Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Kes and the F- word

I'm looking forward to seeing Ken Loach at DMU's Cultural eXchange week (5th March); his drama Cathy Come Home is one of the most significant UK TV plays ever made.

However, an unwelcome school memory has re-surfaced: 1983, year of my English O-Level, lesson conducted by a teacher with a fondness for contemporary literature (I will call her Miss X-Pletive). We were reading A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines, inspiration for the film Kes, directed by Ken Loach.

Back then (and up until 17 February 2010), I was never a great one for swearing, confounding school friends :"Go on, say The Bloody Tower. It's OK, it's not like proper swearing."

I refused.

This particular day, Miss X-Pletive picked on girls in the class to read out passages from Hines's book. My section was liberally seasoned with the f-word, used as a reinforcing adverb that I, as an ultra-sensitive teen, couldn't say.

So, I refused to read. I could hear the sneers and sniggers from my class mates as my cheeks burned brightly.

Twenty seven years later and I am now a mature student studying Creative Writing and English Language at DMU. A recent lecture concerned taboo words and I even said a very naughty four-letter word out loud. I haven't died of embarrassment (yet).

These words are just one small part of our rich language and culture. Does this finally mean I have grown up?

Blog off!

Sally Jack

image from BBFC through wikimedia commons

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