“J’adore…idioma…OK” (Nods)

Recently, some circumstances arose that offered me the opportunity to learn some British Sign Language and I grabbed it with both hands—see what I did there?!

It is another manifestation of my adoration of language and the many forms it takes, fascinated by the manner in which we communicate with each other. What better subject to be enthralled by?

There is something beautiful about being able to communicate effectively without words, using only a quick pair of hands and an expressive face. Of course, there are others ways to demonstrate one’s thoughts, such as with a look or mannerism, but these can be ambiguous. Have you ever confused a derisive sneer for a seductive smile? A subtle wink for an eye problem? There is no such problem with sign language.        

I’m also a fan of foreign languages. I love listening to people converse in a tongue foreign to mine—strange sounds uttered so rapidly that, often, you can’t help but think the speakers are playing a prank on nosy eavesdroppers. A language book and corresponding dictionary take pride of place in my living room, desiring a reprieve and a rest in the bookcase but finding themselves unlucky every time.

Despite the numbers of students studying a foreign language is declining in the UK, there are still a great deal of people who feel the same way I do. Many are so enthralled by other languages that they ink them onto the skin, risking getting caught out by the arrangement of words, Rihanna…cough…David Beckham…ahem…Hayden Panettiere.  

Chinese characters are especially alluring to many dedicated inkers, which seem to offer a mystical quality. I once read a news article about a man who sought some of this mysticism by requesting a tattoo of Chinese characters reading ‘peace, love and hope’. What he actually got was ‘at the end of the day this is an ugly boy’! The real kicker? He had no idea until he attended a Chinese restaurant only to be called a clown. Was he really an ugly boy? Who cares? Focus! We’re talking about language. The unfortunate young man in question couldn’t read or speak the language, yet, saved up to let a stranger tattoo his skin with it. (The story concluded with his confirmation that he was saving to get it lasered off).

Children (and some adults) have been known to make up their own language—that’s how important it is to be able to communicate, to be unique, to maintain some secrecy. That’s what language allows you to do and I love it all the more for its diversity.  



By Special Appearance…

I’m guest blogging over at Whipped Cream today, discussing the masks we all wear – whether physical or metaphorical.

Stop by and say hi.

Horror Movie Bliss

I know, the title of the blog sounds like a real oxymoron, but bear with me—there is a method to my madness.

I can’t say that I’m a real movie buff, I can’t recall ever desperately rushing to the cinema to see the latest release. I’m perfectly happy to wait for the DVD release or even for films to be shown on television. However, I have recently been enjoying the ‘Fright Season’ presented by the not-too-shabby Film4.   

Even then, my first choices of genre are usually comedy or action. Officially, in fact, I don’t actually like horror movies, but all that has now gone out of the window as I’ve discovered what I’ve been missing out on.

I’m not sure why I avoided them, but I suspect it had something to do with watching Child’s Play a little too early in life. Anyway, I got over it and Bram Stoker’s Dracula has always been one of my favourite books so it is a bit weird.    

It started with a curiosity about a movie called Shutter, which is about a haunting apparition that appears in photographs. At first, I only kept half an eye on it while I did other things, but soon became enthralled. The imagination of the writer is fantastic.

I had exactly the same thought about Battle Royale, which is like Lord of the Flies on steroids. Loved it! So much better than the formulaic lost in the woods/trapped in a house scenario of other movies. These two films are linked by both having Asian writers, so these will be on my list in the future to find more enjoyable tales that freak me out.

I freely praise the imagination that I find in writers, but tend to ignore it in film-makers, which is ridiculous—not least because many movies are inspired by books. Consider all the strange ways that people were killed in the Final Destination franchise—only a beautiful mind could create such imaginative ways to die. While the latest release might not send me straight to the cinema, I’m more likely to obtain the DVD when it’s released. Right now, I’m eyeing up the Exorcist DVD that has been sitting on my shelf for years, forlorn and unloved in its original packaging.   

Next to tackle…science-fiction.

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