Monday, 26 April 2010

A blast from the past

Do you remember this toy ad from the 80s?

Of course you don't. Because Lots-o-Huggin' bear doesn't exist except in the fabulously well realised imaginations of the creatives at Pixar studios as they put the finishing touches to the long awaited animation Toy Story 3. If it wasn't brilliant enough that they created a concept whereby they practically designed their own merchandise, viral videos such as this show their dedication to making you believe in the magic. I could have owned a Lots-o-Huggin' bear instead of a Care Bear (Sunshine bear, just in case you were wondering) and I remember ads just like this one. This commercial would have fitted quite nicely in between a 'Baby wee wee' and 'My Little Pony' ad. But what I love about this ad, complete with the dodgy tracking making you believe its been recorded on VHS, is that this isn't for the little ones who will one day have their own memories of toy ads. It's for all us grown-ups out there. Now as depressing as it is to refer to myself as one of these, I take great comfort in knowing that someone out there that cares about us oldies too. And so when I sit down in the cinema to watch Toy Story 3, I will be able to believe in the magic just as much as my 4 year old nephew sat next to me.

Toy Story 3 is released in Cinemas in the UK on July 23, 2010

Monday, 19 April 2010

'It's time's like these..'

Well the MA is drawing to a close and my major is fast approaching. Without any idea of what to write, one thing I know is that if it doesn't make people laugh even just a little bit, I'll be disappointed.

At the moment, I'm working on a 30 minute radio drama and even though I know it's supposed to be a really serious radio drama, I can't resist putting (and later deleting) the odd line of comedy to break the tension. I just can't help it and I think that often even in the most dramatic situations there is always a little bit of comedy to be found. It's what makes us human.

The moment in my life that symbolises this most is the point of complete heartbreak in my family, when my grandfather died suddenly. He was and is absolutely beloved by every member of my family. A lovely warm, funny and downright silly Grandad who spoiled his grand-daughters with fruit pastilles, mint imperials, Cadbury's Chocolate Eclairs and the odd trip to Blackpool or Lytham, St Annes. At his funeral we laid roses into his grave. They were yellow, his favourite colour, defining his bright, warm character so well. My mother, tearful herself and in an attempt to comfort her sobbing daughters tried to put her arm's around us all. And it was then that she uttered the words that have haunted her ever since: 'It's time's like these I wish I was an octopus.' And just like that the tears of sorrow turned to a mixture of laughter and love as the sun shone through the trees and we all wished Grandad was there to laugh with us.

It's his birthday today, he would've been 79. And even though I'll never hear him tell another joke or get him to pull his false teeth out before getting shouted at, I'll always remember the importance of comedy because inevitably, where you find laughter you also find love.