Tuesday 2 February 2010

Two of a kind

I'm not a bitter man, but my swanky mobile that took me many weeks to learn to use is back for repair for the third time in six months, and I'm reduced to using a phone that's five years old. Not really a problem, but what I've discovered is that I've known nearly all my current friends less than five years. And even Grandma in Cyprus has had the temerity to move abroad in that time. So I'm getting texts and I'm not sure who they're from, and I'm not able to call or text other people I'd like to. Such is the modern world.

I'm not a bitter man, but I've just had to have the petrol tank on the motorbike replaced after just a year. Evidently petrol dripping onto a hot engine is not a good thing, and I could have been flame grilled. I like Burger King.

I was lucky enough last year to go and see Jude Law in Hamlet. He was a surprisingly good, and the whole play was fab....the staging was fantastic. I've no idea what the critics thought. But the main topic of conversation over the interval drinks was how big his hands are. Even now, I hold in my memory a spitting image memory of a man with gigantic hands.

I was lucky enough this weekend to go and see Kiera Knightly in the Misanthrope. She was surprisingly good - although she started off no better than a sixth form drama student, by the end she had captivated the audience with her performance. I've no idea what the critics thought. But the main topic of conversation over drinks at the interval was that her nipples were very prominent. Chapel hat pegs was the phrase used. And not just hers. Tara Fitzgeralds's too. I must quickly point out that it was the women that started this topic and the men just gazed wistfully at the floor, the ceiling, the wallpaper, and nodded as if they hadn't noticed. It must have been cold on the stage....and we were sitting in the front row.

Sunday 31 January 2010

School inspectors

An e-mail arrived yesterday from the Headmistress. The independent school inspectors are descending in five days, and would we be kind enough to fill in their questionaire. There's one for the boy to do too. Of course, I did it straight away, and filled it with glowing comments about the school, the teachers and the community spirit there.

But having reflected a bit now, I may have been too quick off the mark, and perhaps I should have thought a little longer, rather than giving my unquestioned support.

Last term was a rough one for the boy. Not disastrous, and in fact his school report was excellent. But there was enough happening to demoralise someone who is described by the Headmistress as 'one of my stars'. She should be in PR.

The boy has three loves at school. Four, if you count his girlfriend. He loves being on the stage, and was angered that the play he was in for the House competition was disqualified by one of the teachers because it took the odd pot-shot at some of the staff. All in the best possible taste, and nothing that hasn't been done in a far more cruel way in the past (according to my old English teacher. But I still feel the indignation of a hard done-by 14 year old.

He loves the Army Cadets...his love of which may finally break my heart if he does what he says he will and joins the armed forces. I've told him I'm busy on the day of his funeral. There was an 'incident' (bears in the woods) at Camp, and the subsequent investigation to find the culprits brought out the worst kind of bullying by one of the teachers. I had to step in, and my anger was apparent.

He loves his rugby, but was sent off for a punch to the opposition. Provocation is a hard thing. He was devastated, and served his three-match ban with stoicism. Helped no doubt by the kudos the crime had given him. But to add insult to injury, at the end of term, when awards (Colours) were given out, he was told he would have got them, but for the sending off. To me it was a double punishment, and he should never have been told that. Cue call to headmistress and all round agreement that it had been badly handled. But damage done.

This term has not got off to a good start. There is a performance he is involved in Taal (the school's celebration of Asian culture)). He has a leading part. He is still doing CCF - and getting high praise. And he has been selected for a lead role in the middle-school play. And therein lies the problem. The teacher running this (who, allegedly is the teacher that disqualiified the boy's House play) believes that the whole world should revolve the play, effectively banning all other activities. Supposedly he had discussed the matter with the CCF, and Cadets who are in the play will be excused parade on relevant days. Except the CCF didn't seem to know about this, and have tutted disapprovingly at the boy. It appears there is a game of territoriality going on amongst the teaching staff, with the pupils suffering unnecessary pressure and stress.

I may just be bleating...but may yet re-submit my comments