Author: samcooney

Another Mother’s Son (2017)

Written for RAF News March 2017

Another Mother’s Son is based on the true story of Louisa Gould, a Jersey resident who took in a Russian prisoner of war during Nazi occupation.

The Channel Islands were the only British territory to fall under Nazi rule in 1942 and it is here that we are introduced to Louisa, played by Jenny Seagrove, a bold as brass shopkeeper in charge of distributing rations among the close-knit community.

Louisa and her friends are somewhat outspoken despite their home island being turned into a prison for mostly Russian POWs. When she receives news that one of her sons has been killed in battle, her maternal drive and sense of moral injustice lead her to house an escaped prisoner. Though they share very little language – she christens him ‘Bill’ after failing to pronounce his given name – they develop a bond that transcends their surroundings, and soon he finds himself part of the family.

John Hannah (Four Weddings and a Funeral) features as a postal worker left with the conflicted decision of defying Nazi-rule and passing along letters that incriminate Louisa. Ronan Keating makes an unexpected appearance as Louisa’s brother Harold Gould – given a moment to shine and sing on screen – nothing from the Boyzone catalogue mind.

Slow and sentimental at times the film has has a dreary quality about it and the moments intended to build tension simply don’t work. Though Lou is resilient she is never vengeful or violent. By comparison both Bill and the patrolling guards have a boyish naiveté that makes them appear constantly frightened. Another Mother’s Son looks to this hero in the shape of a normal working class woman who stood by her morals and tried to help those in need.

Whilst the film itself is rather unremarkable, this account by Louisa Gould is one worthy of admiration – showing how ordinary people need not be overlooked when in search of a hero story.

magic

Went paintballing tother day and suffered no bruises, just exhaustion from my severe lack of fitness. This left me stiff for a couple of days, my thighs (quads?) tight and burning. Home with the boy I tried as best I could to play and wrestle like normal – but even getting to the ground I had to moan out loud.

‘What’s wrong Daddy?’

I told him that my leg hurt. He upped and moved over to me and kissed my leg in an attempt to heal it, a remedy we have prescribed him on occasion that actually works really well. Now who am I to disprove this treatment? I was then forced to pretend I was better, purely to keep the magic of kissing better, grimacing as I do myself damage. The lovely bastard.

roberts

Having just watched HBOs Westworld myself, I found Sam Harris’ latest podcast Living with Robots to be of great interest and I highly recommend it I does. Gets into some similar territory below, but more into moral and ethical ramifications.

Whilst the singularity is something that fascinates me, it follows that I have written some analysis on the overlooked SF film Transcendence, which tackles some interesting questions that have too been pondered by Ray Kurzweil. The documentary Transcendent Man is well worth your time, if not simply as a character study of this strange man and his paralysing fear of death.

Then also there’s this recent beaut of a podcast from Duncan Trussell with the fascinating Dr Bruce Damer, who gets into all manner of subjects, but gets right involved with Virtual Reality. Get it in your brainspace.

Though Boston Dynamics have unveiled their latest push toward creating the T1000 in Handle, here are some great videos of little roberts destroying eachother and repairing fruit. Meep Moop.

pigeon

I had never really noticed how many toy cars are installed in shopping centres until now. The ones that cost a pound for two minutes of gentle oscillation, whilst spouting some tinny catchphrases of the character its themed around. The kind that you find on piers, in supermarkets and arcades. They’re everywhere, aiming to both stimulate and pacify – to pacify by stimulating. I haven’t quite worked them out yet, but the boy has sussed them.

A fruit machine for toddlers they have flashing lights and buttons that will loop a demo in extremely short intervals, aiming to hook a near-by child and then frustrate them by being unresponsive until you cough up some change. Well little Jtown is unperturbed by this, he will b-line for the car, climb inside and press buttons multiple times and in different combinations until the demo plays. He will make some association between his actions and the result, creating some superstitious ritual like one of PT Barnam’s pigeons.

Lying and Bargaining

Opening the boy’s curtains of a morning I knocked over a twee little plant pot and broke it. He obsessed over this and kept voicing how I had broken the plant, accusing me, dobbing me in to a jury of plush toys. I tried to have him keep it a secret between us, coaching him to say that he didn’t know who broke it – and then I proceeded to interrogate him playing the role of mother. But rather than say he didn’t know he blamed it on a pirate. Saying that a he had come in and sliced the plant with his sword. Such imagination, the deceptive little bastard. Touche.

A day or so later I see a scratch on his head, I ask him what happened and he tells me that a dinosaur bit him, which is unlikely, and I’m realising that I’ve taught him to lie – but at least he’s doing it creatively.

In the last week or so I’ve noticed another jump in his language development and sentence-forming. He talks for stretches about one subject and is able to convey meaning, clearly emotionally involved in his stories. The other night I picked him up from nursery and driving home I asked what he wanted to do when we got in. Milk. Okay and do you want a biscuit? Loadsa biscuits. No you get one biscuit. Two biscuits. No, one biscuit. Big big big biscuit.

I might be projecting a bit here but I see the cogs turning, how he looks for loopholes, using his understanding and experience to get what he wants, or at least to try to. I’m learning a lot from this guy.

buttons

I rang my phone company to ask if I was due an upgrade. Two years overdue apparently. I knew it was an old phone but hadn’t quite figured. This phone, as it turns out, was the last-ditch effort to fend off the Minority Report future of screens and holograms: a Blackberry Classic, Classic in as much as it has a keypad. Alas now it is relegated and no more.

I had defined myself by it in some way, I had to. Inadvertently it had become a statement phone moving from an office into work with a younger crowd, who laughed and scoffed as though I had pulled out a pager or an unwieldy butt-plug – fucking millennials and their in-group conformity.

The reason for liking buttons, not just a dialpad but an entire QWERTY keypad replete with symbols and signs, is the feeling of permanence when you type, the analogue feeling of having performed an action with a beginning and an end. Swiping and screen-typing feels so perfunctory and pathetic, each action blurring into the next and just asking be ignored. The physical intersection, my fingertip pressing into the phone, as opposed to bouncing off of a flat surface, feels more real.

At least these were the thoughts and feelings that I told others and myself as I resisted the screen-based future that steadily proved itself inevitable. Even Noddy has himself an iPad for fucksake. Now I’ve upgraded to an old touchscreen which costs nothing and my bill has been cut in half. That was what motivated me but now I realise that the typing mechanism is a lot more intuitive than I had supposed it to be, and not only that, the fluid impermanence allows me to type so much quicker.

What I find so amusing about this is how I had my reasons initially, and then I just repeated them without thinking, without questioning, and stayed in my bubble until I found myself being proudly ignorant. Ah well, progress.