#oneaday, Day 39, The Choose Youth Rally

This weekend, I went up to Solihull to steward at the national Choose Youth rally. This was a number of organisations and trade unions coming together to make a noise about the threats to youth services around the country – both local authority and voluntary sector.

This was the biggest rally I have attended in my time as a trade unionist – over 1000 people. And it was a very diverse group. 120 young people had travelled up from Devon. There were pensioners from the Midlands. Youth workers, youth work lecturers, trade unionists, MPs, councillors and more.

The event looked very impressive. Big video screens meant you could see everything that was going on wherever you were in the massive hall. There were activities to take part in, performances and some great testimonies from young people as to why the youth service should be kept.

A couple of my favourite quotes from the day:

£6 billion awarded in bankers bonuses would fund youth service in England and Wales for 22 years

‘I walked out in the student walkout protests. My teacher asked where I was going. I said I was hoping to go to university.’

“we have a saying in my school, doing a Clegg, it’s when you say one thing and do another”

You can view footage of the rally here, join the campaign on Facebook, and see what others have said by looking at the #chooseyouth hashtag on Twitter.

#oneaday, Day 23, Nostalgic cinema

Today I went and saw The Kings Speech – a most excellent piece of cinema which I cannot recommend highly enough. Now I previously mentioned this film on Day 17 – and I still think it is a terrible thing that the British Film Council is to be scrapped. That is not the source of today’s inspiration however.

I am the owner of a Cineworld Unlimited card which entitles me to as many movies as I can watch in any Cineworld cinema outside of London’s West End for less than the price of two standard admissions. Now this morning I was up relatively early to take my sister-in-law to Bristol to get her bus back to university. As such, we took in an early screening. Being as it was a Sunday morning and most decent people were hung over in bed we were pretty much the youngest people in the place. And it seems that the hype around the film had dragged all sorts of people out on a Sunday morning – pensioners, families, and sitting to our right a middle-aged couple.

The gentleman, it became apparent as we all sat and munched on over salty snack foods had not been to the cinema for some time. 16 years in fact he estimated. This led him to make some interesting observations about his experience:

1) That the toilets were immaculately clean

Now I don’t know where the gentleman had last gone to the cinema, and I know that sometimes they gents can get a bit messy, but it seemed odd to me that he would not expect the toilets in any venue that had opened only 30 minutes ago to be anything but. He seemed very pleased with this.

2) To wonder where the usherettes were

With torches to show you to your seat. So for this man you had an allocated seat, and someone to show you to it. He really hadn’t been for a long time. However this idea is a nice one, and still happens in theatres, and gives a real feeling of customer service – a shame that the tradition has gone in our multi screen society.

3) To not be able to buy an ice cream in the screen

Now this one I remember from cinemas – the last time I remember happening is when they changed the reels whilst I was watching The Fugitive with my dad. Again, a loss of customer service – you have to go out to the lobby and queue up again if you fancy an over priced dairy product at the midway point.

However, I can give this man all his desires. He will need to drive to Suffolk, and visit Aldeburgh Cinema, where all of these things still happen.

The toilets are pretty clean too.

#oneaday, Day 17, We won!

So last night good old Blighty chalked up a Best Actor Golden Globe via the medium of Colin Firth and The Kings Speech.

Now I haven’t seen the film yet – that is on the list for the weekend – but by all accounts it is wonderful, brilliant performance by Firth etc etc. And how was this film possible? The unique way that British Film is funded – via the British Film Council.

Now you may have heard of the British Film Council – it is one of the quangos on Mr Cameron’s bonfire. Announced in July was the decision to axe funding to the body, which has supported films such as The Last King of Scotland & This Is England.

Now I don’t know all the details of how it works, but I reckon movies must be expensive to make, and supporting the production in this country can only be a good thing? Keeping people in work and all that, and producing some top quality entertainment along the way.

So congratulations to Mr Firth and all concerned. Could be the last one for a while….