Thursday, 7 June 2012

Let's watch a film!

I have resurrected Family Fun Film Night.

For any nosy-parker sitting at a desk in the local council, this is our version of a media education, so there is no need to read further. Simply tick your box and go, happy to know how this conscientious home educating parent has offered another day's well-rounded instruction to her delighted offspring.

For everyone else, you may as well know that Family Fun Film Night is where I put myself beyond mortal help.

I kick off the day's joy by declaring it a day of Film Studies, greeted by universal groaning. Then I deliver an extended leaden lecture on something irrelevant, like whether Orcs are woolly or hairless. By tea-time I have spent five hours looking for the right video. I conclude the evening's entertainment by standing in front of the TV set alternatively cursing it and pathetically pleading with it to work, sometimes actually negotiating compromises with the heap of junk, like, Please work and I will never call you a dumb arsed bastard ever again.

Sometimes the evening has irredeemably ended when I declare Family Fun Film night finished for the week, the month, make it for ever. Then I can sink to my knees in front of the box in a parody of worship to bang my head on the floor.

I do not know what is the matter with the TV, apart from it doesn't work when I come near it. It has a little display that flashes up the mystical L1 and nothing else. Then there are more buttons and knobs than I can manage. And the remote control (not that I can ever find it) is like a panel ripped from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Half the buttons can be operated only if you have the knowledge of Scotty and the other half have long been melted into the plastic by a child wielding what may have been a heated iron bar, so the chance the volume presser will ever press again is zero.

When I finally make the damn technology come alive (it was bought c1985 so you can see what I'm dealing with), then I must face the task of reassembling the dispersed cinema audience. The audience has gone into hiding, fearful of the unreasonable shouting and whining coming from the front room. But I have found appeasing buckets of popcorn and Co-op pancakes are a sure and winning allure, plus the promise that no-one has to get out of bed in the morning before ten o'clock after a night's Film Studies.

At last we can begin! Tonight's screening is the first in the trilogy of The Lord of the Rings (the Orcs now make terrible sense, as does my horrible dramatisation of Anglo Saxon grammar from Sweet's Anglo Saxon Primer).

We watched. Or tried to. I thought it was very dark. Literally, not metaphorically. After an hour I wondered aloud whether Peter Jackson had any lighting at all. Shark said she thought it was a setting on our TV, and she hadn't said anything because she was happy not to see hairless Orcs before bedtime. Trying to interpret their speech as Anglo Saxon grammar was enough.

But blow me down, she is right! Do you know, the girl is educated in the ways of media technology. There is a little turny knob on the TV, the one to the left of the blue plasticine (put there to remind myself which one was the volume), and if I turn it, I scatter the darkness and bring forth bright!

Well I never. But I think this not only shows how home education is a complete project in cooperative family learning, it demonstrates how media studies in particular is an excellent vehicle by which the child can take on the role and mantle of the expert.

Because we can all agree that mother's totally crap at it.

1 comment:

Alison Sauer said...

Had to laugh.....just came upstairs after fighting with our DVD remote which has several buttons which have mysteriously popped off, never to be seen again, over the last 3 years or so...My 15yr old has a whole set of work arounds and strange methods to manage the evenings entertainment from the sofa using this instrument, a foot and, I believe, a long stick.

I refuse utterly to fork out on a new DVD player in order to replace the remote.....and so the saga continues.....