Say No To Toddlers – 1970s Public Information Film
Jul09

Say No To Toddlers – 1970s Public Information Film

Graham Weevilface is not a name that’s particularly well-known these days but in the mid 1970s he was one of the leading producers of public information films on behalf of the British government. He was a recipient of numerous awards for films such as Danger! Slow Worm! and Chalk Cliffs: White Trauma but it’s his 1976 classic Say No To Toddlers that arguably had the most impact on a British public on the cusp of emerging from the darkness of high unemployment and unending energy crises into a brave new world of European integration and booming prosperity. A massive sense of relief following World War II, the rise of promiscuity in the 1960s, and long, dark nights with nothing better to do in the early 1970s led to a state of what was described in government documentation at the time as “too many blasted babies” and so a number of programmes were accelerated in order to reduce the birth rate in the British Isles. Alongside adding bromide to the water supply and inventing a new craze called “aerobics” that was designed to tire people out making sex less likely the services of Weevilface were sought out and in very short order he was able to produce the following classic film clip. Shown in cinemas and on television – particularly before and after schools and colleges programmes as children were most open to the message within – Say No To Toddlers was initially received with the kind of stupefying horror associated with all British public information films; the creepy music and stark voiceover messages were requirements of government-sanctioned movies but Weevilface excelled in the craft. However, in follow-up interviews with childless men and women during the 1980s and early 1990s it’s this specific film warning the dangers that toddlers and children possess that most often came out with a sense of warmth; many interviewees claimed that had it not been for the consideration of the British government they might have inadvertently unleashed swarms of adult-killing, car-stealing babies into the general...

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Great Team Leaders: The Borg Queen
Jul08

Great Team Leaders: The Borg Queen

We’re undertaking a mandatory course of team leadership at work which has included all the things you’d expect from one of those courses – anger, recriminations, making towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows, bitter comments, dropping oranges on spaghetti bridges, open mockery – and the latest session has required each of us to select a great leader, alive or dead, real or fictional, and to list the attributes we admire in their leadership roles. Examples of people selected by other poor souls forced to participate in these lessons have included Alexander the Great, Bill Gates, and Alex Ferguson. All very typical. As you can probably already tell, I went with someone a little different. When it comes to great leaders with all the leadership qualities you could ever possibly want in one of these team building courses you just can’t beat the Borg Queen. Just what were those skills and attributes that made the Borg Queen a great leader in my opinion? I’m glad you wanted to know. Seeks to improve her team by embracing everyone’s distinctiveness into the whole. Good at assimilating knowledge; encourages her team to assimilate knowledge too. Gives her team the right tools to get the job done. Excellent communicator; listens to everyone and gets her message to everyone too. Adapts quickly to problems. Great determination; considers resistance to the project’s success to be...

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Top 5 Horrifically Dangerous Spanish Festivals
Jul05

Top 5 Horrifically Dangerous Spanish Festivals

Spain: famous for its sun, sea, soaring temperatures, siestas, and Salvador Dali. But it’s not just things that begin with the letter ‘S’ that Spain embraces so let’s take a quick look at five horrifically dangerous events that help to mould the characters of Spanish people. Running Of The Bulls Not exclusive to Spain and not limited to just one place there is, however, one very famous “Running of the Bulls” event and that’s the one that takes place in the 8-day festival in Saint Fermin, Pamplona. With a few rules – competitors must be 18, sober, must run in the same direction as the bulls, and cannot let the bulls know that their deaths are imminent through interpretive dance – the running takes place through the town and injuries are pretty commonplace. Less common, but certainly not unexpectedly, deaths – typically by goring or a fatal realisation that your life has culminated in you jogging along with cows – do occur too. At the end of the run the bulls are celebrated by the crowd and are released to live their lives out in peace. No, of course not! The bulls and runners are led into an arena and are fought and killed. The Castells of Tarragona Castells are human towers formed by teams who build solid bases then add layers of people in order to place someone as high as possible, remove supporting people to leave a single human chain, then dismantle safely in order to… nobody knows. The important thing, though, is that a lot of weight ends up being supported by people and a lot of people are sufficiently high in the air that if the tower collapses – and they do – then there’s quite a distance to fall. Deaths have occurred. At festivals different teams of tower-builders often compete in brightly-coloured displays of daring and there are different tower designs depending on the number of levels a team wants to build as well as the number of people per level that is supported. A tower is considered complete when the uppermost person – the enxaneta (usually a child because it takes them longer to fall) – raises four fingers in the air to give praise to the Sky God Ugalugha, climbs down, then all the levels descend in order from the top down. At the end of the festival the losing teams of tower-builders are fought and killed. The Arizkun Festival If you were wondering if the Spanish had a festival that combined running through the streets leaping over bonfires trying not to incinerate your pubic regions as well as Wicker Man-style pagan...

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Portsmouth, Alien Invasion – Children’s Gas Masks
Jul03

Portsmouth, Alien Invasion – Children’s Gas Masks

Gas attacks were a constant threat from the Squirmy Munge although it was the inconvenience rather than the actual effectiveness of it as a weapon that most affected Portsmouth’s citizens as the general wind conditions coming off the Solent to the south and from Portsdown Hill to the north generally helped to dilute the harm down to a breathing irritant. Whilst records of the time cannot be confirmed it is widely believed that deaths directly attributable to gas attacks during the alien invasion are probably only four or five. Nevertheless, it was important for the island’s people to be prepared for all eventualies and that included children, of course. The image above is from the quarterly catalogue sent out by G.H. Kay’s department store in Southsea advertising a range of gas masks designed for...

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Hans Poelzig Architecture
Jul02

Hans Poelzig Architecture

Via Graphicene: Hans Poelzig (30 April 1869 – 14 June 1936) was a German architect, painter and set designer. One of the finest examples of German Architectural Expressionism. As an architect and theoretician, Poelzig was particularly interested in developing a language specific for factory buildings : “the true monumental task of contemporary architecture”, in a period when Germany was developing as a major industrialised...

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Penny Mordaunt, Suella Fernandes On Brexit
Jun29

Penny Mordaunt, Suella Fernandes On Brexit

Spotted on the Portsmouth News website and saved for posterity in case the article should ever be edited or withdrawn, local MPs for Portsmouth North and Fareham respectively, Penny Mordaunt and Suella Fernandes, appear to have finally come clean about their reasons to support Britian leaving the EU (Brexit) and their disdain for anyone stupid enough to have voted for them. I salute the naivety of those who backed us. I am heartened that people still believe any old crap we come out with if it reinforces their prejudices. Suella Fernandes Whatever side of the argument we were on my future career promises to be Chief Defence Wizard in the Cult of Bojo – Hail Bojo! – must be honoured. Penny Mordaunt If true then these quotes from Hampshire MPs are...

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