Wednesday, April 07, 2010

On truths and history lessons


We went to see Clash of the Titans over the Easter weekend. We’d missed the 3D showing but yeaahhhh, it was okay; I didn’t look at my watch... Our expectations weren't high as we’re not getting out much as the moment with the Red Shirts causing all kinds of chaos throughout Bangkok.

Sam Worthington, Perseus in the film, has been widely quoted as describing it as a movie about "… a guy on a winged horse in a skirt with rubber swords battling monsters.” It is, he said, a "fun, boisterous popcorn movie. We're under no illusions, it's not a history lesson."

In spite of this, watching the film took me back to 1985 and my interview at Hull University. I spent the whole of the train journey to Hull reading the myth of Perseus. I was preparing to persuade the Department of Classics to give me a place on their degree programme based entirely on two holidays in Greece and my father telling me Greek myths as bedtime stories throughout my childhood. Oh, I had A’Levels too, just not in anything very relevant.

At my interview, Dr Hilton was lovely, asking me lots of questions about my A Levels, what I was doing with my gap year and what I’d seen while on holiday in Greece. (One of these excursions had been a school trip where we HAD seen all the important sites – the other was a beach holiday!) Then as we finished up, he said “Did you come up by train? Did you see the bridge?” I didn’t know what he was talking about as I’d spent the train trying to cram myths into my head so I could talk knowledgeably to my interviewer but I kind of felt this was important. His eyes sparkled; it was the way he said ‘the bridge’ that gave me a clue, more like ‘The Bridge.’ ‘Yes’ I said, hoping for a bit more information. ‘Impressive, isn’t it?’ Dr Hilton said. ‘Very,’ I said, nodding.

Anyway, bless them, they gave me a place and I knew I was going to love it there.

I got back on the train at Hull Paragon station to return to London and with no more pressure to cram, sat gazing out of the window. Into my view came a bridge. The Bridge. It got bigger and bigger and bigger as we passed right by it.

The Humber Bridge held the world record for the longest single span suspension bridge for seventeen years. Its presence crossed the last major unbridged estuary in Britain. The towers were 155 metres high and its span 1,410 metres and a total of 480,000 tonnes of concrete were used to build it.

Phew, thank god for the bluff. 

10 comments:

Queenie said...

I love a good bluff - and yours was a shining example. Do you remember those little 'Bluff Your Way In...' books? They used to amuse me no end.

JJ Beattie said...

Queenie, *sigh* I wish I was up for them more often. I usually gulp and turn pink and reveal myself!

YES! I loved those books. They were all the funnier if you actually knew about the subject you were trying to bluff in.

I mourn that 'Idiots Guide' and 'Dummies' weren't around when I did my degree: I really needed them!

Angie said...

Husband wants to see that movie; I'm obliging (with dragging heels), but I'm insisting on regular, not 3-D. I'm tired of the dorky glasses and dizziness! The review I read said to skip the 3-D anyway (phew!). Glad to hear it's okay though.
That's a funny story and a good bluff. :)

Denise said...

Glad you got away with that one! I remember sitting with one poor girl at a similar interview. She kept being sent out to think about her answer to the question "What is anthromorphology?" This was what she was there to study, and apparently she got it right on about her 5th go "That's what I'm here to study." Mean interviewers!

Debs said...

My daughter was saying I should go and see this film, although thankfully it won't be the 3D one as we don't have a 3D cinema over here.

Pattaya Girls said...

I went to the 2d version, still think the original from the 80s was far superior.

KatW said...

A potentially life altering bluff! I loved reading that story. Kinda makes you think how the small things can affect the direction our lives take.
Kat :-)

Suzanne Jones said...

I think I'm probably going to end up seeing this at some point over the holidays.

PS there's a Beautiful Blogger award for you over at mine.

Boonsong said...

This is an amusing and interesting post. Thanks for this

JJ Beattie said...

Angie, it's not my kind of thing but I did enjoy it. Lots of nice thighs to look at!

Denise, NO! That's the kind of thing nightmares are made of...

Debs, it's nonsense but quite enjoyable.

Pattaya Girls, hello. I'd put money on my Dad getting me to watch the original but I have no memory of it.

Kat, doesn't it? I got on so well with the interviewer and the Head of Department saw me next and clearly my grades weren't *ahem* as good as they wanted... he said to me 'Dr Hilton tells me I must offer you a place...' I don't think he was impressed with my A Levels.

Suzanne, awww, thank you. I shall post it up soon.

Boonsong, hello and thank you for visiting. I'm linking to your blog tomorrow. I hope that's okay.