Monday, 31 October 2011

Come little children, I'll take thee away

When I was little my family and I had a little Hallowe'en tradition. We were never allowed to go out trick or treating - my parents just didn't approve - but my dad would get a pumpkin and help us carve it, we would get scary themed treats from Marks and Spencers (my favourites were ghost-shaped sweets and a chocolate skeleton jigsaw), and we'd have a huge picnic in front of the TV and watch scary movies. And by scary I mean what 8 year-old me found scary - Indiana Jones, Jason and the Argonauts and my particular favourite: Hocus Pocus. And by some wonderful chance yesterday evening I was messing around on youtube when I discovered the full movie online and rewatched it. And it was awesome.

The film tells the story of an eventful Hallowe'en night in the lives of Max and Danni Dennison, brother and sister who have recently been made to move from LA to the tiny and spooky town of Salem. When forced to take his little sister out trick or treating, Max breaks into an abandoned house said to have belonged to three evil witches and lights the Black Flame Candle in an attempt to impress his crush, Allison. Rather, he ends up unwittingly awakening said Sanderson Sisters and unleashing them upon the town of Salem and its children, whose life essence the witches must steal in order to stay immortal. It's pretty standard fare as far as a family Hallowe'en film goes, but what makes it such a great film is the energy, warmth and humour that goes into it. There are some great performances, particularly from Bette Midler as the villain of the piece - shrill, bad-tempered and with incredible dead-pan comic timing. Omri Katz (whatever happened to him?!) is also great as Max, playing the typical teenager without the usual dreaded angst and anger. The whole film pans out very tongue-in-cheek, complete with talking black cat, over-the-top costumes and a friendly zombie, but it's this that makes it so fresh and amusing, as opposed to try-hard and awkward. Plus it's just so cult and nostalgic, and such a comforting slice of childhood - like rewatching a Disney film after decades have passed. Although I did find aspects of it a little weird - I used to have the hugest crush on Max when I was little and now he looks like a child. God I hate growing up.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Home, let me come home, home is wherever I'm with you

So I'm in Germany now. I've actually been here since mid-September but I'm slightly ashamed to say I've been sunk too deep in a pit of lethargy and depression to muster the energy to write. It's bizarre, things are the complete opposite of the last two years: I actually have bucket loads of spare time and practically nothing to do, but I find this so tragic that I often spend whole days not moving from my bed or desk, watching whole seasons of TV shows in one go. Seriously, it's almost impressive. I'm trying desperately to snap out of this though, as I'm kind of slowly going mad, so here we go.

Germany's actually all right. I'm a language assistant at a secondary school, which means I go in four mornings a week for a few hours and help out in English classes. At first I absolutely hated it, I can be rather shy and being faced with classloads of scary teenagers filled me with dread every single morning. I'm getting more into it now though, I have a few favourite classes where the kids are amusing, enthusiastic and sweet, and while I would never do it for a permanent career, I quite like the sensation of teaching, albeit in my signature laidback manner. The teachers at the school are lovely too: the staffroom is quite big so it's very easy to get lost but I have a mentor teacher who keeps an eye on me, invites me round to hers for tea and generally keeps my spirits up, and I'm slowly getting to know other teachers too. I've also been blessed with an angelic landlady - she lives below me and is an absolute babe. I've christened her Oma #2 and she comes up every week to help me clean my flat, bakes me cakes, reads through all official letters I get to check all is OK and takes me out sometimes to markets. Seriously love her. I've also gone travelling a couple of times, including a week long interrailing trip around South Germany which I shall tell about later. I have more travels planned (if ever I get paid...) which should be exciting. Really the only problem is the isolation - it's a small town and very hard to meet people, and I just miss Oxford and my friends so much. Still, I'm trying positive thinking from now, so hopefully it'll all work out! Anywho, below are a couple of snaps I took of towns nearby where I live. Pretty, hey?