Friday, 5 March 2010

Northolt Blues: Retire From Lying to Kids?

I've never been to Northolt before.

My job, as both actor and a teacher, takes me to all kinds of places but Northolt in the London borough of Ealing has never been one of them, not until today that is.

Having never been, I had imagined it to be gloriously suburban, after all, it is West London, in the posh borough of Ealing, on the fringes of the London Empire; officially in Middlesex and all that. I was shocked to discover that Northolt is actually quite a grubby, shoddy little place, clinging onto the skirts of London town like a mud splatter.

I saw this in Northolt, the first time I have ever seen anything like this in my life...

A knife bin...bin your weapons here...anyway...

I was in Northolt because for the past few weeks I have been doing rather a lot of teaching, or rather story telling, across numerous primary schools in London, working with Key Stage 2 and spinning a detective yarn as part of either World Book Day or National Story Telling Week or some other initiative to get children to engage with reading.

I have been working with children and young people since I was 16, when I volunteered in a primary school in Notts back in 1992. I am very good at working with children and young people, I've no idea way but I do know that I am a fine teacher who can engage pretty much anyone: from an upset 5 year old, to a hardy 15 year old young offender and all in between and beyond.

But I think I may have had enough of working with children and young people.

To be clear this wasn't Northolt's fault, nor the fault of the lovely school I went to and the exceptionally bright, committed and enthusiastic kids I had the pleasure of working with but rather it may have run it's course for me. My time is busy with acting, as well as directing and writing projects; I also am lucky enough that I do not need to work, aside from acting and committing to teaching projects cuts into the acting work I can do and it shouldn't be that way.

So today, as I pretended to be a Private Investigator and told an unsolved crime story I pitched as true to the children in front of me, who watched, utterly rapt by the twists and turns of what was a simple blackmail case that became a double murder (I swear, the children nearly followed me out of the school as they asked me endless questions so they could solve the murder mystery); it crossed my mind this might be the last time I set foot in a classroom. 17 years later.



  1. Amazing photos!
    You could sell them to the Daily Mail and make some dosh there.

  2. I used to drive past Northolt when I lived for a time in Acton, although I don't think I ever visited the town because the A40 ducks into a sort of cutting lower than the streets.

    A significant landmark though, was the Northolt aerodrome and its Polish war memorial.

  3. I imagine you'll be hearing from the Northolt chamber of commerce soon? :) -- Matthew Mientka

  4. I'm assuming the knife-bin wasn't outside the school? Or maybe it was and you then had to go through the metal detector? Kidding of course.

    Don't let the kids down Daniel. Jesus, tell them what you do for a living, where it takes you & all the rest and then compare/contrast it with office work/McDonalds/military/whatever. I know which I want to be when I grow up (and I am older than you).

  5. Claude:

    I cannot bring myself to do a deal with the devil mate, sure they'd lap them up, broken Britain ahoy


    I'm familiar with the Polish war memorial but not the aerodrome, I doubt I'll be passing that way again though.

    Matthew Mientka:

    No doubt sir, no doubt, bad web presence and all that...


    Not outside the school no, it was at the end of the road the school was on, outside a church.

    As for letting the kids down, well, I'm served me dues you know? Done my fair share of inspiring but you can lead the horse to water but you can't make it drink, trust me on that one.

  6. "you can lead the horse to water but you can't make it drink" - ye, fair point.

  7. And sometimes taking kids to the water is so much of a struggle that you lose heart when it gets to making them drinking the damn water, if you get my drift?


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