Tag Archives: blood

Two Towers, No Hobbits

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Good morning, lovely reader!  Got any nice plans for your weekend?  I know for a fact that there are barbecues happening in London over the next couple of days.  Loving that weather-based optimism.

When I was writing this post I nearly called it “Real British Theatre”, but I disregarded that title for two reasons: firstly, it smacks somewhat of Nigel sodding Farage (and I have many faults, but voting for UKIP is definitely not one of them), and secondly it reminded me a little too forcefully of a university module I think I did, which was called something similar and was about theatre in the nineteenth century.  Maybe.  I think.  I don’t know, it was a very long time ago, and I wasn’t paying attention…

Yesterday I went to the Globe with one of my best buddies to see the play which, time-travel allowing, I’m pretty sure is Shakespeare’s homage to Tarantino: Titus Andronicus.  It was bloody, disturbing and impossible to stop watching.  It also had my absolute favourite characteristic of theatre: dark comedy.  It was funny at odd moments, it lightened the more blood-stained and grotesque scenes with a bit of whimsy, but most worryingly of of all, the actual subject matter and the characters’ situations made us laugh.  They also made us wince in disgust, groan in surprised nausea and sharply peg it out of the way when the actors were running around in the audience.

The actors had two metal towers on wheels to propel themselves around the groundling pit, and they used them spectacularly.  It still amazes me that something so un-British – barging through crowds of people, for heaven’s sake, and actually shouting at them to move, how very rude, I shall write to The Times – is such an integral part of the audience’s experience at the Globe.  The Globe is a beacon of British history and culture, and it attracts people from all over the – well, the globe, I suppose.  Ahem.

The un-British barging in a very British theatre is important, because it makes the story so immediate for the spectators (which is, after all, why they went to the Globe in the first place).  It made us feel genuinely at risk from the seething anger, the all-too-real swords and the fake blood being sprayed everywhere.  It was amazing.

The best things about this country are way beyond what politicians have to say about immigration or the Europe issue.  The best things about this country are the things that people gave us hundreds of years ago, and that we still enjoy today.  This country is about Winston Churchill’s determination, Charles Darwin’s curiosity and William Shakespeare’s imagination.

This country is about standing in the middle of an open air theatre and feeling things that audiences have felt about the same story for four hundred and twenty years.  That’s called a communal experience by the way, Mr. Farage, and the whole flipping point of it is that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from.

Have an amazing Saturday.  (Not you, UKIP.)

Staying Alive

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Hello there, you valuable member of society!  How’s it going?

Yesterday was my first in a two-day training course in paediatric first aid (or PFA for those in the know, darling).  It’s a strange experience, because it combines something incredibly important and worth knowing (i.e. how to save a life.  Thank you, The Fray) with something quite amusing: twelve strangers in a room spending all day pretending to resuscitate the world’s creepiest doll.

First aid is truly vital, and ordinary members of the public save lives all the time by knowing its procedures.  I am truly grateful to have this opportunity to learn more about it, and I only hope that if I am ever in a situation where I need to use my newly-found skills, I will be able to stay calm enough to remember what the heck I’m supposed to do.  Having said that, yesterday’s training gave me several moments of amusement, and I would like to share a few of them with you.

Firstly, the trainer was a lovely woman who was clearly very passionate about her work, but she was also pretty odd.  For example, she was explaining the importance of sensory perception when approaching a patient: “what can you see?  Blood, perhaps?  What can you hear?  Is their breathing a bit shallow or too quick?  What can you smell?  Maybe they’ve been sick.  What can you feel?  Are there any swellings or possible broken bones?”  All very sane and sensible advice, you might think.  Absolutely.  But the poor woman ruined her point by adding in the serious, long-suffering tones of someone who has genuinely had to deal with this scenario before, “Not taste, though.  That’s the only sense you mustn’t use.  Never taste your patient.”

Secondly, as you may already know, current thinking on CPR is that you should give thirty chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths, and the compressions should be in a tempo of 100-120 compressions per minute.  Roughly speaking, this is a similar tempo to the Bee Gee’s hit Stayin’ Alive, which is a bit tongue in cheek, but makes it pretty memorable.  The only problem with this handy hint was that every single person in yesterday’s training session almost failed the CPR section, purely because we kept humming the song to ourselves and losing count of how many compressions we’d done.

Last but by no means least, our trainer was also one of those people who has some verbal peculiarities.  Some of them are the kind that would usually drive me up the wall, such as saying “pacific” when she meant “specific”.  However, there was one oddity that endeared her to me forever: when lecturing us on the importance of abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich Manoeuvre),  she kept referring to them as “abominable thrusts”.  I am ashamed to say that I had to excuse myself more than once to go and have a giggle in the corridor.

So, having unsuccessfully reassured you that I’m mature enough to save lives, I will go back for a second day of training and hope for better things.  You have yourself a merry little Wednesday.