07 November 2009

A passing thought on Sesame Street

When I was 10, I moved house and had to change school. It was already apparent that we had gone up in the world because we now lived in a detached house and the neighbours didn't scream at each other after closing time and my dad no longer turned the hi-fi speakers round to face the party wall and blast out prog rock. Things were different now. Plus it was the 80s.

When I went to my new school, it was also apparent that we had gone up in the world. Everybody except me used fountain pens and had ink-stained fingers. I had a stubby bit of pencil and a rubber. Thankfully, I was quite good at spelling (imagine!) so at least my new classmates couldn't pick on me for being thick. Thankfully, too, my mum had persistently told me off for pronouncing things scousely so I didn't have too strong an accent.

One memory of many I have from the whole two years I spent at this school (others include: sneaking into the headmaster's office to look at the academic achievement records; learning all the songs from Cats, and having a massive war of words with a horrid girl called Kate) was sitting in a sun-filled room watching a video about grammar. There must have been a teachers' strike or a pandemic or something because a) there were loads of us in the room watching the tape and b) we never watched TV at this school; it was, of course, considered too low-brow.

What I remember from the show (which I'm pretty certain wasn't one of those schools and colleges productions but was in fact Sesame Street - happy 40th birthday Big Bird et al, BTW. Great show, guys) was the explanation of punctuation, and the memory aid for remembering the word itself (which adds to my confusion as to why we were watching this programme - weren't we a bit old?): Punk (accompanied by a sequence of a man with a mohican-style hairdo) - Chew (with a shot of bubblegum being masticated and blown) - Asian (footage of a person of Asian decent walking by). Crazy.

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