Five Films That Make Me Weep

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**DISCLAIMER**

I do not cry often, at least I very rarely cried or was able to keep it well hidden. Since my children arrived I have found myself being uncharacteristically emotional at some incredibly mundane things. This list however transcends all of that. This is a guaranteed snivel-fest for me.

Watership Down

It’s 1984, I am six years old and I am delighted that an actual children’s film is on on a rainy Saturday afternoon. One of my parents walks in as the credits begin, “Oh Watership Down, you will LOVE this” and meanders back out to attend to housework or whatnot. I do remember watching this film in it’s entireity on my own apart from the part where the seagull says ‘Shit’ when my Dad came in and I was terrified that I wouldn’t be allowed to watch the rest…but that aside, I sat gripped to this film. The savageness, the sadness, the men trying to fill in the rabbit warrens, my heart was breaking for every little rabbit on that screen. But it was the Bright Eyes bit that killed me. I sobbed as only a six year can, believing that I would never stop crying.

 

 

The Whale Rider

I’m afraid by the time Pai got up to do her speech I’d gone from lump in throat to tears spilling down my face.

 

 

In America

Continuing the theme of children performing in public which seems to reduce me to a blubbering wreck..this film had me in bits most of the way through. It’s tragic, dark and often very tense, which is par for the course for anything with Paddy Considine in it. The clip below includes a montage from the film rather than the scene itself.

 

 

 

My Girl

Before you judge me. I saw this when I was 13 and until then Macauley Culkin was that annoying brat from Home Alone. I walked in to see this film the weekend it was released. I saw alongside my teenage girlfriends and about three-quarters of the way though HE DIES. No-one warned me about this, I had no idea. So I had to bawl and be scundered for myself that I was crying over MACAULEY CULKIN. But actually I wasn’t, it was Anna Chlumsky’s performance that really got me. Oh for goodness sake I just watched again and cried…again.

 

 

Rabbit-proof Fence

This film upset me so much, given it’s roots in recent history, the injustice of it all. The abduction scene was harrowing, however when I watched a documentary about the making of the film, it really had me in pieces.

Abduction Scene

 

Documentary – filming of the abduction scene

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The Worst Neurobollocks Infographics on the Web

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Might add this blog into my favourites 🙂

NeuroBollocks

Regardless what you think of infographics (and personally, I think they’re largely a pustulent, suppurating boil on the bloated arse of the internet) there are some good, useful ones out there. However, these are vastly outweighed by the thousands of utterly ghastly, misleading, poorly-referenced and pointless ones.

Because I’ve been on holiday for the last week, my levels of rage and misanthropy have dropped somewhat from their usual DEFCON-1-global-thermonuclear-war-the-only-winning-move-is-not-to-play levels, so I thought trying to find the absolute worst neuroscience-related infographics on the web might be a good way to top the vital bile reserves back up again. And oh boy, was I right. There are some doozies.

First up is this purple and blue monstrosity titled ’15 things you didn’t know about the brain.’ Here we learn (amongst other howlers) that the capacity of the brain is 4 terabytes, men process information on the left side while women use…

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Nine Thousand Three Hundred and Sixty Nappies later

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In her 38th month on this planet my daughter has finally succumbed to potty training. She joins her twin brother in enjoying life out of ‘baby nappies’ and is thoroughly relishing her Big Girl Pants.

When she and her brother were born they were ten weeks early and had micro preemie nappies like the one shown below on the right.

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We had no idea at the start if they would ever make it into the next size up, of course we never dared discuss it, but the dread that they might not make it through the next infection, or that if their heart rates plummeted for the twentieth time that day that it might not make that slow increase back up again after a vigorous shake of the incubator…too many heart in throat moments..too many machines…too warm…too many beeps and never, ever did you hear a baby cry in in neonatal intensive care, they were too sick to cry.

I remember when I first met them. They had been born at lunchtime on Wednesday and I wasn’t allowed round to see them all that day. My husband tried to show me some photos on his phone but I couldn’t make anything out. He had a printed photo that had been given to him by a neonatal nurse, a 6 x 4 photo split into the same image shown four times so although very difficult to see it was my first chance to look at one of my children. My son.

The camera ran out of battery before they could take the photo of my daughter. I took assurances from my husband that they were doing well. He seemed excited, he was a Dad, he’d seen them and they were real and they were alive.

I lay there and felt like I was in a dream. I didn’t feel like a mother. I didn’t feel numb as such, just weirdly normal. I felt like I could walk out of the hospital and pretend I had never had children. I joked that I could be a surrogate mother, I felt utterly emotionless. I was quite cheery in fact. I chatted away to the mums on my ward who had their babies with them. They looked exhausted. Part of me felt relieved to be just left to recover. I have a clear memory of a thought that if they brought my babies to me at that moment that I would rather climb out the window.

I was a mother, I had children, but I didn’t feel it.

I didn’t sleep much that night, turning over the last few days in my head. Three days earlier I had been feeling on top of the world with a few annoying period-type cramps, and now here I was lying in a ward, listening to other people’s babies crying and I was just existing, not feeling, just being.

At around 2am a nurse came to my bed to check on me.

“Auch love, I thought I saw you lying here awake. I know you don’t have any photos of the babbies because that camera wasn’t working. Well here now, you sit up love, look what I have for you.”

She pressed two photos into my hands and switched on my bedside light.

I was so touched by this act. It was the first time in the last 24 hours that I had felt an actual human connection. I felt like a real person. I scoured those photos, looking at my babies. I examined them for clues, for familiar outlines, shapes, my crooked toes…and I loved them…and it still felt like looking at scan photos…exciting but not really real yet.

My Mum had kindly bought me Congratulations cards for the babies. It was my proof of my right to be on that maternity ward. Instead of pointing to babies I could point to my cards and say “Yes, I have twins..a boy and a girl”. I carefully placed my photos beside each card and a drifted off to sleep still staring at them.

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My Pumping Station

The next day I had to wait until late in the afternoon before I finally saw them. I was so excited.

When I was wheeled in the NICU I was immediately overwhelmed with information about the status of two very sick babies, I couldn’t even see which isolettes they were in…my heart lurching as I looked as someone else’s baby…”is this my baby?”…”No, these are yours here…”

Finally I met them.

I couldn’t see their faces clearly because of the CPAP masks, soon their whole heads would be covered while they spent many days under bilirubin lamps…I longed to see those faces.

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Two weeks later I would get to hold them for the first time. I would be starting to feel like a real mum then.

Eight weeks later they came home.

One of the first things I did was look at myself in the mirror holding my babies. There are no mirrors in the hospital, I had no idea what I looked like as a Mum.

Small things are big things.

One thousand one hundred and seventy days later I sit here writing this.

My babies are leaving toddlerhood and nappies behind.

I don’t know when the moment was that I truly felt like their Mum, it sneaked up on me. I know that they are the best thing that ever happened to me. They unlocked a part of me that I didn’t know existed. They are strong and healthy and loved. They have given me more than I will ever give them.

Elaine Paige or Barbara Dickson?

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I have a shameful collection of CDs in my car that I bring out and sing along to when I am driving.

I often imagine myself singing to a large concert hall or just in a small group being admired by friends around a campfire…I’ll hear them whisper “she has such a lovely voice”…or the rapturous applause of approval from the school assembly hall just after I have moved them to tears with my rendition of Angel by Sarah McLachlan…my imagination allows me to soar high, hit the missed notes and be in tune…

A recent purchase of Elaine Paige’s Greatest Hits (hidden in the glove compartment) has allowed me to return to my childhood, where my good friend and I would sing I Know Him So Well for an entire summer. We would always argue over who got to be Elaine Paige as she really did get the lion’s share of the song, even singing all over poor Barbara’s bit in the second verse.

Now I listen to it in the car, I let Elaine sing all her bits and have her moment, because I know that the only important line in the song is when Elaine sings “Securityyyyyyyyy” and Barbara gets the hook “He needs his fantasy and freedom”…I am happy to be Barbara.

I think sometimes stepping back and letting others have the floodlights on them, helps ensure that you get the best bit in the end.

 

From Long Hair to Chewing Gum: Banned in Singapore

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Trying out the Reblog function – this is really interesting 🙂

Remember Singapore

What do gongs, long hair and chewing gums have in common?

They were all part of a list of items that were either permanently banned or disallowed in public for a period of time in Singapore. Some banned items contained dangerous elements, while others were associated with excessive contents of sex and violence that challenged the society’s moral standards. Banning of certain publications was common. For example, a Hong Kong comic, popular among Singapore students who would spend their pocket money to buy at the roadside stalls, was banned in 1966 due to its undesirable storyline filled with violence, gangsterism and fantasy.

So other than drugs and gambling, what had been banned in Singapore since the sixties?

Playboy Magazines

As part of the “anti-yellow” drive at the start of 1960, the Playboy magazine and its Playmate calender was officially banned in Singapore. Costing $2.10 per copy, the monthly magazine from Chicago…

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Finding My Voice

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I don’t know who I am.

Not due to illness, or some deep philosophical existentialist questioning…I mean on here, this blog, my voice – who am I?

I could be a witty banterer who recounts amusing stories, I could be the frazzled mother of twins who tries to juggle work and motherhood, I could be a poster of ‘interesting facts’ or shares tidbits from the internet…or I could be all of these things or none of them.

This is why this blog project appealed to me. It doesn’t really know what it is yet and neither do I.

What I do know is that I am loving some dear friends who I have never met, and maybe will never meet, come together and share stories in the same way that brought us together in the first place.

Brutal honestly combined with genuine affection, a love of silliness and willingness to try something new.

I’ll be writing my posts for myself and for the Breakfast Club.

The theme of my work will be mostly Random Shite.