Lame claim to fame

Tue, Feb 2, 2010

Blog, Divorce

Lame claim to fame

We were listening to the splendid Capital Radio this morning, with Johnny Vaughn and Lisa Snowdon. The subject was lame claims to fame, and they included a woman who’d sold a sofa to Daniel Beddingfield and someone who’d once dressed up as Bumble in Rainbow. Excellent!

Of course, it got me thinking of my own lame claim to fame. My bathroom blind is in Mike Leigh’s best film, Life Is Sweet. It happened like this.

crooked blind

Once, years ago, when Mr X were living in *delicate shudder* north London, a film pantechnicon drew up, loads of techy and actory types leapt out, and before we knew it, they were filming right round the corner from us.

At the time, all seemed to be well between X and me. We both had biggish jobs, no children and, while I disliked his flat and north London, we had a laugh. Then we decided to put a blind in the bathroom.

It was a standard issue, John Lewis jobby, nothing outrageous or even mildly exciting. It was pale grey, if memory serves. Naturally, I left X to it. Where I come from (south London), putting up blinds is men’s work. Hours passed, not peacefully, and when I finally ventured into the bathroom again, the blind was crooked.

I suppose it sums up all that was wrong, without me knowing it even was wrong. I just wasn’t great at marriage. There was no teamwork, no compromise, there were expectations and there was criticism.  There was also, now, a very crap blind.

We went to see the film the moment it came out, hoping, I suppose, to see ourselves strolling by, elegantly incognito, as Jane Horrocks et al gave it their all. All we did see, looming in one scene, was the painfully crooked bathroom blind.

Although we limped on for many years, I now look at that blind as a seismic moment. It reminds me of the last part of Philip Larkin’s tremendous ‘they fuck you up’ poem, This Be the Verse:

‘Man hands on misery to man

It deepens like a coastal shelf

Get out as early as you can

And don’t have any kids yourself.’

Of course, we did have kids, thank God. And I now have curtains in my bathroom.

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25 Responses to “Lame claim to fame”

  1. Metropolitan Mum Says:

    Love that poem. At least in my 1st marriage I have done everything right, haha.

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      Fantastic poem, isn’t it? The other one of his that I adore is High Windows, much more uplifting! You must give me some marriage guidance tips :)

  2. Rosie Scribble Says:

    If it had been me, I would probably have waved out of my bathroom window and the entire scene would have to have been cut at great expense. Knowing my luck, I would then have been sent the bill!

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      Actually, I think Mike Leigh is still looking for you after you ruined that crowd scene. Shall I pass on your address?! xx

  3. Crystal Jigsaw Says:

    Great post! Didn’t the film crew offer to pay you thousands, they could have had your blind in a scene. Might have taken away the crookedness.

    CJ xx

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      No, not a penny, I should have made myself the blind’s agent and it could have gone on to superstardom in Hollywood …mind you it would have had to have some work done on that crookedness xx

  4. Sparx Says:

    Lordy – you know, I think that attention to detail is one of the things that makes or breaks relationships. My Frog might not be perfect but you know, he can hang a blind… ie, I can trust him in general to get the details right and not annoy me too much… Having suffered a failed marriage to a lovely man with no attention to bloody anything, I sympathise.

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      Glad your Frog knows one end of a blind from another – I should stress it wasn’t X’s fault, we should have got someone in, and everything might have been different … didn’t know you’d had a starter marriage too, there’s a lot of it about!

  5. Heather Says:

    Wow, famous blinds, I couldn’t top that. did you get custody of them?

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      Nope! Are you kidding? Too exciting by far. I got custody of a huge number of uncomfortable chairs, not that I’m bitter or anything ….

  6. EmmaK Says:

    I have a similarly lame claim to fame. In my twenties when I was often drunk I lived in Bloomsbury. And one day I woke up with a hangover and looked out my window and my window boxes had gone – I was on the first floor but still who’d climb up there to pinch them? I thought shit did I do acid yesterday or what is going on? I really thought I was hallucinating. Then later when I went for a walk I saw that the next street had totally been transformed into a scene from WW2 because they were filming The End of The Affair with Ralph Fiennes and I guess my windowboxes were too plastic and nineteen nineties or something and had had to be removed. After they finished filming the windowboxes were returned. Also they’d erased the yellow lines in my street but I don’t think anyone got away with double parking during filming!!

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      That is so NOT a lame claim to fame, I think it’s great! Your windowboxes have been in close proximity to greatness. Actually an actress chum at a playgroup once snogged Ralph Fiennes in rep hundreds of years ago, she said it was fab though she couldn’t get him to do tongues x

  7. Nicola Says:

    What a funny and also poignant post. My ex is particularly particular about diy – even hanging a picture would have involved taking at least 40 different measurements of the room/wall etc and it would drive me barmy. But the end results were always worth the hours of dedication and accompanying swearing. As for lame claim to fame, my dad was once in a film with Bill (crap – can’t remember his name…he was in Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day) called The Man Who Knew Too Little. We went en famile to the cinema to watch his acting debut…only to find that every single scene he was in had been cut. His knee did feature on the right bottom corner of the screen at one point. Goodness knows what the other cinema-goers thought when my 60yr old dad jumped out of his chair shouting “That’s my knee! That’s my knee!” I think he was very disappointed that noone stopped him for autographs on our departure…

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      Oooh, is that Bill Murray? I’m dead impressed by your dad. Tell him his left knee now has a big fan :)

  8. suburbia Says:

    Great poem!

    Defining moments are always enlightening, trouble is the enlightenment come much too late!

  9. Littlemummy Says:

    Bumble?? Do you mean ‘Bungle’ I was a crazy Rainbow fan and I can’t remember a bumble?

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      Oh, you’re RIGHT Erica, I do mean Bungle!! How could I forget!! Also explains why I couldn’t find a picture of the furry darling ….you do realise Bungle looks a bit like that chappy looming over your shoulder in your avatar pic …is there a theme developing here? (I’ve never seen a pic of Alex but I’m beginning to get an idea what he might look like …..)xx

  10. Family Affairs Says:

    Funny how little things can bring everything flooding back – for me it was our contstant arguments about bloody eggshell Vs gloss paint! Lx

  11. Linda Says:

    What a fabulous post, just fabulous. You should give lessons in how to write properly.
    Sorry okay yeah I’m with Erica on Bungle, if you’ll pardon the expression. x

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      Thank you sweetie! Lovely compliment almost pushes the picture of you and Erica on top of Bungle out of my head …..but not quite xx

  12. Absolutely Write Says:

    Hoorah for that wonky blind! I do love that film, it’s brilliant. I once brushed bums with Paul Weller when standing at a bar – that’s a pretty lame claim to fame too.

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      Actually, I think that’s a pretty excellent claim to fame, reminds me that my X once peed next to Ross Kemp at a urinal ….

  13. Geekymummy Says:

    Great claim, it was an exellent film to have played a small part in! SF is used a lot for movies, and when we were dating Geekydaddy lived on Russian hill, on a street often used for car chases, it’s the one where steve mcqueen jumps the car in Bullit. One day David letterman rolled a load of marbles and bouncy balls down it for his show. Geekydaddy collected a bunch and we still have them in a bag in the basement!