A guide to cinema etiquette

After a lot of deliberation I decided to go with my family on Saturday to see Ironman 3. It is rated 12A so I was shocked to see so many very young children there. Really, do you want your 5 year to witness gun violence? Not only is some of the content  too violent for children, the dialogue and the plot is too complicated to follow for an under 12. If your child is not traumatised they will be bored.

I love movies, I used to love going to the cinema. I have fond memories of going to see the Sound of Music at The Gaumont in Birmingham. The whole family went and it was a experience that we appreciated and had anticipated for weeks.

Not any more. I dread going.

This is why.

People do not behave properly at the cinema any more.

Here is my guide to how to behave at a cinema. Similar rules apply at a concert and the theatre.

If it is classified as a 12A don’t bring your toddler. Really don’t.

This is guidance from the British Board of Film Classification website. Read the full guidance here. 12A means that anyone aged 12 or over can go and see the film unaccompanied. The A stands for ‘accompanied’ and ‘advisory’. Children younger than 12 may see the film if they are accompanied by an adult (eg someone over the age of 18), who must watch the film with them. 

What’s the difference between 12 and 12A?

The 12 certificate is just for videos, DVDs and Blu-rays. 12A is for films at the cinema only.

Is there a lower age limit for a 12A film?

No. However, the BBFC considers the content of 12A rated films to be suitable for children aged 12 and over, and we would not recommend taking very young children to see them. Works classified at these categories may upset children under 12 or contain material which many parents will find unsuitable for them. An adult may take a younger child if, in their judgement, the film is suitable for that particular child. To help adults make this decision, we provide BBFCinsight for all films.

If you throw sweets at me I will get you thrown out. All 20 of you.

If you talk, even during the trailers I will look at you and if you continue I will get huffy. I may also get you thrown out.

Don’t snog (yuk) and definitely no heavy petting. Double Yuk.

Please arrive before the film starts, preferably before the lights go down.

If you arrive late, don’t choose a seat in the middle of the row. I want to watch the film not your ass. 

Don’t make a noise while eating. Better still don’t eat during the film.

I presume you don’t throw litter on your sitting room floor at home so why do it in the cinema?

Turn your mobile phone off. No, not on silent. Off. You are here to watch a film, aren’t you?

Teach your children how to behave in a cinema.

Read the credits, all of them.

I long for the days when there was a B movie, a break to use the loo and get an ice cream then settle in for the feature film. Do you remember the interval in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? A real cliff hanger moment! A proper cinema, no litter and people who are there because they love the whole movie experience.  An experience you still get at The Electric Cinema in Birmingham or The Roxy Cinema in Wellington.

And of course bring back these! Mom as an usherette No messing with these ladies. The one far right, front row, that is my mom!

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Past it at 35? I don’t think so!

Don’t you just love ageism?

I'm no expert

I love how Twitter helps make things actually happen.

Last night Jay Rosen put out three tweets about a forum looking for young, networked women who are using mobile to change the world. I knew without following the link that, at 45, I didn’t fit the bill but I thought that Liz Azyan and Leah Lockhart fitted the bill perfectly so I tweeted then. Lo and behold when they checked it out one of them was too old at 35!

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This morning saw a flurry of activity between us, with a few others joining the conversation, all aghast that apparently digital women are washed up by 35. Needless to say we are having none of it. It’s the same as every other job or profession – you may be quicker to learn, find it easier to keep up with the latest tech and be an early adopter but what makes…

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Why isn’t our education system working?

Pragmatic Education

 

 system

 

‘Educational inequality is the civil rights issue of our time’

Barack Obama, 2011

 

Our retention, training, curriculum and assessment aren’t strong enough

In 1807, radical journalist William Cobbett used an analogy to suggest that, just as his hunting dogs in training had lost the scent because he’d laid a false trail of red herrings, politics had become distracted. Some two hundred years on, the same could be said of the English education system and the fierce debates it often finds itself embroiled in: for trainee teachers, it’s a trail littered with red herrings.

One of the things that has most surprised me since starting as a trainee teacher is the sheer number of misleading diversions, which seem to distract us from what matters most: improving teaching and learning in schools and classrooms. Here are some examples of those debates that create more heat than insight: whether…

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9 reasons not to travel

Staff at the local travel agents will never recommend any where that they are going on holiday to me and my family. This is because they know about our track record for holiday disasters.

These are those I recall off the top of my head, in no particular order.

  1. Andros the sinking pedalo, when we are rescued by a speed boat
  2. Ibiza lilo adventure, when Tim floats out to sea and Phil has to scramble over a rough sea bed to save him
  3. Majorca: the Thomson Dream nightmare, planes are grounded because of a volcano and we endure a 48 hour journey home by boat and coach. The boat is over crowded and there are no cabins left, or so they tell us……
  4. Grand Canaria, thieves who stole a camera and cash from our coffee table, while we were in the same room
  5. The Hotel California experience, trapped in LA by Qantas grounding all planes in October 2011
  6. Florida, losing a 9 year old daughter in Church Street 
  7. Dalyan, an earthquake and a very near miss by a lightning strike
  8. Egypt Nile Cruise, the holiday that never was due to the coup and playing the waiting game to get a refund from the travel agent
  9. Fiji, evacuated from Bounty Island in a cyclone. This was the only time on our RTW trip that the FCO contacted us.

From: suvaconsular@fco.gov.uk

> To: coral
> Subject: Tropical Depression affecting Fiji

> Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2012 23:51:20 +0000

>
> Dear British Citizens,
>
> A severe flood warning remains in force for major rivers, streams and low lying areas of Western Viti Levu This has caused major flooding and has closed roads paticularly in Nadi Town and left both locals and tourists stranded.
>
> Should you wish to seek urgent consular assistance or know off any british nationals in need of urgent assitance please do not hestitate to contact us on the telephone number (679)3229100 or (679)3304746.
>
> In light of this adverse weather conditions, we will be grateful if you can confirm yuor safety and well being in Fiji. The Consular team would like you to monitor the latest situation on the Fiji Meteorological Service website: (www.met.gov.fj) or http://www.ukinfiji.fco.gov.uk for further update.
>
> Kind regards
> Consular Team.

Of course this won’t stop us travelling. Off to Dalyan again in 2 weeks time. The mission to take Mom to all the places she loved, begins.

PS just back from Dalyan. We had another earthquake. This prompted us to recall other holiday disasters….

10. The shoe bomber incident which meant we could not bring the wine we had bought in Kefalonia  back to the UK. We sold it around the pool and gave it to the reps.

11. The hurricane in Kefalonia that kept us in the hotel all day. I love storm watching so this was a treat for me but lots of moaning from others that they couldn’t sunbathe or use the pool.

Of Bedrooms and Defunct Economists

theviewfromlightwoodspark

It was thirty years ago that I opted for the Economic and Social Thought paper at Oxford and studied, with, I hope, historians’ scepticism, the works of Marx, Ricardo, Keynes et al. Fascinating reading it was too and I can recommend Keynes as a writer of wonderful English prose. During one tutorial my tutor, Ross McKibbin at St. John’s, talked about the French neoclassical economist Leon Walras (1834-1910) who had attempted to express all of human economic activity in a series of complex mathematical equations. The intellectual architecture of Walras system was impressive and way beyond my mathematical capacity but, as McKibbin drily observed, ‘You need a degree of detachment from the real world to come up with something like that.’ I was reminded of this as I read about yesterday’s nationwide protests against the so-called Bedroom Tax.

The thinking behind the ‘Bedroom Tax’ is simple. There are many families…

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Two Scenes From My Life In Thatcher’s Britian

Well written blog by a Bearwood Resident

theviewfromlightwoodspark

1. Plank Lane Leigh Lancashire July 1984

One evening we were heading north towards Wigan on the Canal. Shortly after eight o’clock we reached an electric swing bridge near the Plank Lane coal mine in Leigh. The bridge, as we found out, was only manned until eight so we had no chance of going further until the following day. An evening in Plank Lane it was.

There was a pub was in the shadow of the winding wheel of the colliery. The machinery was silent as it had been since March. A group of pickets greeted us and waved, rattled their collecting buckets. It was a balmy summer’s evening, not the time of year for a miners’ strike I reflected. The pub was quiet, very quiet. No money meant no business and a group lf students, even students who hadn’t had a proper bath for a week was a Godsend…

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Speaking Our Own Language

Proud to have been part of the team that brought Shared Reading to Sandwell. I you are interested in this there are two groups, one at Bleakhouse Library on Monday at 10 and the other is at Smethwick Library on Thursday at 10.30

The Reader Online

The Reader Organisation’s  Shared Reading Practitioner Day, ‘Speaking our Own Language’ took place on Saturday in Liverpool Staff and Shared Reading Practitioners who have completed our Read to Lead course came together to develop their practice through a full day of quality literary thinking and doing.We were also joined by author Anna Lawrence Pietroni,who shared the creative process of writing her book Ruby’s Spoon

Charlotte Weber, our Reader-in-Residence at Hope University, shares her experiences:

 

One’s-self I sing, a simple separate person,

Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse.

Walt Whitman, from ‘Song of Myself’

Standing in the living room at a friends’ engagement party on Saturday night, a group of friends around me stared bemusedly at a name badge on my top that read:

AM: Balance
PM: Pleasure

On being asked to explain myself, I was once again reminded of just what an extraordinary place The…

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Can you share too much?

Or is that what social media is all about?

A few months back a Facebook friend sent me a DM saying  ‘no offence but I am having to un friend you, your posts fill up my time line too much’.  I met this person way before the days of Facebook. She wasn’t a close friend but she lives near me and we have volunteered on the same project and we once shared an employer. I wasn’t offended, just a tad surprised. Did I really share too much on Facebook? Do I retweet too often?Did I annoy anyone else? Well if I do, I am sorry and please go ahead and un friend/follow me too.

Then this happens:

A Facebook and real life friend acknowledged me in her self published book, Going it Alone at 40: How I survived my first year of self employment for ‘services to sharing and retweeting’. She even calls me the Queen of Sharing, and she means that in a good way.

We see social media as an opportunity to share information and knowledge. We both help out at social media surgeries and attend the monthly Social Media Cafe in Birmingham organised by the wonderful Karen Strunks.

I have documented my social media journey in other blogs so I won’t go over old ground. If you are interested, you know what to do.

All I will add is that all the friends I have made in the past year, who I meet with regularly, go on trips to Malvern with, go to supper with, meet at a Street Food events, and those who came to my birthday bash, I met via social media first.

Happy sharing!

The hardest run

Liz is both compassionate and intelligent in this blog. No further words required.

Adventures in reading, writing and working from home

DSC_8400Running’s an odd thing. It’s at once intensely personal (even the most hardened club runner loves those solitary long runs) and intensely communal (the only sport in which complete beginners can run in the same race as elites – I’ve run in the footsteps of Haile Gebreselassie). Unless you’re at the top of your game, you compete against yourself – you celebrate a Personal Best not how many people you beat.

Running is also a community. I have gained great support from other runners, when learning to run, training, injured, running in races … When tragedy and horror struck the Boston Marathon yesterday, yes, I couldn’t help but be more shaken, overwhelmed and upset than I am by other acts of atrocity, other senseless violence across the globe. Because this was runners; worse, for me, this was runners at the back of the pack, my runners. So, sorry – I…

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Life Begins after Normal

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Let me introduce you to Monkey Man, who is well known in Kings Heath.

I had never heard of him until a couple of days ago, yet he appears to be a much loved character in Kings Heath (a suburb of Birmingham UK). As he was waiting to cross the road drivers pipped their horns and pedestrians called out ‘Hey Mr Monkey Man!’ His response was to treat us all to a little dance.

I think we need more people like this in our communities to bring some happiness into our lives. He certainly brought a smile to my face. I guess there are some that may make some derisory comments about how it is not normal to behave like this, yet what is normal?

We are programmed into being a one size fits all society. Go to school, pass exams, go to uni, get a job, get married, get a mortgage, have kids and work till you are too old to enjoy your pension if you are lucky enough to have one. We are defined by the job we do. And if we haven’t got a job that is a bad thing. The government want us all working, and punish those that can’t work and make life a misery for job seekers.

I am not saying that working hard and wanting a home and a family is a bad thing. It just seems to me that when you choose to live differently, press the stop button on the treadmill of life and decide that a walk in the woods is more your thing, you may be treated as if you are a little bit odd. And if you don’t know which path you will take till you get there, those who are pressing the go faster button on their own particular treadmill, seem to be threatened by what they consider your alternative lifestyle. They (as I was in the 80’s) are consumed with worry that if they don’t toe the line, they won’t get the promotion to afford get into more debt to buy a bigger house to fill with more stuff to show the world how successful they are.

When I begged to be made redundant in 2011 my boss just didn’t get it. I could have extended my job for another 6 months. This is the same boss who when he met me for the first time asked what pay scale I was on. He was baffled that I didn’t know or care. So it was no surprise that he could not understand why I would leave all this ‘success’ behind in exchange for a rucksack and a plane ticket. I suspect if he saw the Monkey Man he would run in the other direction.

Earlier this week I discovered that there was a Loch Ness Monster Man. Steve Feltham set up home in a campervan next to Loch Ness after selling his home in 1991. His mission is to spot Nessie. I am determined to go up and meet him. He lives in a converted mobile library, how cool is that?

In Santa Cruz I came across a man who lives in this.

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Of course I had to meet the person who owned this weird and wonderful contraption. Never got to know his name, so I call him Campervan Man. He was so interesting to talk to. As his van proclaims, ‘Life Begins after Normal’.

Works for me.