Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Open University : Course A103 - An Introduction to the Humanities

At 3.00 pm yesterday I popped an envelope in the mail box and started to stop vomiting from anxiety attacks because it was all over. Seven months it has taken to be finally be me again. Me, me, me! Me - free to write what I like, when I like, and how I like.

To explain – imagine you were a bright parrot, not just in plumage, but also in walnut sized brain, grey cells. Your dream life was to fly around, flitting amongst the various groups of humanoids squatting in their habitats, observing their strange ways. At some point you realize that some are rather absurd and using the language you picked up, love to shout out some quip guaranteed to cause a fuss. The resulting stones being thrown in your direction only increase the feeling of a job well done. It was also fun to shit on a few of them as you fly away, free, free as a bird!

But what about the same bird being captured and stuck in a cage and forced to learn various versions of ‘Pretty-Polly’ ad-nauseaum. Even if the cage door had been left open, the thing is so traumatised by the experience, it is petrified of opening its beak more than to say variations of ‘Pretty-Polly’ and quote grandma or father or little sister who poked it with a stick, as a reference! AND that is exactly what has happened to me!

By the time exam number seven came along, I was finished. My wings were well and truly clipped. They were not interested in my opinions. ‘Read the fucking material (a huge massive amount), and just answer the bloody question!’ They wanted to teach me discipline, something I hadn’t gone through since I joined the police in 1976. Okay, I wasn’t exactly marching around again, but I was forced to digest an academic meal consisting of art history, literature, music, philosophy, classical studies, history, religious studies, and history of science and then shit the lot out in nice, neat little piles.

I lost all interest in writing. Period! Even my beloved blog was ignored. Exam number eight was a piece 2000 words long. It took me a week. A week! I could write those amount of words (rather garbled, mind you) with six tins of beer in me, in an hour. Now it took me a week. My browser bookmarks covered half of the arts of the human race since they first swung down from the trees. The more I looked up and referenced, the more I fell deeper into their devilish plot. I went to bed with Roman coliseums, Andy Warhol, Hinduism, Alfred Wallace, and the extremely disturbing Wide Sargasso Sea , just to name a few. Music? Hah-hah, give me a break. I was bombarded with hideous noises and told to understand why the god-awful din was good for me. Sadly, in that discipline, they failed. I still think Slade was the best band ever and fuck the opera!

To conclude:

Did I learn anything? Oh hell, yes. I learnt that if someone comes to me and says they have a degree in the humanities, I will mumble an apology and head for the nearest bar.

By the time my final exam came I was as sick as a parrot. In fact, that comment is a Shavian literary paradox. You see, the idiom ‘as sick as a parrot’ means, 'to be very disappointed'. I wasn’t. I was bloody elated! The final exam had to written by hand and I actually went into tantrums; running to the doctor for a sick note because I believed I was being discriminated due to some arthritis and writer’s cramp. The nice bloke told me to fuck-off! (This is true by the way.) After getting scores of people to replace the toys I threw out my cot, I actually sat down and wrote eight pages by hand in two hours and felt rather pleased with myself!

If, and I do believe that I will pass A103, I think I am entitled to have some letters after my name. Not ‘dickhead’, as most people who meet me would presume, but something for sophisticated than that. Not sure what though. A103 is just a level one course. It was the hardest thing I have done since running after ‘gooks’ in Rhodesia, whilst worrying that the bottle of coke in my rucksack will go flat from all the bouncing around.

I wish to thank my tutor, Susan, who occasionally would receive a phone call from me in the middle of an anxiety attack, calm me down and guide me. I also thank the Open University, who quite frankly, are brilliant! Because, you see, I wrote this, next to almost perfect, in a very short time. I have learnt much and even I can see it.

I am now, with the hopefully successful completion of A103, half way through my BA (open). My next course, that starts now, is the one that was literally designer perfect for me. Level three - Advanced Creative Writing. At the end of this, I have no more excuses for finishing the first part of my memoirs.

I have many, many people to thank for my progress, but at this present time, they will remain anonymous, but they know who they are. There is however, one person out there who kicked this whole thing off. I do not know who it is but he posted a comment a long, long time ago on my blog under the name ‘Kudu-Eye’. He told me to go back to school if I wanted to be a writer. And I did and if you read this – thanks ‘china’.

I still have problems, one big one is what appears to be my complete inability to work out how and when to use ‘to’ and ‘too’, no matter how many times it has been explained to me, but what the hell are editors for?

So, I am back and there is plenty to come. In fact, very shortly my next posting is an absolute world exclusive.

Stay tuned.

Best regards,


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