31 March 2007

Egos a-go-go

I am sure that alter egos run amok in any given household. Characters we play when not being our regular selves. Or, indeed, exaggerated versions of those very real aspects that are normally hidden under the many layers of etiquette and dilution/delusion. Just as the Incredible 'you wouldn't like me when I'm angry' Hulk takes over Dr Robert Bruce Banner when provoked, we all have our inner monsterfications.

And there is certainly more than our fair share in this family. I like to think it reflects our obviously advanced and complex intellects, the deepness of the Kirk psyche, and the sensitivity of our souls. That, and the fact that we just get really mad sometimes.

So when the invoked spirit of Bob Dylan, or a bat (as in totally batty) is not the prime motivation of the actions of N, for example, his alter ego is a household smoke alarm. Let me elaborate; they go on and on and on for no good reason, not being stopped by any human means, until they have been ignored for long enough and have saturated every cell with the incessant wailing noise. Then it stops for no more reason than it began, bringing welcome and delicious silence.

Dad's is a dopey guard dog. Sleepy and content for the majority of the time, doing his own thing, occasionally scratching. Until he will pick up on some obscure scent and pursue it for all it is worth, barking and growling terrifyingly at it until satisfied, safe in the knowledge that some nod to the job he is supposed to be doing has been made. Then back to a nap. An alter ego that makes an appearence every so often as well, is a history teacher, David Starkey-esque in tone.

Harry Potter (an ever reliable source) holds the key to J's alter egos. It'll be Dobby one moment, babbling excitedly but incomprehensibly, Moaning Myrtle the next, complaints abounding. And then, of course, there is the Whomping Willow. Watch out is all I can say. Those branches can seek you out however careful you are, giving you a big old metaphorical smack in the face. These all switch from one to another like magic. Yet all these personas can be summed up rather more simply: Teenager.

Having so many fingers in so many pies, and being the epicentre of home life, it is inevitable that Mum has so many alter egos. There is Delia Smith (or Nigella Lawson if in a more adventurous mood), Beethoven (battling on despite deafness) and Napoleon (strategist and general extroadinaire, and often striking terror into the troupes, i.e us) to name but a few.

And mine? Well, my alter ego is the sedate clam.

25 March 2007

A Plea, Will Self, and I

This week I have been mostly being a freedom fighter and culture crusader.

Whereas last week saw me flying the flag for Fair Trade in assemblies, it was the turn of freedom and the abolition of slavery to be ignored by a hall full of blank, sleepy faces each morning this week. On the bright side, I do get to use a microphone and hear my voice booming about me in a diva-like fashion at an ungodly hour. There are perks.

Today marks 200 years since slavery was abolished and has been dubbed Freedom Day. Happy Freedom Day to all! To show our support at school we put forward a plea for all those interested to contribute to our Freedom Wall (which, I suppose, should technically be a Flimsy Freedom Sheet, but same difference) and we were inundated. It was the lure of paint, and mess, and the association with first school frolics with handpainting that drew the crowds. What we were left with would not look out of place as an instalation piece at the Tate Modern. I have only just rid myself of the paint beneath my fingernails. The lengths I go to for a good cause (looking like a grubby street urchin/child from down t'pit), and the sacrifices I make (my gnarled fingernails) know no bounds. Let's just hope that they fail to notice that the permanent marker and paint went through to the corridor wall...

And so from the charitable and compassionate, to the downright Self-ish (see what I did there? Clever huh?). Who would have thought Hexham was such a cultural hotbed, a literary feast of sustenance to nourish us throughout the weekend. And the patron saint of grumpy himself, blissfully acerbic, sardonic, and laconic, Mr Will Self graced our humble theatre with his mighty presence. Decked in head to toe black, walking booted and sallow cheeked, he enthralled with his drawl. The 'creative writing' tinged tone of the festival surroundings paled into insignificance as he took to the stage.

What a dude. And we have an autograph. Not for sale on e-bay. J insisted on asking him what a dystopia was (a preoccupation and repeated theme of the talk). Will - and I feel that we are now on first name terms - gave him the same answer as I did. 'You know what a utopia is? Well, it's the opposite of that really'. J was determined to ask a clever question though, and I looked like a pillock, knowing fine well what dystopia meant and grinning blankly. I should have made some cutting remark, looked really grumpy, and asked him for a cigarette or something stronger. That's the Self style after all.

Poetry the morning after didn't have quite the same 'struck right between the eyes' effect. Flowers and singing birds just don't strike the same tone funnily enough.

13 March 2007

Save the Polar Bears!

Sorry for going all political on your ass and all, but my speaking out on the controversial issues plaguing the planet today is long overdue. And I know that the world has been unanimously holding its breath regarding my thoughts on the state of affairs in these modern times...

Well, I got to thinking when watching 'An Inconvenient Truth' (though as 'Inconvenient' as it was, I still took the trouble to watch it all the way through, and aren't you glad?) as to how things would be if the eco-warrior and fine figure of a toothsome, nutritious man, Al Gore-geous had indeed got his spade-savvy hands on the top job at the head of a superpower. Of course the film did betray signs of that wholesome American sentimentality which makes me faintly nauseous (they can't help it; being American, it's always going to seep in somehow), but he comes across as a genuinely decent chap. He is a little orange, and a little Donald Trumpesque for my taste, but we'll let that slide as he has proved he can pronounce such words as 'infrared radiation' and 'deforestation'.

Just imagine if he was in office today. The cartoons of Steve Bell would be a little less entertaining for one. And chimpanzees wouldn't have half the publicity they currently receive. Michael Moore would be a whole lot less successful, with less satirical footage to play around with. Ditto Dead Ringers. In fact, quite a bit of the entertainment industry would suffer. So maybe the economy really is better off without Mr Gore and his crazy ideas about (frantic hand gestures resembling quotation marks in air) 'global warming' and this thing they call 'climate change'. Would we really have wanted such a nutcase running the most powerful country in the world? Heavens no, that would be ridiculous.

Thank goodness for that pesky state of Florida and their inability to count or avoid corrupt dealings. Now that really is the American way.

6 March 2007

Sorcery to Horsery; the transition of Harry Potter

Alas, we must mourn true innocence and purity of bygone days.

Just as Alice in Wonderland is forever ruined for me with the sordid suggestions that the once idolised author, Lewis Carroll, indulged in unsavoury acts with a young girl of his acquaintance named Alice, and Captain Pugwash was transformed into a perverted who's who of pornography, that little magical scamp, Harry Potter, has also undergone a vile desecration.

When not fighting evil, honouring his dead parents, and saving the world from dark deeds, he is flaunting his naked body in sex scenes on the stage.

Skinny, bespectacled, wand-wielder no more. Instead a sculpted-torsoed, brooding, sex crazed thespian. I doubt the transformation includes a new found ability to act however.

Are all cherished childhood memories (not that I ever watched Captain Pugwash, though young Master Bates is infamous) to be marred by corruption and be subjected to a sexual besmirching? Can Seaman Stains not just be a man who sails the sea?

However, it's about time that Hogwarts had a taste of gritty adolescence. I'm surprised Hermione's not already knocked up, impregnated by Ron behind the broomstick shed, and that some hardcore substance abuse isn't rife due to the all the magical ingredients available to them. But who knows, maybe J.K Rowling will inject a bit of realism into book 7. Cho Chang was already on her way to becoming school slut, so full blown smut could well be on the cards.

July 21st will be a sad day for all. It will mean the end of involving and entertaining Harry Potter theories.

1 March 2007

Possible Murder on the Orator Express

Aaaand... I would also go to Central America and Africa and China. And then I'd go to Texas and Scotland and Afghanistan and Wales, and then New York and Ireland and the South Pole and the North Pole and the West Pole and Newcastle and England and Wales and Trafalgar Square. And South America and Italy. And then Spain, then Australia, then France, then the Moon, then Outer Space...

For the first hour it was truly adorable.

And then I discovered a kangaroo, and koalas and sheep and iguanas. Aaand... also... sharks and whales and beetles. And, and, and... ALIENS! They were from Mars and we went to the Sun and Pluto and Earth and the World. And they were green, and spotty, and purple, and also gold, and silver, and also stripy...

I had now read the sentence I was on in my improving novel 23 times and still not reached the end or understood it.

Aaand...and I invented the Titanic and planes and cars and trains. And tables, and cups, and food, and windows. And also shoes and hats and computers and wigs and slippers and televisions. And plugs, and I became the most famousest person in the whole wide world and earned a million pounds and one thousand trillian dollars so I could buy... do you know what I bought? Do you know mummy? Do you know?

Just say yes, please just say yes. I beg of you woman.

No, darling. What did you buy?

The woman was a masochist. And my worst enemy.

I bought a speedboat, and trainers and a dragon and a sword and a tiger...

By this point a tree had fallen on the track, resulting in a delay. And the boy had not stopped talking, resulting in me wanting to hit something. Hard. Preferably him.

Mummy, can you remember what I had for breakfast? Mummy what did I have? Can you remember? I had sausage, and beans, and cornflakes. And... what else did I have? I had sardines and marshmallows and french fries and...

And I quietly muffled my exasperated sobs and prayed for salvation at the next stop.