Stupid Questions about London

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  • Stupid Questions about London

    To my friends on the other side of the pond, I have a few questions..

    1) Is it silly to refer to spring as fresh and crisp over there? It works best for a scene I'm writing that the weather be beautifully fresh and crisp on the last day of school for some kids. I often, however, hear how gloomy it is and just don't want to sound like I am unfamiliar with the setting.

    2) When, typically, does middle school end and high school begin? After the 8th grade (i.e. 14 yrs old) And then you start high school at 15-ish?

    3) Is it possible that a teenager could have an auto shop class in middle school? If not, is it an acceptable cheat for the world of a character?

    I have many more questions about the lovely London, but will just start with these.

    Thanks for your help.

    Santino

  • #2
    Re: Stupid Questions about London

    Fresh and crisp? Hell, I remember summers there when I didn't take off my sweater.

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    • #3
      Re: Stupid Questions about London

      That's because there was no good ol' Global Warming in your day Jake. This has been the hottest April on record. The worrying thing is, they seem to say that every April.

      There's a saying in Scotland which is almost true here "If you don't like the weather, wait twenty minutes". Spring can be hot, crisp, rainy, cold or just about any type of weather you can think of.

      Middle school ends when you are fifteen going on sixteen.

      Going back a few years when I was working at a school (not as a teacher; fitting CCTV) I remember them having auto shop as an extra-curriculum activity. Never heard of it being taught during school hours. (at a high school - definately not at middle school.) This might work for you though if the kid was finishing school, running off to the High School and as long as the pupils gave him a school uniform to wear, the mechanic wouldn't know the difference.

      Any more questions, just feel free to ask.
      A lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded,
      A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.

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      • #4
        Re: Stupid Questions about London

        1 - You can call it that, yes.

        2 - Don't know off the top of my head. Probably a google will find that answer.

        3 - I ain't a teacher, but that sounds pretty far-fetched. Perhaps he just works with someone in a 'garage' in the evenings and weekends.

        The biggest problem you'll have is using English-English vs American English. 'Auto shop' class sounds very American-English to me.

        EJ

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        • #5
          Re: Stupid Questions about London

          The most gorgeous summer in all my years there was the summer of the Falklands War, which was also the first summer of my daughter's life. Spectacular weather. I bet Maggie would take credit for it, too.

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          • #6
            Re: Stupid Questions about London

            Thanks guys.

            Sounds like I'd better make the auto-shop talent an external one as it wouldn't be taught in middle school.

            And regarding the English-to-English vocabulary.

            I had always assumed that once the script was done I would just trade script-reads with one of you brits and part of your critique would be to tell me just where it sounds too American.


            Santino

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            • #7
              Re: Stupid Questions about London

              Ahh, the Falklands War. That takes me back . . . to when I was seven.
              A lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded,
              A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Stupid Questions about London

                Originally posted by santino2699 View Post
                To my friends on the other side of the pond, I have a few questions..

                1) Is it silly to refer to spring as fresh and crisp over there? It works best for a scene I'm writing that the weather be beautifully fresh and crisp on the last day of school for some kids. I often, however, hear how gloomy it is and just don't want to sound like I am unfamiliar with the setting.

                Last day of the school year here is likely in late June / early July - not so much fresh and crisp especially in London - but around this time of the year then that description is fine (tho it's rather toasty at the minute)

                2) When, typically, does middle school end and high school begin? After the 8th grade (i.e. 14 yrs old) And then you start high school at 15-ish?

                It works differently all over the country. Some counties do 4-11 / 11-16 (or 18 if they have a sixth form) and others have a more American system where (I seem to recall friends telling me) it's as you stated above.

                3) Is it possible that a teenager could have an auto shop class in middle school? If not, is it an acceptable cheat for the world of a character?

                I don't recall ever hearing of auto shop classes over here but EJ's suggestion is a good one if it fits with your story. A fair few guys I grew up with did just that - and many still work at the same place now.

                I have many more questions about the lovely London, but will just start with these.

                Thanks for your help.

                Santino
                .
                twitter.com/leespatterson

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Stupid Questions about London

                  Originally posted by -XL- View Post
                  Last day of the school year here is likely in late June / early July - not so much fresh and crisp especially in London - but around this time of the year then that description is fine (tho it's rather toasty at the minute).
                  Yes, indeedy. Nice and sunny. After 12 years here (along with the correspondingly drab summers), I've begun to realize that, yes, you CAN learn to love global warming.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Stupid Questions about London

                    re "I had always assumed that once the script was done I would just trade script-reads with one of you brits and part of your critique would be to tell me just where it sounds too American."

                    you might want to hunt down a Brit or two, and spend some time soaking up the vernacular and speech patterns and rythmns and slang - and save yourself a lot of possible rewriting.. otherwise it might all be way less triffic and wicked and a lot more pear shaped than expected Soak up lots of UK movies/TV, to get a sense of how people say things and more importantly, what they infer rather than overtly say (which is one of the big differences between American dialog and UK dialog usually)

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                    • #11
                      Re: Stupid Questions about London

                      Originally posted by santino2699 View Post
                      To my friends on the other side of the pond, I have a few questions..

                      1) Is it silly to refer to spring as fresh and crisp over there? It works best for a scene I'm writing that the weather be beautifully fresh and crisp on the last day of school for some kids. I often, however, hear how gloomy it is and just don't want to sound like I am unfamiliar with the setting.
                      It's funny you should say that, because traditionally, Spring, early on at the beginning, is fresh and crisp. The reason is early in the morning, with morning dew, a cool breeze, before the sun reaches it's hottest and warms up, it can be like that. As we progress further into April then it becomes warmer. The fact that April 2007 is one of the hottest on record is another matter. But in literary terms, I'd say to have a good point.

                      The South of England is always warmer because of the continental currents which breeze across from France. Visit Bournemouth at this time of year and you'll find all manner of people sun bathing on the beach, swimming, boating amongst other things.

                      I live in the North West, it's colder up here. The further north you go the colder it gets. Go all the way up to Scotland and you get my meaning.

                      But when a British summer is in full swing, everywhere can feel like California.

                      Last summer, we had a heat wave here. I flew out to O'Hare airport in Chicago and drove down to Wisconsin. Spent 10 days down there and later a couple in Chicago. 110 degree heat. I returned to find it was just as hot here. Maybe not as hot but around the high 90's, nearly 100 in fact.

                      You'll find the quality of heat changes from region to region.

                      I've seen it snow in London and not in the North and in January. Can also be the inverse of that, snow in the north and not in London. British weather can be confusing to a foreigner.. It's usually the rain that scares them off but it doesn't rain as much as you think, this is a myth. But I must confess to appreciating the term "an English rain", I like that description and know exactly what's meant by it.

                      Originally posted by santino2699 View Post
                      2) When, typically, does middle school end and high school begin? After the 8th grade (i.e. 14 yrs old) And then you start high school at 15-ish?
                      Middle school ends at the age of 10 going on age 11.

                      English kids move up to a senior school at age 11 and continue their studies until age 16. Most schools have a 6th Form where kids stay in a further two years to study "A Levels" which are the appropriate entry qualification into university to study at undergraduate level for a Bachelor's Degree (B.A.) or a Bachelor's Degree with Honors (B.A. Hns). Most degree subjects come with Honors now..

                      Originally posted by santino2699 View Post
                      3) Is it possible that a teenager could have an auto shop class in middle school? If not, is it an acceptable cheat for the world of a character?
                      No. Here's the grade of schools depending upon age classification:

                      #1 Primary School: attend 3 years from the ages of 5 to 8

                      #2 Junoir School: attend 4 years from age 8 to 11

                      #3 Senoir School: attend 4 years from age 11 to 16

                      Some kids remain at school in what is referred to as the 6th Form. These kids study their A Levels as mentioned to gain entry into a university.

                      Others, who may not appreciate a school ethos or regimen, opt to leave and enroll in a local college (much like a High School in the U.S.).

                      The courses on offer at these local colleges offer three-tiered study levels:

                      A) A Levels - 2 year study from age 16 to 18

                      B) Vocational Based training and or study combined.

                      c) Service the local business community, vocational.

                      So in anything, the local college is more like the U.S. High School model but not all kids opt to go. A lot of kids leave school at 16 years of age with little or no qualifications and usually, are unable to secure a job, unless it is low-pay in a place like the Macdonald's model, or some such similar place.

                      Originally posted by santino2699 View Post
                      I have many more questions about the lovely London, but will just start with these.

                      Thanks for your help.

                      Santino
                      If you want a reader to read your screenplay once completed PM me, I'll do it for you and I'll provide notes for you. And I'm good with slang and can offer to correct or modify any language used so it may sound regional if you require this also.

                      One more thing, Its not referred to "Auto Shop" here, it's called "Car Mechanics".. Somebody who is qualified in this vocational area is referred to as a "Mechanic".. These can also be sub-divided, Car, Diesel, Bus, usally because some are more specialist than others..


                      Kevan
                      Last edited by Kevan; 04-28-2007, 09:26 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Stupid Questions about London

                        Originally posted by Kevan View Post
                        Middle school ends at the age of 10 going on age 11.
                        Oops. He's right. Sorry about the duff info.
                        A lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded,
                        A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Stupid Questions about London

                          I'm not British but Falklands War? Wow, I wasn't even born yet.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Stupid Questions about London

                            Great information, guys.

                            (or blokes)

                            So can you all provide any names of co-educational schools in downtown London?
                            I've tried searching online and can't seem to come up with much.

                            I need it to be a school that would teach both sexes and be equivalent to our high school. (So, you'd call it senior school, I assume?)

                            I'm looking for a name that clicks with my project.

                            Any help pointing me in the right direction would be appreciated.

                            Thanks again
                            S

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                            • #15
                              Re: Stupid Questions about London

                              Santino, public schools are known as "comprehensives": private schools are known as "public schools". So you're looking for comprehensives. And London doesn't have a downtown as, say, NY does. It's like LA in that there's a City of London (in the East End), but that everything around it belongs to a borough (i.e. Kensington & Chelsea, Camden, etc.). And each borough--each town within it--possesses a different character and different economic and social base. Brixton means a very different thing from Hampstead, for instance, and the name of either instantly sends a whole raft of associations.

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