The Lighter Side! Mrs Angry tries reading to calm down
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The Lighter Side! Mrs Angry tries reading to calm down

Brigit Grant includes Keren David's new book and a special appearance by actress Jamie Lee Curtis on JLGB Virtual last week!

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

Like a disgruntled hamster in hibernation, I’ve stored up a week’s worth of bluster fuelled by freezing dog walks, too many high-cal snacks and daily cold calls claiming I’ve been injured. I haven’t, but they will be if they ring again, as rage is my first response in Lockdown #3.

During Lockdown #1, I was polite and smiley, but since I never signed up for the trilogy, deference has been edged out by intolerance. Intolerance for the  movies being made in quarantine about quarantine, so its only a matter of time before Locked Down the box set appears –and Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor lead the way in the film… Locked Down.

Wonder how the branstorming went for the title of this HBO Max  production which isn’t available here yet and I’m glad, as the platform is also showing a badly misjudged four-part doc about Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, which gives only the latter’s point of view. News of this self-serving attack on my favourite film-maker got me riled, although my husband has banned full outbursts until after midday. Evidently ranting from the moment I open my eyes is intolerable in this 24/7 together situation, so I had to wait until Spurs beat West Bromich Albion before exploding.

Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor

At school(HBS) hot-headed girls were sent to the cooling-off pantry during cookery, so it’s the cupboard for me now if I bluster or insist on watching Australia’s Married At First Sight before lights out.

 Of course I realise a screaming row with INES is not the way to send a hot head to sleep, but I struggle with the alternative – reading. Sure I’ve got books – hundreds of them – and even hope to write one of the six in my head one day. But at my husband’s behest, I tried this week to take  a different route to the land of nod and picked up a book written by a friend with a huge fan base among teens. 

That I’m not Keren David’s target audience (even in candle-light) is obvious, but her novel, What We’re Scared Of, seemed a gentle place for me to start. And it was, as the story about twin sisters Evie and Lottie gives entry to the secret and often complex world of girls on the edge of adulthood. 

What We’re Scared Of

Refreshingly unalike in figure and personality, the girls have a Jewish mother who is non-practising but, as the book reveals, this does not shield anyone from insidious antisemitism. Hate is only ever a keyboard click away and the girls experience the full gamut, from offensive remarks by classmates to Twitter trolling and ultimately danger.

So much for calming the rage, as I realised that if my daughter had read What We’re Scared Of, she might have been more prepared for the moment she was identified ‘as one of them’ by the badge on her school blazer and then circled by a gang of kids who grabbed her bag and called her a rich Jew.  

Preparing our kids for the ‘what if’ before they fully understand ‘why’ is a Jewish parent’s duty, regardless of orthodoxy. The novel addresses antisemitism in a way teens will enjoy while being educated, and adults can join them. Sadly, the subject did nothing to quell my anger and I woke up even more ready to rant despite knowing I’d skipped reality tosh for a book. Who knows, I might even write one now I read. 

 

Virtual Love

Valentine’s Day in Covid time has its advantages for those who aren’t loved up, as they can close the door to the froth and flowers. But if you are open to possibilities, Denise Phillips, chef extraordinaire is hosting Date On A Plate online on Sunday for singletons aged 60 to 70. Denise won’t be serving real food, just real introductions to silver surfers who may just want a chat.

To book or for more information call Denise on 07803 895 341

www.dateonaplate.com  

Ten 

Longing for a time when we can sit in a cinema hasn’t stopped film organisations from staging festivals introducing new talent. Director Amos Menin is one of 45 short film-makers showing his ability at the BFI’s Future Film Festival (Feb 18 – 21) and his emotive short documentary, Jude, is deeply personal because its about his grandfather, John Fieldsend (born Hans Heinrich Feige). John was seven when  he fled Dresden alone on Kristallnacht and crossed the border into Czechoslovakia to escape the Nazis. The story is told from his childhood perspective with family photographs and contemporary footage and the 10 minutes includes Amos’ grandfather’s eventual journey to England on Nicholas Winton’s last Kindertransport. Short never felt taller.

www.bfi.org.uk/future-film-festival

Pup Quiz

A rousing cheer for the charity Israel Guide Dogs, which took to Zoom to assist dog owners with dilemmas. In one corner sat celebrity vet, broadcaster and animal welfare campaigner Mark Abraham proffering advice, while in another, trainer Jordan Shelley solved a cockapoo’s behavioural issues. At one point, it looked as if a fluffy dog sitting on the lap of his owner was about to ask a question, which is a testament
to the charity’s  treatment of four-legged friends.

www.israelguidedog.org.uk

A-list entertainment

I’m not sure what younger participants made of the guests at the 100th episode of JLGB Virtual last  week, but I was thrilled seeing actress Jamie Lee Curtis and her acclaimed film director husband Christopher Guest take questions from effusive host Cidney Miller. Cidney isn’t old enough to remember Jamie’s scream queen debut in Halloween, let alone the performances by the actress’ late parents, Janet Leigh in Psycho and father Tony Curtis in Spartacus.

Jamie Lee Curtis

But it mattered not, as the couple were there to salute the work of JLGB founder Colonel Albert E. W. Goldsmid, who happens to be Guest’s great-grandfather. Name-dropping has never been more impressive and there was enough laughter to suggest the Hollywood A-listers enjoyed every minute of this JN partnered event . With JLGB evolving into the UK Jewish world’s equivalent of Graham Norton, a donation to the club is the best way to secure an invite to the next starry line-up. 

www.jlgb.org

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