Sunday, December 18, 2005

Language: Unexpected, Strong

Today has been a mother-daughter bonding experience for me and Small Person. Following a disappointing (on her part) start which saw me falling asleep during my ninety-fourth viewing of Finding Nemo (there's only so much schmaltzy good-guys-finish-first Disney crap I can stomach) and her wandering off to play, the day has gone from strength to strength. We went to see the first Narnia film this afternoon - The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I know it's not technically the first story, and I do wonder whether it'll end up in a confusing Star Wars prequel thing if they decide to make the film of the first book at some point (warning: I am a Narnia geek, have been since the age of eight) but we'll go with it for the sake of laziness. The only way I can describe the film from the point of view of an lifelong Narnia obsessive is that it was breathtakingly true to the book. Attention to detail was meticulous, down to the bluebottle in the wardrobe room when Lucy first discovered it. From start to finish the impression was of a film that had been carefully crafted with thoughtful reference to the source material, and that is rare enough to be remarkable. I can't emphasise enough how much the whole Narnia thing means to me. I devoured all seven books as a child, and although I never really got Prince Caspian or The Last Battle, the whole thing still strikes a chord, and I'm hoping to saddle Small Person with the same geeky viewpoint. I mean, I'm not letting her have Jesus, so the least I can do is give her Narnia.

Small Person has been something of a revelation today. I swear that living with her is like having a flatmate sometimes, so worldly is her outlook. The hippy side of me would say that she's been here before - whatever, she's wise beyond her years. Having asserted (loudly) in the cinema that Lucy should never have gone to tea with Mr Tumnus because "he's a Stranger!!" she surpassed herself this evening.

Picture the scene. Sunday evening chez Surly involves early jarmies (for Small Person) and Top of the Pops. Today offered a bonus - a Green Day mini gig recorded earlier this year in the BBC car park in Shepherds Bush. Despite only being five-and-a-half, Small Person is a very big Green Day fan, having American Idiot as part of her personal CD collection. We happily rocked out to the first part of the set. It was during the live version of Jesus of Suburbia that the following exchange took place:

SP (indignant) : Mummy, he said a swear word!

Me (absently, rocking out) : Did he, my love?

SP (rather cross) : Yes, he did.

Me (ill-advisedly) : What was it?

SP (matter-of-factly) : "Fucking"

Me (rather shocked) : No, darling, he said "parking"

Cue silent interlude while she digested correction of lyrics and I visualised a life of crime, trauma and minimum wage jobs for her.

Seriously though, my daughter rocks.

Carry on.


Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

Narnia geeks Unite!!!!

What a sweet story. SP really does rock. :-)

18 December, 2005 20:57  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

my friend's son began to use the F word appropriately recently and she went into a huge panic about whether he might come out with it at his 2nd birthday party

so...she vowed to respond by saying things like 'sorry, honey - did you say you wanted a FORK?' or 'oh, you want to play with your toy FROG!'

since then i've been keeping my language in check with the chicklets

18 December, 2005 21:09  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

this is what worries me - she hasn't heard it from either wait til the chicklets go to school....

18 December, 2005 21:14  
Blogger garfer chimed in with...

Phillip Pullman depises the Narnia books on the grounds that they are a Christian allegory.

When I read the narnia series at the age of nine, I wasn't remotely aware of the religious undertone.
I don't think its important

They introduced me top the joys of reading, and I'm sure that they will do the same for countless generations.

I've had trepidations about seeing the film, but after reading the reviews and this post I think I'll give it a go.

18 December, 2005 22:20  
Blogger zanna chimed in with...

went to see film with my small people on saturday (aged 7 and 4) after an unpromising start involving a large amount of popcorn being dumped on the floor everyone loved it. I even cried. But what is this weird american thing about clapping at the end? who exactly are they applauding? I like to think it was the mother who took her child out of the cinema after twenty minutes of "who's that" "why are they doing that" and "what's that man for" and never returning, leaving the rest of us to enjoy in silent bliss.

18 December, 2005 22:29  
Blogger Donna chimed in with...

My kids have been using "fucking" for years. She may have heard it from them? Although I did tell them that swearing is only clever if you are with your mates, not in front of adults, teachers and definitely not in front of Lesley from Afterschool club (who regularly reminds me that my children have been swearing - why doesn't she just fuck off).

Btw - I'm feeling slightly better today - but I still had to miss beer and curry (lots of).

18 December, 2005 22:29  
Blogger GreatSheElephant chimed in with...

Lovely story - made me feel a lot better after my evening from hell.

I first said 'fuck' at eight and my mother scrubbed my mouth out with soap. Didn't say it again till I was about 30.

18 December, 2005 22:46  
Blogger the Beep chimed in with...

My son's first word was 'Fuckfast'. And, as you know, first words are proudly demonstrated around all grandparents, repeated to every visitor and polished and shown to the Vicar (especially, and with no encouragment from me. Honestly. No, really). It was also faithfully recorded by the lovely girl from Reading who helped us with him. Very faithfully. Now, 9 years later he's more picky about breakfast.

I've tried to be all groovy and open and teach him about swearing and that's it's neither big nor clever. But now, do I mind when the odd expletive slips out of an 11 year old's mouth? You bet. I mind a lot. It always stops me in my tracks. But I've only got myself to blame.

Fuck it.

18 December, 2005 23:26  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

The other day, grandchild told me sternly "Grandma, we don't say 'Oh my god' ".
"Oh" I said, taken aback and reproved. "sorry darling"
She graciously accepted my apology and I
felt smaller than her.

On the other hand, I am being rewarded this christmas for having introduced middle daughter to Narnia by being taken to see the film. Can't wait.

19 December, 2005 00:49  
Blogger MinCat chimed in with...

oh goody i can go watch it then. ive been terrified it'll be some horrible hollywoodised version.
SP rocks. really. i hope my kids [if they ever happen] are a lil bit like her atleast.

19 December, 2005 02:54  
Blogger crisiswhatcrisis chimed in with...

Decided to stop lurking and start commenting. Occasionally.

Unfortunately, my Child Two went to see Narnia for a birthday party, so I've got no excuse to go now. Shame.

My kids (9 and 7) hardly ever use naughty rude grown-ups' words. They still think that someone saying "poo" is a good reason for giggling and hiding their mouths behind their hands.

Which is amazing, because I swear like a fucker. All the time.

19 December, 2005 09:30  
Anonymous other half chimed in with...

She must have got it from me then 'cos I swear like a c**t HAHAHAHAHA.

Please SP enjoyed Narnia...although the depth and emotional intensity of the film was not really conveyed in her giggling phone call to me last night. Needs a bit more practice on the film review front before challenging Barry Norman...bless her.

19 December, 2005 10:17  
Blogger Juggling Mother chimed in with...

Narnia was good - well ok, great considering what i feared it might be, but there were still some niggles. I guess there always will be when a book is turned into a film.

SP has a personal CD collection? And I got loads of blogosphere flack for giving Mstr A a mobile phone. Huh!

19 December, 2005 11:03  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i'm really not sure what's wrong with her having cd's...

as for the mobile phone thing, well, to each their own and all that.

19 December, 2005 11:19  
Anonymous other half chimed in with...

At 5 years old appreciating music is a good thing, it is to be encouraged and way more healthy than kids having TV's, DVD's and computers in their rooms which just encourages them to cut themselves off. SP also has a fabulous appetite for reading and devours books at every opportunity.

I think with this outlook and encouraged by SG her future is bright. I hope she will develop into an outgoing, socially aware young person rather than one of these neanderthals you see aimlessly wandering the streets bleating on 'cos there's no credit on their mobile phones and largely trying to avoid getting an ASBO !!!!

19 December, 2005 11:21  
Blogger Liz chimed in with...

My friend's very dear two-year-old has a . . . burgeoning vocabulary. He has been reprimanded at school for saying 'bugger' in the playground, has decided 'fuck' is something you say when you drop something in the supermarket (mother drops cheese: 'fuck, mamma!'), and has been observed to point at white vans and happily shout 'wanker!'. Turns out this is something his dad very frequently says about white vans, and he seems to have picked it up.

19 December, 2005 12:25  
Blogger Universal Soldier chimed in with...

One of the little troopers is also a Green Day fan. He also went through a phase of walking around with no t-shirt on because he was "playing the red hot chili peppers game."

19 December, 2005 13:25  
Blogger Merkin chimed in with...

That's bloody quick thinking though, SG! I would have mumbled about hearing tests and wondered how she knew the word in the first place! Fatherhood SO not for me....

19 December, 2005 15:01  
Blogger Whinger chimed in with...

I LOVE that SP has a CD collection. Every child should appreciate music is my official decree.

I'm of two minds that they started with Lion, Witch & Wardrobe. 1)He wrote the prequel AFTER LW&W, but 2) The Magician's Nephew is a MUCH better book, and might have been better to begin with.

19 December, 2005 17:47  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i agree. otherwise the whole professor thing makes no sense. i prefer the magician's nephew too. absolute favourite is the voyage of the dawn treader tho. magical...

19 December, 2005 20:31  
Blogger spindleshanks chimed in with...

i'm HUGE narnia fan too and have been scared of the film for all the obvious They Got It Wrong reasons. so will brave it out and go. i love the Last Battle though - all that farther up and farther in stuff. like an onion that gets bigger as you peel it. sigh. top work mr csl.
me and 1stB have an agreement that he talks like his mates when he's with his mates (he's 12) and like a human being when he's with adults. it seems to work. there's no stopping them swearing when they're ready to. sadly.

19 December, 2005 21:12  
Blogger funny thing chimed in with...

The Horse and His Boy is most definitely the hands down winner. No arguments, thanks. You know I know best.

garfer, the film is great. I had a few doubts but would happily have watched it all over again straight after. The fight scenes were reminiscent of Lord of The Rings, but that's no bad thing.

19 December, 2005 21:28  
Blogger CyberPete chimed in with...

Ah, the joys of Narnia. I remember fondly sitting in my wardrobe waiting to be let in to Narnia, those were the days

19 December, 2005 21:42  
Blogger FUNKYBROWNCHICK chimed in with...

"Parking." Classic! Very cute story.

20 December, 2005 00:00  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

apologies for prolonged silence - new web-marshal thingy at work and i'm too scared to post...

20 December, 2005 16:12  
Blogger frangelita chimed in with...

Been lurking, coming out of the closet to declare my love for Narnia. Saw the film, loved it. Read the books many times when young. Took boyf to film who hasn't read books and he couldn't see past the Christian overtones. He should have been watching from a child's point of view, as was I. My favourite Narnia book - toss up between Magician's Nephew and the Last Battle. Would love to see Magician's Nephew as a film...

21 December, 2005 16:37  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

hello frangelita!

i personally can't wait for the voyage of the dawn treader. the last battle was a bit, well, battly for me.

as for the christian thing, i didn't get that part as a child so, as you said, i still can't see it now.

yay narnia.

21 December, 2005 16:45  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

I loved the film. And even while being brung up a roman catholic, I couldn't see the christian thing then and I had no trouble ignoring it now. It was brilliant.
I shall have to read them all again.

30 December, 2005 22:50  
Blogger Rob chimed in with...

Hmm...not sure about THAHB being the best Narnia book (though the line at the end about getting married so they could argue more conveniently is possibly the best line of the series). Always liked "The Silver Chair" best personally. Come ON, people, it's got Puddleglum in it!

The best reason I can think of for sticking with esis's original sequence (with TMN sixth and TLTWATW first) is that is you start with Nephew then when Lucy goes therough the wardrobe there's no WTF????? factor because you know what the wardrobe is made of. And you lose that wonderfully surreal feeling of just-why-in-Aslan's-name-is-there-a-lamp-post-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-much-in-Narnia? Whereas taking them in the published order means that you get a big "A-Ha!" (sveral, indeed) at the end of Nephew as you realise (a) where the lamp-post came from(b) why the wardrobe leads to Narnia (c) why the professor has a wardrobe leading to Narnia.

I rest my case. Haven't seen the film yet but looking forward to it. We're all big fans of the old BBC versions (with Tom Baker as Puddleglum, yay!) but they can certainly be bettered.

04 January, 2006 12:50  

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