Saturday, 8 September 2018

We are what people think we are. Sometimes anyway.

The actor Burt Reynolds has died at the age of 82, apparently working-almost to the end on a Quentin Tarantino film. In the news item informing us of this I read; “Reynolds, who famously turned down the roles of James Bond and Han Solo, never-the-less forged a film career that marked him out as a singular talent.”

How curious, I thought to myself, that success should be judged on whether or not one had played James Bond or Han Solo.

Similarly, Alec Guinness, who has played all sorts of roles, seems to be known nowadays as Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars films. And Sir Ian McKellen is forever Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. And so a whole acting career is reduced to one role! Curious indeed!

 It can happen to more ordinary mortals as well. At one point in my teaching career I did the training and got the certificate to teach GNVQ, vocational courses. I did this with the idea that the GNVQ coordinator in my college would introduce Language Units to the advanced level courses in Business and Travel and Tourism. However, when the courses got going, the Language Units were put on hold and I found myself shanghaied into teaching, or “delivering” as the jargon had it, foundation level units in Travel and Tourism. As if I knew anything about customer service and marketing and such like! I suppose I knew more than the foundation level students!

When a new member of staff joined the team it must have taken almost a year for her to realise that I was not a Travel and Tourism teacher who also taught A-Level Spanish on the side, but a Spanish teacher who, always rather grudgingly, taught Travel and Tourism on the side.

So it goes!

By the way, here is a link to what the estimable Hadley Freeman has to say about Burt Reynolds.

In the ongoing debate about mobile phones and mass media, President Macron has introduced measures to prevent French schoolchildren from using their phones during the school day. I wonder why it took him so long. It seems to me perfectly obvious that they should switch their phones off in school. Some of the youngsters found it rather refreshing to actually TALK to their friends instead of constantly texting them. Others felt that they had been deprived of a topic of conversation as they spend a lot of time comparing snapchat and instagram photos and felt that they should be allowed to do this during breaks at school. Isn’t it rather sad that some of them regard that as the mainstay of their conversation? Not even what-I-saw-on-tv or the latest films and music. I am discounting totally topics like books and current affairs. Anyway, here is a link to an article about it.

And finally, here is a link to an article about yet another really bad restoration job on religious artwork in Spain. That makes three! My mother always told me that things went in threes: accidents, broken glasses, buses coming along when you have been waiting for ages. And now, making a mess of ancient religious artefacts.

One thing in favour of the bad restorers: at least they care enough about the works to want to try to improve them.

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