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Teens in London

Made it. I survived my first residential. Although I feel it was an easy one, as I only really had 5 students with me, all really keen on what they were about to see.

I was amazed at how well they took to Tate Modern. A few of them have studeied art before, but this is about media. I was blown away when they really connected with Steve McQueen’s two installations (‘Deadpan’, currently showing as part of the Turner retrospective, and ‘Drumroll’ – although one student had to leave because he was so disoriented by it).

Art must always evoke a reaction. In the same way that music needs to be listened too. So when we all stand around and watch a looped video of an artist recreationg the old silent movie staple of the front of the house falling at our hero, only for him to survive because he is standing in exactly the right place for the window to pass over him – from lots of different angles, lasting for about 16 minutes, and stand there for about 15 minutes discussing out favourite shots – it has worked! But then, he did win the Turner prize for that one.

Now, five students are easy. Even if 2 of them are hyperactive. I’ve got their attention (Beowulf in 3d night 1). What I don’t get is if I am part of the team managing 55 students in total, wht don’t I get a smaller group just to follow me? I have 5 I can trust (which is rare as a teacher!) Just give ma another 10, and I’m off. But hell, that’s a minor complaint.

So – what else did we do? well besides talking shit for almost two solid days (and I mean there was some real bollox talked. Me ranting about Modern art was the most lucid part) actually, coming down with a cold really helped that. But the highlights –

Beowulf
Beatifully animated, with some great flashes of script and action – well done Niel! Now, dead eyes because of that animating method (Mr Zemeckis – I know you are trying to avoid the unreal valley, but are you going up the right side?). And to be a 12a – s this necessary? We have seen a grotesque Grenel rip people apart, and yet still need an ‘Austin Powers’ style comedy sequence hiding this man’s cock. For god’s sake, if it’s a problem, give him a loin cloth. It’s not women in love, he’s fighting a giant inside out freak.

Tim Burton
Mark Salisbury like name droppin. ‘Tim was quite keen to be here today, but his second child is being born’. Boo. Although, be did see some really cool excerpts from Sweeney Todd. With added name dropping. And the short that got Tim the job at Disney is Excellent.

Mediatheque
Five teenagers? choosing to watch Nosferatu? Choosing to watch sex education frilms from 1944? Wow. They are on the right course.

Morning Ramblings
My personal highlight is hearing the stories of four people, who do know each other reasonably well, sharing a room for the first time. Especially when they all have their own ‘peculiarities’. There is a photo of one sleeping in the locker. But it is the way they describe it that really reminds me of my own youth. Although, possibly from when I was about 13, not 18… but hey.