Noel Bailey is a world re-known film critic currently residing in Australia
You are lucky enough to have a sneak preview of this cynical, abrasive and devastatingly frank account of a life in progress, set to a nostalgic time-line of major news headlines and rock ‘n’ roll history.
“It wasn’t that I resented authority particularly, I simply could not condone the rude interruption to my daily routine. Getting up when I felt like it, playing with my train set, jumping off the garage roof into the sand pit by which time, all things being hunky dory, breakfast should be just about ready. Fried tomatoes, three strips of bacon (middle rashers) and two pieces of fried-bread cut diagonally, never down the middle, sitting in their regular spot on the right hand side of the plate. One glass of orange juice at room temperature, slightly away to the left of the cutlery, right alongside my HP sauce!…. “What? Is he for real?” I hear you say. “Spoilt little bastard, should have been on his way to reform school!” Well dear reader, I make no apologies, think about it? I was an only child, they loved me – wanted to spoil me no doubt, who was I to shatter their delicate psyche and knock back their attentions? Besides my come-uppance was at hand – school, remember? Precisely 337 footsteps, after crossing Danson Lane, and turning left, brought us to the main entry-gate of Danson County Primary School (DCPS), another bummer, living closer to the school than anyone else, I never had any decent excuse in subsequent years for being late! That first morning, mum left me at the entrance and walked off. Halfway home, she recognised the footsteps and carted me back. Not usually given to crying, I didn’t, I began screaming! This was murder, straight-up neglect, child abuse if not dereliction of duty! This time she saw me into the playground and into the care of Miss Attorano, who if I’d been twelve years older, would have had no problem holding my attention, I’d have gone in early! As it was though, watching mum retreat through the gate and my wrist in the vice-like grip of my teacher – I was history!
Thus, the new recruits were paraded before the School Principal, a towering, humourless woman, the type memory can only recall in black and white. Probably an ex-marine, she had me pegged from the word go as “the one to watch.”
“My name is Mrs Gunson…..Mrs D. H. Gunson,” she intoned, looking directly at me, “I welcome you all to Danson Primary, (now, she was definitely looking at everyone but me!) Work hard, behave (she was back fixing me with a death stare!) and we’ll get on just fine. Go to your classrooms now with your teachers!”
Like, what else were we going to do? snort a joint? start up a game of touch footy – prison rules?
It was embarrassing enough having to take sandwiches and an apple, but at least they were mine. Wrong again! “Now children,” said the rather daintily constructed Miss Attorano, “Some of you I know, don’t have any lunch, so we’re going to put everyone’s sandwiches and fruit into this bin which we’ll share out at recess.” she indicated an enormous metal drum behind her that would have done World Vision proud! All the children traipsed over and dropped their food in – God knows what it did to some of the apples!
“Noel,” she said, smiling sweetly, “Yours too!” She sat there expectantly. Now, there is no way anyone and I mean anyone, was having my sandwiches. It wasn’t a case of hygiene, although thinking back, who knows where some of their grotty little hands had been?…this was basic civil rights! I returned her stare. For a moment she looked bemused but quickly clicked into “take-charge” mode. “Is there something wrong Noel?” she asked in her best little-girl voice. “Yes Miss,” I answered truthfully, “I want to keep my own lunch!”
“We have to think of others Noel, don’t we?” Big mistake, appealing to my sense of fair-play on this issue! I didn’t say “Do we?”, but I thought it! “Now come on Noel, just drop the sandwiches into the bin.” So saying, she had moved to within striking distance – both our hands darted into my satchel at the same time – hers were unfortunately stronger. I bid a silent farewell to my brown paper package as it fell into the abyss.”
Other comments, insults etc…
“Dynamically different read! Classic mix of nostalgia, humor, action and misfortune. It was worth losing a day’s pay to read it!” – Frank S. Maynard.
“What can you say about a book that holds your attention to the last page and yet is devoid of sex, violence or indeed…purpose!”
“006 meets Monty Python somewhere over the rainbow” “Anonymous” London
“Makes up its own rules as it goes along. An emotional roller-coaster right to its concluding
and ultimately moving paragraph” Jenni Manassen Rider – Books UK
“Until I read this, I thought my life was interesting. I haven’t lived” – A jealous friend