Betraying the written word

I’ve been listening to a lot of books lately. Because I’m such a skinflint bargain hunter, I almost never pay full price for anything, and pounce on free stuff with the ferocity of a starving lion. In fact, I’m the sort of idiot who will sometimes harvest cut-price goodies and freebies irrespective of whether or not they’re of any use to me. Behold, the Rio DVD I nabbed for free via the Sky Store last year which remains unwatched by my utterly uninterested children! Toward the end of 2015, however, I had a bit of a serendipitous chain reaction. Amazon ran one of their free Prime trials, giving me access to free one-day delivery for various birthday and Christmas presents (as well as their slightly rubbish streaming video service, and less rubbish streaming/download music service). During the same time period, I stumbled across a free three-month Audible membership trial available…

Yesterday’s gone (and so are all the other days)

The phrase “I remember it like it was yesterday” becomes somewhat meaningless when you realise that yesterday, like every other day since the beginning of time, is gone forever – and therefore can’t be easily referred to for a quick fact-check. One of the first things they teach you when you become a copper (or so I am told) is to take eyewitness accounts with a generous helping of salt. This goes double for witnesses to an event that was both entirely unexpected and began and ended within an extremely short space of time. This can be largely explained through the concept of schematic thinking – an idea that fascinated me in sixth form psychology, and which I shall now explain to you in what is probably a mangled and misinterpreted manner so heaving with irony, it just might melt my laptop. A schema is sort of like one of…

School to desired temperature: Mr Lanaway

Welcome ye to my third and final post about the three teachers who have most influenced/damaged me. I’ve sort of made it a series of episodic posts so that a) after the first one you know that they’re related, and kind of what to expect; and b) after the first one, you can just look at the title and know to avoid the other two without the hassle of clicking through to read the whole thing. I’ve just realised that I have, unintentionally, written about these three in ascending order of age. Mr Moody was in his mid to late twenties; Mrs Bradley was in her late thirties; and Mr Lanaway was in his sixties. I know this for certain because he retired months before we were finished with him, and we all missed him dearly. Dear Mr Lanaway. He wasn’t young by anybody’s standards, and so to a bunch…

School to desired temperature: Mrs Bradley

Last time, after the obligatory waffle, I told you about the most significant memories I have of my English teacher Mr Moody. Now, let me do the same for the memories I have of Mrs Bradley. Nothing about buttocks this time, sorry. Mrs Bradley was what any good teacher – in fact, what any good person– should be; identifiably human. Mr Moody’s One Of The Lads approach worked perfectly for him, never to the detriment of his job, and is largely why I shall remember him forever. Mrs Bradley on the other hand struck a miraculously perfect tone between friend and mentor. She must have been more than twice the age of the oldest of us, but could talk and listen like your best friend. Nonetheless, if anybody tried to take advantage of this, it was always immediately clear that she put our education above her desire for us to…

School to desired temperature: Mr Moody

Generally speaking, it is the memories you don’t remember that define you. I’m not talking about traumatic experiences that are suppressed in the mind and then go on to shunt a personality one of several ways, although that can sometimes happen (and I’m not just saying that because I’ve been watching a lot of Dexter lately). Besides, you may well ask, is it even a memory if you don’t remember it? Well – yes. In a healthy brain, a memory never truly goes away. There are things that you can forget for days, weeks, years, even decadesat a time, and then one day – sometimes for no apparent reason – remember quite vividly. It was always there. Memories are funny things though, aren’t they? Little nuggets of your life that have somehow settled into your brain forever over other events of that hour, or day, or week, or month, or…

Terry Pratchett: Neither gone nor forgotten

Hello. My name’s Luke Kemp, or at least that’s what my parents tell me. Through what I can only presume is a series of mistakes similar to those leading to Mr Bean vandalising Whistler’s Mother, I have been allowed to contribute a story to this upcoming anthology. Remember, 100% of profits go to Alzheimer’s Research UK – so if you buy less than three copies, you are a bad person. I’m extremely fortunate, in that I have thus far not had somebody I love suffer Alzheimer’s Disease (at least, not officially diagnosed). Statistically however I almost certainly will in the future. Perhaps that somebody will even be me. It already feels wonderful to know that I will, in however large or small a way, be a part of something that contributes funding towards understanding this condition which steals so much of what makes us visibly human. I immediately confess that…