Paramore, high tea and other distractions

It’s been a busy weekend what with one thing and another.  On Friday evening, I took the daughter and a gaggle of her school-friends to see Paramore at Wembley arena.  My original intention had been to accompany them, but in the event, my ticket was purloined on behalf of a girl who happened to be, I was heart-rendingly informed, North London’s most ardent, and tragically ticketless, Paramore fan.  Fair dos, given that my personal interest in Paramore is next to non-existent.  Besides, I readily admit there’s nothing quite as detrimental to one’s street cred as having an Anxious Parent in tow. 

I did my own bit of arm-twisting and managed to induce another AP to keep me company for the duration.  We’d hoped to see a film.  Finding Wembley something of a cinematic black hole we ended up scoffing mezze at a nearby Lebanese restaurant instead, and watching what appeared to be Saudi Arabia’s Got Talent on the big screen telly, while a noisy crowd of young Arabs sporting Tag Heuer watches and designer hijabs smoked shisha and played dominos on the veranda outside.  On Saturday afternoon, we had friends over to watch the footie and afterwards, they stayed for a post-match high tea that somehow ended up stretching well into the evening.  (For reasons I can’t quite fathom, the excellent, flexible meal of high tea appears to have all but disappeared from the nation’s tables.) Chores – someone has to cut the grass and clean the bathroom – homework and more football swallowed up much of Sunday, et voila! the weekend was to all intents and purposes over.

Of course, it’s good and necessary to be fully embroiled in life.  The upshot of all this, however, is that I haven’t done a great deal of writing.  My aim is to put finger to keyboard every day, but when family and other priorities crowd in, it seems nigh impossible.  Some people manage to write while the rest of the world chatters and squabbles around them, but I’ve never mustered sufficient concentration for this.   I rarely manage to write in the evenings either; an unconquerable lethargy tends to set in at around 8.30 pm and I end up collapsing onto the sofa and gawping at whatever’s on the box. 

As a result, last week I caught the end of Waterloo Road and then switched over to Educating Yorkshire.  The contrast between the two is perhaps instructive for a screenwriter.  For all the high drama of the fictional school, it was the real-life version that captured the heart.  This week’s programme featured a pair of unlikely friends who in the run up to their GCSEs had fallen out over a false rumour.  Although nothing happened that was unusual or beyond the quotidian, it served to illustrate just how intensely felt and all-consuming teenage friendships can be.  Here was jealousy, betrayal, misunderstanding, anger, alienation and ultimately forgiveness and reconciliation played out in utter seriousness and for real and it was completely captivating.  Equally moving was seeing how deeply involved the staff were in helping the students find a genuine resolution to an issue that could easily have been dismissed as a distraction from the main purpose and activity of the school.  There was a sense of real, heartfelt care for these young women as they struggled to make sense of their relationships and their place in the world.  Schools get such a bad press, yet what the best of them do is close to miraculous in terms of creating an environment that turns out confident, qualified, emotionally balanced young adults.

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