Time for another adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird?

I was just out in the garden reading a bit of Go Set A Watchman, the sun feeling as hot as it is in Alabama. A thought occurred to me: with it’s publication, might now be a good time for another adaptation f To Kill a Mockingbird? With the first African Ameican president in office, it might be a good time for film to revisit that classic. It would have to be a period piece, of course- doing a version set in the contemporary wold wouldn’t work in my opinion. There’s also the question of who would play atticus: in the original 1963 adaptation, gregory Peck played him, and you’d need a damn good actor to fill those boots. I’m just speculating here, of course, but I really would like to see film revisit a classic.

wheelchair services are failing across england.

I think both Lyn and I prefer to save up and go private for our equipment. I know it doesn’t do my left-wing credentials any good, but, when it comes to things like wheelchairs an communication aids, going through the state can be more trouble than it’s worth. Thus we recently bought our new manual chairs from the internet; and L got her new Ipad stand the same way. It would seem that our instincts were right about this: on the lunchtime news, we learned that wheelchair services are failing across england. It’s always been bad, of course, but now it is horrific. People wait years for a chair, and when they get one, it often isn’t suitable. Fortunately, we were told, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is trying to do something about it, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Mind you, dominik, who was watching the news with us, commented that we are lucky, and that in many other countries there is no wheelchair provision at all. True enough, I suppose.

progress report

By and large, my main writing output is my blog. Like an addiction, something compels me to write something on here every day – however short my entries are, at least I have some artistic output. However, I’m glad to report that I now have something else to work on: a script for a production company. Progress has been slow of late, but today, with a gentle kick in the pants from my parents, I got going again. The problem is, I procrastinate; but I know I must keep going lest the opportunity slips through my fingers. Thus today I trotted off four pages, and tomorrow plan to do more. I must tell myself to stop finding excuses and just get it written – which is, of course, why I’m writing this entry.

Tales from the crip

I think I’ll flag this pretty interesting podcast up. It’s a nice little discussion about language and disability, and the long history of that debate within disability studies. It is from america, so it’s interesting to hear how such debates have played out on the other side of the Atlantic.

Lyn’s new ipad stand

Lyn has a new Ipad stand for her wheelchair. It came yesterday, and it’s quite cool. I think she lot it from the web, possibly Ebay. It’s a very nice piece of equipment, specifically designed to attach to a wheelchair. L got it to replace her old stand, which was originally for her Lightwriter. It is just about perfect for lyn, which made me wonder: could whoever designed this new stand have taken inspiration from seeing Lyn performing at the paralympics? Of course, on one level that’s rather farfetched; but if you look at it, and note how well it fits Lyn’s needs, I can’t help but speculate. It seems to be tailor-made for someone who uses an ipad with their nose. All it would take is for a canny designer somewhere to have been watching that ceremony and think ”aha!” I doubt we’ll ever know, but the thought amuses me.

No longer a joke

We have a government who, in recent days:

Voted to change the rules on striking, making it much more difficult for workers to stand up for themselves.

Just launched a massive review of the BBC, the countries main source of news and a body unafraid to hold the government to account.

Scapegoats minorities such as people on benefits, branding them scroungers.

Blames external factors such as the economic crisis for pushing through massive, regressive yet ultimately ideologically-inspired cuts to the state.

Is it me, or doesn’t the government seem to be becoming more and more absolutist. This is getting serious. The tories are attacking the beeb, the nhs; soon we won’t be able to strike. They might pretend they aren’t exceeding their rights and are acting fairly, but the tories are becoming increasingly authoritarian, even fascist. It is no longer a joke: they must be stopped.

Echoes of my MA

I know I finished it over a year ago, but I love the fact that it’s possible for me to see echoes of my Masters thesis in my day to day life. A few days ago I noticed that I can see things which remind me of my greatest achievement. For example, at one point in my thesis I write about the ending of Jurrasic park; about how, when the characters are flying away from the park, they spot a bird. Obviously the point of this bit of film was to note that birds evolved from dinosaurs; but or me, now, every time I see a bird in flight in the sky it puts me in mind of my thesis, reminding me of what I’m capable of. I also get a great big kick from watching star Trek The Next generation: obviously I’ve seen all the episodes before, but every time I see Patrick Stewart come on screen, it feels wonderful to be able to cry out ”I’ve met him!” I also absolutely adore the fact that danny Boyle chose to echo the union jack parachute jump from the opening of The Spy Who Loved Me at the olympic opening ceremony in 2012. It is a link I find glorious. To see a moment of film I love and looked at in possibly the greatest thing I’ll ever write reused at such an enormous event – an vent which will never come again, but at which Lyn performed at – is something I derive an inordinate amount of joy from. The fact that the opening of the Spy Who Loved Me was used as part of a type of textual play makes it highly relevant to my thesis, given that in a way it illustrates precisely the fusion of fandom and cinephilia I discuss; one of my cinephiliac moments used in a type of textual play – you couldn’t get a better fit with my thesis. To be able to see these echoes of my MA work in my day to day life, to have them remind me of what I’m capable of if I put my mind to it, is something I get find enormously satisfying.

Woody lodge no longer exists

I just read the first chapter of Go Set a Watchman, having whizzed down to our local WH Smiths to pick up a copy. I apparently contributed to a record, as the book sold 105,000 copies on it’s first day, and is on track to become one of the fastest selling books in history. Of course, I can’t give any verdicts yet, but it felt nice, just now on the sofa, to ease back into Harper Lee’s Alabama. As I wrote here a few entries ago, it reminds me of my school days, of Woodford Lodge and GCSE English – a time that now seems half a lifetime away.

It has been sixteen years since I studied Mockingbird. Thinking about that yesterday, I decided to look the old place up: who knew, Mr. Dale might still be teaching there, and it would be wonderful to hear his thoughts on this new book. I found a facebook group; and then, to my astonishment, I learned that Woodford Lodge High School had been knocked down. I do not yet know how or why, but the school where I did my GCSE English and then A-Level English no longer exists. Finding that out was quite strange: I still have very fond memories of walking along the path between my Special School and that place, as well as fond memorie of my lessons there. Knowing that once thriving, bustling place is now a pile of rubble is odd, and I feel rather lie Jean-Louise Finch returning to small town Alabama after being in new York for twenty years.

Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen – ironic act or total arse?

Have you ever come across something which you hope to zark is ironic but fear might not be? I just watched a program about Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen and I couldn’t work out whether it was a study of a deluded c-list celebrity who genuinely thought he had some kind of image and cache as a designer, or whether it was all a show and Llewelyn-Bowen was putting on an ironic act. I really hope it was the latter, as, if it as the former, Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen must be the most repugnant, arrogant, self-deluded prick ever who certainly did not deserve the airtime of a documentary about him. I cannot believe anyone could truly be as arrogant as he was in this bbc program; he had a phenomenally overinflated sense of his celebrity and significance, seeing himself as an important designer and doyenne and not just some flouncy bloke who was on a few crappy tv shows twenty years ago. Then again, the joke would be on him if that was the case, as that would make the point of the program be to laugh at him. Indeed, the cringeworthy self delusion was very reminiscent of Ricky Gervais’ David Brent. I thus find myself intrigued: was this a program about a man who deep down knows he’s a has-been, or a cruel mocking of a has-been who does not realise he is a nobody.

Is Joanna Lumley trying to become Michael Palin?

I don’t often watch ITV except for the occasional bond film or football match, but last night I tuned in to Trans-Siberian Railway with Joanna Lumley. Being a firm fan of Michael Palin Travelogues, I wanted to see how the two compared, and I must say I’m in two minds. The program itself was perfectly fine: Lumley makes an amicable travel presenter as you might expect, and some of the scenery she was passing through really was stunning. I find the idea of one railway track passing through the whole of Asia, from east to west, compelling. Yet I can’t help thinking this was just an ITV imitation of a BBC program, or Lumley trying to elbow herself in to Michael Palin’s territory. The shooting stye and shot selection were pretty much identical, for example. There’s room for both, of course, and I’ll watch virtually anything which shows you far flung places and beautiful scenery; but the concept of ‘well-loved comedian sent to exotic places to make travel show’ just reeks of ITV trying to nick a well-loved bbc idea for it’s sunday night schedule – it just seems crass and lazy. Nevertheless, I’ll continue to watch: imitation or not, the scenery is stunning and the subject fascinating,