Monday, October 11, 2004

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. - W B Yeats
Your mind is not a dish that can only hold so much information; it is a sponge that can soak up infinite wisdom - My mother
This week, I have been to Birmingham and back, looking after a group of trainees over two days. It was more fun that I thought it would be - I certainly didn't expect to spend the evening racing around the city centre in an illegally overcrowded car, screeching along to Belinda Carlisle and Roxette at the top of my voice while laughing and pointing at the B'ham uni Freshers lurch about on their evil pub crawl. Nor did I think for one minute that I would enjoy the training so much - I was sent to Birmingham to chaperone a group of trainees and attend the accountancy course myself! But it was great! I want to be an accountant! I do! I do!

Seriously, I think I might have it in me to become a number-cruncher. It's genuine brain-work, very mentally challenging and satisfying stuff. I'm heavily influenced by the film / book Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry, but I'd quite happily draw up cashflow forecasts and maintain accruals accounting without the vigilante social justice.

Aside from my own professional development, Planet Halder has gotten me thinking (as usual) on two things: the films of Wong Kar Wai and silver surfers. Both our parents use the internet without a great deal of fuss and going online seems to have become a normal, unremarkable part of their lives. My mother makes full use of her wireless laptop and listens to Hong Kong radio streamed live in the kitchen then reads the news in Chinese in the living room and browses for celebrity gossip in her bedroom. It never ceases to amaze me how adaptable my parents are and how resourceful they can be: they grasped pretty quickly that the internet is a valuable source of real-time information available to them in the Chinese they understand best. They're not dependent on it but it's certainly made keeping up with the news and the things they are interested in much easier, much more convenient. I wonder how much this adaptability is due to my parents immigrant experience but that kind of question could keep me up all night should I ask it, so I won't. Still, I think it's significant that both Planet Halder's folks and my own have had similar experiences of immigration and growing old in this country and curoiusly, coincidentally, both seem to have picked up on using the internet in their later years... more exploration of this needed, I think.

While on the subject of my parents, who are never far from this blog in one way or another, I'm extremely pleased the Planet Halder alerted me to the Wong Kar-Wai season at the NFT. He's an amazing film-maker and I've enjoyed all his films - don't go expecting the John Woo ballet-with-guns and breath-taking explosions and stunts sort of film Hong Kong cinema is normally associated with. Oh no. Kar-Wai's films are much more European and subtle than that; celluloid pieces of moods and atmosphere, often in beautiful recreations of Hong Kong in the 60s, when the men wore Brylcreem in their hair and neat dark suits on their narrow shoulders and the women wore brightly printed cheongsams and teased their hair into beehives. My parents met in this decade and we watched In the Mood for Love together one evening and spent the whole film sighing over the rich and wonderful detail in Kar-Wai put into it. The rain. The food. The set. The city. The clothes. The mood. The atmosphere. Go and see what you can. If you're not moved by even one frame of these beautiful films, there's something wrong with you and I want you to stop reading this blog and go and get help.

And speaking of getting help, I think everyone who was involved in the travesty that is Inside I'm Dancing needs medical or psychiatric help. The title of this film alone offends me - then I found out what this wretched piece of shite is about! And the cast aren't even disabled themselves - they're just pretending! Damn waste of time and money. Why not just fill a few buckets with vomit and let the audience tip it all over themselves? Ugh. I feel cheap and manipulated just writing about it.

What's made YOU angry this week?


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