Thursday, 8 March 2007

The perspective you have on the world and that unique slant you place on reality is usually held in place by some fleeting/trivial concepts.
Of course your education and upbringing build the foundation but in your personal quest to decipher the vagaries we will clutch unto even the most strangest thing as long as it keeps us from harm.

My nan when she was alive was a bastion of love and safety for me and my brothers and sister. She always had time for us and allowed us to be just what we wanted to be....children.
Christmas was the best time to go and visit her because of how festive things felt you would go to my nans and sense the familiar things. The smell of a paraffin heater that only the elderly would use because they were so damn dangerous. The smell of cooking sausages from the kitchen.
The scent of warmth and comfort too a signature that hugs your instincts so affectionately that you can never properly describe it in a way that can translate.
One bok my nan used to show us all the time around the advent of chirstmas was Raymond Briggs's Father Christmas.
It contained barley any dialogue but was full of care,love and delicately held dreams the book was magic itself. My nan always used to make me giggle when she pointed out one illustrated frame where Father Christmas was sitting on the toilet.
Along with The Snowman book that Briggs's always wrote I learned to hold the hand of Briggs's because he along with my nan were proof that the world was actually nice,harmless and ultimately loving.
Magic was always key in Briggs's books the fact that it can happen and also come about in such a glorious and friendly manner made me smile.
Time passed and I grew little by little and eventually started to doubt the fact that father Christmas actually exsisted. When I was nine I figured out that he was nothing more than a myth.
The thing was that it didn't really cause me much heart break Christmas was always about having my family around me even at such a young age. Father Christmas was fun but he wasn't what it was all about.
I continued to enjoy my nan showing me the Raymond Briggs's Christmas book as much as I ever did however I was now ten and started to become interested in the other side of life.
That's when I first saw the video trailer for Raymond Briggs's When The Wind Blows and after that a exploration into the horror of reality was embarked upon.
The trialer itself looked homorus even if it wasn't filled with festive cheer.
I did notice a faint edge of darkness in the promotional clip but couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.
However since my mum and sister were in the room at the same time they saw it and were interested in seeing if it was anything like the T.V animation The Snowman.

Well soon enough it ended up in our small local video shop and it was grabbed off the shelf we were all curious to see what it was about.
I think my mum knew it was about a war of some type but had no idea on what it actually portrayed.

So we all watched and what started out as a jolly little animation about a dotty little couple(James and Hilda) who had retired to the country for the gentle breeze and embrace of nature.
However this couple armed only with past experience from world war 2 and a blind trust in the government caring at all for their people. Had to deal with the onslaught of a full scale nuclear war.
It turned into something deathly black,diseased,irradiated and brutal. I saw Raymond briggs tear down all the false havens I held as a child and replace them with a bellowing,towering,seething mushroom cloud.
There were rats in the toilet bowl instead of a jolly father Christmas delevering presents.
Radiation sickness as opposed to the hic-cup of too much sherry,bleak death on the horizon instead of snow to create a magical snowman from.
It felt as if this is what the world was really all about and this is what people really wanted to do to each other using armies and missiles.

As good as Raymond Briggs made this feature some part of me never really forgave him for doing this because it felt as if I had a chunk of happiness ripped out of me.
One strange fact that really is a teeth kicker in the second animation of Raymond Briggs's Father Christmas our jolly xmas hero goes on holiday to Scotland.
In the background of the pub is James from when the wind blows whom perished in the agonising aftermath of nuclear fallout.

In my mind that ties it in directly with the whole Raymond Briggs's Christmas universe(as in the Snowman animation the same Father Christmas met the snowman) so all of those little dreams have been slain.

As a little side not Briggs later made another animation called grandpa about a girl who would go on wonderful adventures with her the very end the grandad dies.
We see the girl cry and then the whole picture ends......:(