An eleven-year-old

He’s so tall. Even the big band teacher says ‘you’ve grown’ as a reflex…

He just grunts – not really the word. He just makes a little ‘huh’ noise… But he must like it. He keeps on coming to big band and trumpet and drums. It’s just ‘normal’, I suppose, week on week.

He has a really short haircut. It looks good but he HATES it. He’s lost his fringe! It’s my fault. I booked them into the new hairdressers’ in Mistley – and paid for them (it’s so near for them). But I didn’t actually GO. And Luke got scalped! And being so shy – just like me at his age – I bet he didn’t actually SAY anything. I bet he just grunted when they showed him what they’d done – and went home, slammed the door of his bedroom and CRIED…

Well, that’s what I would have done at 11. But I didn’t have two big brothers. Luckily, 1975 was a ‘long hair era’. So I didn’t have to go more than 3 times a year…

And – having no fringe – it shows off the scar from when he cracked his head open on the wall in the hall. Luckily I was there (it was 2015). I felt USELESS! K and J (aged 14, already over 6 foot) carried him to the car and went to A&E. And I waited with A and the guests, and ordered fish and chips for 7. Which of course I didn’t pick up…

The big band – about 20 10-18-year-olds – are playing the Muppet theme tune. Maybe some of them know it from The Muppet Movie… But they don’t show any sign of it…

The bandleader/conductor is a marvel. She’s about 70, has short hair, is totally gung ho about being a bandleader. I said to her before the beginning how much I liked the concert they did in July. In particular the bit where she said ‘let’s try something new’ and gave them a piece THEY’D NEVER SEEN BEFORE! Which they played phenomenally well… and she said: the trick is just never to tell them how difficult it really is! And then – sooner or later – they just get it! Instead of failing and going back to their computer…

She’s entirely Essex and just SO GOOD!


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I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

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