Monday, 6 July 2015

Activate Kadinskis!

My five year old grandson was running around the house last week with his four year old cousin shouting out, "Activate booster-packs!" at regular intervals and then, from time to time, "Activate Kadinskis!"

After a while I stopped him and asked, "What's a Kandiski?" He held up an object he had made from Duplo. It looked a bit like a long gun but even more like a scale model of the Heron Tower in Central London. Then he rushed off again.

A little while later, after persistent questioning by myself and his mother, it emerged that his class at school had been studying various modern artists and he was in a group that was looking at pictures by Kandinsky.

Education seems to be a bit like that these days. In an effort to improve standards that is reminiscent of Stalin's infamous Five Year Plans, curriculum guidelines are constantly being revised to include all sorts of improbable topics: bel canto opera for reception class, quantum mechanics for seven year olds. The teachers do their best to make it work but sometimes the children just end up running around activating Kadinskis.

As I watched those Kadinskis being activated it occurred to me that I shouldn't complain. This is exactly what I have been doing all my life - getting hold of half-understood scraps of knowledge and turning them into stories for my own amusement. It's why I became a writer, not an academic. It's so much more fun than learning.

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