(not) a singer in a rock-and-roll band


I’m really not one for enforced fun, but this past week I attended a couple of training days where there were ice-breaker activities before several of the sessions.

On the first day we had to arrange ourselves according to how many letters we had in our names – a fairly innocuous activity that was presumably meant to make everyone introduce themselves. In fact it resulted in pained expressions and much counting on fingers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the polysyllabic Italian lady ended up at the far end.

The session that involved arranging ourselves in sequence according to how far south we were born provoked rather more conversation but, despite the room being full of tech-savvy business owners, no one got out their phone to check latitudes. Looking at a map today, I am amazed to see how wrong we were about the relative positions of Reading, North London and Romford; we were right, though, in deciding that the Italian lady belonged at the end of the row again.

I thought that would be enough warming up, but on the second day we were once more put into small groups to play the familiar ‘two truths and a lie’.

There were a few repeated motifs in the ‘facts’ offered up for us to judge as true or false: fears and phobias (rats, spiders, sharks…), allergies (lactose, peanuts…), previous jobs (dinner lady, footballer, ice-hockey player…), family size (seven children, five siblings…), marathon and other sporting achievements, and connections to famous people (related to Noddy Holder, met Beyoncé, met Nelson Mandela…). And of course I can’t now remember which of these were true and which were the lies.

As for my own ‘facts’, well, there are lots of unexpected things from my past that would be useful for games such as this, but I’m wary of revealing much in the way of personal information, so it took me a few minutes to think of anything suitable and safe, as well as to invent a plausible lie.

In the end I went with:

I used to play guitar in a heavy metal band.
I used to live in Laguna Beach, California.
I have won awards for my poetry.

I’m really not sure how to feel about the fact that the lie was believed by the majority of the people in the room.

Very few people believed I’d lived in California, which surprised me: it was over thirty years ago and I may not talk about it much, but I don’t think I try to hide the couple of years I spent there as an ex-pat housewife.

It was the time I spent in Orange County that made me decide I wanted to live in Central or South America; and that was the trigger for me going to Spain to learn the language. True, I haven’t yet made it back to the Americas, but I stayed in Spain for 25 years, so I’m probably well enough prepared linguistically when the opportunity arises.

Reading poetry at Art in the Park 2018

There are no musicians in the photo, just me reading my (award-winning) poetry at a local festival this summer. It’s a particularly relevant photo to post, though, as the reason people gave for believing I had been in a band was that I “have the hair for it.”

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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