Monday, 4 April 2016

Our new task - interviews with interesting people

A new task has been just announced. We are going to interview some interesting people (parents, neighbours, teachers, politicians, sportsmen, artists, etc.) on what mattered to them when they were teenagers and still matters in their life.

Below you can read an interview with a Nothern-Irish writer - Glenn Patterson my students conducted in 2009 after his visit in Poland we had taken part in.

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" How did you spend free time when you were a teenager?
The way, I suspect, teenagers everywhere spend their time. I played a lot of football, I hung around with a group of other boys - about five or six of us - trying to meet up with girls. On winter evenings we would do nothing much more than walk the streets of the housing estate where we lived, endlessly, round and round. We smoked for the entertainment value - look, it's coming out my nose! - and drank far too much and far too young. In the early summer we built a bonfire - a project that took many weeks - to be lit on the 11th of July (the night before the 12th July Orange parades). Some time in my mid to late teens this sort of thing began to matter to me less. I started hanging around with people from my school, rather than my estate.
What was important for you then?
Without wanting to be dramatic what was important to me was not ending up dead. The violence in Northern Ireland often seemed terribly random (a lot of it was terribly random) and I worried pretty much all the time that I would fall victim to its randomness. In many respects I was a very confident youth (too confident, some people would probably say), but in this one crucial respect I was nervous to the point of paranoia. Until that time I mentioned in my mid to late teens all I wanted at the end of each school day was to get back to my housing estate. I was an ardent Unionist in those days, as were the majority of people where I lived. Much more prosaically what mattered to me was (again) football, music, falling in love (I never just went out with a girl, I always fell in love), and, bit by bit as time went on, writing, although I wouldn’t want to make too much of this: lots of young people write .
What music did you listen to?
I had three older brothers who bought a lot of ‘singles’. This would have been early 1970s, Glam was very big, one brother was a big T.Rex fan, one a fan of Slade, one a fan of Bowie (although he hid his one and only Bowie LP – Aladdin Sane - from our parents, because everyone’s parents then disapproved of Bowie. I remember going hunting for that record like it was pornography: the elicit thrill of it taking it out of the cupboard where my brother had stashed it...). I bought records too, occasionally, many of which I would be embarrassed to admit to, but what the heck: the Osmonds and Cilla Black spring to mind. Again it was as I entered my later teens that my music tastes began to change. I was at school with a boy called Andy White, who is now a singer-songwriter. We swapped records – Dylan, Beatles, Doors, Velvet Underground – and gradually became aware of the music scene going on in belfast. (Or at least I gradually became aware of it. Andy was already a part of it.) By the late 70s punk had taken off here. It was a very exciting period (the Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, Rudi), although the nervous part of me still made me wary of going into the centre of town at nights. I am currently writing a film script about that period and about a record shop/record label called Good Vibrations around which a lot of that punk scene revolved.
What were your dreams when you were a teenager?
Early teens? Simple: play for Manchester United.
Later teens, well I would blush to say... "

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