(Feel free to hum a certain theme from the Lion King as you read this Monday Musings post!)
Last week I was asked to pay a visit to my old secondary school. A former colleague of mine is now working there and was looking to upgrade the theatre lighting system in the old school hall and wanted some advice on how best to do it. This represented a very strange moment for me, because the last time I tried to get the lighting system in that very hall upgraded I was 15 years old. On that occasion I was just an overly enthusiastic student that had, through that school, developed a passion for technical theatre. This time I was coming back as a practitioner who had been working professionally in technical theatre ever since leaving my school days behind.
It’s a curious feeling, being back where you started but in a completely different role. Walking around so many memories came flooding back – apart from now being filled with top-notch computers amongst other fantastic upgrades to the facilities, the building had changed little… indeed the lighting system I was there to replace was more or less exactly the same system that I had fought to upgrade all those years ago. This was where I learnt the basic skills of my trade, it’s also where I first cut a video together: a memorable Year 8 history project about the origins of the local area with, as I recall, the worst soundtrack ever to grace a video! It was also the place that taught me how to write in a creative way… I’ll leave you to judge how that one turned out though! Being back there was one of those odd life circles you never really expect.
The changing roles didn’t finish there though. As the snow fell my journey began to look increasingly impossible. In fact there was a real danger of being snowed in. This is definitely the only occasion in my life I have ever been cursing the snow for stopping me from getting to school! Surely I should be out sledging as fast as I can down a hill realising only at the last moment that I’m about to crash into a fence rather than crawling down one as slowly as I possibly can in a Mondeo, all too aware of the potential of a collision and less than revelling in the thought of a last-minute emergency turn!
Perhaps most strange of all though I was going back to that school as a married man; going back to the place where me and my mates first (fairly unsuccessfully it has to be said) started chasing girls… or at least tried awkwardly to talk to them before saying something stupid and exiting swiftly… thank god Dom agreed to marry me so I don’t have to do that anymore! Come to think of it most of my friends from that time are now married or in long-term relationships, and one or two are even about to become fathers… when the heck did we become grown-ups?
Fortunately they say that you’re only as old as you feel, and in between writing paragraphs of this post I’m playing with a radio-controlled helicopter and eating Haribo.