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Alexander Residence: Riots, rockets and bookselling

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Riots, rockets and bookselling

As I watched several thousand pounds of explosives artfully released into the November sky, to the soundtrack of classical music, oohs, ahhs and dad jokes from the audience, I had some interesting thoughts.  I was standing in a muddy field with Mr A, a few hundred revellers, a can of Fosters and a tray of chips.  Very glamorous.  It could almost have been our festival going days.  Maybe that's what prompted my strange trail of thoughts.  Guy Fawkes.  This man who wanted to blow up parliament.  And it got me thinking about the times in my life when I have put a rocket up the backside of an establishment.  Topically, given this week's student protests, it all started when I was a student.

When I was in sixth form I had my nose pierced.  Eventually after a few months of arguing with my head of year about it, I swore at her.  I was suspended.  It all got a bit mixed up in school gossip, in the student's minds I was suspended because of the nose ring.  There was huge unrest.  Before I knew it, my fellow sixth formers had staged a sit in.  Occupations are a long established tradition in the student movement that should be defended.  My fellow students then called the local paper.  I made the front page.  Star pupil gets suspended. The Manchester Evening News even came to interview me.  Not much changed, except a new rule was added to the school's list - 'no nose piercings'.  But I had stood up to authority.  It was a rite of passage.

At uni I posed a brief challenge to the theatrical establishment with a seriously strange and up its own backside piece of postmodern drama that revolved around filming the audience and representing them as a piece of art.  It sounds indulgent now, but it gave me a passion for the arts. And when you go on to teach, and you take that passion into the classroom and fire up young minds with the arts, now that's exciting. As a teacher I battled to give my students fantastic opportunities and get them results. 

But erm, since then I think I have been severely lacking in the sending rockets up the backsides of establishments department.  My battles of late have been horribly domesticated, like the four month struggle to convince Miele electricals that a fridge packing up after less than three years just isn't acceptable. (A free replacement fridge freezer arrived yesterday - Miele you are wonderful).  Urgh, how did life get so safe?
So I send a symbolic rocket up the government on the 24th Nov , as part of the planned national scale student protests, for the right to an affordable university education (lit with due care for the health and safety of others, aka a peaceful protest). I never paid off my debt from training to teach, even after seven years, mainly because I lived in London and teachers don't earn that much.  I will one day.  It will eat into the pension I will be trying to catch up on paying into, after my time out of 'work' as a mum.  My debt is manageable, but the proposed cuts aren't.  I don't think university can be free, but it should be accessible to all. 

I'm a bit fed up too, about the complaints about tax payers paying for 'mickey mouse' subjects in universities, yes we need scientists and doctors, but we also need artists, filmmakers, web designers, tv producers, writers, poets, actors and playwrights.  So a huge rocket in support of the arts, because a little investment gives great returns and we should never forget that.

Rant over.  Where would you send your rocket?  Amazon perhaps? (Don't get me started!)

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At 12 November 2010 at 15:59 , Anonymous Sarah said...

A brilliant post and go you with the piercing! So glad I came across your blog via aThe Gallery; it's a great read and love your pics too.

At 12 November 2010 at 20:03 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Thanks Sarah. The piercing is sadly no more than a scar these days but a symbolic one! Loving your beautiful blog too - a great find.

At 12 November 2010 at 21:46 , Blogger Kerryonliving said...

Wow - there are too many choices for rockets at the moment - will start by sending mine to the banks which started this whole mess in the first place and most especially to RBS who have just charged me £30 for going £1.50 overdrawn. I'll happily pay them once they start paying back the taxpayers £45 billion bailout. Grrr. Ooh I feel better for that. Thanks!

At 13 November 2010 at 08:17 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Hi Kerry. Grrr I hate those charges! Yes that's where this all started so I reckon a few rockets might be needed. Glad you got that out your system :)

At 14 November 2010 at 15:19 , Anonymous Lucy Quick said...

Excellent post :)

On behalf of two very dear friends I would send rockets up the backsides of both Santander (seemingly unable to deal with changes of address which resulted in my friend with no access to her hard-earned cash for ten days); and Pipex (as it's apparently impossible to cancel your broadband contract with them).


And relax.

At 15 November 2010 at 02:17 , Anonymous Apple Island Wife said...

I've been planning a rocket up the **** of my local supermarket. Life become a bit pedestrian muchly? Middle aged woman in apron and custard stains takes on business man in suit and fast car who triangulates with people on strategic planning all day (the supermarket landlords - no parent parking places) - I know it sounds as though I'll end up with egg on my face, but I don't care as I always have egg on my face anyway, from breakfast onwards. That's motherhood for you, and the rebel inside.
Yee Haw!!

At 15 November 2010 at 12:50 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Hi Lucy
Rockets dutifully dispatched, have sent a few to Santander in the past. Have a relaxing week :)

At 15 November 2010 at 12:51 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Hello Apple Island Wife!
Some lovely images there. Sounds like we all still have the rebel within :)


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