Six seconds to save a life

By Charlotte Hofton

Friday, January 24, 2014


Six seconds to save a life

From the St John Ambulance video.

THE VIEW FROM HERE MODERN blockbuster films are now so protracted that a single visit to the cinema takes out a major part of our lives.

Books, too, are getting longer — Eleanor Catton won the Man Booker Prize with The Luminaries, which galumphs in at a stonking 832 pages.

Phew! Exhausted or what? Well, here’s something to lighten the load. St John Ambulance has released a video which lasts just six seconds.

Blimey. Didn’t even have time to open my popcorn before it was over.

In fact, I didn’t quite get it the first time round, what with thinking we’d have some ads first, so I was still settling into my seat when the six seconds were up and had to have another pop at it.

Here we go with the second showing. Concentrate. Oh yes, I see. It’s about how to recognise the symptoms of a heart attack.

Coo! Cutting-edge drama at its finest, beautifully edited to the bare bones of necessity.

Last week’s CP report on the video included the verdict of Mark Farmer, regional director for St John Ambulance in the South East: "Six seconds is all it takes to learn how to recognise a heart attack."

I like it. As a strapline: "Six seconds is all it takes" is up there with "Just when you though it was safe to go back in the water" and "Houston, we have a problem."

And the video itself has real punch. That’s punch with a P, which is appropriate because the symptoms we should recognise all begin with a P, too. Pain, pulse, pale, perspiration. See, I’ve remembered it, which shows what a jolly good film this is. Miles better than all those three-hour marathons, in which I sometimes fall asleep. Even when I’m awake, I don’t always get what’s going on.

Why is the hero hanging upside down on a mountain with a dishy blonde when, just before I last dropped off, he was trapped in a submarine with a homicidal dwarf? How did he get out of that one?

Oh, bloody hell, now he’s in a casino, all black tie and rolling dice. Pass me the popcorn.

Damn, now I’ve missed another bit. What’s Judi Dench doing with that gun?

The St John video is, by contrast, a peach to understand. Also practical. That’s peachy and practical, both with a P. See, there’s a theme going on here.

If you haven’t seen it, give it a whirl at and let’s hear it for pithiness.

I feel a play coming on about this cause

I WAS thrilled to find myself described by CP correspondent M. O’Crowley as "entertaining Mr Pugh’s cause" in his letter which so fulsomely raised our MP to a status well above the angels.

I’m not sure, however, what "entertaining Mr Pugh’s cause" has involved. I can’t remember asking the cause round to dinner and giving it fish pie and sherry trifle but who knows?

I shall look through my diary and see if this will refresh my memory.

Mr O’Crowley also accuses my neighbour, Mr Newbery, of entertaining Mr Pugh’s cause. This is absurd.

Mr Newbery’s idea of entertainment is reading back copies of Wisden and no self-respecting cause would ever accept such an invitation.

Still, according to Mr O’Crowley, we seem to be on much the same level as Dr Faustus, who made a pact with the devil. It’s rather titillating and I think I shall write a play about it. Entertaining Mr Pugh’s Cause.

It’s scheming, it’s moody, it’s got cabals and it torments little children with schools reorganisation. Can’t fail.

If I can’t keep a cyclamen alive, how do they grow cannabis?

I WISH to make it clear I do not in any way advocate the growing of cannabis plants in one’s bedroom.

As hobbies go, it is a deplorable method of filling one’s leisure hours and I urge anyone thinking of taking up such an activity to go out and buy a stamp album.

However, on reading in last week’s CP of yet another court case in which somebody was convicted of growing illegal plants at home, I was filled with — well, not exactly admiration but more a kind of curiosity about the whole matter.

You’re always reading about people growing cannabis at home. The Island’s got stacks of these cases on record.

But what I want to know is, how do they do it?

The people involved never seem to live in Kew Garden-style conservatories, nor are they graduates of the School of Horticulture.

The latest case involved cannabis being grown in a rented bedroom in Fairlee Road, Newport.

I, meanwhile, slave away with cyclamens, primulas and poinsettias, tending to their every need on sun-filled sills, ensuring they’re away from draughts, monitoring moisture and temperature.

Dead, all of them, usually within a week.

I don’t think the kind of people who grow cannabis are nearly so punctilious and yet these plants do so well their growers are up before the magistrates before you can say "stoned".

It’s a mystery. I’m tempted to do some research but I suppose I’d better stick in some stamps instead.

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