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Ian Wright's autobiography

Hola. Hope you are well.

I’m writing this blog today (a Tues) as I was in Valencia last week and only came back late last night and even though I am dedicated to this blog, even I couldn’t be bothered to type it up last night.

The break away was good, nothing of much note happened, although an older Spanish lady did approach me on the beach and basically said, ‘I’d caught all of the sun and I’d not left any for anyone else’. I presume she was referring to the fact that I am black. It was an odd exchange, I say exchange but I never said anything as she said all this in Spanish and I don’t speak Spanish, so ‘Her With One Permanent Job’ had to translate it to me after the lady had gone. I feel I must say at this stage that, I don’t think the lady was being racist, as she was saying it all with a smile on her face but I do think it is a little odd to go up to a complete stranger and say something like that. Let’s just put it down to cultural differences.

Also whilst I was away Amy Winehouse died, which felt kind of weird. I was trying to work out why it weirded me out so much and the conclusion I came up with was that being away from home meant that I was away from all my usual sources of information and opinion. And without these, it was left to me to formulate my own thoughts on the matter. It’s a bit like when I’m in the pub watching football and they don’t have the commentary on. Not to make light on a sad situation but I don’t think it helped that I was on the toilet when I heard the news (apologies if that is too much info). All I heard was ‘HWOPJ’ scream “I think Amy Winehouse is dead”, the fact that the news coverage was in Catalan was the reason for her not being definite. She does have form on such matters because when Stephen Gately died, I was once again in a different room (not the bathroom) and again she shouted, “I think Stephen Gately has died”. This news report was in English so I’m not sure what the possible confusion was.

If not much happened during the holiday, getting to the airport proved more problematic. This was because we got cautioned by a Revenue Officer (Aidan 1004) on the train for travelling without a ticket. In our defence we were expecting to buy a ticket on the train as we did when we did that exact journey in November, but that wasn’t the case. Despite Aidan 1004 having a ticket machine he was unable or unwilling to sell us a ticket. Instead at Gatwick he issued us with a caution and when I say a caution, I mean he did the whole spiel about, “You do not have to say anything, but anything you do say will be noted and maybe used in evidence”. I’m not in any way saying this is a way for the train company to increase their coffers by fining people but the fact his title is Revenue Officer and not  Ticket Inspector, for example, does make me a little suspicious. Anyway I’m going to contest any fine should one be forthcoming, I will no doubt keep you informed.

Now I’m back, I have the realisation that I’m currently on downtime as there’s no schools open for me to work in and I have nothing lined up. Normally when faced by a period of uncertainty and poverty, I usually get stressed out. But at the moment I feel quite calm about things, I’m not sure why but it might have something to do with the fact that in the book 59 seconds that I was recently reading it had a chapter about how to deal with stress. It could be that or it could just be the fact that I’ve not fully comprehended the seriousness of my situation.

During my downtime, I’ve decided I’m going to run and eat potatoes. My reasoning being that in Sept, ‘HWOPJ’ and I are doing the Great North Run ( a half marathon) and I heard that Fearne Cotton did it last year in around 2hrs, so now I want to do it in around 2hrs. My thinking is that Fearne has achieved so much more in broadcasting than I have, so this is a chance for me to go a little way to addressing the balance. And my thinking with regards to the potatoes is that they are relatively cheap and yet fill you up. Essential if you haven’t got much disposable cash.

Talking of books as I was with 59 Seconds, I was speaking to someone recently who told me they have not read a book for 15 years. That seems like a long time, can anyone match that? The last book he read was Ian Wright’s autobiography, which probably explains a lot as I too have read that book and what I think must have happened is the guy in question must have read it and thought books don’t get any better than this, so it’s not worth reading any others. Retire when on top etc… The only problem with this approach is that you run the risk of missing out on any great books written after Ian Wright’s autobiography, such as, ‘How to Dump Your Girlfriend’. (you knew it was coming)

And Finally…. I will be performing as part of the 3 Prong Attack, tomorrow, Weds 27th July at Ruby’s Revenge, 168 High Holborn, London WC1V 7AA. Doors 7:30, Show starts 8:00. £3. Nearest Tubes, Holborn, Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road.

Til next week, stay safe!

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Blog vs Girlfriend

anita anand & sam walker

Hola. Hope you are well.

Eagle eyed readers will have noticed that I posted last week’s blog in the early hours of Tuesday morning. This was because last Monday  ‘Her With One Permanent Job’ was keen to meet up after work, which put me in a dilemma, finish my blog or meet up with her. And as I don’t live with the readers of this blog, I went for the easier option, after all it’s not easy justifying not meeting your other half  because you’ve got to finish your blog. As I couldn’t sleep on the Monday night I got up at 4:10 am and finished my blog.

It’s never ideal getting up at this time of the morning but more so as that day at work, we were taking the children out on a day trip and as a ‘responsible adult’  I needed to be on my guard even more so than when they are contained in school. You certainly don’t want anything to happen to the children you have been designated to look after. Of course, it would be bad if anything happened to any of the children, but it would definitely be worse if it was one that was on your watch.

Talking of work, it was my last week in school, this academic year. As it happened I never got to say goodbye to the children as I had to do an errand just before the close of day, and when I got back to class they were filing out, which I think is quite typical of me. I did however get a card off one of the children, not cos she knew it was my last day but because she was also away for the last week of term. I thought it was quite nice that she took time out to write a card for me, although in no way did I think I deserved a card as I’d only been there 6 weeks. Although having said that the other TA also got a card and she’s only been in the class a month, so on that basis maybe I should have got a present in addition to the card.

It’s definitely been an interesting 5 months of working in schools. If it had been a reality tv programme, at this point I would be saying how I’d been on a journey, how I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever done before, met some great people and then I would return to my normal, probably cushier life. Unfortunately my life is not a reality tv programme which means I will be doing this all over again starting in September.

Away from work, I have been trying to listen to different radio shows, mainly on Iplayer and mainly recommended by the Guardian/The Observer. So in recent weeks I’ve listened to ‘Everybody quite likes Justin’, written by Justin Moorhouse, who years ago I did a couple of shows for at the Manchester Comedy Store. I also listened to the ‘Sinha Test’, written and performed by Paul Sinha, who has links to the M’cr comedy scene. Both programmes were on Radio 4, which does make me worry a little. Have I become a person who listens to Radio 4? As it’s only on podcast, I’m saying it doesn’t really count.

Almost as an antidote to Radio 4, I listened to a programme on 1 Xtra, (you can tell it must be cool and hip because they spell extra wrong). The programme was about why there is no and never has been  any high-profile gay rappers. It did make me think that there aren’t that many professions where there are no gay people involved. It would appear it’s just hip hop and football. So what I suggest is we get all the footballers and rappers in a room (a big room) and leave them all in there until someone says they are gay.

I also listened to a new show, Double Take (Sunday’s 9-30-11am) on 5 Live, co-presented by Sam Walker, who I worked on BBC Radio Manchester. It’s nice to think that I am only one step away from being on national radio. I don’t expect it to happen but it’s nice to think it.

That’s enough of other people’s projects and back on to me. I will be performing as part of the 3 Prong Attack next Weds, 27th July at Ruby’s Revenge, 168 High Holborn, WC 1V 7AA. Doors: 7:30, Show 8pm. £3. Nearest Stations Holborn, Covent Garden, Tottenham Court Road. We have a couple of gigs coming up, for more details, click here.

And Finally… Next week’s blog will be on Tues, not because I am meeting ‘HWOPJ’ but because I won’t be near a computer on Monday.

Til Next Tues, Stay Safe.

It’s the end of the news of the world, as we know it

Hola. Hope you are well.

I feel in this current climate, that I should mention none of the info on this blog has been sourced from hacking into other people’s voicemails. Mainly because I think it’s wrong and partly because I’m rubbish with phones. I’d struggle to retrieve my own messages nevermind those on someone else’s phone.

To be honest, I’m not sure what info the journalists/private detectives were hoping to get by listening in on voicemails. Afterall who leaves sensitive info on a voicemail? My voicemails generally consist of people asking me to ring them back, or people not leaving messages, that’s as salacious as my messages get.

Having said that, if your job involves listening into phone messages of missing children and/or the parents of dead soldiers, then maybe you should consider a change in career.

Talking of the News of the World. I went into 2 supermarkets yesterday, not to buy a copy but I would have had a flick through. I would have, if there had been any copies left. It would appear that being its last ever edition has helped its sales figures. It’s made me think I should make people think this is my last blog post and watch the hits go out of control.

For those who are regular readers of the NOTW, I wouldn’t worry too much as I’m sure there will be a new publication out any time soon, called ‘The World of News’ (or more likely the Sunday Sun).

And one final thing to mention about this story, is that my friend told me former editor of NOTW Andy Coulson lives in the same part of London as I do, which could prove handy as I’d still like to get into the media world and maybe he could be my mentor. And if the worst happens for Andy, my years of doing writing workshops in prisons will mean I wouldn’t get fazed if he had to do the sessions from behind bars.

Talking of where I live brings me on to my next story. I live in a flat, which is part of a bigger apartment which means we share the same front door. The other evening that front door was wide open when I was leaving. It was so wide open I assumed one of the people in the building must have been doing something out the front. Although I couldn’t see any of the neighbours out, I still assumed this was the case. It was only when I was sat at the train station thinking about it, it dawned on me that it wouldn’t look good if all the flats got robbed and I’d have to say I walked out the door and left it wide open, despite not seeing any of the neighbours around.

So I decided I’d have to go back and lock the door, but things were made more complicated by the fact my train was now due in 5 mins and I had to get that train as I was meeting ‘Her With One Permanent Job’ to drop off a dress (she was going to wear at a wedding) and she was on a time constraint as she was getting a specific train back to Manchester.

This meant I had to leg it back to the flat, where the door was as wide open as when I’d walked through it, so I quickly locked it and then had to hot foot it back to the station, just in time to catch my train. A Result! The only downside being, I got charged £1:30 for touching in and then out on my Oyster Card despite the fact I hadn’t actually travelled anywhere.

A couple of weeks ago on this blog I mentioned how I’d played 11-a-side football for the first time that I can remember and how it was tough. Well I surprised myself by playing again, I say this because normally when I find something difficult I generally try to avoid doing it again. Having said that this time was definitely easier than the previous time. I also played better, clearing one off the line and winning a penalty. I use the would ‘winning’ some would say I dived, but as the person who made the offending challenge was Prong 2 (from 3 Prong Attack) so it didn’t feel as bad as it could have done. Plus his side were way ahead at the time with only minutes left.

After the last game, when instead of a cool down I sat around talking about how tough it was and then went to the pub, resulting in me being stiff for days, I decided I’d do things differently. So this time after the game I sat around talking about how it wasn’t as tough as last time and then went to the pub. I expect to ache for the next few days.

And Finally… My favourite thing that happened in the school I’m in was that the other TA in the class saw one of the children flick his middle finger up at another boy. So she told him off, and then told the teacher, who told him off, who sent him off to the deputy head, who told him off. It was only afterwards when talking the situation over with his mum, that it was discovered he was showing the other boy that he had no finger nail on that finger. He had no concept  of the raising of the middle finger being a bad thing. He probably does now.

Til next week, stay safe!

Growing up isn’t easy

Betamax video recorder

Hola. Hope you are all well.

I’ve had a grown up week, possibly the most grown up week of my life, although I am prone to exaggeration.

Firstly I had a decision to make regarding my job, as the school I’m currently in were keen for me to apply for a role with them for next year. For a good while I was all set to apply for this job and then as I was washing the dishes, I had a moment of clarity and realised it wasn’t really for me. I don’t think I’m ready to settle down and commit to a long-term thing. In many ways I see myself as being the teaching assistant equivalent of the Littlest Hobo, entering a school touching the lives of all I encounter and then moving on to pastures new. I’m not so sure the schools see me in such terms.

In other school related news, I had a one day trial at a secondary school today (Mon). Trial seems too grand a name for it as it basically involved me shadowing another teaching assistant and avoiding doing anything that would put them off me. My biggest concern was what I should wear for such an occasion. In the past when I’ve started a new job in a school, I’ve gone for the smart casual look, only to soon realise that jeans and trainers would have been more than fine. So it did cross my mind to go straight in with the jeans and trainers combo but in the end I bottled it and went for trousers, shirt and shoes. It was just as well as the TAs  there were the smartest dressed TAs I’ve so far come across. It was one of the rare occasions that I can say I actually made the right decision. I must have done something right as I will be starting there in Sept, until Dec, which is probably longer than The Littlest Hobo would have stuck around, but then again I don’t remember Hobo having to pay any bills.

The other grown up thing I did, was to babysit on my own. All the previous times I’ve ever done any babysitting, ‘Her With One Permanent Job’ has been present and I’ve always assumed it was her presence that assured the respective parents that it was a good idea. But on Sat, my brother (and his girlfriend) was after a babysitter, but ‘HWOPJ’ couldn’t make it so that left just me. I did mention this to my brother so there was no confusion and he was still up for me to do it, which did make wonder if they see me as sensible adult or they were desperate.

Anyway it all went well, although at one point he did wake up and call out for his mum, so I had to go to him, putting on my comforting voice and assuring him his mum would be back soon at that he should go back to sleep, which he promptly did. After that I thought maybe I have the knack with him. The next day I got a txt off his mum, saying when he woke he thought I was his dad. So maybe I’ve not got the knack after all.

It hasn’t been all sensible Julian this week, for example whilst doing my lunch time playground duties at school, the sponge football ricocheted into my path, albeit on my weaker left foot, but I couldn’t resist showing the children how it should be done by smashing it into the net. Cue the ball sailing high and wide over the fence which is locked at lunchtime. At this point, I did what any adult would do in such circumstances, I ran off, chased by 10 bemused, annoyed and slightly amused 6 and 7 year olds.

And Finally… I’d like to end on some business news and last week whilst watching the news I learnt that Justin Timberlake had just bought a stake in MySpace. There are rumours that his next investment will be  Betamax videos.

Til next week, stay safe!