Friday, 30 May 2014

Heartbleed: What It Is, What We Know and How It Affects You

by Ed Rose


On April 7th this year, it was revealed that a severe security bug in a widely used cryptographic software library, OpenSSL, had been discovered. It was estimated that around two thirds of the internet was using OpenSSL for day-to-day encryptions, and that the security flaw left around 17.5% (half a million) of internet webservers vulnerable to attack. This flaw was huge: it would allow a hacker to access private parts of a web server, stealing data and passwords whilst leaving no trace. What’s more, this vulnerability had been left undiscovered for two years, giving hackers a two-year window to exploit it. To understand the severity of this bug some base knowledge of the World Wide Web and how it functions is needed.
The World Wide Web is the part of the internet that we all commonly associate with the word ‘internet’. While the internet carries everything on it from email to Skype calls to TV, the World Wide Web serves us webpages: documents linking to other documents allowing us to search for information, shop or even bank. It is what web browsers show us, and the communication protocol underneath it is HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. The first thing worth mentioning is that HTTP is NOT secure by nature – the end user has no idea whether the web page that they are on is actually where they want to be; just typing in ‘www.pgs.org.uk’ into the address bar doesn’t mean that the page we receive is actually www.pgs.org.uk, but we generally trust that it is. This is because traffic on computer networks can be redirected – an attacker could redirect your request that was travelling to www.pgs.org.uk and send it to their own computer, returning you a webpage that looks exactly like www.pgs.org.uk, but is actually a copy and you wouldn’t even realise. This becomes problematic when, for example, you log into your email and a login form appears. You type in your email address and password, expecting and trusting that you are at ‘mail.google.com’ when you have just in fact sent your email address and password to someone pretending to be mail.google.com who has redirected your request. Furthermore, all of this data is sent in plain text – it’s unencrypted! You may as well have written down your password and given it to them. It’s for this reason that HTTPS was created – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.

The secure part of HTTPS does two things: firstly, it verifies the identity of the server, so you know that when you go to ‘mail.google.com’ you are actually at mail.google.com; and secondly, it encrypts all data between you and the web server with public key encryption, meaning that if anyone does try eavesdropping the data, all they will receive is garbage. This kind of encryption is currently unbreakable.
The server’s identity is verified using certification. A Certificate vendor will independently verify a server’s identity, and then issue a certificate to the web server. This certificate is connected mathematically (and very complicatedly) to the certificate vendor’s certificate, meaning that the certificate can ONLY have come from the certificate vendor, and they are issued per domain – the web browser knows whether the certificate is intended for the server it has come from. We trust certificate vendors; this means that when our web browser receives a certificate from a server, it knows that the web server has been independently verified by a trusted certificate authority, and that the server you are connecting to is the one verified by the certificate authority. You get a padlock in the corner of your address bar and if you click on it, chrome will tell you very nicely that the server’s identity is verified. Secure, right?

Yes, but only as long as the certificate stays on the server. If the certificate is stolen or given away in any way, then this verification becomes useless. Someone could use the certificate to set up a “verified” copy of the server that we will trust, even if it is a copy. Furthermore, the certificate contains the server’s private key. This is what a web server uses to encrypt and decrypt all data travelling over HTTPS. If someone has the server’s private key, then they can decrypt all data. Clearly this becomes a major security issue should the certificate be compromised.
To solve this issue of compromised certificates, two systems were put in place. Firstly, certificates expire after about a year. This means that if a certificate is compromised it is only useful to the attacker before it expires. And secondly, certificates can be revoked by the certificate authority if the web server administrator believes that their certificate has been compromised. Once the certificate is revoked – cancelled – it is rendered useless to any attacker.
So how does this relate to Heartbleed? If you remember from the first paragraph, Heartbleed allows an attacker to access private parts of a server. An attacker using Heartbleed can steal a server’s certificate. What’s more, THE WEB SERVER WILL NEVER KNOW. This means that the web server’s administrator will have no reason to revoke the certificate and the certificate in all likelihood won’t have expired. Therefore the certificate could have been compromised and none of the security systems in place to protect it would work.
This is the reason Heartbleed was so huge. This is the reason the web community panicked: everything that we had built to protect ourselves from attacks, the systems that we trusted, could potentially have been bypassed in this two year window that the Heartbleed vulnerability existed. The fix for server administrators was simple enough; patch their version of OpenSSL, revoke their current certificate and then get a new certificate from a vendor whilst hoping and praying that no one had used Heartbleed against them in the previous two years.
However, a new problem was then discovered.

Sixth Form Centre: Scaffolding

by Tony Hicks


Here is a look at the state of the Sixth Form Centre as we began half term. It is hard to get pictures at the moment due to the large amount of scaffolding whilst the stone cladding goes up. 



Thursday, 29 May 2014

Barring Books and the Anti-Gove Brigade: Going Too Far?

by Laura Burden


For someone who began his career as a journalist rather than as a politician, our Education Secretary Michael Gove can be astonishingly cavalier as to how conventional and social media will interpret his soundbites and statements. As half term started across the nation, columnists not lamenting the state of Europe and the nation as election results rolled in focused on the reforms to GCSE English Literature.
GCSEs and A Levels are changing. From September 2015, pupils across the nation (the current year 8s) will work towards GCSE qualifications that do not have tiers and are graded by numbers rather than letters, with 9 being the top result and 1 the lowest. English Literature, alongside other “core” subjects, has particularly been scrutinised by the government. Key Stage 4 Pupils must study at least one play by Shakespeare, a nineteenth century novel, poetry from the Romantic period and a work of fiction or drama that has originated in the British Isles since 1914. GCSE English Literature will no longer have a coursework option.
The reforms to A Level Literature are less clear at present, other than that, as with other A Levels, the qualification will be linear. Coursework will be capped at 20% of the overall qualification.
The level of Michael Gove’s popularity with the educational community is abysmal. Social media abounds with hashtags and pages calling for his resignation. Two of the largest teaching unions have passed a vote of no confidence in him. His policies are routinely mocked and derided.
Consequently, on occasion ,those commenting can lose their heads. I am not a Gove acolyte and have never voted for his party, but much of what is appearing about him in the mainstream press is erroneous and much of what is being posted online – by professional adults who should know better – is vitriol.
On 11th May, Eleanor Mills, a journalist at The Sunday Times whose columns I usually enjoy, launched an attack on “the new English A Level.” Amid rumours that “the” new syllabus would include texts by Russell Brand and Dizzie Rascal, she accused the government of “dumbing down” and lamented the passing of the study of traditional texts, such as those written by Shakespeare and Dickens. Her column (and others in rival newspapers) could not have been more wide of the mark: Michael Gove’s policies are decidedly traditionalist. The qualification she was referring to was not English Literature, but English Language – an entirely different A Level. 
Having been accused of not being elitist enough, in an educational sense at least, the government was then attacked over the choice of texts for the new GCSE English Literature. One of the examination boards, OCR, pointed out to journalists that Michael Gove had expressed disappointment that 90% of British teenagers studied Of Mice and Men at GCSE and that this novella, as well as another “GCSE classic” To Kill a Mockingbird, was to be removed from the list of set texts. The requirement is for a post-1914 text to be studied – but it must originate in Britain.
Teachers, academics and teenagers reacted badly. On one end of the scale, Professor John Sutherland wrote in The Guardian about the “Ten American Writers Every Teen Should Read” (and very good they are too). At the other, the hashtag “Mockingbird” trended on Twitter and thousands of passionate - but not always accurate - comments were made.
The Education Secretary then published a riposte. Describing the idea that he has tried to ban American novels as a “myth”, he attached the “culture warriors on Twitter” and pointed out that teachers were still free to teach non-British fiction from the nineteenth century.
My own view is that any changes the government makes are increasingly irrelevant given that 55% of state secondary schools are now academies and are not obliged to follow the national curriculum. The advent of free schools only adds to this picture. 7% of teenagers nationally are educated in independent (fee-paying) schools such as our own.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Royal Marines: 350th Anniversary

by Tony Hicks


"From the Royal Marines Museum, the 1664 RM Challenge Team launched the start of their 1664 km (1034 miles) run around England and across Scotland. Passing through major towns and cities including Exeter, Plymouth, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Reading, they will average 18 miles per day for a total of 58 days.

They marched from the Museum to Canoe Lake, where the run started  along with a Royal Marines Band performance. The first leg will take them from Portsmouth to Poole, in Dorset.

Around 4,200 Royal Marines will be taking part in the challenge over the next 2 months."

More information on the 1664 RM Challenge and on the Royal Marines' 350th anniversary at this site.



Friday, 23 May 2014

PGS Pride

by Josephine Morgan

At the final PGS Pride meeting for this year, a celebration of gay marriage with lots of rainbow wedding cake.


12 New Recipes in 12 Months

by Laura Burden
 

We love watching others cook. The final of The Great British Bake-off was seen by almost 9 million viewers; 4 million tuned into the ninth series of MasterChef. Weighty tomes by Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay or The River Cottage line our kitchen shelves. In spite of this, few of us have an extensive repertoire in the kitchen. A study in 2009 commissioned by Merchant Gourmet found that, of 4,000 mothers surveyed, the average had a range of only nine meals, the most popular dishes being spaghetti bolognaise, roast dinners and shepherd’s pie.
Reviewing my own frequented recipes, I realised that I was sinking into a nutritional as well as a culinary rut. I was eating far too much convenience/packaged food in term time in any case despite loving to cook – but when I did have the energy, the standbys of lentil curry, pork and cider casserole, and veggie pasta were making repeated appearances. I decided to set myself the target of cooking at least one new thing every month for a year.

The verdict on each recipe is below.

1.    Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne – Delia Smith


Easy? ●●○○○ – the nuisance is de-stalking the spinach. I de-stalk if cooking for guests and don’t bother if it’s just for me.

 

Healthy?  ●●○○○ – plenty of spinach…but even more cheese (ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and gorgonzola). Works just fine with margarine instead of butter and with skimmed milk, though.

Tasty? ●●●●● Lovely veggie meal.

Would I cook it again? I’ve cooked this four times now – it’s become part of the repertoire.

 This recipe appears in what has to be the Bible of basic cooking – Delia Smith’s Complete How To Cook. However, it has also been published on the chef’s website and so is legally and freely available: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/italian/pasta/spinach-and-ricotta-lasagne-with-pine-nuts.html
The instructions are perfectly easy to follow. This is a delicious recipe that freezes well and can be used at dinner parties as well as for home cooking.

2.    Slow-cooked Fiery Lamb – Gordon Ramsay


Easy? ●●●●○ As long as you have the spices in stock, it is straightforward.

Healthy? ●●●●○ Aside from the fact that it’s a meal based around red meat, this is healthy.

Tasty? ●●○○○ Depends if you like spicy lamb.

Would I cook it again? Probably not – but that’s because I prefer my other lamb shank recipes.

This recipe appears in Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course but has been reproduced with the chef’s permission on the Channel 4 website http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/chefs/gordon-ramsay/slow-cooked-fiery-lamb-shanks-recipe  The instructions are very clear. It is a recipe that demands some forethought – the lamb needs to be marinated for at least an hour but preferably overnight, and once prepared the cooking time is three hours.
I love lamb shanks and cook them fairly often, usually with white wine, leeks and pearl barley...and, therefore, although this recipe worked well, I think I prefer shanks without the spice.

3.    Quinoa, Pumpkin and Orange Salad – Tony Chiodo


Easy? ●●●○○ Worth the trouble

Healthy? ●●●●● Healthy, varied summer meal.

Tasty? ●●●●○ Most of my friends who have had this liked it. I use butternut squash instead of pumpkin.

Would I cook it again? Yes. Good veggie standby, especially at barbeques.

 I cut this recipe out of The Times – it’s by a chef called Tony Chiodo and from his book Feel Good Food. Variants can be found online. If you have never tried quinoa, it’s a South American grain that can be treated in a similar way to couscous – it needs to be cooked but can be chilled for salads. You know it’s ready when a little “tail” emerges from the grain. I encountered it walking the Inca Trail in 2005 and have been cooking it ever since.
Essentially, you boil 250g of quinoa in 375ml of water and then simmer it until the water has been absorbed. The quinoa is then set aside to cool. Next, you chop two small onions and fry them with a pinch of salt before adding one and a half tablespoons of white wine vinegar and two tablespoons of orange juice. At this point you’re supposed to add 200g pumpkin and fry that as well, but I roast a butternut squash in the oven instead. When cooled, add the onion mixture, squash/pumpkin and some pumpkin seeds to the quinoa and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and orange zest.

This one is well worth trying: it’s filling enough to be a vegetarian meal in its own right but also works as a side salad.

4.    Melanzane alla Parmigiana (aubergines with parmesan and tomato) – Antonio Carluccio


Easy? ●●●●● Dead easy.

Healthy? ●●●○○ Packed with vegetables but cheesy.

Tasty? Very.

Would I cook it again? Probably but haven’t yet – a useful alternative to my usual veggie pasta and it freezes well.

 I was upset that Fire and Stone closed in Gunwharf but slightly mollified when a Carluccio’s opened instead. This recipe is from Antonio Carluccio’s Perfect Italian Cooking.
Thinly slice three aubergines: soak the pieces in cold water and then pat them dry.  Beat three eggs and add a pinch of salt, then dip the aubergine slices into the mixture and fry them until golden. Set the eggy aubergine aside, heat the oven to 200C and make a basic tomato sauce with 800g chopped tomatoes and garlic. Then, layer the tomato sauce and aubergines and 250g parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes.

Providing that you like aubergine, this is worth cooking – it requires very few ingredients and is incredibly simple to make.

5.    Rose Harissa Pork with Quinoa and Dates – Georgina Fuggle


Easy? ●●●●○ Once you have the ingredients in stock this is simple to follow and, as you only need a casserole dish, there is little washing up. Rose harissa paste is available in most supermarkets: you need half a jar.

Healthy? ●●●●● Varied and perfectly healthy as long as you go easy on the oil when frying the pork. Harissa paste varies in its oil/calorie content so read the labels of the different brands available on the shelf.

Tasty? ●●●●○ Lovely – but you must “seal” the pork properly when frying it or it will dry out in the oven.

Would I cook it again? This one has become a firm favourite.

I cut this recipe out of a newspaper. It is from Georgina Fuggle’s book Take One Pot and her publisher has made it available online http://www.kylebooks.com/pid/page/newsletter_recipe5  

This is a fantastic dish that is quick and easy to make. The recipe specified that it serves two or three but I’ve found that I can eke four meals out of it – three with the spicy quinoa and pork and a smaller one of just the quinoa mix.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Four albums I can’t stop listening to at the moment!

by Grace Gawn

I tend to go through phases with my music – I’ll listen to one band non-stop for a few weeks until I am sick of the sound of them, and then I’ll suddenly remember another musician that I love and they will take pride of place on my iPod for the next fortnight, and so it goes on!

Recently these few albums have been blasting from my CD player, laptop, iPod, in fact any music playing device I can get my hands on (much to the annoyance of my mother who does, I’ve been informed, occasionally like a bit of peace and quiet in the house). If you don’t own these CDs I would recommend you buy them at once!
 

1.      Peace – In Love

In Love is the Worcester four-piece’s insanely catchy debut album. If you’re in to awesome guitar, awesome vocals, and general all-round awesomeness (for lack of a better way to describe their music) then this one’s for you. They have been described as having influences from everything from Nirvana to Two Door Cinema Club, but, regardless of where their sound comes from, this album is undoubtedly a brilliant listen.

Favourite Songs: Float Forever, Wraith, Toxic, California Daze



 2.      Nirvana – Nirvana

It was tough to choose a specific Nirvana album to write about, as I tend to put all the albums of theirs that I own on shuffle and just enjoy the grungy goodness for 68 songs. However, this 15-track ‘Best Of’ compilation album includes most of the classic songs! Admittedly, it is missing some of my favourites, like Polly and Breed, but, if you’re looking for just one Nirvana CD to broaden your musical horizons, this would certainly be a good place to start!

Favourite Songs: The Man Who Sold The World, Lithium, Dumb, Smells Like Teen Spirit (of course!)

 
 
3.      The 1975 – The 1975

Another self-titled album from another brilliant band. There’s been a lot of hype about these fellas lately so I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ve probably heard of them, and rightly so! Their music could be classified as rock/indie/pop, but there is a lot of variation in style even just on this one album, with some of the songs like Chocolate having rather funkier sounds. Matt Healy’s vocals are brilliant, and just as a side-note he’s quite the looker too for those of you that are interested! Signed, a self-confessed Matt Healy fangirl.

Favourite Songs: Settle Down, Robbers, Chocolate, Girls

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

World's Best Wedding Video

by Melanie Bushell


Last Saturday Jenny Thomas OP (1995-2002) married Joe Michalczuk OP (1994-2001). Joe is showbiz reporter for Sky News and made a video to play for Jenny as a surprise at their reception.

Given the nature of his job, he has access to some people rarely seen in wedding videos. He posted the film on YouTube on Sunday since when it has had over 800,000 views.

It is well worth a couple of minutes of your time.



Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

by Tilly Bell




Looking for Alaska by John Green is about Miles who goes from Florida to a boarding school to follow in his father's footsteps.
 
He desperately wants to make new friends. He meets the boy he shares a room with, Chip, but he is rude and arrogant.
 
Miles meets a girl and falls in love, but she already has a boyfriend; he feels out of place and miserable.
 
However, Miles faces a shocking truth about Alaska and life, and must come to terms with growing up.
 
This is a really gripping read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes reading contemporary novels about teenagers.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Vegetarianism FAQ: “But what about bacon?!?”

Hattie Hammans marks National Veggie Week (19-25 May, 2014)
 

FAQ:  “But what about bacon?!?”

 I’m not gonna sugar coat the serious issue here.

I’m vegetarian, and giving up meat was difficult, because in England, meat is cheap, accessible and eaten by everyone.

And it tastes so good!

Well, here’s the deal. I’m not going to ask you to turn vegan overnight, and only consume tofu and lentils from this point onwards; It doesn’t have to be a sudden, life-changing decision.  

70% of our planet’s agricultural land is used for raising animals that later end up on our supermarket shelves. Animals are essentially inefficient when producing meat; when looking at how much they consume: a cow eats 7kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef.

We’ve all heard of the Amazon rainforest and the scary truth of deforestation; 70% of this is due to animals requiring more grazing land. As a meat eater, you’re using 2.5 times the amount of land than a vegetarian!

While we try and save water on Earth for future generations to come, farming is using 70% of all the freshwater that is taken from lakes across the globe. We’re using 15 times as much water producing one pound of animal protein than one pound of soy protein.

Just over 5 months ago, I made the decision to turn over to the veggies, simply because I couldn’t stand the idea of chewing and swallowing an animal that had once thought, breathed and moved. I realised vegetarianism was much more than animal rights (not that I’m not disgusted by treatment with factory farms) but being veggie really reduces our environmental impact. Swap your meat-based diet and save the planet!
 
 
without dressing up in a Superman costume
 
 

Basically, what I’m trying to say is: if you cut meat from one meal, maybe even two a day, you could be doing a world of difference.

Friday, 16 May 2014

"The Holy Bible" - Manic Street Preachers: A Look Into the Lyrics

by Tim Bustin



Q magazine said it is “among the most lyrically ambitious albums any rock group has ever made” (as well as a “jaw-dropping record” – try not to be put off by the album artwork). 

Whilst every great band is known best for the quality of their music, and today the Manic Street Preachers are one of the largest, with music in punk, Britpop and now modern, the Manics are renowned also for their lyrical brilliance – in a career spanning over 25 years, they have stayed true to their original ideals and delved lyrically into figures such as Churchill, Jackie Collins, Richard Nixon, Pablo Picasso, Elvis and Lenin, produced a number one single about the Spanish civil war and on The Holy Bible, early on in their musical career, the troubled mind of long-missing and sorely-missed lyricist Richard Edwards was heavily explored through his own words – anorexia, depression and self-harm lie amongst songs about the Holocaust, American consumerism, freedom of speech and the death penalty. Richey went missing soon after this album’s release in 1994 (now presumed dead) It makes for a deeply fascinating record, with these dark words sung on musically strong tunes.
On July 7th, the Manics’ new album Futurology is to be released. According to the band, it is “the Holy Bible’s bedfellow” – “dark and nasty but it’s also a celebration of motion, of travel”. And with that in mind, on the album’s 20th anniversary, here is an analysis of some of those fantastic, yet sinister lyrics.

Warning: some of these lyrics are at times explicit. They are mostly too long to fit them fully into the article, but all of the songs analysed below are available on www.youtube.com and you can read the full lyrics at www.azlyrics.com, if you’re so interested. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Images of Iceland

Jack Silver presents some of his photographs from the PGS trip to Iceland, which took place during the Easter holidays.






Wednesday, 14 May 2014

20 Years On: Weezer - ‘The Blue Album’

by Patrick McGuiggan




Weezer’s debut album, affectionately known by fans as ‘The Blue Album’(for obvious reasons), turned 20 years old last weekend and is what I would call a must-own album. Imagine what a nerdy insecure version of The Beach Boys would sound like, add some loud guitars and you’ve got Weezer.
The whole album is not only energetic and catchy, but it is packed full of some wonderfully geeky references and quirky lyrics. No verse showcases this better, than this one from ‘In the Garage’:

‘I’ve got the Dungeon Master’s Guide/
I’ve got a 12-sided die/
I’ve got Kitty Pryde/
And Nightcrawler too/
Waiting there for me/
Yes I do, I do/’
The album is only 10 tracks long, but there is absolutely no filler; every single song is an anthem. Some of my favourites are:

‘Undone: The Sweater Song’ is brilliant, just brilliant, it features a chorus about defiant sweater wearing, and verses full of overheard and uninteresting conversations; what more could you want? If you’ve ever found yourself in a room full of people you detest or at a party awkwardly trying to fit in, this is the song for you.
 
 

‘Buddy Holly’ – Listen to this song and you will find yourself uncontrollably singing ‘woo-hoo’ in no time at all. The song is infectious and perfectly summarises Weezer’s sound: heavy but absolutely full of hooks. Rivers Cuomo had actually planned to leave this song off the album, as he thought it was too cheesy, but thankfully he was convinced otherwise.
 
 

'Say It Ain’t So' is probably my all-time favourite Weezer song. I love it, I always have and I always will; it is a BIG song which has to be played loud to appreciate it in all its glory. Weezer have this innate ability to be massive geeks, yet strangely cool at the same time. In the music video (below), Rivers finishes playing and then casually sips his juice, not a beer, not a shot of whiskey....juice. This epitomises everything which is great about this band, they don't care what anyone thinks and are all the better for it.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Weirdest Instruments Ever Made

by Julia Alsop


As an easily amused musician, I can say, one of the most exciting things to do is to find weird instruments. Ones that seem to have, seemingly, little purpose other than just the novelty of trying to make some form of music from are the most intriguing, and I thought I’d share a few of my favourites to show you all, so you can have a little revision-break giggle.

 1)     Geophone

This is probably the most serious one on the list. The Geophone was invented by the Twentieth Century composer Olivier Messiaen, and was a percussion instrument – a drum filled with lead pellets which, when shook, was meant to represent the sound of dry earth or sand shifting around, and is most famously used in his piece “Des Canyons aux etoiles’. To me it kind of sounds like a wind machine crossed with a sand storm, but I guess that was what he was going for.


A Geophone used in a 2008 production of ‘Des Canyons aux etoiles’

2)     Pyrophone

The Pyrophone, (also know as a fire or gas organ) in which notes are produced by heating glass tubes with flames, causing them to vibrate a produce a pitch. The sound produced sounds flute-like, or perhaps similar to when you put your finger on the rim of a wine glass. I don’t think any music has actually been properly written for it… put there’s always room for a first?


3)     Vegetable Orchestra

Okay, perhaps that’s not a specific instrument – but where weird instruments are concerned they probably take the cookie, or errr, courgette? The Vienna Vegetable have become reasonably well-known in the last few years since videos of their performances have gone up on the Internet. From carrot recorders, to pumpkins drums, and everything in between, they’ll try it. They have to create instruments for every time they perform because, of course, the vegetables won’t keep, and the orchestra members are constantly looking for new sounds they can make from the instruments. This video has some more information on them and shows some of the playing and instrument creation, it makes me tempted to go and raid the cupboards in the kitchen now…


Monday, 12 May 2014

PGS Teachers' Favourite Films

by Henry Ling and Kelvin Shiu

We asked some teachers to name their favourite films, actors, directors and genres. Here are their very diverse responses: 

Mrs Jackson



Harrison Ford in Star Wars IV

Favourite genre is Sci-Fi. I will watch any Sci-Fi movie even if it has really bad reviews.

Favourite film(s) of all time has to be the classic Star Wars Episodes IV, V and VI. I have watched them so many times that I can even quote the Jawas. In fact I think I will put one on again now. I was even sad enough to read all the books when I was younger.

Favourite protagonist: Han Solo. He is just so cool.

Favourite actor: Harrison Ford, but with Sean Connery coming a very close second.

Favourite director is a tricky one as I can appreciate their work without actually liking the films. However going for the all-round package of enjoyable film as well, then I will have to go with Peter Jackson for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series.

Mr McGuiggan

Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in Fight Club

Favourite genre: I don't really have a favourite genre - anything but horror really, because, as a general rule the acting is horrible. I quite often get dragged along to see horror films in the cinema and I complain the whole time; the only decent one I can remember seeing is The Cabin in the Woods. If I had to chose, I would probably say I like thrillers, comedies or anything nerdy, like LOTR, Star Wars or any sort of comic book adaptation.

Favourite film: Pulp Fiction, Fight Club or The Departed

Favourite protagonist: Tony Montana is up there as one of my most memorable protagonists; Scarface is a fantastic film.

Favourite actor: I think actors like Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt have been all consistently brilliant for such a long time. If I had to pick someone less obvious I would have to chose from one of the following: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sam Rockwell or Edward Norton.

Favourite director: Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese are my favourites by far. I also rate David Fincher quite highly, particularly for Fight Club; it's one of the few times I've read a book and thought the film was better. Chuck Palahniuk actually came out and said he thought the film was better than his book, which must be a massive compliment for any director. Of course, the best director I have ever worked with is our own Dom Baker...
  
Mrs Giles


Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs

What is your favourite film genre?
Murder/ serial killer/ forensic/detective

What is your favourite film of all time?
Silence of the Lambs

Who is your favourite protagonist in a film? 
Favourite? – antihero? Shorty in Get Shorty.

Who is your favourite actor?
Sean Connery as James Bond

Which director do you think is the best?
Alfred Hitchcock


Dr Galliver