A Spook-tacular Halloween (2010)

It’s getting more difficult to think of something original to do at Halloween in my classes. Last year I made a load of new Halloween flashcards and used Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ in a variety of different ways to help the students along with their English whilst (hopefully) creating an enjoyable atmosphere. To be honest I wasn’t really gonna top that as it was only a few months on from Jackson’s death and so listening to one of his songs as a gap-fill or jigsaw listening was hot stuff. For adults I mostly just recycled that idea but I did also introduce the ‘Ghostbusters’ theme from Ray Parker Jnr. which, whilst no piece of cake, was a bit easier than ‘Thriller’ especially when I gave some students the missing words albeit in the wrong order. Listening to this classic in turn led to a discussion on either the film, if they believe in ghosts or whether they had seen one and usually me teaching them the word sceptical which is what I am although I do like watching all that kind of nonsense.

I also managed to use my Simpson’s Horror Edition Halloween Top Trump cards a few times in the name of comparatives (e.g. Devil Ned is more evil than Zombie Skinner). As for the kids it was pretty much the same sh*t different year although I did come up with the idea of incorporating yet more Star Wars stuff into a lesson by making a Darth Vader mask. Now, I know my Mum will at this point will be muttering something like “Well I still don’t understand what Star Wars has to do with Halloween!” but this annual festivity is about all things spooky and evil and very much includes science-fiction characters these days. The whole idea was not too dis-similar to that of Star Wars Celebration Japan in 2008 which included ‘The Vader Project’ which was where many different people and artists had come up with their own variations of the iconic Vader helmet.


TF Book Review: The Bourne Legacy

Whilst killing time in the Airport before my August Euro Trip I came across ‘The Bourne Deception’ in the bookshop which surprised me as I had no idea the Bourne franchise was continuing. On my return I remembered to google it and found out that it wasn’t even the first novel to follow on from Robert Ludlum’s original trilogy which were of course made into three great films.

Eric Van Lustbader is now churning out novels about Jason Bourne although Ludlum’s name very much dominates the covers which I guess is the best way of shipping copies! He has written four books in four years which seems to be a bit excessive to me. Anyway, I bought ‘The Bourne Legacy’ on Amazon in September. This is the first one to follow on from the original trilogy and I set about reading it albeit through very sceptical eyes. I say this as I thought the originals were so perfect in going full-circle in terms of Bourne being found in the sea off the coast of Marseilles in ‘Identity’ and ending up in a Manhattan river in ‘Ultimatum’.

I consider my favourite franchises (Star Wars, Terminator, James Bond etc) to be very much of past decades (even though they continue to make new productions in this day and age) but the Bourne one is the most recent addition to that list and with a love for the character I couldn’t help myself from knowing what happened to him next.

The blurb on the back had me tutting straight away when I read that he was supposedly working as a Georgetown professor when he narrowly escapes a bullet from an assassin and two of his closest associates are murdered setting him up as the prime suspect as his legacy follows him. Now, I’m no literary critic and though I did find it entertaining in parts I wasn’t overly impressed. The action scenes were quite good but Lustbader’s portrayal of our hero is clearly different in some ways to the tortured hero we know and love. There was no reference to age or skill limitations and Bourne seems to have turned into a cliche of himself with all these flashbacks and formulaic escapes. Although reading it was good escapism I hope they don’t ruin this franchise in the name of a fast-buck by making it into a film but it seems that that will not be the case.

You can see details of my Bourne travels through Tangiers here