Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone
May 21, 2009
In 1997 I received a phone call from Brentnall Primary School, my old school in Salford. Well, not the school, of course, but someone who worked there. (Ah! Now I understand synecdoche).
The school had to go. Too few pupils. Children, in Salford, were dwindling. But there were still pupils at the school and where were they to go? And why were they phoning me? They thought that my (at the time) ‘P’ list celebrity status (it’s much much lower now) might be able to somehow prevent the closure. I said, in the words of Jarvis Cocker, “I’ll see what I can do.”
I hadn’t a clue. The first thing I did was close my eyes and stand in a dark room, swinging my pants. I don’t know to this day if it was a bizzare attempt at some form of meditation, some kind of remote school-saving, or if it was just a nervous reaction; a panic act, a harmless alternative to nail biting or excessive masturbation.
After a bit of thought my head cleared. I was a professional idiot, not a politician; it’s their job to save schools. And so my plan started to form. I would contact Brentnall Primary School’s nearest politician and get them to save the damned place of education.
I’d never contacted a politician before. How do you do it? Well, they all put their phone numbers in the phone book! And so this is how I came to phone Hazel Blears at the Houses of Parliament.
I say phone Hazel Blears… I just phoned a number of an office and all I got was an answerphone. I left a message- I was phoning about my old school, don’t close it, leave it open... please… – that kind of thing.
An hour later my phone rang. It was HAZEL BLEARS! She phoned me up herself. A politician! I was so shocked. I’d never spoken to a politician before. What was I supposed to do? Bow? Over the phone? Or spit? I truly had no idea.
We talked a bit. She knew of the school, and of its plight, and she said, in the words of Jarvis Cocker, “I’ll see what I can do.”
She wrote to me. It was hardly 84 Charing Cross Road, but it meant a lot at the time. And the school stayed open. The system worked! The school was going to close, we contacted the local MP, she fought, the school won.
In time it was knocked down. But Brentnall Primary School still exists. It’s smaller now, in a smaller building yards from its original location. But that’s ok isn’t it? There are fewer children in Salford these days.
And this is why I’ll miss Hazel Blears if she has to go. She’s done a bad thing. But no worse than Hoon and Purnell it seems. Yet it looks like Gordon Brown will stick up for them whilst sticking it to old Hazel Nut.
So Hazel, I’m on your side (sort of). I’ll stick up for you (though you are very very bad and wrong). You see, I’m a sucker. She was there for me when I needed an MP. And I fancy her.
(picture thanks to The Daily Mail… hope that’s ok)