Mark Uncategorised 4 Comments

Modern Art Post Kids

There was a time I quite liked modern art. I actively sought it out.

Many a weekend was wasted interpreting the uninterpretable, hours spent looking for meaning in the meaningless.

With the Guardian’s ‘what’s on’ guide as my bible, I considered myself cultured. A patron of the most pretentious ‘art spaces’ Manchester had to offer. A devoted disciple of the deluded.

Then I had kids.

You see, a funny thing happened when I became a parent. Through sleep deprived, cynically depressed eyes came a clarity of vision that cut right through the densest of bullsh#t. I no longer have time for it. I see things for what they are. The murkiness that is modern art doesn’t stand a chance.

A couple of weeks ago Janet and I found ourselves in an art exhibition.… Read the full post

Mark Growing Old, Tales of Parenting 4 Comments

Technologically Challenged

I’m technologically challenged. There, I’ve said it.

Just before Christmas we switched from Sky to Virgin, since when I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time staring blankly at menu screens on the TV. I find change difficult; finding channels more difficult still. Has anyone seen BBC4?

Refusing to be beaten I did what any man of a more mature age would do; I read the instructions. Cover to cover. Demanding silence from all in the house so I could concentrate, glasses perched high on my forehead so I could read the not-so-small print.

Somehow I managed to find the BBC iPlayer. I wasn’t looking for it. Now I can’t turn it off.

Then there was the simple task of setting up the Wi-Fi.… Read the full post

Mark Family Tales, Tales of Parenting 2 Comments

Is It Over Yet?

Christmas_jarIs it over yet?

That’s not a rhetorical question, I genuinely have no idea when the festive period officially ends.

I’m also not sure what the record for consecutive pyjama days is but the kids must surely be close to breaking it by now.

Like a John Lennon bed-in, had his protests been directed at sprouts rather than the Vietnam war, albeit the consequences of Janet eating so many quantum cabbages was every bit as brutal.

I’d like to blame the bad weather for us being housebound, but I’d be lying. Unless I missed storm Laziness and/or Gluttony, in which case it absolutely was.

But it does feel like the festivities have just about run their course.

I’ve cleared a corner of the dining room to act as a half-way house for the Christmas tree on its way back to the loft.… Read the full post

Mark Uncategorised 5 Comments

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

… and it’s difficult not to be swept up by it all.

To be honest, I think the kids may have already peaked. Wake up any earlier and they’ll be eating their breakfast yesterday.

I blame the advent calendar. Who doesn’t want to wake up at 5am for a suspiciously greying chocolate from a traditionally festive Marvel Avengers calendar?

It wasn’t like this in my day. I grew up with the excitement of opening pictures, and not even the third candle in as many weeks was enough to dampen my enthusiasm, because I had double-door twenty-four to look forward to, and that beats any misshapen excuse of a chocolate Poundland has to offer.

Then there’s my Instagram feed, which has become little more than Tinder for Christmas trees,

“better than mine, better than mine, better than mine, ooh a diseased spruce … nope, still better than mine…”

I’d tried to postpone the inevitable this year by telling them our tree was on a slow boat from Norway.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting, Tales of School 2 Comments

Hell of a School Trip

Maybe it’s because I helped out at school last year and now appear on a ‘gullible parents’ list, or possibly it’s because when asked by his teacher, Luca told her I didn’t work during the week and watched football all day. Either way, this week I was roped into helping out on his school trip.

Seventy Year One pupils visiting an art gallery, what could possibly go wrong?

It didn’t start well. Apparently when it comes to other peoples children, there’s no margin of error with the number you return to school? I was only asking for a 20% leeway, which does sound a lot but in practice that’s only one child out of the six I was entrusted with, plus a couple of scarves and possibly a shoe?… Read the full post

Mark Uncategorised 2 Comments

Bending Time

Luca: “Is it a school day? AGAIN? Next year can you buy a calendar with less school days?”

It’s sweet that Luca thinks I control the calendar year. Sweeter still, he thinks that were I to make changes he’d be a net beneficiary? Like a token bank holiday would come close to compensating for my decimation of their school holidays.

But the more I thought about it, the less ridiculous an assumption it was, because their only concept of time is what I tell them, and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been manipulating it to my own benefit for the last six years. Willfully bending it since the day they were born. Selfishly throwing it through wormholes in a way that would flummox greater minds than that of Brian Cox.… Read the full post