Monday, 22 December 2014

Mapp and Lucia

from Telegraph website
from BBC website

This remake made the grade but will this one?

I loved the 1980s series when I was a teenager and then devoured all the books. I often visit Rye, where the series was filmed, and still see it, not as an attractive south coast town but as Tilling, a hot bed of petty goings-on!  Over there is 'Mallards'; these are the narrow streets that Susan Wyse travelled by Rolls Royce to order provisions from the grocer, relayed through her chauffeur of course; that's the church tower from where Mapp saw Lucia doing callanetics in the garden when she was meant to be too ill to meet Countess Faraglione, who might realise Lucia actually doesn't really know a word of Italian........

I will watch - but with trepidation.  Geraldine McEwan, Prunella Scales and Nigel Hawthorne were absolutely perfectly cast as Lucia, Mapp and Georgie. Oh I really don't want to be disappointed.  

Au reservoir!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Paddington The Movie

I grew up with Paddington.  With those five minute programmes which were shown on the BBC at the end of Blue Peter and before the evening news.  Paddington was a cute and cuddly bear and the Browns and the surroundings were 2D drawings.  Michael Horden narrated in his posh actor voice (Paddington carried a "sssueew-T-case").  Ahh, fond memories!

So when I saw the trailer for the new Paddington film, I was horrified.  What had they done to him?!  Why did Nicole Kidman want to stuff him for heaven's sake?!  I really was in two minds about seeing it but when I had first heard that a film was being made, I told my little girl we HAD to see it and she was holding me to my promise.  

Well, within the first minute I was absolutely hooked. I laughed and laughed.  BUT.  Call me an old prude, but the bits where Hugh Bonneville dressed as a tea lady were a bit much.  Funny at first but it went back for more.  I can't recall the exact lines but they were a bit fruity!  My daughter was more concerned with telling me it was the man from Horrible Histories but I was more worried that the Natural History Museum could have such an old letch on the pay role.  Where was HR?!

The thought of Paddington being stuffed also sent my seven year old on a crying and yelling session, the like I've never seen.  While she was disturbed at the time, ever since she has kept referring to all the funny bits and pointed out that while Nicole Kidman's father, the hunter Montgomery Clyde, had been very kind, she was not!

So I thoroughly enjoyed the film after all but it could have done with more Paddington hard stares (there was just the token one), more of kind Mr Gruber and of grumpy Mr Curry too - a bit of a waste of Peter Capaldi.

Perhaps next time.......

Monday, 8 December 2014

Edwin Smith - Ordinary Beauty

I was so fortunate to find out about the exhibition of photographs by Edwin Smith, held at RIBA, just before it ended last week.  It was fabulous and such an education.  I like to lug my camera around with me, taking pictures of anything that takes my fancy. I attempt to see things differently, to see beauty in the mundane and to home in on the details. Seeing is more difficult than you would think! There is so much to learn but what a lot this collection of photos taught me.  

Part of the charm of the collection was of course that it showed how life used to be, the clothes we wore, the transport we used, the pre-makeover show gardens and interiors, the empty roads with no double yellow lines or parked cars and signs.  So nostalgia may cloud my view I suppose.  

The exhibition included a short film of architects, curators, photographers talking about Smith's work.  Many referred to this particular photo.  It doesn't look particularly interesting at first glance but where does that staircase lead? Look at the light filtering in and the way the benches are at an angle as though they got pushed back as the occupants hoisted themselves to their feet.  The eye is drawn to all corners of the shot. 

As one commentator said, the interiors look as if the people have just left the room and that there is something else happening now just out of shot.

I liked how some bits in the pictures were cut off or left out, such as this cathedral spire.  It made me realise I would probably have unnecessarily tried to include it, to include more. Having a person in the shot, even if from a distance, also completes the scene perhaps to give scale or just to add to the story.  Where are they going?  Where have they been?  Who are they?!  A photo that is meant to be of a building can be enhanced by a person or two, especially if their features cannot be seen. 

Shafts of light also appear in many of the pictures but my favourite was this one of the shirts positively glowing on the washing line.  A mundane scene but still fascinating. 

My mind was flitting all over the place as I looked at the photos.  Each one setting up a story.  The trip into the past was lovely but the photography lesson was an eye-opener.  (As you can see from these 'snaps', I have a lot to learn!)

I left invigorated - and determined to find the black and white setting on my camera.  I might even start a photo log too!