Wednesday, July 18, 2018

There, Again

One of the strange things about being involved in dramatic activities in school is the way that each and every production lodges somewhere in memory, such that it's entirely unproblematic to recall the feelings of elation that follow successful performances. I have something close to complete recall of those feelings following our production of Black Comedy back in March 2007, and am experiencing the same elation after tonight's revisiting of Shaffer's farce. Nice!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Working Together

There was a time when I found clichés concerning the virtues of teamwork rather irritating. It was, sadly, all too frequently obvious that the people one worked alongside (or, rather, some of them) displayed a limited capacity for the quality. But over time I've come to appreciate that, given our natural and understandable tendencies towards selfishness, a better way to look at things was to celebrate and enjoy those occasions when genuine teamwork was manifested.

In fact, it's easy to pick out a lot of individuals in all walks of life who don't need to be exposed to the clichés. They just do it, often amazingly unselfishly. I tend to spot the selfishness partly because it's so irritating, and partly because I'm more than a little inclined that way myself, unless I keep it in check.

And also it turns out that over time I've had the enormous good fortune to work in genuine teams now and again; indeed, with surprising frequency with the young people I come into contact with, especially in this part of the world. It's happening to me at the moment as we are striving to get something on stage worth our collective efforts - and it feels good. Very.

Monday, July 16, 2018

All Over

Great World Cup Final, for a change. It had everything - except the best team winning.

Sunday, July 15, 2018


I've had various cheeses on the mind of late. This evening will see the unburdening of those cheeses in the course of the 2 Cheeky Chappies' first and last performance. Trust me, that will be a relief, despite all the many chuckles in the course of preparing said cheeses.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Going Back

Was reminded today in a happy-sad way of a wonderful book and a lesson I taught some time in the early 1980s that I reckon was the best half-hour's work I ever did in a classroom. The sadness came from reading about the death of Clive King, the writer of the children's classic Stig of the Dump; the happiness came from how reading the article ignited so many memories - of the novel itself, of some other great novels for kids I've had the good fortune to read, and sometimes teach, and of how much sheer fun those texts generated in the classrooms of a comprehensive in South Yorkshire.

In case you're thinking I'm deluding myself using the word fun here, let me tell you that the lesson I'm referring to above, which featured a reading of the chapter about Stig and Barney's encounter with the Snargets, ended in something approaching chaos with at least three kids actually rolling laughing on the classroom floor and me unable to complete a number of sentences as I was cracking up in the middle of them to the point that I couldn't see clearly through the tears of my own laughter.

Sometimes books are referred to as magical in a clichéd kind of way. It's no cliché with regard to Mr King's Stig. I must read it again soon, and become young again.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


At 07.35 today I experienced five minutes of utter blind panic, made even more intense somehow by the fact that I had to sit still alongside my class as assembly proceeded. The trigger for this little episode was my sudden realisation that my phone had gone completely dead for no logical reason. I'd taken it out to record the attendance for the day on the SNAC app forced upon us for that purpose and it just didn't work at all.

How I have come to be so utterly dependent on the device I do not know, but the realisation that at a time of maximum busy-ness I simply couldn't cope without it was extremely powerful and horribly salutary.

What I do know is that the panic was dissipated as suddenly as it had descended upon me when it occurred to me that in putting the phone into my pocket, just four minutes earlier, I had somehow switched it off. When the Apple logo cheerfully reappeared after I held down the appropriate button the relief flooding in was as physiologically powerful as the hot whips of panic I'd just been lashed by. (I think the hot whips bit is from Gatsby, as applied to Tom when he feels his life is falling apart.)

And here's the really odd thing. At 07.40 I actually found I'd cheered up considerably on a morning that on the whole had seemed bleak & cheerless in the extreme in its initial stages. (I don't intend to go into too much detail as to the reasons for that mood, but I suspect most Englishmen would have felt pretty much the same.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Feeling absolutely exhausted. Facing a demanding day tomorrow. There's no way I can even think of getting up at 2.00 am to watch the semi-final. But I am. Thinking of it, that is. And thinking how stupid it would be. But still thinking.

And worrying I'll wake early without meaning to, and that I'll end up watching it anyway. Which would be stupid. And potentially devastating (considering the unthinkability of an exit when it was so, so close.) But potentially wonderful, assuming all goes well. But you just can't assume anything in the beautiful game.

Oh, the humanity!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Question Of Packaging

Just ate an excellent salad, purchased in a plastic bowl. It was tasty and, I'm guessing, surpassingly healthy. So it's all good. Except for the bowl. It looks to me as if this is the only use that will ever be made of that piece of plastic, and I don't know where it will end up. I suspect it won't be somewhere that does the world any good.

It's strange to feel guilty, I suppose, especially after eating so well. But I do. Just wish I knew anything that could be done about this - the wasted plastic, that is, not the guilt.

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Crimson Moment

Spent eleven minutes today in the company of the Crimson King, the seven-headed version of the beast. I saw one of the early manifestations of Crimso, the Islands-band, play 21st Century Schizoid Man at the Free Trade Hall Manchester on two occasions in the very early 70s and it fried my teenaged brain. The version to which I listened today is even more ferocious than the ones that I experienced live, but this is a contained, mature fury. More darkly deceptive and dangerous I think.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Green Stuff

Was involved in some fruitful discussion regarding issues of land, property and inheritance early this evening. Fortunately the discussions took place among sensible like-minded people sharing the same objectives. I can see the possibility of what we were talking about doing some real good.

This got me thinking of what an incredibly powerful thing money is, and how easily that power turns out to be destructive. I like the stuff, and enjoy having it, but have the good luck never to have had quite as much of it as I want.