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.
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.