Childhood Book Injustices Part 1

I occasionally have to remind myself which one is Quentin Blake and which one is Quentin Crisp, but like pretty much all other children of the western world and beyond, I have an enormous love for Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.

So, let me take you back to 1984, I am eight years old, a Mars Bar costs 15p, Nena is singing about 99 Red Balloons and Wham are wearing a lot of white and neon and asking guests to wake them up before they leave. Which, if you think about it, is just good manners. My brother is a few years ahead of me in primary school, and his teacher announces at assembly that they are looking for ideas for their end of year production, and the winning idea gets a prize. The next day I wander up to his class at lunchtime and show the teacher my copy of ‘Revolting Rhymes’, and she asks to borrow the book.

It is decided my idea is the best, and with the help of papier mache heads, a grand show is put on. I am then handed back my book, which look as if someone drove over it a few times then used it to plug a drain. There was dirt, finger prints, and notes written in pen. I tell myself it’s okay, as there will be a prize involved, and I put the broken-spined book with its loose pages into my bag.

A few days later, I am called to my brother’s class. This is it, I think. Cash. A car. A speedboat. My weight in chocolate. I actually had it in my head it might be roller-boots, as I really wanted some, and wondered if my brother had told his teacher that. Clearly, I was delusional. The teacher tells everyone how their incredibly popular play was all my idea, and tells them to applaud. It was then I discovered that being clapped makes me cry. I can’t handle applause, which is why I’m not a famous rock star/actor. She told everyone to stop clapping as it was clearly upsetting me, and gave me a tissue, and my prize. A new copy of Revolting Rhymes, as she conceded the one returned to me wasn’t in great condition, so here you are, Lucy, a lovely new copy. Gee, thanks. My prize was the replacement of something she’d ruined. I was actually no better off. I should probably let this go, now.  *deep breath*



By the way, how much does Little Red Riding Hood in her wolf skin look like a Wildling from north of the wall? Seriously, watch out for the white walkers, missy. Winter is coming.