Friday, 27 August 2010

Toy Story 3 (2010, Lee Unkrich)

Where better to start a film blog than with the most recent film I have seen....Toy Story 3. Although I admit that this is not branching out and watching films that I wouldn’t have watched before, I still feel it deserves a special mention, as one of the most awaited films of the summer

The first two Toy Story films are, in true Disney Pixar fashion, brilliant for audiences of all ages, possibly even more so for viewers of my age who have grown up alongside Andy, and are now reaching the same stage of leaving home for college/ university. I work in a toy shop which sells some of the toys from the films; slinky dog, chatter telephone and Mr and Mrs Potato Head, and it often irritates me when children aged 5 or 6 come in with the parents and point out the toys as characters from Toy Story 3-the majority of the characters have been in the films since the first one, released 15 years ago, but such is the appeal of the characters that children young and old take to them. Everyone can recognise the characters, either as part of themselves, or as someone they know; Woody the leader, the cynical Mr Potato Head, the nagging Mrs Potato Head, slow but faithful Bullseye.

The film is brilliant. At one point (if you’ve seen it you will know the part I mean) I genuinely believed that Disney Pixar were going to give up their tradition, if you will, of happy endings and actually allow a tragedy to befall the characters, destroying the belief system of all viewers who can relax whilst watching Disney films, safe in the knowledge that they will have a happy ending. Nonetheless, in this particular case, disaster was averted, and in spite of a rather drawn out (and somewhat tear jerking) ending, the film was thoroughly enjoyable and exceeded expectations. I only hope that Disney Pixar do not try to draw it out any further by opening another chapter in the lives of the toys. Let a good thing lie!

Do holidaying habits relate to your ability to work?

It cannot be denied that the job market is becoming more competitive as a result of the economic climate, and consequently job interviews are becoming increasingly tougher. Yet I was shocked when I heard of some of the questions asked at interviews for sales assistants at a new shop in my town. The shop will remain nameless, but suffice to say it is a well known chain store worshipped by the young and naive on the loose with daddy’s credit card and a penchant for pink and navy stripes. The sorts of questions being asked included ‘What do your parents do for a living?’, ‘Did your parents go to university?’ and even ‘Where do you usually go on holiday?’ It cannot be denied that interviewers often ask questions such as the latter as an icebreaker, to relax candidates at the start of an interview, and perhaps it is important to match the staff to the clientele of the store, but surely none of this information is relevant to a candidate’s ability to serve customers to a high standard? Several people refused their interview after hearing the sorts of questions being asked, for fear of being rejected due to their holidaying habits rather than their qualifications or ability to do the job.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Great British Weather...

Whilst I wait for inspiration to strike, I feel that there is no better place to start my blog than a typical English rant about the Great British Weather (Whilst I do not intend this blog to be a series of whining posts about one thing and another, I feel that as a true Brit, a rant about the weather is inevitable some point along the line, and it is better to get it out of the way sooner rather than later and move on to more interesting things!)

Now, while us Brits are well known for out dissatisfaction with whatever mother nature throws our way (too hot/too cold/too much rain/ not enough rain for the plants/ too windy to wear a hat/ not windy enough for the washing to dry) it seems that we never learn to cope with these ‘extreme’ conditions that come our way. Although I am on my university holidays at the moment and at home in Kent (South England for the geographically illiterate), I recently went back to York (North England) where I study, for a couple of weeks, to work and see friends. Before leaving Kent, despite weeks of rain and colder than average weather, it brightened up the last couple of days, so ever the optimist, when packing for my trip to York I packed clothes suitable for this weather. Alas it was not to be, and so ensued two weeks of torrential rain and chilly winds, resulting in me buying a new coat and hoodie whilst I was in York. Needless to say, on my last day in York it brightened up no end! On my return train journey back to Kent, late on a Sunday evening, I got into Kings Cross station to be greeted with signs all over the platforms and announcements on the tanoy system apologising for the delays and disruptions, and warning me that the platforms were dangerous due to the ‘inclement weather’ that had been experienced during the day. I was slightly fazed, having not witnessed this ‘inclement weather’ myself, but nonetheless continued my journey across London and back to my home town in Kent. On arriving, my mum told me that the rain that greeted me was more or less the only rain they had had in the whole two weeks I had gone, and reverted to an old family joke about me dragging a black rain cloud behind me everywhere I travel, an offhand comment that I am believing to be true more and more every time I travel.

I was reminded of a family holiday in Devon a few years ago. Everyday we would set out in the car to whichever local site of interest we were going to that day, windscreen wipers going like the clappers in the driving rain until one of us piped up “Look at that lovely blue sky over there”, only to be shot down by a pessimistic “Yes, but that’s there and we’re over here”. So it turns out that the ‘inclement weather’ was nothing more than a heavier than average rain shower, drastically put in perspective by the current floods in Pakistan. Given the severity of the situation they face, surely we should be able to put up and shut up with the comparatively mild and tame weather conditions that we experience. Makes you wonder, if a heavy rain shower is described as ‘inclement weather’ by railway officials, how would they describe the floods in Pakistan? Maybe they’d just be grateful to have a legitimate excuse at last for delays and cancellations of services?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome dear reader,

I see you have stumbled, be it intentionally or by accident, across my blog. If it is stimulating intellectual debate or deep and meaningful comments on the latest political scandal that you seek, I would urge you to continue seeking, as you will not find it here. My blog simply acts as an outlet for me to share the brilliant, bonkers and downright bizarre things that I witness or that occur to me as I go about my daily life. Feel free to comment, whether you agree with what I have to say or not, lest I become a lone voice in the darkness that is the world wide web. Be warned though, that my thought processes range from the slow but understandable to the downright bizarre-expect the unexpected!