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Rick & Euan (fail to) Save The World by Richard Whitehead
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Euan Keith

Brenda E. Teufel

Thomas Potte

Eta Leufelia

Arthur "Arri" Soleman

Igvarts Loberman

Lotte Essendorf

"Acey" Bates

Richard Whitehead
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Future Views Magazine
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University Fees and Debt
Who is the main beneficiary of university education, the student, the employer or the nation?

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Units of measurement and the end of space.

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Six Point Pollution Solution
Part One:   "Flowers In The City"
brighten our cities with many tiny garden?

Euan Keith's      
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Six Point Pollution Solution
Part Two: "The Transformation of Waste"
Instead of landfill, waste could be a valuable resource.

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Atlantis Reinvented
Hidden blueprints for the new cities of the sea.

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Arabian Mights & Maybes
Plans for the future carefully copied by Brenda.

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Arabian Might May Raise The Sea
Desalinated reverse rivers powered by nature

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The Unpublished Manuscript
A hint as to what may lie in the future.

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Planets Alive
A curious twist to the laws of perception.

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an alternative to the traditional public house

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You Are A Winner
A willing victim is the best victim.

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Maybe our prisons are not as wonderful as all that.

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The Bright New Pants Manifesto
The hilarious solution to invevitable change

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The Hullabalo
A raging argument is discovered

The Cinema Of The Future

and the at-a-glance film review ribbon   (2,200 words)

It was Eta’s birthday, we stepped off the bus on Tottenham Court Road and walked along Goodge Street to a long-established café-restaurant. It was full.

Eta, Brenda, Lotte, Arri, Euan and myself, Rick; Igvarts, Tosh and Acey couldn’t be with us, we were to meet them at the Curzon Cinema for a screening of Jacques Tati’s "Playtime".

The waitress, a charming middle-aged lady, took us upstairs.

It was rather quiet.

"Look," Lotte whispered.

Who should be at the window but Sir Keith and Saleh el Moharbi. Saleh was rumoured to, ‘own all the money in the world and yet have no property’. I’d take that with rather more than a pinch of salt. Sir Keith was one of those behind-the-scenes heavyweights who could make governments change policy. These two funded the productions, paid our wages.

We settled ourselves near the stairs, the duo rose and came towards us. They were engaged in an animated debate, their passion, films, cinema, ‘Showbiz’. They didn’t even notice us.

"The categories of ‘Documentary’ and ‘Historic’," Sir Keith was saying, "have to be included under ‘Story’ because otherwise there would be no alternative…".

His voice trailed away as they disappeared down the stairs.

We studied the menus and debated whether to go for large, medium or small.

"Many people today," said Euan, "regard the cinema as a relic from a bygone age".

"They’re afraid they’ll be trapped for two hours watching a film they don’t like," said Eta.

"The best way to enjoy a good film," said Arri, "is still the cinema.”

"Depends on the film," said Euan, "a lot of films are perfectly good on a small screen but some ought to be marked, ‘BSC’ - ‘Best Seen in the Cinema’".

"I agree with that," said the young waitress who had just appeared, EPOS in hand.

"A man went into a restaurant," said Arri. Lotte rolled her eyes and clicked her tongue. "The waiter spoke in a whisper. ‘Have you got laryngitis?’ asked the man. ‘No Sir,’ the waiter croaked, ‘only what’s on the menu’".

"I’ll remember that one," the waitress said.

We gave our orders. As she turned to leave she gave Arri a smile.

"Mantelpiece," Euan muttered.

"I beg your pardon?" said Eta.

The waitress had gone.

"She gave him a smile," said Euan, "he should put it on his mantelpiece," he grinned. We groaned.

BSC best seen in the cinema

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"Anyway," Euan continued, "as we were saying, cinema needs to re-invent itself".


 - main cinema(s)

 - meeting rooms

 - morning talks

 - shop(s)

 - bistro

 - studio(s)

 - professional screenings

 - production services

 - film & media courses  


Brenda rose, "look," she said, "they’ve left something," she went to the table by the window.

"Mendacity," I sensed Euan was getting into ‘rant’ mode. "lies and half-truths," Euan continued, "people want someone they can trust".

"The independent reliable authority," said Eta.

Brenda was examining papers on the table vacated by Saleh and Sir Keith.

"Cinemas," said Euan, "could be the ultimate authority on all things film".

"Memorabilia shops," said Lotte, "DVDs and home-stream services".

"More than that," said Euan, "reliable, at-a-glance customer reviews".

"Like this, you mean?" Brenda dropped a newspaper and a page from a jotter on the table.

Saleh and Sir Keith had been discussing the very same question.

"Look," Brenda said, "an eight-point review, colour-coded".

We looked at the boxes and passed round the paper.

Each rectangle contained a number and a letter, below was a caption.

Eta smiled, "you could call it, ‘a ribbon’, seems to be trendy".


Film categories and ratings

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"Numbers," said Brenda, "give a score, letters a qualification".

She turned over the sheet.

"Out of a thousand patrons, one or two hundred leave reviews or ‘scores’. That means before long each film screened will have hundreds of independent appraisals".

We studied the doodle and discussed - argued - the options.

The waitress brought our order, "wow!" she enthused, "that’s a brilliant idea. The number of times we’ve fallen out over a film because it wasn’t what some of us expected. A proper rating system would make it much easier to choose". Her name was Nikita.

Lecture complete, Nikita gave Arri another smile and left, all eyes were on Euan. He said nothing.  

"Cinema," I intoned, "like Hollywood, is ensconced in the 1930s".

"Time to fast-forward ninety years," Brenda nodded.

Euan’s eyes lit up, "white walls, laser-projected decor to match the occasion," he said.

"Wonderful," said Lotte.

I shook my head.

"You disagree?" said Eta.

"Not at all," I said, "splendid idea, we’ve discussed it before but what’s the point if the place is empty?"

"Meaning?" said Brenda.

"Get people back into the cinema-going habit," I said.

"Ropes or crowbars?" Arri quipped.

We laughed.

I leaned forward and held my fingers like a box. "mini and micro cinemas," I said, "everywhere".

Euan snapped his fingers, "shopping malls, railway stations, airports".

"All those cancellations," Lotte smiled.

"Ten to twenty seaters," I continued.

"Short films," said Eta.

"I’ve got a name for them," Brenda’s eyes lit up, "‘dramacules’".

I leaned back and let them take over.

"Continuous streams of short films, one or two minute intervals for people to come and go," said Eta.

“Call it, ‘Snatch-A-Flick’,” said Euan.

"Four Cimaticule micro-cinemas together, green, red, blue and gold," said Lotte, "comedy, romance, thriller and classics. Seven to fifteen seats each, depending on the venue".


dramacules snatch a flick

Short films pop-in cinema, Dramacules, Snatch A Flick


"One pound admission," said Brenda, "low-key sponsors’ logos either side of the screen".

“The more you pay, the more you get: lottery tickets, discount vouchers,” said Arri.

“Life insurance,” I added, it got a laugh.

"An e-paper progress bar along the top and a dim, back-lit clock in the corner," said Arri, “lets you check if you have time to see the end”.

"Stream those millions of hidden-away five to twenty minute gems that currently get made into coasters and clocks," Eta mumbled.

"Pop in from the rain, make a habit of it, then go and see the ‘real thing’," I said.

"Reel thing," Arri groaned, we laughed.

Empty dishes covered the table.

Nikita reappeared, "here you are, Sir," she said and showed Acey to his seat. We hadn’t expected him.

"Cinemas," he said, "need to up their game," he sat down. "Doughnut and Assam," he smiled at Nikita.

"Acey," said Brenda, "it’s dinner time. We’re about to order food".

"Happy birthday, Eta," he held up an imaginary glass.

We busied ourselves with menus and ordering.

Arri awaited his smile but Nikita was off to fetch our food.

"A centre for all things cinematic," Acey continued.

"We were just talking about that," said Lotte.

Acey raised his eyebrows. "Memorabilia centre, meeting rooms for clubs, societies and M.E.D.S., one-stop filmmaker’s resource". He barely drew breath.

We were too stunned to speak, in any case I doubt we’d have had a chance.


curzon filmmakers cinema


"Film-making used to be for the elite, today it’s for everyone but they don’t know the rules and haven’t got an outlet." Acey looked earnestly at each of us in turn. "Staff training, software and a computer, Bob’s your uncle," he had a, ‘simple, see?’ look on his face.

Euan sniggered, "staff training, in this country? Mushroom management more like".

"What’s ‘M.E.D.S.’?" Eta asked.

"Marketing, Exhibition, Distribution, Sales. No MEDS, no biz, no shows". Acey had evidently been working his brains.


Marketing, Exhibition, Distribution, Sales

"Got a script?" he continued.

"Everyone’s got scripts," Eta cut in.

"Exactly. ‘Send it to Hollywood’, nonsense." Acey held out his hands. "A hundred million scripts a year." He shook his head and rattled his jowels. "Cinemas have slack times, nowt to do. Pop in, buy a consultation".

Brenda laughed, "like, ‘Could I have a budget breakdown please?’ ‘Certainly. That’ll be £300, ready in two hours.’ Sounds good to me," Brenda grinned.

Arri rolled his eyes, "poppycock," he exclaimed, "stick to the knitting. Select great films, Ultra Hi-Fi sound, advertise on buses and phone boxes, indulge patrons with a sense of luxury and glamour".

“Better programmes,” Euan scowled, “cinema is crap! A torture of never-ending adverts and tedious trailers, then just the one film! In the Golden Age they had newsreels, shorts, a support film and then, once thoroughly warmed up as opposed to pissed off, the main feature. It was an event, a memorable occasion rather than blunt – brain-injection”.

“Today In History, newsreels from a century ago, sell the DVDs in the foyer,” Lotte’s eyes lit up.

"How to turn your Social Media clips into feature films, 10am to lunchtime, fill the slack," Eta beamed.

"Script development workshops," said Brenda.

"What’s lacking, for many people today, is face to face engagement, human interaction, a sense of purpose and participation," said Acey. "The cinema," he continued, "could be a social hub, a hive of activity".

"Poetry recitals and children’s plays on a Sunday morning?" said Lotte, I thought I detected a touch of sarcasm.

The food arrived, we tucked in and cracked a few jokes.

Arri stuck his fork into a mushroom and held it up, “mushroom management,” he said, “keep ’em in the dark and, every now and again, chuck ’em muck”.

Euan groaned, Arri laughed.

“When I buy my ticket tonight,” said Eta, “I’ll hand in my script and say, ‘while I’m watching the film could you please find me a location manager and a production team’. I’m only half joking”. She reached down and held up her screenplay.

"Where," Brenda asked, "do you go if you have an idea for a film or television show?"

"The film industry," said Arri, "has been described as a moving target with no fixed address".

"Our local independent cinema becomes a one-stop shop for bright sparks to access showbiz," said Euan.

"Talent mines," said Brenda.

It was my turn to play Mr Killjoy, "we’d better be going," I said, pointing at my watch.

We gathered our things and began to rise, who should walk in but Igvarts.

Igvarts took one look at the film ratings table and scoffed. "Won’t work," he said, "requires too much intelligence, people want to be spoon-fed and besides, it takes power away from the advertisers and promoters, puts us in the driving seat and they can’t have that".

We were ready to leave. Igvarts, Acey and Euan decided to forgoe ‘Playtime’ and explore the film ratings idea further. We rejoined them afterwards, here’s what they had to show us.


Film Review At-A-Glance

film ratings table

click for full-size image, Ctrl W closes window  

"The duration and year of release," said Acey, "are shown as a letter and a number for compactness".

"Colour-coded to make browsing faster for visual-type people," said Igvarts.

"The ‘Ribbon’ is also a tool for finding films," said Euan, "if you are compiling a programme, for example, it’s easier if you can narrow your search. Type in:

  G     H     A     E     C     J  

"Meaning: G Grand epic; H Historic figure; A discreet music; E elegant scenery; C some conflict; J Romance.

"Add a few numbers to refine your search further: 9G grand epic; 4H little-known historic characters; 7A not-too discreet music; 7E artistic sets; 4C occasional conflict; 6J moderate amount of romance.

"Add or omit details to broaden your search," said Euan.  

"That’s wrong" said Tosh, "you can’t have two headings on one box". He pointed at Humour, Horror, Romance and Aggression.  

"He’s right, y’know," said Lotte. "Why not have two extra columns?"

"D’you mean we missed the Tati classic for a half-baked hair-brained idea that’ll anyway never catch on?" Acey groaned.

Brenda laughed, "That’s what it looks like, lads," she said.  

"Spent more too," Eta muttered, "pubs and restaurants are more expensive than seeing a film".  

”PLAYTIME” by Jacques Tati 2h 35m 1967

















"Nobody," Brenda exclaimed, "is going to faff around filling out these boxes, making all those decisions".  

Length and year for film ratings table


"Don’t need to," said Euan, "fill out what you can, the final rating is an aggregate".  

"If in doubt, leave it out," said Igvarts.  

"Much of this could be completed by Artificial Intelligence," said Lotte, "millions of films could be categorised over a weekend or two".  

"Viewers and reviewers would just add in the numbers and maybe change the occasional category," said Brenda.  

"Why?," said Tosh, "what’s the point?"  

"At-A-Glance film choice," Brenda, Lotte and Eta said together. "Fewer disappointments for viewers, better uptake and exposure for independent films," said Eta.

"OK," said Tosh, "let’s hope it catches on".  

We packed up and left.

"Get rid of the numbers," I said as we went down the stairs. "Eight categories, duration, year and stars. That’s enough."

Euan looked back and shook his head, he didn’t notice Arri exchange smiles with Nikita.

Once outside, Arri showed me an envelope, "Nikita printed off film genres and categories from the Internet," he said, "she’s marked them into groups".

I laughed, we didn’t tell the others.



written and illustrated with a Quha Zono head-mouse  

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