Nanowrimo Week 3 Roundup

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I’ve been slowing down for the past few weeks, November has ended up being incredibly hectic, more so than I thought it would be, and doing Nano for the first time in this particular month has been challenging. So I have set myself my own personal goal for Nano, to write every day this month regardless of whether I reach the target. There is a part of me that is waiting for November to be over so I can enjoy my life again, update this blog more regularly, go out and see people, not have that sinking feeling on the train home that I have to write this evening.

Nonetheless, I’m not giving up. Any amount of words per day is what I am striving for. I have even broken free of the novel itself and written some short pieces to get me to write something. I’m not writing to win at this stage, I don’t like my novel enough for that at the moment and, frankly, I’m beginning to wonder if this particular novel is even meant to be 50,000 words long. I am also now entering a period of time where I am supposed to be writing a series of poems for an online course I am doing – I am wondering whether to fully commit to cheating during Nano and use some of my word count to do this.

Next year, I am hoping to take a creative writing course and try Nano again – maybe even Nano camp in the spring and summer. For now, I am content that I have tried and experienced it first hand, next year maybe I will play to win.

On to the next week! A very stressful week for me outside of Nano, so as long as I can keep going I’ll be content. How is it going for everyone else? Anyone else struggling to keep it going?

 

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Giant Thoughts

I am terrible for worrying over everything and having build up so much that I break down, which was something I attempted to address in my silly little limerick  which I wrote in response to the poetry challenge (which I am horribly behind on by the way), I was thinking about how I need to be looking at being more forgiving to myself. There was a good response to this and it made me think about how I should be implementing the moral lesson in that poem in my life.

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The Great British Bake Off – A Sinking Ship?

The Great British Bake Off is one of my favourite TV programmes, I’m not even sure why. I remember reading that the ratio between over and under 50 for GBBO was 1:1 – an incredible stat that no one has quite managed to understand, but remains part of the Baking phenomenon.

But it seems to have lost its way – even before the ‘drama’ of the move to Channel 4, Mel and Sue leaving and now Mary Berry.

Watching the programme this time, the judges seem meaner (even Mary), nearly all of the Bakers in the tent are having some sort of disaster every time which leads me to believe that they are not allocating enough time for the actual baking. Which suggests the competition isn’t actually fair.

It seems edited differently, I can’t tell how unless I looked back on other seasons but it seems to be cut at a more ‘brutal’ pace – all you really see are the negatives. It’s falling into the X-Factor trap, where producers think everyone is after drama so only shows us the worst bits. It’s a show about cake for God’s sake. Let them have it and eat it too!

It’s a shame, but all good things must come to an end. I don’t think it will survive in the same way when it moves to Channel 4 and I’m not sure of Paul Hollywood remaining will be enough of a draw – he’s the nasty character, and despite the fact he may be a sex symbol for the over 50s (read that in a magazine – don’t see it myself) his affair with his co-star on the American Bake Off may haunt him in his lone adventure to Channel 4. Who will the second judge be? Either they’ll pull a Strictly and bring back a previous contestant (Nadiya, anyone?) or it’ll be someone young, hot and dubiously younger than Paul that he can awkwardly smirk at (WHY DOES HE DO THAT?!)

Hollywood has signed a 3-year contract with Channel 4, so it will be interesting to see how that progresses and whether that will manifest itself in Bake Off or a new stand alone show. I could be wrong about it not surviving – after the Top Gear debacle, I feel certain that ‘The Grand Tour’ on Amazon will easily defeat the new Top Gear for ratings. But they have kept the same cast, which Bake Off will not.

What do you think? Will it continue to rise? Or are we doomed for it to all go flat?

 

Retrospective Review: The Lego Movie – Kids Film or Political Masterpiece?

The Lego Movie (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, 2014) is a surprising children’s film in the way it is incredibly postmodern. I came to the film knowing this as it was introduced to me during a university lecture on Postmodernism. It is a children’s toy take on both the swathes of Superhero films that now confront out screens and Orwell’s 1984. In fact, when watching President Business (Will Ferrell) gear himself for confrontation by adding all his ‘extras’: height, helmet, hair, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a new potential ‘President Business’ the United States may be on their way to electing….

Obviously, this film isn’t about that specifically – it was too early. But the point I’m making is that children’s films are remarkably clever in their sly depictions and can actually be deeply political and can actually be deeply political. These postmodern, political elements are littered throughout The Lego Movie in a way which almost restricts your enjoyment if you don’t know them – so who is this film aimed for? Kids or Adults? As an adult watcher I can see that Morgan Freeman (Vitruvius) is playing a parody of himself in the role of has become synonymous with – the wise old man (Bruce Almighty anyone?), Liam Neeson (Bad Cop/Good Cop), also, parodying himself in his many, many films were he is a dubious ‘hero’, and I see echoes of Will Ferrell’s role in Zoolander in his role of President Business.

Now, I personally love these type of effects in films, but do you get less out of the film is you don’t understand theses references? Is there enough merit in the actual plot for kids to enjoy? Or is the joy for Kids located in the spectacle? Reviews say yes, there is enough for Kids to enjoy, and talking to my friends’ daughter, she loved it, but I remain unsure.

Another element I am unsure about is when the film becomes live action, seemingly to add a morality caution to the narrative. Will Ferrell is mildly funny, as usual, but I found this tactic a little heavy-handed. It is this moment which reminds you that this remarkably clever film is actually for kids (perhaps that isn’t a bad thing after all) but watching as an adult who was able to enjoy the animation, the jokes and the storyline I found it twee. It also highlights for me, that still no one has quite managed to emulate the duality of Disney films – perfectly fine for children on the surface layer, but with extra jokes and references for adults. Whilst this section is important to remind us that it is a kids film, I wish it didn’t seem quite so patronising

Overall, and despite the impression this review may give, I loved the film. I actually laughed out loud, which is unusual. The animation was beautiful, a fantastic combination between stop motion and normative CGI, and the actors were fantastic both at being themselves and their characters (worth noting, that the only characters who do not get this second layer of meaning are the main ones: Emmet (Chris Pratt) and Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) possibly because they slot into normal stereotypes). I would recommend this as a kids film and an adult film, but wonder if this is a sign that the future of kids movies is in an adult audience.

Thoughts? Does it even matter?