Friday, 15 January 2016
Autobiographies by famous folk, are all too often poorly written and just an excuse to name drop. I know this cos I read a lot of 'em. Yeh I am a tragic. But when I saw this one with a great recommendation from Stephen Fry I thought I'd have a look. And I certainly was not disappointed.
It is well written and really draws you in, and Mr Cumming tells his yarn in a mystery, 'who done what?' manner. It was hard to put down. It is shocking, an appalling read of physical and mental abuse. I am so very pleased that Mr Cumming managed to come through it all still able to share his talent and until his work on 'The Goodwife', his penchant for wild hairdos. If you read the book you will understand, but I am not including any spoiler alerts here, except to say that I rather doubt I would ever have managed to drag myself out of his mire. Well done Mr Cumming!
Bruises and cuts and broken bones are clear evidence that something is going on, and in today's world one would hope that through the school system, where teachers are professionally liable to report any suspected abuse, the kids could get some help. I like to believe that if Mr Cumming was at a Queensland school today something would have been done to stop the dreadful. It must have been as clear as the nose on his face to his teachers.
But there is only so much a teacher can do. I taught a lovely boy in London who arrived every day late to school. He was immediately put on afternoon detention. That was the rule. Every afternoon, whether I was in charge of the detention or not I would pop in see his lovely little face, call him out, tick his name off the list, ask him if he had eaten, he'd say, 'No Miss', I'd give him some food and a cuddle and send him on his way. When, of a sudden I left that school, I worried for his well being.
Children's services knew of his situation. His whole family, mother and brothers, were living in a bedsit. Mum was a drug addict who needed to prostitute herself at night for money to pay for everything and so the little fella got not much sleep. He did extremely well to come to school at all. I do so very much hope that he has thrived liked Mr Cumming.
I guess the point is that even when authorities know what is going on, untenable situations can be left to fester.
And what of the poor souls whose abuse is mental rather than physical? Those kids whose behaviour is strange or loopy or mean or withdrawn or even unreasonably upbeat, masking all manner of hurt and fear, more than likely slide by under the radar, cos god knows teachers have enough to deal with without having to psycho analyse everyone of their kids.
I know it is fantasy dreaming, but how lovely would it be if we could all just manage to be pleasant, honest, say what you mean, mean what you say. I am aware that sometimes the abuse is perpetrated by folk with mental illness and this is Mr Cumming's explanation if not excuse, for his dreadful father, but all too often I reckon it's just the frustration of power hungry fools that bubbles over, meanness and anger obliquely directed and the kids get caught in the crossfire.
Sadly asking everyone to be decent respectful individuals so the abuse can stop, is just a waste of a wish, cos most of us already are this and those who aren't will never be.
Oh shit I am turning into a preacher!