Thursday, 6 December 2007
Playmobil Bollywood Dreams and the Terminator Virus
So like the Terminator of bugs the vomiting has returned with a vengeance, packing the punch of an Arnie Schwarzenegger. I have now given up the battle of going into work as only lying rather still and drinking water seems to help but oh the boredom. I have therefore hauled the laptop into bed with me. It may be a cold bedfellow, unable to soothe the fevered throbbing brow and is less than cuddly (should someone come up with a pleasantly tactile laptop there could be money in it) but at least it is responsive to my need to search for fantasy holidays and playmobil animations on Youtube to take my mind off somatic things.
I was on a writing week-end with someone who had just written a full feature length script about the Hundred Years War to be acted by Playmobil characters and was fascinated. After hearing about this and going for a curry with this writer and others from the course I ended up dreaming of a Bollywood movie starring these little fellows. An excess of spice can bring on strange but in this case rather interesting illusions. The Boo was rather fond of Playmobil I recall, although the Sylvanians did win hands down in the end, I think it was the idea of having a whole families of rabbits, badgers, cats and hedgehogs ensconced in a schoolroom with tiny plastic books or beside a horse drawn caravan huddled round a plastic camp fire that won her over; plus the strange plush that they were covered in ( note the triumph of the tactile over harsh plastic ).
Playmobil figures for anyone not familiar tend to have jobs or are history related figures Red Cross doctor, Viking, male midwife, female pirate, Roman soldier, Turkish paramedic, knight, woman police officer, suppressed medieval peasant, construction worker ( complete with steam roller and crate of German beer originally but this accessory had to be withdrawn after a protest by the West German Construction Union). Being designed and produced in post war Germany I think they tried to err heavily on the side of social responsibility or education. Apparently the designer decided that the faces should all have eyes, no nose and very Cheshire Cat grins, like a child’s drawing of the human face. They have strange grooves round their heads so that their tiny plastic hats/helmets/turbans/scarves could snap on, although more often than not these accessories disappeared up the hoover with a horrible crunching noise. If you need to refresh your memory or your German watch this animation.Hang on past the opening credits and I think you will be suitably impressed by the moving tortoise formation of the Roman army and the use of the catapult...trust me, as The Boo did an animation degree I am now aware of such work as a sheer labour of love and the anal personality, demanding perfection, that this German animator must have had as he moved all those little Playmobil joints.
I did discover as I searched the web that there is porno Playmobil and Playmobil snuff animated movies out there but I do think some small helpless plastic figures were severely embarrassed or hurt in the making of these films and some rather warped American High school kids obviously amused.
I am expecting to have a rather fevered dream about these figures tonight. Bollywood was fine but hopefully nothing more nasty becomes entangled with them in my psyche especially as I was listening on the radio to yet another report of a mass shooting in America. The killer, a young man, according to his own words wanted to be famous. The cult of celebrity has strange and damaged bedfellows. Perhaps those weird and more worrying playmobil animations have their place in the world; if he had acted out his fantasies with plastic figures and tiny plastic guns with playmobil at least some families would be having a happier Christmas but of course that would not have put his face posthumously on the front page.I referred to my current virus as The Terminator but of course to put things in perspective we all know there are real terminal situations out there that deserve more blog time and after all it is a mad world and we are all connected in the end.
* Thanks to Lydia for sending me the video