Please look after this bear.

Here are some interesting facts about Paddington 2, one of the best-reviewed and most beloved films of the UK.

Paddington was created by British author Michael Bond, whose family took in Jewish refugees during World War II. In a 2010 letter (seen in the 2019 documentary The Man Behind The Bear) he wrote,

“We took in some Jewish children who often sat in front of a fire of an evening, quietly crying because they had no idea what had happened to their parents, and neither did we at the time. It’s the reason why Paddington arrived with the label around his neck.”

Paddington Bear is considered a British icon, and rightly so by this point, but he was born out the shame Michael Bond felt about his government. In his autobiography he wrote,

“…there was a small open ship moored a little way apart from all the others. It was packed to suffocation with Jewish refugees, men, women and children making their way to Palestine. And for the first time, as I gazed down at them, I felt ashamed to be British.”

The real villain of the movie isn’t Hugh Grant’s character but rather Mr Curry, the neighbour who wants to send Paddington “back where he came from” and raises the “neighbourhood panic alert” to “wild hysteria” because of Paddington. (A pop at “terror alert level” type charts, I always assumed.)

So if you enjoyed Paddington 2 and its prequel… Consider where it all came from and what Michael Bond was saying about Britain and immigration. He and the filmmakers were not being subtle. You’re not gonna sing the praises of the British film industry while ignoring the very message one of its most prized films is promoting… Are you? No? Maybe sit back and listen and empathize with Afghani refugees the same way you did with Paddington, then.

“They will not have forgotten how to treat strangers.”

Vintage Disneyworld: 1994 UK promotional video!

Slowly I’m going through all my family’s old VHS tapes and here’s a good one! A 1994 promo video from the UK airline Unijet, showing off all that Disneyworld and Florida had to offer to Brits.

Features footage of some now-defunct attractions including Pleasure Island, River Country, Spectromagic, and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure (my favourite when I was a kid.) Oh, and a robot Bill Clinton.

Fun fact: For YEARS I assumed this goddamn video was the cause of my annoying-but-far-from-debilitating submechanophobia. I definitely remember that as a child I saw a clip of the Universial Studios Jaws ride and it terrified me no end. I always thought it was on this video… But why would a Disney promo video be promoting the competition? (Even in the Florida montage at the end I don’t think there’s any Universal Studios stuff!) So hmmm, maybe I’ll stumble upon that damn shark in a different video one day.

Blame

We are now in the “aftermath” stage of Britain’s first mass shooting in over a decade. Lots of saddening photographs of the victims staring out at you from the newspaper front pages, and headlines about gun control, and stuff like this.

They found the social media accounts of the shooter and it was… well, it was what I think most people expected, he was an incel who harboured a hatred of women. You’ll note the ratio on that tweet, but 91 likes is still too many. Ohhh, it’ll be stuck in my head for a while, that one.

Interestingly, not long after clicking away from Twitter in horror I stumbled across this old comic strip in a history subreddit. “Are Girls to Blame for Men’s Bad Manners?”

Based on what info is out there regarding the artist, that comic would’ve been published sometime around the 20s or 30s it seems. Some things never change I guess.

code red

It’s been a bad week. My 95-year-old grandmother had a fall and was sent to hospital, right on my dad’s birthday. Lots of angst which is still ongoing there. COVID is still enough of a problem that I doubt anyone will be able to visit her in hospital. Yesterday when I was alone in a car park with a dead phone, a drunk guy got out of a car and started harassing me, apparently because I was wearing a mask, though it was hard to tell. Let’s file it under “mild harassment” but it was still scary. I need a better phone.

The planet is dying.

Cleo Cazo / Ratcatcher 2 and the Power of a Story — My Comic Relief

This was not the piece I expected to write about The Suicide Squad.  I had a completely different idea in mind as the film began but as I watched the movie I realized this was what I needed to talk about.  I’ve always loved stories.  Who doesn’t?  Reading, watching, telling, and listening to them – […]

Cleo Cazo / Ratcatcher 2 and the Power of a Story — My Comic Relief

I just got done watching The Suicide Squad, LOVED Cleo. Whatta gal. Ratcatcher II movie now please.