‘Most of the World’s a stage and the rest of it is just cartoons…’

Merry Christmas! Glad tidings to you all!

No doubt a few of you after over-eating and over indulging tomorrow will be kicking back and watching some telly – and quite right too. All of us have our memories of the big Christmas TV feast – Morecambe & Wise, Eastenders, the Bond Movie… And no doubt a few of you might be watching on the new television bought for Crimbo. The size of TV screens available these days reminded me of my first visit to the cinema with my son who was three at the time to see the eagerly awaited ‘Toy Story 3’.

I had booked our cinema tickets online and just as well. The car park was busy to bursting but we managed to park kind of close to the front doors and with a minimum amount of fuss we dashed inside. It was a typical summer’s day in Scotland and the rain was bouncing on the bonnet of the car and the pavements alike.

In the centre of the foyer there was an almighty queue for tickets, hotdogs and nachos which snaked back and forth across the red carpeted entrances to the 12 screens. Our show was on in Screen 6 which like the car park before was rammed with parents, grandparents, carers and weans.

It seemed like we had got the last two seats that were available together. I took my son’s coat off and propped him up on the seat which immediately folded back leaving my lad shaped like a capital ‘V’. He recovered to perch himself on the edge of the seat – avoiding the flip up conundrum – and seemed to enjoy the rest of the experience. Of course half way through we had to retire to the ‘little boy’s room’, despite me asking if he needed the toilet before the film started. At that point he did not need the toilet he needed to ‘SEE TOY STORY 3!!!!’ which is what he told me each of the hundred or so times I asked.

As I say it was a first for my son and I was aware that I watched him more than I did the screen for the first hour or so. Essentially throughout the duration of the film I was waiting on him to be scared or upset by something – the sheer size of the screen, the volume of noise, the darkness – but it never came. ‘Maybe’ I thought to myself while Woody and Buzz escaped from yet another scrape ‘he’s been desensitized by the 24hr illuminated world in which we live and through repeated exposure to challenging media stimuli he can no longer experience the shock of the new…’ or maybe it’s because most homes he visits have large screen plasma televisions mounted on the walls of their front rooms and sound systems to match. In my house we have a small portable sized TV which youthful visitors to my house snigger at. My son has yet to suggest that it be replaced but I’m sure that time will come.

I remember him visiting my brother’s house the day that a new 50 or so inch plasma had been installed. My son who was about one year old then and hadn’t been walking long was fascinated by this thing. It had been hung low so it was just a perfect height for him to stand directly in front of. His face was a picture as he stood staring slack-jawed in amazement at this huge liquid colour filled box that was alive with Disney cartoons, Sponge Bob and Scooby Doo. Fantastic picture quality, built in blu-ray DVD, hi-fi sound and High Definition chocolate buttons smeared across the pristine plasma screen…

Whatever you’re doing this Christmas I hope you have fun. Stay safe. Peace & Goodwill to you and your kin. See you all in 2013!!

Alan

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Ding Dong Merrily!

Jingle! Tingle! Shop till you drop etc. etc. The Xmas countdown begins!

Christmas is almost upon us. Hopefully you’re well on the way to being organised. I’ll start tomorrow… I was never really a big fan of Christmas but as I’ve got older I’ve become a convert and since my children have been screaming/singing (take your pick) ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ at the top of their voices since the middle of November I can’t really ignore it. I’m actually looking forward to it this year!

The Third Sector Early Intervention fund was launched last week and there are some information sessions lined up – see here – http://tseif.eventbrite.co.uk/?ebtv=C . If you’re involved with working with children or families you might want to get along. For those of you can’t make it along we’ll be providing an information session on the fund here at Engage early in the New Year. So stay tuned.

The First Minister’s Christmas card for 2012 has been revealed. The four Scottish charities that will benefit from the card are:
• Breakthrough Breast Cancer
• Dyslexia Scotland
• Scottish Steelworkers Memorial Fund
• Sick Kids Friends Foundation
A short video review of the card and the associated charities can be seen below:

Our latest bulletin is available here – http://issuu.com/engagerenfrewshire/docs/ebulletin_edition_27 – it contains rather worryingly a review of what the employees of Engage Renfrewshire want for Christmas. There is no mention of world peace… There is the mention of a winning lottery ticket.

All the best. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Alan