It’s funny how the contestants on TV baking shows like the Great British Bake Off always seem to have plenty of creative ideas and expert baking skills. The results on the day vary – otherwise there wouldn’t be a show – but they all seem to have been studying, learning and baking like crazy before getting on the show and receiving their first challenge.
With music education facing extinction in UK schools and budget cuts leading one prominent musician to proclaim the situation ‘child abuse’, at least it’s good to know that some of our friends across the pond are getting it right, at least in one major city. Chicago schools are generating high levels of student engagement through allowing them to form their own mariachi bands.
Where would we be without toys? If we were never allowed to use fascinating objects as springboards for our imaginations, our brains would fail to develop properly. We project ourselves onto toys, explore the world with them, learn with them. We discover cause and effect, relationships, and our own identities through toys. From Ancient Mesopotamia to Toys ‘R’ Us, children have constructed their realities with the help of tangible playthings, either made for them by their parents or made by the children themselves out of what’s lying around.
Today, London’s great clock above the Palace of Westminster will fall silent for up to four years as its chimes are stopped for major restoration work. Its famous ‘bongs’ will not be heard again, except on special occasions, until 2021. For a nation of fastidious timekeepers whose evening news reports on BBC radio and TV traditionally begin with the great clock striking the hour live, this is quite disconcerting news. Some worry who will maintain this national symbol in the future. Will the skills and knowledge of clock maintenance be lost in our digital world?
The credits have rolled at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with Swedish film The Square winning the Palme d’Or. The Short Film Palme D’Or went to Chinese film A Gentle Night and the top production from a film school student was Paul Is Here by Valentina Maurel from INSAS, Belgium.
The latter prize shows that film students can make a mark on events as prestigious as Cannes while they are still at film school. Good filmmaking is good filmmaking, whatever the director’s background, credentials and budget.