l MISSING: One ' sense of fun; answers to name of Stop-feeling so-guilty-this will-only-take an-hour-and-
you’ll-be-so-glad you-made-the-effort-later. Of some sentimental value. Reward offered.
The reward is perhaps redundant, come to think of it. I can’t imagine anyone else wanting to keep my ‘sense of fun’, should they be keen-eyed enough to spot it.
And that’s rather the point — ﬁnding the thing is a problem, so small and dull has it become over the years. Frankly, I wouldn’t bother— I hardly miss it. But my friends do. Perhaps it’s a senescent trick of memory - but they seem to remember a time when it was all here-we-go-round-the-mulberry- bush. Parties on the lawn, white dresses and tuxes at dusk by the ﬂare of candle and torch-light, Pimms or plonk in luminous goblets, fireworks and minstrels and careless laughter— Such fun! - they insist.
But look at you now! Work, work, work. Shuttle, shuttle, graft, graft. Perhaps it’s the wordprocessor, perhaps it’s the mortgage — and in either case it serves you right for snuggling those particular nooses round your neck — but the result is simple and sad: whatever happened to your sense of fun?
I bridle at this. After all, it’s not as if I’ve lost my sense of humour. I still guffaw bleakly with the best of them when Ilona Stoller’s dove ofpeace is squished under retreating Soviet tanks; or the Egyptian ﬁghter-bomber invited to show off at an Iraqui airshow is gunned down by a loyal Iraqui ak-ak mullah who hadn’t been told that this particular bandit at six o’clock was carrying the crest-embossed gilt-edged passport to diplomatic harmony on his dashboard.
But fun . . .
Perhaps it isn’t one ofthe great human values. in the end. It’s the one invoked by self-styled funsters whose business is to keep you up, out and drinking, long after the sober citizenry have clasped nightcap and Wodehouse and settled into the complacent embrace of feather and blanket. Poor fools! They could be swabbing the town down with vermilion, scarlet and cherry washes of riot and rudery, exploring the utmost possibilities of northern carnival in a dying millennium — and what are they doing? Practising all too convincingly for the ultimate and permanent horizontal. Well, it’s never too early to learn something new - budge up there under the duvet!-I‘m comingin . . .
I suspect I never really had a sense offun at all. After all, remember those parties — the ones you longed
Z'I'he List 5: isMé-y-MQJ
to be invited to, the ones held in the other train in STARDUST MEMORIES. When you did eventually win entry, by virtue or stealth - how disappointing, how tedious, how vacuous it all seemed. How you longed to be shot out of the sky, to parachute to distant safety, a long way from the mindless etiquette ofthe dedicated funlovers. And, for all you know — before you start assuming the pale-eyed superiority of the ascetic — so did every individual in that marquee/ riverboat/reception-room.
Forget the parties — use The List? A thousand and one irresistible pastimes?
I’m not sure. After all, who needs the artifice ofa pastime to fulfil a meaningful life? ‘Pastimes’ may fill pages of listings, but can events and activities constructed to ‘pass the time’ of the collaborators involved — performers and support-staff and audience — be so very desirable? In appealing to the artists for clues to the answer to The Great Existential. Why, we’re surely not asking for time to be simply ‘passed’ - but rather kneaded, explicated, unravelled and reknitted. The only valid art, whatever your taste, must be the art that finds and speaks truth, and truth is a maimed and blackened quarry. Beware enjoyment . . .
Heavens above, man! Where’s your sense of fun? Ofcourse life is horrible and miserable! That’s exactly why you need the zest, the spice, the yeast of FUN - to leaven the ﬂat porn'dge of routine and duty! Come away, come away! Defy death, and play till cock-crow! Another show, another bottle, another dance . . .
Another dance, you said? Now you’re talking!
There is fun! The entirely unnecessary, utterly delightful sensation of moving at speed, in rhythm, with a partner who may or may not be intimate (bearing in mind all the complex luggage that intimacy brings with it), in company with others of like appetite - it’s more than the nonpareil ofsafe sex — it’s the perfect two-legged expression of the human spirit in evanescent ecstasy.
‘All art‘, said Walter Pater, ‘aspires to the condition of music’ — but he forgot about dance, the original and soundless human demonstration of word and note.
So there we are — I‘ve found it — down there admidst the silk slippers and the viols-de-gamboys. Philosophy and perspective can go hang — the night is well young — hardly more than a cat’s pyjama-top of pink in the sky — and mine‘s a Lancers! Come on!
What do you mean — you’re tired, it’s irrelevant, you ought to be in bed? Whatever happened to your sense of fun?
’ thinks otherwise. Class control for him involves a
CLASSY SKETCH ES
As I understood it there was nothing a teacher liked more than to force recalcitrant pupils to write out the numbers one to a hundred in a single line in reverse order several thousand times. Or else they’d use them for target practice with the blackboard duster. I assumed it was part of their contract or something. But John Kirkwood
much more constructive discipline. Ifyou feel the urge to be disruptive while Mr Kirkwood is taking you for Art. you‘re likely to he sat down and asked to pose for him. He‘ll grab the nearest pencil or biro and knock up an instant sketch. By the time he’s finished you‘ll have calmed down and regained the self-esteem that caused you to kick up a fuss in the first place. He reckons there is nothing new in his methods — can it really be so long since I was at school? - but he has decided to go ahead with an exhibition of his classroom sketches at the Crawford Arts Centre in St Andrews all the same (see Art Listings). The creative possibilities of this enlightened teaching could soon see a whole new wave of art across Scotland. How long before the Tron does a season of plays about naughty school kids written by their Drama teachers or before Scottish Opera mounts a selection of instant tunes by Scotland’s most patient Music teachers? Watch this space for details. (Mark Fisher).