Thursday, 13 November 2014
A Kingston drift.
Yesterday the artist Laura Oldfield Ford led a group drift around the back streets of Kingston Upon Thames. Apart from the implausibility of anyone "leading" a "planned" drift, it turned out to be a good way to spend an afternoon. Laura is tiny, very friendly and obviously hugely talented. I loved her art work and admired her politics. Towards the end of our walk she was talking about her experiences with so called "careers guidance" at school. Attending what she described as a "shit comprehensive", Laura had told the teachers that she wanted to be an artist. She was advised to get a job in a stationary and art material shop. Hearing this I was immediately transported back to my own Norlington Road Boys Secondary Modern. Most of us were destined for the factories with the more polite and less disreputable looking perhaps getting office work. Retail, or "shops" as we called it in those days, was another possibility. And so it was that any sporting ability would probably lead to a job in a sports goods shop. Although I languished in the second class from the bottom for all of my academic career, I was an avid reader and this was enough for me to be sent off to work for WH Smith flogging newspapers on Liverpool Street Station. Laura clearly survived "careers guidance" and so I suppose did I but my heart bleeds for the kids who are crushed by the system. All those unfulfilled dreams, all that lost potential.