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Thank God the Red Cross never sleeps!

A Glasgow theatre has had to change a pantomime costume after being told it was breaking the Geneva Convention.

The dress worn by Nurse Poltis in the Pavilion Theatre production of Robin Hood originally had red crosses on the hat and tunic.

These were changed to green crosses after the British Red Cross informed the theatre it was breaking the law and could face prosecution.

Unauthorised use of the emblem violates the Geneva Conventions Act 1957.

The British Red Cross said it had contacted the Pavilion Theatre over the use of a red cross on a nurse’s costume in the pantomime, The Magical Adventures of Robin Hood.

The previous Nurse Poltis costume violated the Geneva Convention

Panto villain

A spokesman for the humanitarian organisation said: “We have no desire to be the villains of the pantomime or to appear heavy handed, but we do have a very serious obligation to protect the Red Cross emblem.

“The emblem is a special sign of neutrality and protection recognised by all sides during armed conflicts.”

“Misuse of that emblem – even when done in an innocent and light-hearted manner – has to be addressed. Repeated and widespread misuse of the Red Cross emblem could dilute its neutrality and its ability to protect.

Yes, indeed.  Scots panto today, civil war in the Sudan tomorrow……

By the bye, has anybody at the BRC googled “naught nurse costume” lately? I won’t give any examples of the results here because this is a family blog, but let’s just say that the red crosses on some of those rigs ain’t exactly doing much to protect, IF you know what I mean and I think you do…..

By now, anyone who has anything to do with kids of a certain age will have come across the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney.  For those of you unfamiliar with the franchise, the basic idea is that the books relate a bird’s eye view of the hardships of early adolescence by means of a middle-school kid’s stick figure drawings and faux hand-written “diary” entries.

I’ve flipped through one or two of the books and saw the movie.  It all seems harmless enough.  (Although, truth to tell, the kid doesn’t seem to be a wimp so much as a jerk.  Or, since we’re talking about middle-school, is that redundant?)

Well, last evening as I was pottering about, my hand fell on a library book titled Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by one Rachel Renee Russell.  Idly flipping through it, I discovered that the book……relates a bird’s eye view of the hardships of early adolescence by means of a middle-school kid’s stick figure drawings and faux hand-written “diary” entries.

I’m no expert on copyright law, but it seems to me that somebody is sailing pretty close to the wind here. Genre is genre, but in the plot and presentation, I could very easily mistake one of these books for the other.

On the other hand, a quick survey round the web suggests a) that the market for this sort of teen-angst shtick is enormous and b) that it doesn’t seem to take a great deal of effort to knock off something of this sort.  Even a brief glance at the devil’s website reveals half a dozen different variations on the theme.

I may say that I will be glad when this fad dies down: I’ve a sneaking suspicion that the gels are picking up ideas……


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January 2011