Showing posts from October, 2012

Skyfall- rebirth, resurrection, and reboots. My review.

*****Warning: Spoilers throughout. This article is MADE of Spoilers******

Bond: Everybody needs a hobby.
Silva: So what's yours?
Bond: Resurrection. Skyfall
James Bond, famously antipathetic towards bureaucrats, nearly succumbed to the entropy of MGM's financial troubles, and Skyfall was in the freezer for two years until it emerged from the shadow of bankruptcy. Quite how the studio behind cinema's second biggest golden goose could find itself collecting coupons from magazines is entirely beyond me. What I do know is that the Commander's latest expedition of self-loathing and violence is a spectacular success. It is that rare thing- a reinvention that is actually inventive; and a homage to its serial identity, that doesn't wallow in its own history like Miss Havisham sadly thumbing through her scrapbooks.

When Fleming wrote the Bond books, international travel was still impossibly glamorous and expensive. They were outlandish windows into overseas Narnias, when plan…

Step back in time: The Chamber of Secrets, Dungeons and Dragons, and saving children from Satan

I uncovered some weapons-grade gold this week: under a stack of boxes, unmoved for decades was a dusty, discreet red book, innocently titled 'RS Department Minutes 1980 ff'. It might sound unremarkable, but to the steam punk edu-enthusiast that I am, it was crack. To me it was a time capsule, a message across the decades from one teacher to another. I've even been reading it in bed, that's how good it is. Like a prospector hand-sieving lakes of dirty water, much of it is as gripping as a Ukrainian phone book. But every so often, a flake of purest magic gleams in the silt. Now I can see why Tony Robinson spoils his knickers whenever someone pulls out a grimy sliver of pottery from an dismal ditch.

1980. Imagine the world then: Jimmy Carter signs a $1.5 billion bail out for Chrysler, and the USA boycotts the Moscow Olympics; the Iranian embassy in London got its clock cleaned; and Jimmy Saville's chair was the relic of a saint as opposed to an emblem of disgrace. T…

Michael Wilshaw needs YOU: how we can all help improve education, right now

Michael Wilshaw needs your help.

You heard me. There's been a flurry on Twitter this morning that gladdened my wholly humble heart. An elder statesman of the edusphere, Oldandrew (@oldandrewuk- don't forget the uk part; like the X-Factor, he's been syndicated internationally. The Ukrainian version is hilarious) has been banging the breakfast gong about the current Head of Ofsted's actual stance on how teachers should teach, and by extension, how schools should encourage their staff to behave. Read his blog for a good summary if you want to know more, but I'll condense it down into weapons grade.
'We, and in that word “we” I include OFSTED, should be wary of trying to prescribe a particular style of teaching, whether it be a three part lesson; an insistence that there should be a balance between teacher led activities and independent learning, or that the lesson should start with aims and objectives with a plenary at the end and so on and so forth. We shou…

FINLAND! The Party Conference Education Speech Drinking Game™

Is there a portion of the calendar that lends itself more to metaphors of breathless, giddy excitement and vertiginous, libidinous, shivering thrills than the conference season? NO, READER, THERE IS NOT. As I watch the keynotes, particularly the education keynotes, I am torn between the poles of drowning myself in the bidet and attempting to feed myself into the toaster from the head down. That's how barely I can contain my quivering heart.

But. Just in case you wanted to watch them again when the DVD comes out at Christmas ('Now that's what I call a conference education speech volume 33'), here's a game that you can play with all the family: FINLAND! The Party Conference Education Speech Drinking Game™. Simply start the evening with a full table of ASDA's finest hootches and moonshines, charged glasses, and press play. Last person standing wins a lifetime supply of ennui and schadenfreude.

Let's Play FINLAND!

Someone mentions the 21st century without appar…