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Friday, March 07, 2008

The Way We Were

It's been a long time since I used a VCR. J is such a technology evangelist that my trusty Panasonic machine was despatched to Plymouth some time ago to spend the rest of its useful life with Gizzard (my mum). However, when I was there at the weekend I found it was still under a cloth so I brought it back and duly fired it into life yesterday.

I had two old videos I was dying to see. My family were not from the "Super 8" generation so we didn't have an old cine camera that came out at the drop of the hat. It wasn't until 1990 that I first became acquainted with a camcorder, a huge great thing that sat on your shoulder. The first video, from December 1990, shows a family get together at Giz's house.

It was quite poignant because of the seven people and one cat in the frames, only three remain in the family (and no cat). Dear old Grandma was there; she died the following summer. Mark, my ex-husband, is the cameraman (we split up the following year), and Susan, my younger brother's ex-wife, is also there, as is my dad Stamps, who died four years ago. Mitzi the cat died a long time ago.

Anyway, the action starts with Giz making a pizza; we are then seen eating the pizza and sitting around in armchairs looking like the Royle Family. Robert and Susan arrive, and we play Trivial Pursuit. It's quite amusing - Grandma is in good form, recounting how she was an extra in a film, and Giz admonishes her for taking another glass of Bailey's - "you'll only get bad."

Giz won't watch the film because she says she would find it too sad, but I found it very uplifting. (I was quite pleased too because in 1990 I had horribly short hair and was a bit podgy, so I was chuffed to think I look better now than I did then!).

The other video was from 1993 when I was in my resignation period at a PR agency in London (how I hated it there!) and took part in a day's presentation skills training with a company called Perfect Pitch. I remember this very well. The tutor, a Scottish lady called Caroline Sami, wanted us to "perform" our own presentation of about five minutes and she lined us up in a particular order. She wanted the quiet timid ones at the start, building up to a crescendo of the better presenters.

Well, she put me second, which made me smile inwardly because I love it when people underestimate me. So when I gave my performance, which was an amusing appeal on why Plymouth should be the next venue for the Olympic Games, I really hammed it up and got a lot of laughter and applause. Ms Sami looked as if she was sucking a lemon and said "Now you've messed up the running order. The next person has too hard an act to follow." I smirked inwardly again and thought that next time maybe she wouldn't be so quick to underestimate people.

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