[Life Write 2014: a draft away from finished, requires a ‘narration,’ mmm, maybe fictionalise, maybe leave as exercise? See you.
UPDATE – so J really liked this. I read it at the farm – bombed, hew. It’s old, I don’t like it so much.]
My enemy at grammar school was Mrs Bitts, the French teacher. Pearl-necklaced, and stocky like Tintin’s opera singer, she campaigned viciously against the deviant behaviourists of the prefabricated classroom. There is little doubt this teacher identified my talent, for those days I wore big shoes and a bright red nose as was the fashion of the times. Still, the veteran Mrs Bitts felt no need to consult the manual in my case. Between us we agreed to manoeuvre my ‘twitter nuisance’ towards a special desk at the front of the class, where, regardless of the cruel punishments, I pursued my flair for French conversation.
I hold no grudges. Only, imagine my horror when Mrs Bitts moved house, relocated fifty yards away from my bedroom window in Molesey [central London]. Most incredibly, I was coerced to share car journeys with the woman. Flattening a spiky mohawk, but retaining eyeliner, I squeezed alongside two be-speckled ‘sons’ she kept (quiet) on the back seats. Each morning’s school run the pair latin-punned, and quite the musical academics, played chess over a briefcase, destined as they were for Cambridge University. I told the creeps I was headed for prison, possibly a narcotics overdose in Seattle, although eventually found myself lodged at the Southampton Academy for my degree of three or third [like an A minus in USA].
With confidence I say nobody much liked me there, except for my wife who stalked mercilessly. Blame her for derailing my ambitious project to become a paid icon. She favoured a scheme of lifetime breeding.
[Anyway] These two boys in the car, when not practising the bassoon and triangle, were founder members of school band ‘Room 33.’
‘Room 33?’ I sneered in ‘85. That is not a band name. That is a room number.’
They played school fairs, parents’ evening. I too had formed a band, with Ben, my best friend, till he dropped me. Our band called the ‘Dicks like Donkeys,’ though the naming of our duo-combo caused us a world of pain on the playground battlefield. So mainly we sat on piles of washing in his box bedroom and planned our celebrity.
‘We need to head down to the BBC and introduce ourselves,’ said Ben.
‘Exactly,’ I replied. ‘The world won’t know what’s hit it. Hit me, Brains.’
‘My TV show,’ he said, ‘is like no other. Simply, you, me – visit the countries of the world. We say all our funny things about these countries to camera.’
‘That is an inspirational conceptuology,’ I said, and Saturday we caught the first bus into town. We were not playing the bus game today, we were not following random strangers home with their shopping. We were going places, and this was the first day of the rest of our lives.
‘I always thought it would just happen.’ I said, looking out of the bus window, ‘thought my genius would shine so brightly…everything is quite inevitable.’
‘No, you need to kick at the door. Kick it down,’ said Ben.
‘You’re so right, Ben,’ I said.
Our plan was to visit the BBC then the Channel Four, later we’d ask the whereabouts of the ITV network.
‘Once we secure an interview with some executive I’ll roll out blueprints. They’re bound to like us,’ said Ben.
We arrived at the security point outside the BBC Shepherd’s Bush headquarters. A white pole blocked the road, alongside of it sat a portacabin. We tapped upon the door of the cabin, and an old Jamaican gent, a commissionaire in uniform, beckoned us inside. He filled the kettle from his sink.
‘Take a seat, boys. How can I help you?’ he said.
‘We’ve come about the launching of our new show,’ we said.
‘Have you now? Well gentlemen, tell me all about it.’
Which we did, I am sure. We left him a piece of paper with our names and our contact details written upon it.
‘That went really well,’ said Ben.
‘Great, and the Channel 4 building is next,’ I said.
Ben and I drifted apart after that day. I google his name from time to time, seems he works in theatre therapy. Suppose I google my own name rather more often. A bloody weirdo poem I wrote about the Falkland islanders still loiters as the number one hit worldwide on listings. I cringe at its discovery once I hit the big time.