after someone who made such a significant contribution to our understanding of how we are here today.

1. Lara. I adored the video game character Lara Croft when I was younger. She is just so cool. And how great would it be to say that you are named after a video game?... maybe not. But it's still a lovely name.
2. Olive. Although most Olive's these days are like 90 years old, I love this name. It has a vintage-y feel to it... if a name can be vintage? I think it's interesting and different!
3. Sylvia. I love the poet Sylvia Plath - she's brilliant. I wouldn't want my children to have names that are in fashion for a while and then seem silly. I think this is a perfect example of a beautiful, timeless name.

Monday, 11 June 2012

The most pessimistic birthday ever

Last birthday was a good birthday. 16 is a good age. I turned 17 yesterday and I don’t like it. The only positive side to being 17 is the fact I can learn to drive. But even then... learning doesn’t equal having a car to drive. 18 is how old I want to be, for obvious reasons. I don’t see the point in getting older when I still don’t have the things that come with being 18.
I’m also very aware of the fact that time is going. This is no joke. Most people get depressed about reaching 30, or 40 or whatever. I’m having a ‘semi-quarter life crisis’ or something like that. I would actually be happy to be 16 forever, but with the advantages that come with being 18. I don’t want to grow older. Because the older I get, the closer to death I am. And I am nowhere near accepting the fact that I’m going to die. No.
Oh well, never mind. Next year’s the important one.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Me and Ed.

A couple of Friday's ago I attended the Young Labour Conference at Warwick University. A lot of people think that Ed Miliband is a bit of a crap leader, and I think I’d have to agree that we could have a better one (*cough cough* David Miliband) but we’re in the situation we are… so we might as well support him. So anyway I arrive and I’m asked to sit on the side right next to where Ed is speaking. He spoke really well live – appearing much more confident. I ended up on the news, but looked like I was falling asleep – not what I hoped my 15 minutes (or 5 seconds) of fame would look like…

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

No I don't care about who won what game.

I was having a conversation with my friend today about why my dad doesn't get my lack of interest in football and cricket etc...

We came to the conclusion: "You're more burning bras, he's more burning calories."

I'll just like to add I have actually never burnt my bra - just an expression about equal rights and all that.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Kony 2012 Campaign - doing more bad than good?

I'm not going to waste time explaining who Joseph Kony or the Invisible Children are... because I'm pretty sure everyone (or anyone!) reading this will know about them by now. The Kony 2012 video has been viewed (so far) 55,000,000 times. At first, I was completely taken up with it, wanting to get the action kit and everything. However after reading some views about the campaign, I'm not sure I feel so positive about it...

Many people are arguing, and on reflection I think I might agree, that it seems quite silly to think that the problems of a man like Kony (and the violence in Uganda altogether) can be solved through just bracelets and posters. Additionally, Invisible Children have been accused of over-simlifying an incredibly complicated situation. While this may be true, it can be said that you have to start somewhere! Invisible Children are also helping the Ugandan army - who have been accused of rape and other crimes. It had also been said that since Kony and his rebel group have not been in Uganda since 2006, we should be focusing on the issues actually posing a threat.

I'm still not really sure how I feel about the campaign. While I think there are various flaws, I don't see how people being aware of the situation can be wrong. And if people are trying to fight for justice, that doesn't seem a bad thing either. But it does seem that the video is causing people to take a very complicated situation and say 'we can solve it with bracelets'. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

An Interesting Game.

So the other day I was playing Articulate with my family, which is a board game similar to charades but with words. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s a brilliant game because people just get so panicky! My dad was on a team with my sister (who both have difficulty expressing themselves at the best of times) and my dad was describing the person on the card for my sister to guess. He says: “Okay this person is in the position above major.” My sister shouts “MINOR?!” 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Who are we not forgetting again?

Today is 'Holocaust Memorical Day' and, going to school in an area with a large Jewish population, we had an assesmbly. I don't accept comments like 'why do we still bother with this day?' because I think if we start to forget the horror of the Holocaust, that's when we open ourselves up to the chance of history repeating itself in that way. However, at the same time, many of my friends feel that since it is so important to remember the millions of Jewish people murdered, it is so important to remember the millions of others who were targeted... Communists, Trade Unionists, Gypsies, the mentally disabled, Homosexuals, non-white people (not 'suiting' the Arian image) and other political opponents.

The widely-used number associated with the Holocaust is 6 million. 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. However, counting all those who were persecuted, the figure would be between 11 million and 17 million.

The definition of Holocaust (in terms of Nazi Germany) is: "The mass murder of Jews under the German Nazi regime during the period 1941–45." Personally, I agree with those who say that the Holocaust should include everyone the Nazis persecuted.

Ps. Sorry for such a somber/depressing topic!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Throw in the towel Christians!

Christmas has just gone and it amazes me that people are still trying to focus the holiday completely on religion. I agree that for Christians, Christmas is a religious celebration - however I think that the desperate attempt to make everyone turn their holiday into a Christian thing is just plain silly. The advertisement which I saw everywhere recently was "However you dress it is, Christmas begins with Christ". It's a good advert, don't get me wrong, but I believe it is time for them to realise, for many people Christmas is about family, food, presents etc. With the exception of carols, many people don't even consider the fact that Jesus was (apparently) born on the 25th of December. So I recon it's time to accept that although Christmas was obviously once a Christian celebration, so many people celebrate it now - there is no need to force people to say grace because 'it's Jesus' birthday', as my grandad insists on doing...