8 things redux with a twist

feb 08 049Thayer tagged me with the 8 random things meme…again – she’s forgiven as we barely knew each other in August last year. I couldn’t manage eight last time (this was the last one) so some of these might not actually be entirely true.

1. I once spent three months measuring the hedgerows of Gloucestershire. You can still find some of my waymarkers on country lanes just outside Cheltenham, if you know where to look.

2. My favourite colour combination is the kind of orangey-brown of krispy-kreme donuts against catkin green.

3. Since the age of 12 I’ve always owned exactly 3 gerbils. I always have several dealers on standby in case one of them dies and needs to be instantly replaced. My gerbils go *everywhere* with me. Yes… I mean *everywhere*

4. I was once almost arrested for possession of a Mr Kipling Bakewell Tart (and a milkbottle). This was during my New Romantic phase, so the frilly shirt and heavy eye make-up might also have had something to do with it.

5. I had a walk-on part in the film “Stab Truck” (I was the synth player in the band during the flashback to the David Hasselhof character’s complete humiliation in a London night club.) It was filmed in the basement of the Centrepoint Tower.

6. One of my cousins was the artist’s model for Freddo the Frog, Cadbury’s 1970′s novelty moulded chocolate. He went on to design the wheel nuts of the Audi A8.

7. My gerbils’ names are Rainey, Bessie and Janis after the 3 greatest female blues singers of the 20th Century. People often imagine that if they see the white one, that must be Janis, but my gerbils (and the blues) are colour-blind.

8. As a student I worked in a launderette in Guildford. I have seen, touched and washed the underwear of Eric Clapton, Bonnie Langford, Michael Buerk and various forgettable members of the Prog Rock Hall of Fame.

So to pass it on, I tag: HM The Queen, Ronnie Hazlehurst, Lewis Carroll, Mickey Dolenz, Pogle out of Pogle’s Wood, Optimus Prime, Stuart Hall (not the Jamaican one, the one off It’s a Knockout) and the entire Electric Light Orchestra.

Pimlico School Anti-Academy Protest

hg10 590On my way home tonight, passing Pimlico School, I saw a couple of policemen inside the gates. I prickled, thinking poor them, it’s so cold and they’ve got to go in there and find someone who’s disappeared over the fence or something.

It turned out there was something less dramatic but just as interesting and exciting going on. A group of ex-governors are protesting against the demolition of the school and its transformation into an Academy. They were helped by some anti-grafitti artists who used a high-pressure hose to clean off the words “Anti Academy School” on the front wall.

I went and filled their hot-water bottles for them – it’s bloody cold out there and then came back for a chat. They were keen for me to climb over, but the combination of my inflexible legs, the anti-climb paint and my general scaredy-catness meant that I conducted my interview from the other side of locked gates. One of the protestors, Hank, very kindly rigged up an alternative ladder combo to help me, but I gratefully declined.

I spoke to Anthea Masey about what they were doing there. The interview petered out as we were interrupted by a year 10 pupil from the school who was passing but didn’t want to be seen on camera but had a lot to say in praise of the school as it is.

I have no opinion on this issue either way – I personally think the building’s ugly. I can imagine how uncomfortable the classrooms are when the sun shines. I know nothing of the academic record or merits of the case for the current regime, Westminster Council or the protestors, but I’m happy to lend a hand to people who are passionate enough to spend a night under the stars on a freezing February monkey-ball-freezing March night in order to have a say on what they believe in.

Much is written about generational divides, mostly about frightened older people disturbed by young hoodies. Tonight I witnessed a different one where the spirit of protest lives on in those over 50 while 14-year-olds think making a stand like this is pointless and stupid.