dorsetgirl: (DG1)
When my oldest first went there, my sons' secondary school was very aware of the fact that their students' families didn't automatically have lots of money just because it was a Grammar School. In fact, as they take anyone who passes, rather than only the top-ranked candidates, they're very much the plate-glass end of the grammar-school spectrum rather than redbrick or Oxbridge, if I can borrow University labels for a moment. Until five years ago it was only necessary to buy two things direct from the school - the tie and the blazer badge. Everything else could be sourced wherever parents could find the right-looking stuff. I used to buy blazers in BHS for about £16 and they lasted reasonably well for the 2-3 years it took to grow out of them.

Then the school started supplying blazers with the badge ready-embroidered onto the pocket and that was fine because they were still only about £16. It was only three years later that I realised that an outgrown school blazer could no longer be passed down as a pleasingly cool black jacket to wear with jeans and a t-shirt, unless you actually cut the pocket off.

Then the PE kit started sprouting school emblems on every item, and had to be obtained from the school. No more Asda shorts.

And today I've had an email from them. Apparently from January they have a new uniform supplier. It's a specialist school outfitters' and as such, one of the most expensive shops in the area.

The school is still plate-glass. The parents are still very ordinary people who just want their children to have an academic education and think a grammar school would suit them best. We don't have pearls and BMWs and ambitions for our children to be world-beaters. For my part, I just want my children to survive their schooling without being crushed and broken too badly; to come out still full of interest and intelligence while having hopefully ticked enough boxes to get the right bits of paper. I would rather use my limited resources to buy them books and computers and thought-provoking Christmas presents than spent lots of money pandering to the headteacher's wish to run a school for "the right kind of people".




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dorsetgirl: (Default)
I can’t honestly say I enjoyed much of the Closing Ceremony, in fact I was totally bored after only five minutes, but I was determined to stick it out, and there were a few moments worth waiting for.

Some random outbursts:

Freddie!

Oh my god, Brian May’s gone grey! And he’s finally looking older. Until recently he’s been looking the same ever since I first saw Queen in 1974.

Eric Idle! It’s very difficult to believe that I was a child when I first saw that man on television. That song’s definitely a bit of a British icon though, and I’m pleased it was included.

Kudos to Gary Barlow for turning up and doing a good job - true professionalism.

Pleased to know that Ray Davies and Roger Daltrey can still (more or less) sing. Certainly better than Suggs or McCartney.

Russell Brand can be quite disturbingly good-looking on occasion - this was one of them. I enjoyed his performance; I didn't even know he could sing.

I’m definitely a bit old for One Direction, but I actually recognised and enjoyed their song (or songs?). I can see why they're so popular.

I've probably missed out something important - what did anyone else think of the show?

So that's that, then. Back to reality tomorrow. One of the best things about the Games, for me, has been the way it’s dominated the news. I mean, that’s actually seriously irritating when you’ve just been watching the Games for the past however many hours, but there hasn’t been a single stupid story about stupid politicians for two weeks now. I wish the BBC would keep to that from now on, and concentrate on actual news, but I don’t suppose they will.





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dorsetgirl: (Gene_draw)
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If I started explaining exactly what is so complicated, I'd be here all day, so I'll just mention the current confusion:

I've just booked "guaranteed entry" tickets for Victoria Park tomorrow (no, not just to see if Boris is still up there), and the blurb says "tickets should be printed no later than 24 hours before the event." Well, the "event" starts at 11am tomorrow, and given that it was already 11:02 when I read those words, I'm not sure if I'm screwed or not.

We don't own a printer so I've just booked a screen round at the library to go and print out these tickets. Just one question, on second thoughts make it two: Have they really programmed their ticket-bar-code reading machines to read the time the ticket was printed? And WHY THE FUCK DOES IT MATTER WHAT TIME I PRINT THE FUCKING TICKETS?
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
Well. I loved the children’s choirs at the beginning. I’d been a bit worried that it would be English as opposed to British to an extent that would piss off the Scots and Welsh (and the Northern Irish, presumably? How can they be in “Team GB”?), but choirs in each country was a lovely touch.

James Bond! I was gobsmacked at Daniel Craig actually going into Buckingham Palace and coming out with the Queen. And they even got the corgis to nip at his ankles so he could smirk at them being left behind. And the idea of Queenie jumping out over the stadium made me smile.

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Whatsity: I was so totally not expecting Mr Bean. Fucking perfect. I like to think no other country would have undercut that proud Olympian moment with humour like they did there. I cracked up. What I really liked about the whole thing (well OK, I hated the last few minutes, but you can’t have everything), was that the entire ceremony was a statement about who we are. There was no way we could follow Beijing with more of the same but better, so I think it was the right decision to make it all much more personal. “This is us, this is where we came from, this is what we’ve done.” Earliest industrialisation, the NHS, Peter Pan, whatever. With a little bit of JK to remind everybody that we may be small and in some ways past our prime, but we can still do world-beating.

When they started doing the whole “iconic British” thing we were waiting for Doctor Who, and we were very pleased that we actually got the Tardis noise in there briefly. Thank you Danny for that!

I’m not particularly into David Beckham, but the guy seems genuine and I was pleased he got the job of transporting the flame down the river. He looked so proud, and rightly so.

What a great cheer when our team came into the arena! I know the BBC will do an excellent job of showing the actual events impartially (we’re very used to cheering on anyone charismatic at the front while our guy limps in tenth off-camera), but I was very pleased that they gave our team more screen time than the others in the opening ceremony, and that they got “Heroes” as their music.

And Doreen Lawrence! I very nearly cried at that moment. That was such a good thing to do; that lady truly deserves the honour.

The fireworks were good, too. Someone on Twitter said they could see them from twenty miles away.

Finally, one of the things I’d been worried about was that we would have all sorts of embarrassing has-beens singing their so-called greatest hits because someone in charge didn’t realise what year we were in. Right up to the end I thought we’d managed to avoid that but unfortunately we then got an absolute stinker, which came close to ruining the whole thing for me. I fucking loathe that song, always have done, and OK he might be rich and famous and it must be heartbreaking but surely someone could tell him that sadly for him, he just can’t sing any more?

So, once I’ve posted this I’m going to listen to a bit of Green Day to stop that awful song going round and round my brain, then I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll see if I can find some gymnastics to watch.

Overall, though, congratulations to Danny Boyle. The boy done good.





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OMG

Jul. 11th, 2012 02:37 pm
dorsetgirl: (Default)
Just had the most horrendous thunderclap, literally out of a clear blue sky. I actually did jump. And it went on for about 4-5 times as long as a normal one, too. No rain as yet, in fact the sun is still shining, but we are forecast to get rain and thunder this afternoon. Just, give us a warning next time, yes?
dorsetgirl: (DG1)
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I am so pleased that the Australian coroner has finally ruled - after thirty years - that a dingo really did take baby Azaria Chamberlain. Her mother, Lindy, was only one in a long line of women jailed for murdering a baby when there was no proof that the baby had even been murdered, never mind that she herself had done it.

My middle son asked why this happens and I could only answer that I simply don't know. Gut feeling says it has a lot to do with male power, and men hating women, but I think it's actually more subtle than that. This is what I think may be behind it:

(1) Barristers, judges, etc, are still of a generation that was sent away to boarding school at a very tender age. Generally it's the father who makes the final decision on this, but the mother goes along with it and so I think these people got it in their minds at the age of seven that their mother didn't want them around, that she must secretly hate them.

(2) Nowadays, to many people who don't have their own children, mothers and babies are so remote from their own daily experience that they are by definition so odd as to be practically alien. I well remember in my twenties failing so completely to understand the mindset that could want to have a baby, that when a secretary brought her baby in to show around the office, I never spoke to her again. I didn't hate her or anything; my reasoning was "I cannot begin to understand anyone wanting a baby. Therefore I cannot begin to understand anyone who is happy to have a baby. Therefore I cannot begin to understand this woman. Therefore I cannot begin to think what I might say to her."

(3) As a teenage girl doing my 'O' Levels and 'A' Levels, the subconscious message was extremely strong: bright girls do their homework, get their exams, go to University; they totally do not get pregnant. The rather judgmental - but still subconscious - corollary therefore being: only stupid people have babies.

Thus it seems to me the stage is set for an educated person, especially a man, who was sent away to school, to have it somewhere in the back of their mind that, "Mothers are aliens who are stupid and hate their babies. Therefore if something happens to the baby, it's obvious the mother did it."

I honestly can't think of any other reason why so many people are so ready to assume - and find proven - that people like Lindy Chamberlain, Angela Weston, Sally Clark etc, murdered their own babies, without a shred of hard forensic evidence that they even were murdered.

These women were presumed guilty and had to fight the system for years to prove their innocence.






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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
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I’ve been holding off reading the book(s) because with the sole exception of Harry Potter, every film-from-a-book I’ve ever seen has been a major disappointment. So I decided to watch the film first and work up.

[As an aside, my fifteen-year-old has read the books, and he felt the film reflected them (or more particularly, plot-wise, the first one) reasonably well in terms of characterisation, plot and general tone.]

Well, I enjoyed the film, quite a lot. Reading the reviews this evening when we got home, there are various points from the book that critics say have been left out of the film; well, maybe for some people, but I got them. I’m looking forward to reading the books now, but I totally got the message that this is about us, and our society, and the extent to which some characters were just performing for the cameras.

“Most Interesting Male” Award: There was one character who, all the way through the film, I was thinking, “Who is that guy? Very charismatic, rather attractive and faintly familiar.” Watching the credits at the end, I was gobsmacked to find it was Woody Harrelson. (Well, OK, I haven’t seen him in anything except Cheers, and he was just a pretty boy and presumably thirty years younger then). Very nice piece of work there.

The only time the film dragged, for me, was when it suddenly turned into a teenage luuurve moment, but apparently the books were written for teenagers, so I suppose that was to be expected.

Conclusion: go and see it, it’s an interesting story and a clever look at the superficial nature of modern society.





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dorsetgirl: (Default)
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Went to see The Woman in Black this afternoon. It is utterly, brilliantly, fucking scary, and should not be a 12A. It should be at least a 15, and I'd almost say it should be an 18, except that probably 15-18s would be less freaked by some parts of it than adults would be. My almost-thirteen-year-old had his eyes closed most of the time, and he'll watch terror and gore that turns my stomach. My fifteen-year-old had his ears covered half the time (he's weird like that). As for me, I never swear in front of the youngest, but despite the fact that he was sitting right next to me, the various shocks and frights had me completely unable to stop myself coming out with things like "fucking hellfire" and "Jesus Christ".

There were several moments where practically the whole cinema jumped and about ten percent (including me) gasped or shrieked in shock. After about an hour, I was wrung out, and couldn't watch the scary bits any more. I was covering my eyes every time the music got worked up.

Having said all that, it is an excellent film, truly. As soon as I got out of the cinema I was regretting the bits I'd missed - I just couldn't take so much suspense and fear in such a short time. Daniel Radcliffe is very good indeed - at no point did I feel I was watching a child actor grown up, I was just watching an actor who had the part nailed, and was indeed very watchable. This film will do his transition to an adult film career no harm at all.

In case you haven't read any other reviews, this film is horror the ooold-fashioned way: lots and lots of tension and atmosphere till you're so strung out that you'll jump at almost anything. Even though I couldn't hack it for the whole film, I still thoroughly recommend it. It simply is a very good film.

Oh, and the Woman herself is apparently played by Liz White, but I have to admit that all the scenes with her were so scary that I never actually got a look at her face.





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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
So, November.
 
National Novel Writing Month.
 
But not for me.
 
Sorry, I’ll stop channelling Ian Wylie now. Anyway, I worked out several years ago that if I typed at my normal speed for fifty percent of the minutes I had available during the month, I might just make the 50K. That’s assuming I can think at the same rate I type. Not normally a problem, but I guess fifty thousand words need some kind of joining thread if they’re not going to become totally random, and that involves Plot.
 
I don’t do plot - I can never think of anything for the characters to actually do, and besides, I get bored. I get them in a situation and then start to think, “Oh for fuck’s sake, sort it out for yourself.” I’m not the kind of writer who wants to “convey a message” in my fic; I’ve only ever done that once, and it worked, but I just don’t have it in me to want to tell other people how to live their lives or what they should be thinking about. All I ask is that no-one tells me what to do or what to think. (This could be why I totally refuse to do Hallowe’en: all those supermarket shelves full of pumpkins and ghouly cakes and stupid costumes simply make me think “Don’t tell me what to do just because it's the end of October.")
 
Getting to the point of this ramble: No NaNo for me, so I've signed up for WriSoMiFu - Write Something you Miserable Fuck - which I'm hoping is more my style. )
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
So, November.
 
National Novel Writing Month.
 
But not for me.
 
Sorry, I’ll stop channelling Ian Wylie now. Anyway, I worked out several years ago that if I typed at my normal speed for fifty percent of the minutes I had available during the month, I might just make the 50K. That’s assuming I can think at the same rate I type. Not normally a problem, but I guess fifty thousand words need some kind of joining thread if they’re not going to become totally random, and that involves Plot.
 
I don’t do plot - I can never think of anything for the characters to actually do, and besides, I get bored. I get them in a situation and then start to think, “Oh for fuck’s sake, sort it out for yourself.” I’m not the kind of writer who wants to “convey a message” in my fic; I’ve only ever done that once, and it worked, but I just don’t have it in me to want to tell other people how to live their lives or what they should be thinking about. All I ask is that no-one tells me what to do or what to think. (This could be why I totally refuse to do Hallowe’en: all those supermarket shelves full of pumpkins and ghouly cakes and stupid costumes simply make me think “Don’t tell me what to do just because it's the end of October.")
 
Getting to the point of this ramble: No NaNo for me, so I've signed up for WriSoMiFu - Write Something you Miserable Fuck - which I'm hoping is more my style. )
dorsetgirl: (Loss)
Oh, the complications. I won't say everything's organised, because that never ends well. But OH is on his way to Exeter for a car show, oldest son is on a train to London on his way to a University Open Day (Reading), middle son is still asleep, and youngest son is up and raring to go. Us three stay-at-homes will be setting off on holiday in a couple of hours; the general plan is for OH to collect oldest son from Reading this afternoon and we'll all meet up at our holiday location in Norfolk this evening *crosses fingers*

And I still haven't had time to read any of the LoM Big Bang fic, and more immediately, I haven't yet had time to even start watching Hidden. By my calculations it should all still be available on iPlayer when I get back next weekend, so with any luck that's my Monday sorted out. Ian Wylie promises a (brief) shower scene. That man understands us too well.





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dorsetgirl: (Loss)
Oh, the complications. I won't say everything's organised, because that never ends well. But OH is on his way to Exeter for a car show, oldest son is on a train to London on his way to a University Open Day (Reading), middle son is still asleep, and youngest son is up and raring to go. Us three stay-at-homes will be setting off on holiday in a couple of hours; the general plan is for OH to collect oldest son from Reading this afternoon and we'll all meet up at our holiday location in Norfolk this evening *crosses fingers*

And I still haven't had time to read any of the LoM Big Bang fic, and more immediately, I haven't yet had time to even start watching Hidden. By my calculations it should all still be available on iPlayer when I get back next weekend, so with any luck that's my Monday sorted out. Ian Wylie promises a (brief) shower scene. That man understands us too well.





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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.
Almost every day I have something to be awed at Google about. Today it's their tribute to the late, great, Freddie Mercury, who would have been 65 today.

(Considering that the first few times I saw Queen, Freddie was this slim little thing with long hair and a catsuit, I've never really worked out how he looked less gay then than he did as a big butch bastard with a 'tache and a white vest, but there you go. Possibly because we simply didn't know then.)





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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.
Almost every day I have something to be awed at Google about. Today it's their tribute to the late, great, Freddie Mercury, who would have been 65 today.

(Considering that the first few times I saw Queen, Freddie was this slim little thing with long hair and a catsuit, I've never really worked out how he looked less gay then than he did as a big butch bastard with a 'tache and a white vest, but there you go. Possibly because we simply didn't know then.)





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dorsetgirl: (Milan hands - Billie/Mike)
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I don't often post pictures, but I was quite pleased with this one, taken this evening:






Saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, this afternoon. I loved it, totally loved it, so much so that I'm planning to go back next week. No spoilers, but despite having read the book several times and knowing exactly what happens, I cried at the revelation of Snape's back-story and basically all the way from that point through to the end. The very last scene was wonderfully well done and I adored it. Sort of full circle, hope for the future, all that. Beautiful.

Oh, and the Head Snatcher - Scabior? - was in it again. Nice bit of eye-candy there, thank you very much!





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dorsetgirl: (Milan hands - Billie/Mike)
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I don't often post pictures, but I was quite pleased with this one, taken this evening:






Saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, this afternoon. I loved it, totally loved it, so much so that I'm planning to go back next week. No spoilers, but despite having read the book several times and knowing exactly what happens, I cried at the revelation of Snape's back-story and basically all the way from that point through to the end. The very last scene was wonderfully well done and I adored it. Sort of full circle, hope for the future, all that. Beautiful.

Oh, and the Head Snatcher - Scabior? - was in it again. Nice bit of eye-candy there, thank you very much!





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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
Went to see this today with OH and two kids. The thing that really surprised me came very near the beginning.

Double. Decker. Train. WTF?

Talking about the film on the way home, it turned out that the two-layer train had been a significant factor in the kids' deciding that the film was set in the future. However, what with the mention of current conflicts, that doesn't seem so likely to me, and that much CGI would also be prohibitively expensive, so I'm left with the conclusion that they really do have double-decker trains in the States. Weird.

The other thing that surprised me was just how pretty Jake Gyllenhaal is. I had no idea. (The way my memory works is that I've always known exactly how to spell his name, but I've never been aware of what he looked like. Applies to lots of other well-known people too.)


Here be Spoilers: Seriously, Do Not Read If You Don't Want To Be Spoiled )
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
Went to see this today with OH and two kids. The thing that really surprised me came very near the beginning.

Double. Decker. Train. WTF?

Talking about the film on the way home, it turned out that the two-layer train had been a significant factor in the kids' deciding that the film was set in the future. However, what with the mention of current conflicts, that doesn't seem so likely to me, and that much CGI would also be prohibitively expensive, so I'm left with the conclusion that they really do have double-decker trains in the States. Weird.

The other thing that surprised me was just how pretty Jake Gyllenhaal is. I had no idea. (The way my memory works is that I've always known exactly how to spell his name, but I've never been aware of what he looked like. Applies to lots of other well-known people too.)


Here be Spoilers: Seriously, Do Not Read If You Don't Want To Be Spoiled )
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
Don’t know yet if I’ll be able to post this, so I’m typing it up in Word first. DownOrNot has been telling me all day that “LiveJournal is Up!”, but not for me it hasn’t been. Over recent days I’m becoming uncomfortably aware of just how much of my social life is on LiveJournal. Hell, half my sex life is on LiveJournal *g*.

Anyway, the film – under the cut for spoilers.

The Eagle (spoilers) )
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
Don’t know yet if I’ll be able to post this, so I’m typing it up in Word first. DownOrNot has been telling me all day that “LiveJournal is Up!”, but not for me it hasn’t been. Over recent days I’m becoming uncomfortably aware of just how much of my social life is on LiveJournal. Hell, half my sex life is on LiveJournal *g*.

Anyway, the film – under the cut for spoilers.

The Eagle (spoilers) )

Vote Now!

Mar. 29th, 2011 07:43 am
dorsetgirl: (GD_Together)
If anyone feels like voting for Green Day in MTV's Musical March Madness, here's where you do it.





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Vote Now!

Mar. 29th, 2011 07:43 am
dorsetgirl: (GD_Together)
If anyone feels like voting for Green Day in MTV's Musical March Madness, here's where you do it.





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Awww...

Mar. 26th, 2011 10:38 am
dorsetgirl: (GD_Together)
OK, so I'm biased, but there's just something so adorably sweet and innocent about a man who can fill Wembley Stadium posting a home video of his dog singing...



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Awww...

Mar. 26th, 2011 10:38 am
dorsetgirl: (GD_Together)
OK, so I'm biased, but there's just something so adorably sweet and innocent about a man who can fill Wembley Stadium posting a home video of his dog singing...



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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
Took 14-year-old and almost-twelve-year-old to see this earlier on. Youngest son chose it for his birthday treat. The review promised something like "non-stop action" so frankly I was dreading it. Took along a note-book and an mp3 player in case I seriously couldn't stand it.

I actually enjoyed it. Very heavy-handed with the shaky-camera business - I did wonder at one point if I was going to be ill - and plundered quite a lot of clichés so freely that a lot of it was predictable, but on balance, it worked very well. Good scene-setting at the beginning, reasonable character differentiation, excellent and relentless tension, and no crowbarred-in love scenes. In fact, no love scenes at all, which was refreshing.

I would never have chosen this film, and in fact the cinema was only 25% full at our showing (5:30pm), but I totally do not feel I wasted my afternoon.Only thing was, I was so wired by the end of it, it took me about half an hour to get my head straight afterwards. Which I guess is how you'd feel if you'd just been through what the characters had been through, so there's a recommendation in itself.




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