|That Nineties Show: Harley and friends during Spirit Week|
Driving home the next day (from where...I can't remember, it's too recent) I saw a boy walking along the road in a huge faux fur coat. It was our Jackson, 14, - turned out he was dressed as Macklemore doing his Thrift Shop song for Famous People Day. Funnily enough I'd bought that coat in a thrift shop a couple of years ago for my Margot of the Royal Tenenbaums. Then I wore it again on my trip to Berlin: this coat has kind of taken over my life; it's old school, hasn't realised the cold war is over.
|Jackson, 14 in his Macklemore coat|
I've been thinking a lot about the eras because Sue, another childhood friend from this photo, came to visit. In the photo she's the one in the yellow bibbed shorts; she had bright blue eyes and a constant smile. We talked about the mean nuns who taught us. At primary school, headmistress, Sister Stanislaus, used to thump kids repeatedly on the back for imagined misdemeanours. And at high school you risked a bloody good punch on the arm from the bullies if you ventured into the wrong corridor. But we agreed that somehow it hadn't really scarred us; we still had good memories of our schooldays. Not that I recommend either of the above.
|Me and Sue at our house. What amazed me is that we weren't the same height!|
|Sue graduating in her officer's uniform|
Sue was a bit of star at school. In 1979 she was the first female university officer cadet to be accepted into the New Zealand Airforce. Once in, she applied to be a pilot and was declined - they wrote back saying they didn't have any "separate facilities" for her. She still has that letter.
Speaking of childhoods, we just saw a documentary called Crash Reel (available on the HBO website) about a young snowboarder, Kevin Pearce who emerges as the only real rival to his friend Shaun White. He suffers a horrific crash and we then see his two-year journey to recovery and back to snowboarding. The most amazing thing is the filmmaker only met him after the crash. Most of the footage had already been taken: he and all his snowboarding friends had recorded everything about their lives.
An equally compelling documentary is This Way of Life (available on Amazon) about a family with six small children who live in the bush in New Zealand. The children live a free and fearless kind of life, including killing their own food and galloping bareback on horses and the footage is utterly beautiful and lyrical.
Both will make you laugh and cry and think long and hard about your childhood and how you are bringing up your own children.