March 19, 2011



So I’m having a stupid day.*   The brain is not working, the limbs are made of old rubber bands that have lost their stretch, and the attitude is rat hair and warts.  And the expression on the face is suitable for scaring small children into becoming model citizens.**   It’s probably a good thing that Oisin was trying to get ready to go away for the weekend and was therefore willing to let me slouch at the kitchen counter, drinking tea and grumbling, and that I didn’t get to ring anything I wanted to ring at practise tonight.***

            And then I came home and found this in my Twitter feed:

@writingjules Some 10th gr. students made an adaptation of Outlaws of Sherwood. They’re thrilled that you might watch.

It’s fabulous.  Watch it.  Go on, press that button.  And make sure you watch both parts.  Including the outtakes in which there is a discussion about whether or not the author is Robert McKinley.  Warning:  there is a pretty dramatic spoiler, if you haven’t read the book, but in fact you may not recognise that it’s a spoiler since there’s a fair amount of recasting to get it all in in about sixteen minutes.†  Love love love love.  I love Friar Tuck’s dog.  There’s so much about it that is delightful—I love the choreography of the fight scenes and the helpful soundtrack.  (Also love the music.)  I love the creative intelligence behind it—sure it’s both obvious, practical and in the fine old Robin Hood tradition to retell it in a way relevant to the teller—but there are so many clever touches.  Love Tweetie-bird.  Love the hat.   Love—er—King Richard.

            Look, just watch it, okay?††  It’ll cheer your day up too.

* * *

* No.  I have no idea why.  The ME was bored, I suppose.  All its favourite TV programmes have been cancelled or something.

** I have two subdued six-year-olds polishing the silver right now.

*** Niall asked me to call a touch of plain bob doubles for one of our beginners.  Fortunately several people went disastrously adrift at about the point when I was going to have to say ‘that’s all’.  I can usually call the beggar, it’s registering when to stop it that I get wrong every time.   So I could just shout ROUNDS and escape responsibility.

† And just by the way, it’s a damn good thing that spoiler is there.  The film was made by a boy and his mates, and girls are very thin on the ground.  I appreciate that this was the situation and I’m okay with that:  it’s a work of art and I’m so flattered I can hardly stand it.  But I don’t want anyone getting the idea that the original Greentree was short of women.   

†† Here come the boring, tedious legal caveats.  Which are that I basically don’t have a clue but I’m sure there’s a can of worms here that could be opened, and I hope nobody has a tin-opener handy.  I’m not granting any rights, and if someone makes a DVD off the YouTube film and starts selling copies I will be Very Displeased.^  I’m not suggesting that every other tenth grader or teacher of tenth graders should be let loose with copies of my books and video cameras, and I’m still dead against fanfic and fanart based on my work.^^  But every now and then I think it’s good for you to compromise your principles and have the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream, or to sit back and enjoy something marvellous even if it may be leaving a few muddy footprints on your copyright.

^ Not my problem, but I also wonder what the rules are about using music clips.

^^ No.  It isn’t.  It’s retelling my version of the story in another medium.  We don’t follow them to Iraq or find out what Robin and Marian’s kids grow up to be.+

+ A composer, a bricklayer and a high school English teacher.  The bricklayer went to Oxford and got her post-doc from Harvard.  The English teacher raises wolfhounds.  And the composer is mad.  Nice mad. 

            Next question.


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