Amid the strangeness surrounding me at the moment are a couple of bright spots that make me smile. One of which was Young Ollie being promoted to top set at school for Spanish. He is also doing very well at French and that leaves me one very proud father. However, if I am honest, it makes me an envious father too. Is that a bad thing to admit?
I had the same opportunity as Ollie, but spurned my chances of learning other languages at school. I openly admit that, at the time, it wasn’t my top priority. Why would I ever care? Back in the late 80’s, the world was too big a place and a different place too. My family had never been abroad and I had no desire to even think about it. The big city of Leeds was as good as it was ever going to get!
I can’t recall the name of my French teacher. Miss Goldsborough was my German teacher, but I only remember that due to the fact she once rudely interrupted my class comedian routine by launching an old skool chalk board rubber in my direction. I wasnt interested in learning. Instead, I played the clown, failed with the girls and left knowing the only language I know – the Yorkshire form of English. I failed both subjects, and left school with very limited grasp of either – but at the time I wasnt overly bothered.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course. Since those days I have travelled to places like Paris, Munich, Barcelona, Rome. All adventures left me in situations where not being able to speak the language, left me feeling embarrassed that I could only communicate LOUD and S L O W to get my point across or ask my question. My ignorance has left me poorer for my visits to these cities.
During my travels, be it gigs, holidays or football, I have met some amazing local people and the thing that stands out the most, they all spoke perfect English. During my career, I have met some of the most bright, intelligent and amazing people from other countries, who again spoke perfect English. Sure, I can get by – or talk the universal language of football – but its not something I am proud of.
So as I approach 40, I am left relying on others education or my best efforts to try and communicate – or battling things like bloody “google translate” to say something in someones native tongue in the hope that it doesn’t get “lost in translation”. In the here and now, in the 2012 “world where we live”, its the best I can do, though Young Ollie has made it his mission to help me with at least One language!
We will see, it may be too late for this old dog to learn new tricks, after all, there is a guitar in my den I have been “meaning” to learn to play for the last 10 years! Fortunately, music has the capability to connect with people on a level that means it matters not what country you come from or what language you speak. Also means I can cop out and not have to link in todays song to the blog!
This one is by Eels and its just stunning. Most men have been there but could not dream of putting it out there with such heartwrenching eloquence …