A group of books as background to a film

I am not a great fan of films; however I have watched some very good ones (and avoided a lot of poorer ones!). Recently the Ladies’ Bible study group followed a course, which involved a DVD – The Theory of Everything. The book which accompanied the course is called The Mystery of Everything. It is described as a Lent course, but we followed it in the autumn instead of the spring. The author is Hilary Brand.

The film describes the life and work of the well-known theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, who suffers from motor-neurone disease and speaks using a computer. The Theory of Everything is based on a book written by Jane Hawking, which I have yet to read. (Background reading is not essential for the course, but I am a bookworm and the whole subject has caught my imagination.)

Since beginning the course I have read two of Stephen Hawking’s books – A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell. I am impressed by the clarity of Hawking’s language in trying to express the mathematical ideas of leading edge theoretical physics to non-scientists. The second book is full of explanatory diagrams and not a little humour. While I have been reading these books, other people caused a website to crash by all trying to access his PhD thesis simultaneously. It had just been published on-line.

The Lent course consists of material for 5 sessions. An initial session is needed to watch the film. There is scope for discussion of the differences between science and religion, of morals, of the question of suffering. There are also Bible passages to read as a Christian discipline – although they would be suitable for non-believers wishing to learn more about Christianity. Each session ends with a set ‘meditation’ with Bible readings and prayer. Is it possible to know the mind of God or to develop a scientific theory which explains everything? This is a question, which the course allows people to debate, preferably in a fairly small group. Of course it is possible to study it alone, but other people have ideas, which are worth hearing.

I am looking forward to reading Jane Hawking’s book in order to learn more about the real-life background to the film.


My first visit to the cinema

I have never forgotten my first visit to the cinema for two reasons. It was the first time I can remember Dad taking me out without Mum and my little sister. The second reason is that the film was very frightening.  As we didn’t have a television at home I wasn’t used to watching films. I had seen some cartoons at Sunday School parties and didn’t find them at all funny. I could only imagine how much the accidents happening to the animal characters must have hurt! I also found black and white television at friends’ houses disturbing. There were sinister puppets in programmes, which were on while we played. We never sat down and followed the story line.

Dad and I walked about half a mile to the bus stop and caught the bus to the town centre, where we went into the big cinema. I don’t remember what we talked about on the way there. Dad was very observant, so no doubt he pointed things out to me. Perhaps he noticed a comet flying overhead or a bird in a garden.

The cinema seemed huge and dark. I think we sat fairly near the front, but my eyes were glued to the screen. I knew the story from a book, but the printed pictures were not as scary. I also knew that it was supposed to be a treat to be taken out. I don’t remember telling anyone how scared I had been. I still prefer books to films, although I have enjoyed a few memorable films at the cinema. I had other experiences later in my childhood of being terrified, and of not understanding slapstick humour.

The first film I went to see was the newly released Sleeping Beauty by Walt Disney.

I have watched it on television as an adult and the artwork is really sinister.

Another time my Dad and I had an outing together was about five or six years later, when he took me by bus in a different direction. This was my first orchestral concert. I know we heard the New World Symphony by Dvorak. Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony may also have been part of the programme. This was a wonderful experience. Given the choice between a concert and a film, I’d take the concert every time!

(This was a writing prompt from Post-40 bloggers, which I could not resist.)


Golden Globes: American Hustle wins three awards

Today’s prompt caused me some problems.  While I try to keep abreast of important events in the local area, in Britain and around the world, I do not feel qualified to write about them.

I went to the BBC website and looked at the news pages.  The third news item was about American Hustle winning three awards.  I clicked across to Reuters’ website and found it featured there too.

I hadn’t even heard of Golden Globes or American Hustle.  So once again I have learned something through researching a blog post!  The award is for a comic or musical film.  (If I skim read it correctly.)

So I began to ponder why awards are covered so prominently by the media.  Is all this competition healthy?  What are the driving forces which lead to some endeavours resulting in awards and others not?  It is not long since the New Year Honours list was published in the UK.  I read in the local paper that two people of my acquaintance have each been awarded an MBE.  At least places outside large cities are also remembered.  There are many people doing their best and making a difference in the world, without being publicly recognised.  We cannot all be winners.  Involvement is what really counts.

Even bloggers are not immune from the allure of awards ceremonies.

My blogs are entered in the UK Blog Awards.  Have you voted for them yet?  It is quick and easy to do.  There are voting buttons on the sidebar of this blog and on the static front page.  Overseas votes are counted.  One vote is allowed in each category.  This blog is entered in the Education and the Lifestyle category.

Sue’s considered trifles is entered in Education.  Unfortunately only one vote is allowed in each category.  Take your pick, but if you like my blogs, please vote!  Thank you.

Today’s Daily prompt

Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us a CURRENT EVENT.