Monday, 2 November 2009

Que Sera, Sera

I sometimes wonder whether I have chosen the best occupation for myself, and whether writing ‘a book’ is the way forward for me. This is mere speculation, as the path I have chosen is the path I will follow for a time at least, but sometimes I do wonder if perhaps something else would be more suitable.

When I was just a little girl and if anyone asked me what I would be, I never replied that I’d be famous or rich, I replied instead that I would be a cat. (You can see where it all went wrong, can’t you?) Later, this became an author. I have been pretty much single-minded about that ever since (while losing a fair few years to socialising, working frantically, and being just generally scatty). Becoming an author would still make me very happy indeed. (As would becoming a cat, if only it didn’t involve scary surgery, mental health issues, or my sad demise to allow reincarnation). But what else, what if?

I can quite easily see myself looking after an archive. Something small and specialised, rather geeky – something connected to TV or film history, or nostalgic pleasures. I can see myself carefully writing up notations and leading guided tours of equally geeky people around my small musty space, and all of us being thrilled with seeing a piece of the yellow brick road used in the original Wizard of Oz film, or a crumpled prop cardboard box as bashed into when filming The Sweeney. Or maybe not even as glamorous (she says, wondering if the above mentioned things are glamour), but more social history – how ordinary people got on with living in 1940, in 1910, and so on and so back. So maybe this puts me in the realm of a museum curator – but then I’d like to be the person that decides the exhibition, the person who rummages around to find the old stuff. So basically I want to be someone who gets to poke around in the secret stash of stuff museums and archives have out the back. Is there even a name for that job role besides Bloody Nosy?

Leading on from above, I quite like preservation work. I’d like to keep history alive. Time team, archaeology, digging around in the mud wearing wellies – this all appeals. Re-enactment also appeals. Travelling around the country being the world’s foremost expert (and no doubt complete bore) on Agatha Christie appeals, as does being the person television people contact when they want to make a scene authentic for 1970, or 1950. Continuity appeals. Buying ‘antiques’ for pubs to look rustic, reorganising books in some gorgeous old library, and traipsing around car boot fairs with more knowledge then ‘ooo that looks pretty’ also appeals.

So it seems there is a theme. Old tat, mainly. I want to collect it, display it, wear it, and possibly roll around in it given half the chance. Not quite sure what that says about my psyche, but it is rather funny.

What would you be?


Rose said...

Well perhaps a dancer! I was pretty good as a kid but I didn't take it seriously enough. Although it's a hard life and lots of good people out there.

Eliza said...

Oh I'm with you on the history thing, I've been researching the family for about ten years, and I'd love to join a Time Team dig - I'm not scared of mud :-D

Jayne said...

Hi Rose! I used to love dancing... nothing formal, just mad dancing in clubs. I miss it... now I only seem to dance at weddings!

Jayne said...

Hi Eliza! Oh I agree, I'd be very happy digging around, as long as afterwards there was a hot shower, clean clothes, and a warm toddy of some kind!

Perplexio said...

One of my college profs was a bit of a military artifact collector who really knew his stuff. He knew it so well that he was approached by the FBI here in the US to go undercover to bust the curator of the Smithsonian's Air & Space museum for selling artifacts owned by the Smithsonian to private collectors.

He was successful in his mission and even had an article written up about him in the NY Times. But what he commented on to his history classes was how unusual it was being shown pieces of history as if they were his to own... for the right price. Imagine going through your favorite museum being treated as a "customer" with the items on display being for sale.

Jayne said...

Hi Perplexio! Gosh, interesting story. Things in museums are for everyone, folk shouldn't be able to buy them if they are rich enough.