Friday, September 09, 2011

today : September # 2

Whenever September rolls around, I am reminded that it is my least favourite month. In recent years, operations meant that I spent 2 of the last four Septembers in painful recovery, which is still fresh in my memory. But long before that Septembers were harbingers of misery.

When I was a teacher it, of course, meant going back to work. Some other teachers seemed to happy to be back in school. I imagine they maybe had broods of children and, as the adult at home for the previous six weeks, had spent the entire time trying to entertain their offspring. Maybe, for them, returning to work would herald at least some of the day being in their own control, some return to normal adulthood.

But for the childless me it spelt the end of freedom. The summer holidays were the time when I could cut loose from all routines and responsibilities. Sometimes I went on holiday for the whole time. Other years I would write solidly, or record and mix an album, or just do what I wanted for as long as I wanted. For example, I always like sitting down when the Olympics or whatever is on and consuming it all night and day knowing that other Olympics watchers were rationed to highlights brief moments.

But September was when the watch went back on my wrist and the collars and ties moved to the front of the wardrobe. Time to start being grown up.

Not that returning to school is totally without joy. There is something comforting in routine and work. I personally find something deeply satisfying in falling asleep in front of the TV on a Friday evening, overdosed on take-away additives and a glass of cold beer, but properly tired from hard work rather than sleepy from staying up the previous night playing GTA3. And teaching always throws up new challenges, new pupils and new colleagues - all generally positive. There's nothing like finding some gems amongst the new intake of pupils - either ones you know you can help get on and enjoy teaching or ones who are crazy and/or strange to the point of sheer entertainment. Same with new staff. Sometimes the churn of new colleagues can throw up interesting and positive dynamics. A new friend even.

But as the years went by looming Septembers started to outshine the potential positives of a new academic year. Eventually, for me, that first six-week half-term started the downward spiral towards the Xmas half-term, which is the nadir of any school year. The first couple of weeks in September are filled with energy and various kinds of newness. The next four filled with dread and pessimism at the knowledge that the clocks will go back and the six weeks from Bonfire night through to Christmas will be some kind of dark troop towards hell.

Let me explain. The minute the October half-term ends the entire nation is on a run-up to Christmas. Children are almost entirely distracted by the hyped promise of whatever gifts they are to receive. But everyone is also drained by the darkness of the winter mornings and evenings and those days where it never really gets properly light. Motivation is at its lowest. Tiredness makes everyone grouchy and hard to live with and there are more windy, rainy and cold days than not. It's not a massive change - but 1% less motivation and 1% less cooperative behaviour can tip the balance significantly.

Anyway, that's all in my past and not the real reason why I hate September. The real reason is that as soon as September comes around the so-called 'silly season' ends. I turn on the TV and find that I am bombarded with crap. Not only do the political correspondants all return from their hols but so do the politicians. After a blessed few weeks where we have had a nice break, everything returns to its appalling norm. That is: an endless parade of politicians, their fat awful corrupt lying smug holiday-tanned faces, spouting their endless specious bullshit. All their speeches and policy initiatives and hobby-horse ideology. All their psychotic egotistical preening and their arrogant self-serving miasma, poisoning the airwaves and the air with their pointless noise.

It reminds you that modern-day politics is not about running the country - after all, whilst they were away inflicting their odious selves on the people of California, Tuscany, Devon and the Dordoigne, the country more or less kept running. It is about egotistical shallow bastards promoting themselves and the hollow certainty of their own cretinous opinions and shoring up the wealth of themselves and their friends. It's no less tribal and objectionable than in Afghanistan or Libya.

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