Tuesday, 20 September 2011

To Sir with Love . . . .

I started a script writing class this evening. I applied for it months ago and had almost forgotten about it. The months all kind of rolled into one and it wasn't until I looked at the calendar last week that I remembered I have aspirations to write a movie, with Natalie Portman playing me.
I get as excited about the first night of these classes as I used to about the first day of school. I love seeing what type of people I'm going to be sharing the classroom with and what the tutor is going to be like, but most of all, it's the idea of learning something new and trying my hardest to be good at it that makes me want to write "I love you" on my eye lids and turn up at class with an apple for my teacher.

I was never this excited about learning as a child. I just couldn't wait to show everyone my new shoes in the morning and play Charlie's Angels with the girls at lunch time.

The laws of the classroom don't seem to have changed that much. It doesn't matter how old we get there is always going to be the class geek, the shy one, the loud mouth, the pretty one and the one that no one wants to sit next to.
The only difference is, in a class full of adults, the one whom no one wants to sit next to shouldn't really  stink of piss. . . and they should always be able to afford their lunch.
I remember getting my legs slapped for refusing to hold the hand of a girl in my primary school because she had an incontinence problem. I had tucked my arm inside my sweater and instead gave her the sleeve to hold onto. I was only found out because it was a country dancing class and she had stretched my sleeve to twice it's length.

I can normally tell by the end of the first class who is going to drop out, who's going to have a classroom meltdown and who's going to last the distance.
I'm now a veteran of "adult education" so have learned that the initial class will have around 28 pupils, the second week I'll be sharing with around 20, the 3rd will only be about 12 (plus stragglers) and three months in it may as well be last call at a singles bar with the tutor behaving like he's got a fast car, a bag full of cocaine and a humongous dick.


I'm always early for class and it makes me furious when anyone turns up late. I hate lateness anyway but you best believe that if I'm paying to be taught a lesson, I'm going to damn well teach you one if you come loafing into my learning time and start disrupting it. You can't say you've over slept when the class starts at 7.30pm on a Monday evening. I don't care what your excuse is, I'm forty now and my brain cells are dying fast enough without having to wait for you to drag your tardy arse into the classroom. 


We had to do the oddest thing this evening as an "ice breaker". We had to introduce ourselves and say three fascinating things about ourselves but one had to be a lie. This is not the sort of thing you would want to teach a classroom full of children, how to be a convincing liar, but for adults, I'm all for it.
As usual, some people are so dull that their fascinating lie was " I have a cat called Monty" or "my husband has brown hair".
 I made all three of my things up.
"My real name is Brenda" "I am the plaything of the Libyan President" and "I've shit my pants". It turned out that I am so adept at lying they actually believed all three and no one wanted to hold my hand at break time.

My tutor has had "success" as a screen writer "allegedly". I've googled him and he wrote a couple of episodes of "The Bill" and something else that never made it to a terrestrial channel. I like him though. Every one of my tutors has been slightly eccentric. I absolutely loved my creative writing teacher, he had a shock of white hair and looked like he wore a nappy. I spent mostly every class slumped down in my chair and looking directly between his legs. I'd only sit up straight when it was my time to read.

I think this is why I love going back to school as well. I get to show off. I am always the first to volunteer to read, to start a group, to venture an opinion and to tell someone their story sounds like they copied it from a trashy magazine. I like to be helpful in class.

My homework this week is to watch something from my DVD collection and then write a scene from it as a script, whomever has their work identified correctly the most times gets a gold star.
Now it doesn't take a genius to work out a popular film so we have to make it as brief as possible:

It's dark
There's a big ship
There's a bit of ice
There's a big gash
Jack, Jack,
Glug, Glug, Glug

Cut to:

Some really withered feet with what look like clippity claws on them
"Oops, I've dropped it to the bottom of the ocean"

The End.

And the gold star is mine.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

That ain't Road Kill, that's my boyfriend . . .

I found the most amazing shop last weekend.
It was amazing to me because it had a stuffed badger, a huge pheasant feathered fascinator (try saying that with a mouth full of marbles), a pair of Victorian artificial legs and a dentists spittoon in the window.
 It was a window with a message and it was screaming "Dorothy, I don't think we're in Argo's anymore".
The lady who owned it looked like a gorgeous cross between a 1930's pin up and a vampire rock chick, all tattoos, attitude and bright, devilish eyes.
 She had taken artefact's and curiosities, the discarded and the unwanted, the abandoned and the useless and she had made these things look beautiful again.
This was a woman who went looking for road kill, cared for it, brought it back to life and displayed it in a store full of our most beautiful nightmares. She's the most glamorous Dr Frankenstein you are ever going to see, and with nail polish.

I really wanted to buy the shearling hat with the real antler horns attached, not because I thought it looked good on me, just because I thought it would be nice for the antlers to be out in the fresh air again. If I'd have bought it I would have worn it one misty morning and gone roaming around Dartmoor or somewhere that things with antlers live. I would have had a sniff about, maybe ate some grass and chased a few tourists. Just for the fun of it.

There was a beautiful white fur coat that I instinctively touched and said how soft it felt "oh, that's rat fur" was the reply. Who the hell wants to wear a coat made of rats? I automatically started to question my thinking about how filthy, ugly and dirty rats are . . .and what beautiful coats they could be.

There was the most stunningly carved lamp that used to be a horses head, but I didn't see a dead horse. I just saw the most delicate craftsmanship and attention to detail and I thought how lovely it would look hanging on my wall, next to my elephant tusks & moose head (that is a joke, please don't call the RSPCA).

The store and it's macabre wares got me to thinking. How many things have I left behind? How many things have I discarded or thought of as road kill? How many things I thought were of no consequence before but would be of great beauty and treasure to someone else?

I then started to think of how many times I have been treated as road kill myself. Many times I've been dragged along at high speed, hit a few bumps in the road and flipped over the car bonnet but I've always managed to skip straight over the roof and land right back on my feet again, even if it was in oncoming traffic.
Not all of us manage that in life, some people just keep getting knocked down and never get made into anything beautiful, they just stay broken.
I'm not saying we should all go and get our ex boyfriends, forgotten friends and tainted lovers and make them into an ashtray. I'm just saying, sometimes the things that we think are useless, or ugly, or are of no use to us can still be beautiful and valid, if not to us then to someone else.

So next time you pass a dead fox in the road, go back and get it and in these austere times make sure you really do  "make do and mend" and next time someone really upsets you, breaks your heart or treads on your toe, don't be mean, just smile and say "I know a lady who could make you into a really beautiful lamp shade."

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Return of the Baby Snatchers.

I've never wanted a baby, much like I've never wanted a pair of diamond earrings. I can admire babies and earrings but to me they would be utterly useless. I could have a pair of diamond earrings if I really wanted and I could have a baby if I wanted but neither would really suit me and if things got hard I truly believe I would end up selling both of them. (The twins, not the earrings).

I seem to get asked a lot by my 'girlfriends' why I don't want children. 
Firstly, I have no patience. If the child wasn't reading, making it's own bed and mixing cocktails by the age of five it would be out of the door with no allowance. 
I also couldn't put up with any screaming or crying. The older I get the more noise sensitive I get and unless it's the "ker- ching" of a cash register or someone saying "of course you can have that" I don't want to hear it. 
Tantrums? The baby best not even start because I would seriously walk away and leave it in the middle of the street. I'm all for confrontation but you cannot have a fist fight with a four year old.
I don't think I'd be very good at teaching a baby to walk either.  How do you do it? Drive the baby far far away from home, sit it down on the edge of a field and then put peddle to metal and hope it follows? I'd really hate to see it gaining on me in my rear view mirror.
What if it got dark and I hadn't strapped a bedside lamp to it's head?

I hear parents say that there is no such love as you have for a child but I don't believe that either. How can you love something that can't drive and eats food that looks the same coming out as it did going in?
Nappies (or diapers for the Americans amongst you) would not get changed in my house. If that baby wasn't probably toilet trained within a couple of days it would be on a liquid only diet.
Also, I would have no idea what to feed a baby, if it couldn't masticate I'm afraid it would have to wear dentures and watch the dog. 
I've seen people trying to coax a baby to eat and making ridiculous "Choo Choo" train noises or pretending the spoon is an aeroplane and it's coming into land??!  If I had to do that three times a day you best believe that baby better be clocking up some serious air miles...And not for some budget airline either.

Babies are just too much work, too much hassle and too much trouble. I don't want anyone in my house staggering around, drinking out of a bottle and then falling down unless it's me.
They are not the prettiest of creatures either. I know everyone thinks that their baby is the most beautiful but seriously?? No baby is pretty. It's just fat, bald and wrinkly. Do you really want to get woken up four times in the night by someone who looks like that? 
I think the only time I'd really like a baby is if I was on a sinking ship. Then I could reenact that scene in Titanic when Billy Zane cries "I'm all she's got in the world" and drags that little girl onto the boat (leaving Kate Winslet to float about on a bit of wood and Leonardo Di Caprio to sink to the bottom of the North Atlantic). If only Kate had dressed Leo up as a baby in a bonnet they could have both been saved.

 I know there will be mothers amongst you who are probably on the phone to social services right now or booking me an urgent appointment to get my tubes tied but do not fear. I am far too selfish to ever bring a child into this world. I've never even thought of the "who's going to love and look after me when I'm old" argument. 
If I do ever get old I'll love and look after myself .
Or I'll get my mum to do it.