Life seems to be becoming ever more like the life in Royston Vasey. For the uninitiated, Royston Vasey is the fictional town where the League of Gentlemen is set. The League of Gentleman was a comedy series that followed the lives of several of the citizens of Royston Vasey. Many of the characters have weirdly morphed into real life. The most obvious example of this are Tubbs and Edward who run the local shop for local people. Extreme Brexiteers before the term was even formulated.
My favourite character has to be Pauline. Pauline is horrific. Pauline, brilliantly played by Steve Pemberton, is the tutor of the finding a job programme at the Job Centre. She enjoys the power she has over the job seekers and regularly threatens to stop their benefits if they question her in anyway.
There are certain similarities between Pauline and my line of work. In the first episode, she asks the group to shout out names of jobs, only to tell them they don’t have a hope in hell in getting any of them. This was quite like a class where I got my learners to do an A to Z of jobs, although I wasn’t quite as dismissive about their job prospects.
Pauline shows how ridiculous some of these courses are. Mickey, one of Pauline’s jobseekers, gets an interview. However, it’s in the middle of the course. Pauline threatens to stop his benefits if he goes to the interview as he must finish the course first. Sadly, this mirrors what happens in reality. On our courses, if a learner is enrolled to do an exam, there is an expectation that the learner will sit that exam come hell or high water. If the learner gets a job, becomes ill, has a baby, we are expected to drag them in to complete the course and do the exam. It’s all about the spread sheet darling.
The spread sheet has spread into all aspects of life. Obviously when you are dealing with inanimate objects, they serve a purpose. Yet humans aren’t like that. Humans change. We are an evolving species after all. Yet the gap between those who scrutinise the spread sheet and those who are on the frontline gets wider and wider.
It’s all been a bit quiet on the health front recently, spread sheets aside. However, the drooling is getting worse and worse. I went to a concert with my sister in Hyde Park. We tried to take the obligatory selfie. I looked awful. “Try opening your mouth a little.” I did. I still looked awful. So now I have become like Mariah Carey in photos. Mariah Carey is famous for never showing the left side of her face. If it’s good enough for Mariah, it’s good enough for me. Bring on the face lift!