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Top of the Lake finale review

Alchemy. That’s what Jane Campion and co. have achieved with Top of the Lake. From base fistfuls of sensational plotlines and genre staples they’ve made something precious and unique. Paedophile rings, corrupt cops, macho drug king-pins, maverick detectives with past traumas… this is the hackneyed stuff of the crime genre (not forgetting this week’s soap opera-style secret parentage revelation). How then, did Top of the Lake transform its scandalous story into such an unusual, mesmerising drama?

Quietly is the first answer. Its makers had keen instincts as to when to let the landscape and the story speak for itself. It began with Tui’s silent bike ride to the lake, and ended with her stood wordlessly in Paradise, only giving young Jacqueline Joe a handful of lines during the six hours in between. TV crime drama has a weakness for gabbling exposition, from audience-avatar sidekicks narrating cases and clues, to rain-soaked monologues and melodramatic face-offs between heroes and foes. Unusually, the final ten minutes of Top of the Lake’s finale were practically dialogue-free. Continue reading…

Micro Mart ‘Rise of the Socialbots’

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Micro Mart ‘A Decade of Distributed Computing’

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Micro Mart ‘Computing Furniture: What to Avoid’

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Micro Mart ‘Gamification & the Web’

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Micro Mart ‘The Rise of Virtual Economies’

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Emagazine ‘The History Boys and War’

Micro Mart ‘What are we losing?’

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Micro Mart ‘IT Qualifications: Fit for purpose?’

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Emagazine ‘The Lovely Bones and Literary Value’


AS Activity Pack A Streetcar Named Desire

Coming soon in January 2011 published by ZigZag Education

4325 – A Streetcar Named Desire Activity Pack for A Level (23)
A Level English: Drama A Level Multiple Boards – A complete activity pack supporting study of the whole text. Ensures full coverage of the Assessment Objectives through AO-targetted worksheets.

Resource Feedback:

“The resource really highlights the author’s in-depth knowledge of the text.”

“The numerous questions are very detailed, probe the issues and provide a close focus on the language and techniques used by Williams. The fact that critical terminology is emboldened in the text emphasises the need to understand and refer to these terms in students’ own writing”

“Also the questions that focus on the socio-historic context, the connections with other texts and the genre of tragedy are a bonus.”

Comments from an independent reviewer reproduced with thanks to ZigZag Education

A Level Study Guide – The Lovely Bones

Coming soon published by ZigZag Education

With ELLA1 specific materials and explicit coverage of the AOs, the new The Lovely Bones Comprehensive Guide really is geared towards the new specifications.

Resource Feedback:

“I thought this resource was of a high standard […] It was very clearly written with a clear focus on the techniques used by the author and carefully selcted relevant quotes.”

“The resource is effective in linking in criteria and secondary criticism where appropriate. It also had the exam samples and guidance which enabled this to be tied in with a tight analysis of each chapter.”

“It was clearly laid out with all the focused for each chapter clearly identified by sub headings enabling me to read it easily and skim for the main techniques to explore in class”

Comments by an independent reviewer reproduced with thanks to ZigZag Education

GCSE Activity Pack Alan Bennett The History Boys

Find details of my GCSE Activity Pack on Alan Bennett’s The History Boys published by ZigZag Education by clicking here

Feedback on the resource:

‘A brilliant resource with a fabulous variety of activities to challenge and engage students of all levels. I like it a lot! I like how it could be used equally as an individual resource for students to work through (or for teachers to set as cover work!) and as a class work book. It’s great and clearly written by someone who knows the play well. It matches the new GCSE specifications successfully and is also useful as a drama resource. It’s lovely!’A Powell, Examiner, English Teacher and Independent Reviewer

‘Packed full of inspired & creative tasks, making this complex play perfectly accessible for GCSE students.’
R. D’Rozario, ZigZag English Development Manager

Doctor Who, You Know, Not for Kids

Judging by the shelf-fuls of merchandise the Doctor Who revival has spawned over the past few years (when the oil eventually does run out, I predict a Wicker Man-style execution for whomever made the decision to apportion even a tiny sum of this planet’s ever-dwindling resources to Cyber Men Bath Fizzers and embroidered Dalek hankies) it’s clear that the show is aimed at children (although actually, kids don’t use hankies do they? The only person I know who still does is my mum, who keeps a selection stuffed up her sleeves like a C&H Fabrics shoplifter planning a revoltingly snot-covered patchwork quilt.).

But Steven Moffat’s season five finale could only have been made with adults in mind.

I can’t deny how great it is for kids to be excited by science and by fiction and to have an unashamedly clever, pacifist hero in the Doctor. This last series has taken them on a tour of both Churchill’s labyrinthine war rooms and Van Gogh’s rustic Avignon apartment, all before bedtime, which seems, you know, proper Reithian charter stuff.

And I know grown-ups have cringingly been encroaching for years into realms which should, by rights, be solely populated by those who consider Miley Cyrus or Dappy from N-Dubz as an acceptable human being instead of a terrifying (delete as appropriate) be-wigged/hatted jailbait/jailwannabe automaton.

We wear Crocs that turn us into enormous rubber footed toddlers and insist that Pixar films are suitable viewing for people with mortgages but really, The Big Bang wasn’t for kids. It was for us.

By us, I mean those who have lived long enough to feel kinship with a Doctor fighting against the obliteration of the entire universe, the moment when the stars go out. I’m not trying to bring anyone down, and really, let kids enjoy all the camp spaceships, sonic screwdrivers, running around and shouting, and let them enjoy it while they’re still young enough not to realise that, when they grow old, they’re destined to spend their days fighting the same foe as the Doctor, the moment when their own stars go out.

Because the series was all about death. Or to be more specific and fittingly for the show, death’s companion: loss.

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