Charles Dickens was raised in a family forever one desperate step ahead of debtors prison. Anna Pavlova, the great ballerina, was the daughter of a single mother, abandoned by the father. John Lennon was the product of a fairly complicated family arrangement, to put it mildly.
Even the actors, singers and musicians knocking about in the 80s seemed to come complete with harrowing tales of families imploding in a welter of mum-and-dad warfare.
In other words, if you harboured dreams of doing something faintly arty, as I did when I was a kid, it seemed your first requirement was a fairly miserable childhood.
I couldn’t compete. Not with a mum who met my dad, who immediately announced to his pal that he would marry her one day, and he did, and they settled down to a happy life of three kids, a terraced house, a Morris Minor and Saturday night in front of the telly watching the Western whilst dad doled out the pick ‘n’ mix. That first great rebellion in any life is usually against mum and dad, so its quite hard to be a rebel when you quite liked them, thanks very much.
It seemed my dreams of a life artistic had been doomed by a family too stable and comfortable.
Unfortunately, as my daughter points out, I’ve gone and done exactly the same thing with my own family.
This week, the Grumpy Yorkshireman and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. Of course, one of the reasons we have remained side by side is because as far as I can tell, divorce is the most extraordinary faff, and I really can’t be bothered. And if we split up, who would rid the bathroom of spiders?
Now, The Girlchild is completely on track to achieve her dream of being an artisan brewer, but, as she points out, perhaps she might have quite liked to have been a conceptual artist with an installation in the Tate (whatever that means) representing her early angst over the state of her parents volatile relationship, but we, and by that I mean him and me, shot that fox dead by being a pair of happy campers who went on fun holidays and scarce exchanged an angry word.
Unless it was about spiders, of course.
Suffering for their kids’ art
SO perhaps that’s what’s behind the great Brangelina Brexit? Mr Pitt and Ms Jolie may have looked at their bounteous brood and said, one of these is bound to be a future Oscar contender.
Hold on, won’t happen if we are all one big happy family. We need a bit of angst here. Let’s do the decent thing for their future acting careers and have a high-vis meltdown.
What else do two people like this have to fall out over? I’ve nursed friends through failing relationships and poured the wine when they have sadly realised that he/she is cheating, or bailiffs have come knocking, or they’ve slowly realised he/she doesn’t really want kids.
Brad and Angelina were on a private jet, for heaven’s sake. Money is not an issue when you hire jets to get about.
He’s just about one of the most hunky men on the planet (after the Grumpy Yorkshireman, of course), and she is a walking work of art. Who are they going to cheat with?
Having kids is clearly not an area of dispute, given the amount they must spend on nappies and nannies.
What do they fall out over? Who forgot to put fuel in the plane last time they used it?
I suppose Angelina can afford a special member of staff to get rid of spiders.
William, it was really nothing..
She’s a bit of a Marmite gal, our Angelina. Those great puffy lips, the tattoos and some dodgy film choices.
But I can’t help but quite like her. I admired her openness about her mastectomy and she did great work highlighting the horrors women are subjected to in war zones.
But I also like her because she was responsible for one of my happiest memories of William Hague.
Come to think if it, it’s my only happy memory of Wee Willie Hague. It was a photograph. He was attending a conference flanked not just by Angelina, but also Brad himself, striding in on his left. The look on William Hague’s face said it all. Seriously, take that Cameron and the Bullingdon Boys, I’m mixing with A-Listers now.
As we say in Scotland, och, the wee soul . . .
Mum’s not the word for Jimmy
In my class at primary school there was only one kid not being raised by mum and dad. We all knew about him. His name was Jimmy and when they came round with letters ‘for your mum and dad,’ they never failed to nail on ‘except you, Jimmy, you give yours to your sister.’ Discretion was not a big part of the 1960’s Scottish school system. He’s a painter and decorator now.