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Be careful playing those swinging games with your children!

  Photograph: Alexander Chow-Stuart I was playing with our almost two year old daughter last night, swinging her around by her hands in a whirl that always makes her look blissful...when I heard a pop! I knew something in her left arm had changed and she started holding her wrist and saying, "Ouchy," and crying a little (very little, brave girl). We called our pediatrician, Dr Jay Gordon, to ask if we should take her to ER and he said that she had dislocated her elbow - the pain gets referred to the wrist for some reason. He tried to talk us through popping it back in by pulling and rotating her arm but after several attempts, we were too worried about hurting her and said we would take her to ER to do it. Dr Gordon called back a few minutes later to tell us that our local ER had a 4-6 hour wait (everyone is sick at the moment) and that he would meet us at his office at 8pm to do it for us. So we drove to Santa Monica and Dr Gordon popped Paradise's arm back

Happy Holidays To All This Festive Season!

Photograph by Alexander Chow-Stuart

Sofia Coppola's Somewhere - My Film of the Year

  Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere is a rare jewel in this year’s crop of movies: a film that actually made me feel and think about the characters, a film that mesmerized me with its stillness and its quietness, a film that I know I will return to, for its haunting mix of loneliness and the gentle love that family can offer. A highly personal film rather than simply an autobiographical one (Woody Allen’s Manhattan comes to mind as a reference, not in terms of feel but in how that movie reflected both his love of New York and foreshadowed his relationship with a much younger woman), Somewhere draws a deeply shadowed yet highly subtle portrait of a celebrity-scored father-daughter relationship. The father, superbly played by Stephen Dorff , is a not-quite-A-list movie star, Johnny Marco, who spends much of the movie holed up in LA’s wonderfully atmospheric and unique Chateau Marmont hotel.  There, he mixes empty and quite movingly lonely sexual encounters (including a series of a

The End of America

I have just posted a preview of The End of America , the two-hour Channel 4 TV documentary (first broadcast in Britain in January 2000) based on my book, Life On Mars , about my move to South Beach in Miami in the 1990s. Directed by Laura Ashton , the documentary features music by my pal, Andrew Hale , and songs written and performed by another longtime Miami friend, John Hood , who features prominently in the documentary. You can read my article about making The End of America in Britain's Guardian newspaper by clicking here. Warning: The documentary extract contains some graphic language, not suitable for children.

Block Town - Spatial Play

Magnetic blocks and light box Our son, who is six, is lucky enough to be at a school and in a kindergarten class (with two outstanding teachers) where the importance of block play is fully appreciated. Far more than mere entertainment or diversion, blocks are important tools for learning about spatial relationships (in our online world, too many of us think in two dimensions rather than three), collaboration with others, building design (Frank Lloyd Wright credited childhood block play with inspiring his love of architecture), problem solving - and even urban planning. Our son's class has allowed the growth of "Block Town" - as the children themselves named it - over a period of two months. It now covers almost the entire floor of one classroom, includes an airport runway, a hotel, office buildings, a police station and an aquarium...and has consumed every block available! The children have also made extensive use of tape to bind blocks together into vehicles a