Diary Of An ADI

A Driving Instructor's Blog

Well, I went to see MGMT last night. Musically, very good, but couldn’t hear a damned word he was singing. Couldn’t even hear a word he was saying on the (very) rare occasions he spoke to the audience. The sound was a bit muddy and the vocals had way too much echo on them.

I was surprised by the performance. The band has almost no stage presence at all. It’s just five people, each doing their own thing in their own little space. The singer looks like a sulky teenager and behaves like that all the way through. The keyboards player at least made an effort: he was wearing large and ridiculously dark sunglasses. The lead guitar looks the part and is quite accomplished, and since much of MGMT’s repertoire involves fairly long guitar riffs this was welcome. I don’t think the bass player looked at the audience all night. You definitely got the impression that they didn’t really want to be there.

The thing we noticed on the way in was the age of the crowd. It was full of students doing what students do best: being annoying. I’ve never seen so many people in one place all trying to take their own photographs.

In the venue there is a flight of stairs which leads up to a first floor. I’m pretty sure there is a bar up there, and I’d be surprised if there are no toilets (but there might not be). Well, we stood quite near these stairs, and also near the two or three steps which lead down to the floor in front of the stage. As the time neared for the main band to appear there was a constant two-way flow of people up and down the stairs and up and down from the main floor. I have never seen it that way before. Even when the band came on, it triggered a further flow of people – away from the stage, it seems.

I suppose that since students are only technically not children, and certainly at this precise moment they were children up until about a month ago, the presence of a flight of stairs to keep walking up an down simply because it is there has to be accepted by those who were genuinely there as adults. (Incidentally, at a Rush gig last year someone had brought their son – he only looked about 9 or 10. He must have walked from his seat at one end of the row, past me to go somewhere, then come back 5 minutes later at least a dozen times. It’s just what kids do, even if it IS extremely irritating.)

Oh, and the other people-watching thing involved the two girls in front of me. After they’d taken a few pictures of themselves on the camera phone, heads together, laughing hysterically, arm outstretched, they then spent the whole gig yak-yak-yakking to each other. I don’t think they looked towards the stage once.

Finally, we went for a curry in a local restaurant which has featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. It was absolutely crap – like the chef had forgotten to put any curry powder at all in the dishes when he was making them. There was literally no curry taste of any kind.

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Monday this week, another test. The pupil is dyslexic and has been unsuccessful with her driving previously – people just didn’t understand that she learns differently as a result of her dyslexia (as an aside, all dyslexics are different and you have to find the right buttons to press).

She passed with 9 driver faults (that’s seven in a row now) and was over the moon. She never thought she’d pass her test. So well done PL, and enjoy your driving (I got a text from her today warning me she was going to be out and about!)

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On a lesson tonight with a pupil. She’s only taking 1 hour at a time and not every week (a lot of late nights and hangovers resulting in cancellations). She’s been a slow learner, mainly because she is so negative about everything.

Today we were covering roundabouts (she hates doing manoeuvres), and we had to do a reverse around a corner to turn around and go back the opposite way. I asked her to do it, and she said “I don’t know what I’m doing”. After a few questions it became clear she knew exactly what to do. She got round perfectly, and then said “that’s the worst one I’ve ever done.”

The thing was, I’d just got goosepimples down my neck because it was the best one she’d ever done. It would easily have passed on the test. I told her so.

So we’re back on the roundabouts and everything is going pretty well. While we were stopped she said “I get worried when I’m on them and don’t know what I’m doing”. So I pointed out this is part of learning, and that she’s handling them better than many pupils, who often can’t stay in lane to begin with (all the correct confidence building stuff as well).

Now, I haven’t got a clue what happened, but all of a sudden – about 15 minutes before the end of the lesson, and ages after what I’ve described above – she went quiet. By now we’re just driving normally, having finished with the roundabouts, and she’d been chatting away happily. She’d done absolutely nothing wrong. I asked her what was the matter and she said “I’m concentrating”. This didn’t make sense – difficult to put into words, but knowing her and her tendency to just ‘fall asleep’, as the saying goes, it just didn’t. As we drove further I knew something was seriously the matter. I ended up having to change gears and brake at lights/junctions for her. The lesson was effectively over and I just had to make sure we didn’t hit anything: at one point near to her house I thought she was deliberately trying to!

When we got close to home she said she wanted to stop short to go to a friend’s house. She couldn’t get out of the car quick enough because she was nearly in tears.

She’s done this once before (something had happened in her private life but she wouldn’t say what), but it just ruins your day. You start wondering if it is something you’ve said or done! She assured me it wasn’t (last time, and this one) but she won’t tell me what it was that just triggered it without anything obvious taking place.

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Another test today, and another pass – that’s six on the trot – with just 4 driver faults. Well done to CP, and I hope you get that car by Christmas as you said.

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I also heard on the radio that they’re holding a world-record attempt in the City’s Market Square this afternoon to get as many people dressed up as zombies together in one place as possible.

They should have thought this one through better. If they’d have held it in Stapleford (classy: lots of pairs of trainers thrown over the phone lines) they’d have been guaranteed to smash the record just by announcing it – and it would have been real zombies, not just fancy dress.

I was driving through Stapleford town centre last week with a pupil when we had to stop. Someone had cleverly removed a set of barriers around building work on the pavement and reassembled them in the middle of the road. Oh, how funny it was. How we all laughed… especially the Police car which came roaring through on a call, where the Policeman had to get out and throw them out of the way before they could continue.

This is in addition to the time a few months ago when the same birth defects were running into the middle of the road to force cars to stop. Or the time a few weeks later when other defects – about 18 years old, so probably the parents of the younger defects responsible for the barriers – were having a fight outside the pub to impress the girls (and they did seem to be impressed, it must be said).

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On the way back from a lesson today I was listening to the radio. Today’s Big News is that drinking alcohol during pregnancy may lead to children who are less naughty and less likely to suffer from ADHD, etc.

Of course, this story flies in the face of the one a few months ago, which concluded that even walking within 100 metres of a pub any time during pregnancy could result in miscarriage and global warming.

Once again, it was left to a ‘man in the street’ to enlighten us on this:

Well, I drank while I was carrying both of mine and it didn’t have any effect.

I think it’s safe to say that this woman’s mother must have alternated between alcoholism and teetotalism, handled Uranium, drilled into asbestos-laden walls, used hard drugs, mud-wrestled, smoked, eaten bacon, drank coffee/Red Bull/Diet Cola, used artifical sweeteners, etc. whilst carrying her.

But obviously, it had no effect.

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After that run of passes a couple of weeks ago I haven’t had anyone go to test until today. So congratulations to NP for passing with 3 faults. He was well chuffed on the way back – happy ex-pupils are what makes this job really worthwhile.

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This has been covered in the media recently. It goes without saying that both of them are a pair of pillocks, as are the entire studio crew (who can be heard laughing in the background), and the people who allowed it to be broadcast – seeing as it had been pre-recorded and anyone even slightly interested in keeping within Corporation Boundaries would have listened to it before approving it.

But yesterday between lessons I was listening to the radio – before news of JR’s suspension had been announced. In typical local radio fashion, they were interviewing the ‘man in the street’ to get their opinion. One woman said (paraphrased):

I can’t see what all the fuss is about. This is what Russell Brand does. It is comedy.

In less than 10 seconds, this idiot used her own mouth to demonstrate precisely why this crap – which absolutely, definitely, without any shadow of a doubt was unacceptable in the most universal sense of the word – was broadcast.

For anyone who has been living on the moon the last week or so, Ross and Brand made an on-air prank call to a 78-year old actor announcing that Brand had slept with his granddaughter. As you can imagine, it was couched in crude terms.

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Listening to the news whilst travelling this morning, and heard that the comments by the Governor of The Bank Of England saying that we’re ‘heading into a recession’ had caused share prices to plunge.

Why is this imbecile allowed to get away with it?

A recession is caused – at least in large part – when traders start getting worried and the stock market crashes. After the Governments around the world have tried to bolster the various economies by injecting huge sums of cash, what does anyone expect will happen as soon as some Hooray Henry in a top job opens his idiot mouth like this?

Every time someone reports a recession is on the way the markets crash. As soon as they shut up, shares start to rise and retail prices start to fall. Surely the morons have realised this by now?

Or maybe they HAVE realised it and are merely trying to make a name for themselves to show off to their wives… “Look at this, dear! I caused this. Now, let’s get in the Bentley and be driven to Harrods to buy a few more Fabergé Eggs while no one else is buying them”.

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Well, it started off pretty poorly with a test fail on Monday morning. But then there were two passes Tuesday (well done CH, with 7 faults, and ZIK with 3 faults).

Had another pass Wednesday – well done PT, with 3 faults.

And perhaps the best one on Friday – well done NW, also with 3 faults. However, NW had never driven before and got to test standard in under 30 hours.

So 4 passes out of 5 tests for the week. Can’t be bad.

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