Thursday, 19 April 2012

The embryo position.

Two weeks ago I left my agent and made an offer on a flat in the same day. I've had a twitch in my left eye ever since. This is true. I don't handle stress particularly well. I'm not the sort of person you'd describe as highly strung. When I'm nervous or worried my energy levels tend to deplenish. If I was on the titanic I would not be co-ordinating the lifeboats. I would also not be running around screaming. I would be finding a nice corner to curl into a ball and die.

When I was about 10 I was beaten up for playing the violin. The thing is I didn't play the violin. Have I told this story before? As most of you are crack addicts I doubt you'll remember. I was riding my BMX up and down the back lane behind our house. Two of my (neighbour)hood's bad boys approached. One was the baddest kid in school and the other one was one of those kids who was somehow associated with the school but hadn't bothered going for a couple of years. I found out recently that Cheryl Cole lived in the tower block by where I lived when I was growing up. Perhaps one of them was her smack enthusiast brother.

As I rode towards them they told me to stop. Now, I knew that this couldn't end well. We were from different worlds. At the bottom of my bed were the 10 books the local library would allow me to take out at one time. At the bottom of theirs were glue, used condoms and poorly spelt letters from their prison dads. Yet I still stopped. As a child I was always obedient to authority and I interpreted their menace as authority.

'Do you play violin?' one asked.


'Aye you dee. He plays violin'

'No. Not me. That's Max. He lives at number 16. I play the guitar'

This was true. You might say it was unnecessary for me to give Max's address but remember I was ten and scared. I accept that you might not want me in the trenches along side you though. I intend to send this blog to any military board that tries to draft me.

'He's lying. You do play violin.'

'I don't. Honest.'

'Get off ya bike'



I got off. One of them then pushed me and I knew I was about to be beaten up. I immediately got down on the ground and went into the embryo position while they kicked me on the back a few times. Not particularly hard I think. There were a few bruises but they didn't really go for it. Maybe they were a bit weirded out by my submissiveness.

I suppose it's quite a sad story. Not least because it reveals why the London Philharmonic has so few Geordie violinists. Every boy gets beaten up at least once though. I suspect Bruce Willis gave Haley Joel Osment a kicking or two on the set of 'Sixth Sense' just to teach him a life lesson. 'Haley ain't no name for a girl!'. The question is would Haley curl up into a ball or at least attempt to fight back a bit no matter how futile it was? Fighting spirit is a good thing, right? Even if you are an effeminate child up against the star of the Die Hard movies.

What I face now is not a fight. It's just a bit of stress caused by choices I've made. Choices which I think are good ones but involve risk. There is still that instinct to just get off the bike and lie down on the ground and close my eyes though.

Epilogue: When writing this blog I opened another tab to look for a word that incorporated players of all stringed instruments. I thought it would make the Philharmonic line a bit funnier. I failed. What I did somehow stumble on was a list of "viola jokes". Perhaps the lads who attacked me were just viola players disgruntled at the constant abuse. Look...

Yeah! Viola players are idiots! Seriously guys. This stuff is gold. I think I may have finally found my voice as a stand up. That's only Part One!

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