Symbolic Forest

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Blog : Posts tagged with ‘obituary’

So long, Jones the Steam

In which I remember a great animator

Ah, it’s a sad day. Oliver Postgate, one of the most creative writers to work in children’s telly, has died, at the age of 83.

Postgate is a prime example of something people don’t always realise: restriction is, curiously enough, one of the most important sources of creativity. Starting off on a low budget, Postgate, with Peter Firmin, founded Smallfilms, a two-man band which produced some of the most imaginative… why am I telling you this, though? You probably already know all this. It’s not as if Smallfilms’ productions have ever been forgotten. Bagpuss; The Clangers; Noggin The Nog; Ivor The Engine; even though only the very latest were actually part of my childhood, I feel as if they were.* Back onto the point: with pieces of card and a watercolour set, you can create something just as imaginative – more so – as something a 3D animator can come up with sitting at a desk with a copy of 3D Studio Max. You can achieve something wonderful, however little equipment you have to hand.

* The only Smallfilms production I’m old enough to have seen at first transmission was the frankly rather disturbing Tottie. I know I watched repeats of Ivor The Engine, but I can’t remember watching them. I do, however, bear some resemblance to Jones The Steam.

Unrelated things

In which there is both good and bad

Two small things today, because I’m too sleepy to write more.

Firstly, some lovely photos of the dying Glasgow Subway in the 1970s.*

Secondly, reading the paper at lunchtime, I turned to the obituaries to find that one of my favourite writers, Jan Mark, died recently. Although she was known as a children’s writer, her “adult novel” Zeno Was Here is a lovely novel, and one of my favourite books. I’ll write more about it soon.

* Link via qwghlm.co.uk

Still not dead yet?

In which we try not to anticipate things

I can’t help but feel slightly sickened at pre-obituaries – the endless news reports on the life and actions of famous people who are dangerously ill. It didn’t seem too bad during the slow death of George Best,* but the coverage of Ariel Sharon’s stroke has been terrible. As I’m writing Sharon is in a coma, but definitely alive; but for the past day or so every news report I’ve heard has been about how Middle-Eastern politics will change after he is gone – or, even worse, what his impact on history has been. These really are just obituary reports under another name.

(yes, I know they have a partial excuse that he’s almost certainly retiring – but even so, I still don’t think it’s right)

* or maybe it was just drowned out in my mind by the volume of post-death tributes