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I tell you what I want, what I really really want

  Tue 20th February 2018

Another disastrous double period with Year 7. According to their whim, they mock me in a language they know I don't understand, or ignore me altogether. I look at the clock constantly, counting down the minutes until I can get rid of them. Then, later in the afternoon, a therapeutic calm with a younger class who have taken to a project about writing a newspaper with more enthusiasm than I'd expected. I wish I could crack open the heads of Year 7.

I had a phone call from my boss in London, who runs the agency for which I am a sub-contractor. To my surprise, and somewhat to my disappointment, she told me that I was the teacher they should have appointed in September. I don't want to be wanted here. I assumed that word would have got round the school now about the poor quality of my teaching and that we were all gritting our teeth until the end of the year when we could force a smiled farewell.


My long overdue first social engagement on Saturday night allowed me to dispose of the unavoidable foreigner's rite of passage: a taxi to a hotel for a Valentine's Day do cost me a tenner; I was informed later that it should have been about two quid.

In a circular room, someone dressed as a giant tomato went round with a photographer, cajoling girls in expensive dresses into the angled cock-legged pose. Well dressed middle-aged men wearing the assurance of money, looking just like the engineers and teachers that most of us foreigners are, and the thin sliver of locals who can afford £4.50 a pint. On a low raised stage a man with the British chav-thug haircut -- shaved sides and an erect half-centimetre of crown -- was playing Yesterday and similarly stale covers on an electric violin.

I tried to locate my Kazakh teacher-to-be but when I arrived I was assured by two separate members of staff that the public internet which was asking me for a password was not working. I circulated the room for a few minutes looking at women's chests. We had all been issued with name stickers, and most women put them on the un-named zone just northeast of the left breast.

I fell in with an amusing couple of locals who had become friends after working in the same engineering firm. We talked about cross-cultural difficulties. I said I find the Kazzers' questions rather direct. If they don't get the information they want, they don't take the hint to change the subject, but will ask an even more searching one. "But don't you want to know people?" he asked.

The joint wasn't really jumping, with an inept DJ providing an interval of silence in between each track in order to keep the dancefloor regularly cleared, so when they asked me if I fancied a drum n' bass night going on with a DJ from London I responded enthusiastically. We got to the pub where younger women, friends of the bloke, kept arriving and sitting at our table. Unfortunately that's more than can be said for the DJ, who hadn't turned up.

The bloke went home but the girl was keen to try a third place. A warm wash of sexual desire for her in the taxi, about which I did nothing at all, hoping in some inverted way that she would read my silent inaction. I got out at my flat to get some more money but I still find the layout of my block confusing, because the lifts and corridors move about according to how much I've had to drink. When I got outside I couldn't find the taxi. A frustrating evening was completed by discovering, on going to ring her, that I had lost my phone.


My sister, a slender and stylish Home Counties girl now beached in Middlesbrough, tells me that she's had her first tattoo, is having more, and and wants to become a tattooist.

Coming across that decision whilst reading her long, honest and interesting email, I could hear an almost audible voice in my head. "Be a writer looby! It's so fucking obvious!" My book is already written. You're reading it.

11 comments

Comment from: Furtheron [Visitor]

You could certainly be a writer - you have a talent for it.

Stick in there with Year 7 they will crack first

Tue 20th February 2018 @ 16:36 Reply to this comment

Be a writer and get PAID. That’s a little more accurate. What’ve you got to lose? Sweet vindication against the 7-years when their parents read what animals they’ve raised.

Tue 20th February 2018 @ 18:00 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Thank you both of you. Last night I started looking round for an agent and rearranging this big jigsaw for the magic three killer chapters to go first and lure the agent in.

And F – I certainly hope so. It’s the worst 90 minutes of my week by far.

Wed 21st February 2018 @ 08:43 Reply to this comment
Comment from: organ grinder [Visitor]

I’d buy it, though the GF is less keen, but fortunately you are young and beautiful & so Susanna and Piers will be all over you.

Fri 23rd February 2018 @ 14:56 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I regret saying anything about it now. I’ve joined the dirty ranks of the blog into book wannabees. Still, vainglorious unfounded self-admiration works wonders in the short term.

Fri 23rd February 2018 @ 21:17 Reply to this comment
Comment from: organ grinder [Visitor]

Oh, do go for it! Seemed to me the obvious conclusion since I started reading it. Tho you may need to prolong your stay in Central Asia for fear of lawyers.

Fri 23rd February 2018 @ 22:08 Reply to this comment
Comment from: daisyfae [Visitor]

The 7 year students are difficult. Hard to scare them. Only possible way would be to get them convinced you’re stark, raving mad, and capable of violence - although even that might not work. Develop the 1,000 yard stare of a hired killer - look through them, as if you really do understand what they’re saying. Perhaps ‘accidentally’ drop something fragile on the floor so that it shatters - get their attention, while slowly picking up glass shards.

Or just finish the year, write the fucking book and get the hell out of there.

Thu 1st March 2018 @ 00:38 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

They don’t give a shit. I’m amusing sport to them. It’ll just be crowd control for a while. I have absolutely no interest in them apart from the fact that they represent money to me. What a sorry pass that is for a teacher to come to.

Thu 1st March 2018 @ 05:08 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Eryl [Visitor]

Ye gads! I’ve just caught up with your posts and feel like recruiting a team (think Charlie’s Angels) to break you out of there.

Those hideous children…
And your house on the market too…
And your lost phone…

But a book, hurrah, at least you’ll get something solid out of the experience.

Fri 2nd March 2018 @ 21:03 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

If you don’t believe you’re a writer no else will you know… and what’s wrong with being a blog to book wannabe really? there’s a lot of shite ones out there and at least you’ll buck that trend, i do get a signed copy right?

and that Saturday night sounds a right laugh, part adventure, part disaster, but still a good time…

Sun 4th March 2018 @ 21:57 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Eryl – yes, I’d love to be whisked away from it all by whatever the dark-haired one was called. Although a fat man in a shiny suit would do as long as he was bearing a ticket home.

kono – that’s the least you deserve kono, and thanks for the encouragement.

Tue 6th March 2018 @ 06:54 Reply to this comment


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