Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Sorry for the blogging hiatus. The end of term was crazy, so I have spent the last few days decompressing and washing the School of Hard Knocks out of my hair (metaphorically speaking - that is NOT a reference to nits).

So, lots of beach walks, laundry and pigging out on the many boxes of Poundshop chocolate bought for me by my heartbroken class. Actually, they weren't quite as heartbroken as I would have liked, after all, I had taught some of those children for 2 years! I didn't notice ANY kids weeping on our last day together. Not even when I prodded them with sharpened HB pencils. Not even when I stabbed them with compasses. Not even when I beat them with meter sticks. It was most irritating. Until, just for old time's sake, as they were lining up to go home, I revealed the ace up my sleeve.

"Year 3/ 4, before you go, let's try this one more time. What is 2p + 2p?"

It worked like a charm. The lamentations were almost biblical.

Today I went to the Tyneside Cinema to see Partir (Leaving). It's a French film with Kristen Scott Thomas. It's been described as a modern-day Lady Chatterley's Lover. I love the brittle fragility of Kristen Scott Thomas. She appears doomed to be typecast in every role she plays. She is always a repressed, upper-class nut-job. She is constantly bedecked in expensive but rumpled linen. This rumpling, of course, communicates her emotional turmoil and her artistic 'caring liberal' sensitivity. I was looking forward to Partir. I was intrigued as to who would be playing the 'Mellors' role. Oh dear: that was a disappointment. In Lady Chatterly Mellors is a brooding, monosyllabic gamekeeper. I imagine him manfully felling trees, gently hand-rearing baby woodcocks, striding, stripped to the waist, through sun-dappled woodland. Mellors is the archetypal swarthy rogue. Sadly, in Partir, the Mellors character was a rather nondescript, mono-browed plumber. Rather than being ravished in a field of daisies and buttercups, the seduction of KST took place in a French B&Q. I felt somewhat cheated by that. Of course, the film ended tragically. Romantic dalliances with mono-browed, swarthy rogues are always fated to end tragically. I have learnt that sorry lesson myself on more than one occasion.

Speaking of Mellors reminds me of the time when Madam Noir, in her pre-lezza days, had a brief infatuation with a swarthy rogue of her own. We called him 'Mellors.' He was a stubbly, Yorkshire tree surgeon. He would refer to Madam Noir as 'me duck'. (I do love Yorkshire accents, there is something very sensual and earthy about them). I think Madam Noir and I were both guilty of romanticising her Yorkshire Mellors though. Nothing came of this dalliance. Madam Noir, who has very exacting standards in all things, could not overlook:

  • The oaf had teeth like tombstones. Indeed, his teeth made Shane McGowan look like Tom Cruise!
  • His brain was addled and paranoid from years of daily weed-smoking.
  • He hadn't had sex for about 10 years. This, not surprisingly, greatly troubled Madam Noir.
  • He wasn't really a tree surgeon, we discovered he was actually more of a school caretaker. At the time, school caretakers were not held in very high regard, thanks to Ian Huntley.
  • He lived in a caravan. Or was it a tent? (Madam Noir - remind me please.)
  • I also have in my head that he drove a Reliant Robin van, although, I may have just imagined this 'fact'.
I wonder if the whole 'Mellors' experience turned Madam Noir lezza?

Anyway, I would recommend you check out Partir, despite the down-at-heel Mellors. I was similarly disappointed with the male love-interest in last year's film, Broken Embraces. I loved that film. I thought it was quite beautiful, moving and pleasingly noir-ish. Penelope Cruz was as radiant and luminous as ever. As usual, her eyeliner was equisite. (Why is it that whenever I try to recreate the Penelope Cruz look myself I end up looking like Marilyn Manson?) But, in Broken Embraces, the character Penelope was in love with, her great, all-consuming passion and desire was played by an actor who looked like Ted Rogers, Ted Rogers of 321, Dusty Bin fame. With a little bit of Russ Abbott thrown in for good measure. And a very unconvincing wig. Seriously. Another perfectly wonderful, darkly romantic film ruined. Whatever next, Heathcliff played by Benny Hill? Rochester played by Tommy Cooper? Count Vronsky played by Bobby Thompson?

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