I have never been one for audio books, I get distracted and my mind wanders. Neither have I ever been gripped by radio dramas despite my appreciation for a good Radio 4 talk show. But when I saw that Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchett’s graphic novel, Good Omens, had been adapted for radio, I had to give it a listen. This particularly intrigued me because whilst it is hard enough to convey actions through radio, this is at least compensated for in the imagery of a written text. How were they going to convey all the action and expression of a medium that is so visually dependent, let alone retain its magic?
But it was fantastic. It was gripping, it was coherent, the voices expressed emotion and character. And thankfully it was broadcast on consecutive days which meant that I was not left wanting for too long!
The tale tells the story of the Antichrist and the approaching apocalypse, revitalised with modern day references and humour. The four horsemen are in fact bikers, one of the evils is pollution and the devil speaks through Radio 1. After the Antichrist is accidentally swapped at birth by incompetent nuns, the narrative follows angels and demons working together to seek him out before ‘the nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch’ can be fulfilled. The Antichrist himself presents an interesting, and disconcertingly adorable character – an 11-year-old boy who doesn’t know his own power and simply wants to play in the countryside that he loves.
This is perfectly timed with the increasing appreciation for graphic novels and something that I hope to see continue to grow in popularity. (I have briefly mentioned before the limited shelf space given to this medium.) Whilst I am writing this Good Omens is still available on BBC iPlayer. Give it a listen whilst you can – although I hope it will be released as an audiobook. It certainly cheered up my days at work over the festive period!
When I used to stay at my granny’s as a little girl, she used to take me to the park. This, I’m sure, is not unique, but what was special about our trips was not the arrival at the hallowed fairground of the young, but the little stops and sights along the way. Drifting off the tourist-filled street and ducking through an archway, the path to the park creeped it’s way over a stream and up a hill, surrounded by fields. This felt like a real adventure and, whilst the stream offered the distraction of pooh-sticks, there was also a house that always caught my attention. Stood in the front window, dressed in a blue duffle coat with wooden toggles, and a little red hat, was Paddington. My memories of the playground are intertwined with stopping to wave and say hello to the little bear.
Last week saw the release of the much anticipated family film: Paddington. From the creator of the Harry Potter films and perfectly timed for Christmas, this film is as warm and fuzzy as the bear himself and provides the perfect nostalgic and heartwarming experience for the festive period.
The film was produced in close collaboration with Paddington-creator Michael Bond, which no doubt accounts for the value of the characterisation. Bond himself even makes and appearance, raising a glass as Paddington whizzes past on a taxi tour of London.
Whilst the story line is simple and sweet, it is the production that really dazzles. The graphics are incredible, showing every individual hair of Paddington, but it is the way that they are used to construct the narrative that is spectacular. In particular, the film reveals flashbacks and asides in magically creative ways, zooming in on a dolls house to show the family in their day-to-day lives, and using a toy train to flashback to an evacuee’s arrival in London.
As the darkness and frost are drawing in, this film provides the ideal way to spend a winter evening. Taking me back to when I was small, stopping on my summer excursions to squint at the sun and wave at the furry face in the window.