Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A bravura barney

Dolly and her little friend Secco are scrapping at my feet, Heart FM is blaring some ghastly song and Lily is watching a trailer for some wham-bam action-packed movie on the iPad. Not my idea of a harmonious summer holiday.

'What are you watching?' I demand.

'Pacific Rim.'

'It sounds ghastly. What's it about?'

'It's the near future. And from below the Pacific Ocean, giant monsters known as Kajoo rise to conquer the world. Our only defence is the Jay-gers, huge robots controlled by two human pilots whose minds are locked in unison. Ultimately however it's a losing battle and in desperation the authorities turn to an untried novice, Mako Mori, and a washed-up pilot, Ra-lie Becket...'

'Typical Hollywood!'

'... who are tasked to drive an apparently... ob...sol...ee...'

'Obsolete. It means something that's out of date, defunct, has-been, useless, like every piece of technology you buy, the minute you get it out of the shop...'

'...experimental Jay-ger. With the apocalypse imminent...'

'Quelle surprise. Typical Hollywood.'

'... this unlikely pair make a bra....v.....V-U-R-A...'

'Bravura - accomplished, brilliant...'

'... last stand.'

'You see? Typical Hollywood film - imminent disaster, pair two unlikely heroes together, they're going to be totally incompetent, fall out, the whole thing is almost going to go wrong, and then miraculously they're going to pull it out of the bag and save the world. Totally predictable.'

'Well I find it totally predictable when you watch Pride and Prejudice,' Lily says coolly, switching trailers.

'There's nothing predictable about Pride and Prejudice!' I retort. 'You're just saying that to be annoying.' I catch her eye and she laughs.

But actually, I reflect, she's right. The dark difficult bloke always has a heart of gold and the dismissive heroine always ends up with him. Unlike real life. Typical Jane Austen.

Friday, 19 July 2013

My child prodigy!


Lily and I are in a state of high tension and suppressed expostulation. At least I am. She is doing a music scholarship today, under huge duress, for the local comprehensive school (which has a music speciality and, as I keep telling her, is sending its musicians on a trip to Brazil next year).

In teenhood, I discover, bribes and threats cease to work. We are a step short of mutiny. I try to remain calm in the face of her refusal to
b-r-e-a-t-h-e and warm up her voice before launching into her song. I don't rise when she plays her piano piece at double-quick time and stumbles over the tricky sections. But when she plays the sax, I can't help entreating her to stand with both feet on the ground instead of looking like she's leaning against a bus shelter. She glares and refuses to budge.

'Li-ly!' I take on the voice of a robot. 'Stand-up-straight-and-breathe-prop-er-ly!'

'What-ev-ah.' She holds her glare. We burst out laughing. 'Are you still doing your blog?' she asks.

'Just what I was thinking!' I say. We have turned into parodies of ourselves.


Lily's almost out of practice time. This is disastrous. I gather up her music and the iPad, hoping she'll get a chance to play something she recorded earlier in more harmonious mood, and we get into the car-sauna, whose front windows have seized up.

(As I read through my blog prior to publishing, Lily is standing over my shoulder. 'Can you put in brackets, "Lily thinks we should get an Audi A3, preferably in Phantom Black." I am her obedient servant. This will soon be Lily's and not Eliza's blog. 'Dash, not comma,' she instructs. Sorry. An Audi A3 - preferably in Phantom Black. 'That's a hyphen,' she points out. 'It won't do dashes,' I reply. 'Oh, damn,' she says.)


Purgatory. I am in a soundproofed room full of steel pans. Hate not being able to eavesdrop.


Hmmm. Suppose I'd better not play the steel pans just in case the room's not as soundproofed as it seems.


The door opens. Caught in the act! The head of music smiles knowingly. 'I loved her saxophone playing and she has a lovely voice, good breath control and a great range. I'm able to offer her free singing and saxophone lessons.'

I hardly dare ask the question. 'Does that mean she's got... a scholarship.'

The head smiles and nods.

'Can I ask... Is it a half- or a full scholarship?'

'Full. She wouldn't get the free individual lessons without it.'

Yess! My child is a prodigy! Lily and I head out arm in arm.

'Well that was easy,' she says.



Lily goes up to her room. I open Facebook to post a status about her success, but I can't find her in my Friends. Curious. I call up to her room.

'Darling? What's going on? I'm trying to tag you in my status and it can't find you... have you Unfriended me?'


'You must have - you're not in my Friends.'

'I didn't!'

'Well how else can you have disappeared?'

She comes stomping downstairs. 'Someone else must have done it. It happened once before. Look in Friends.'

I look, and a Friend request pops up from Lily.

'There, you see!' she says triumphantly.

The time of the request is one minute ago. In other words, at the point when I was shouting up the stairs that she must have Unfriended me. I draw her attention to her hasty attempt to re-beFriend me. She can't help grinning as she flounces back up the stairs.


From the green dot next to Lily's name in my Friends list, I take it that she is on Facebook.

'Pooface,' I write in Facebook Chat. 


Chat conversation end
Sent from Balham
you're not in balham
i hope! Unless you jumped out of the window and are on a long-distance run
Yh. It's like. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo annoying!!
Yh u wish!!
ok ok ok


Chat conversation end
Sent from Balham
you're stilll in Balham though!
Go to Balham n find me!!
i have the police out looking for you as we speak
of course, since you're in communication with me, you could just tell me where you are
Ohhh. In Antarctica
Balham, Antarctica?
Can I have a proper phone with credit??
woss that mean?
Omg. It's sooooooo obvious.
Don't be so rude
Y fronts?
Man with a goatee?
I'm withdrawing my offer of a lovely evening out as congratulations if you're going to be cheeky and rude and mean to your loving caring mother
L: Lolololololololol. It's only a q.
Sent from Balham