Wednesday, December 11, 2019

A Body of Knowledge: reflections on #gfchildgenius2019 - and one more sleep to #2019ukgeneralelection

Fifty-six seconds into Joe's version of Radiohead's No surprises - which is about Theresa May and the last three years of her political life [2016-present] - there is a great line which at first when I heard it the week before last I believed I had hallucinated it:

Negotiate my sacrifice

Then in context there was "Handshake with Jeremy Corbyn"

and the chorus Not so strong and not so stable now.

Joe is an incredible, indescribable team of political satirists who I had got onto when I was looking up Common People which was the satire of 2010 - there is a terrific Rees-Mogg version talking about that whole Etonian attitude.

And Clive James died towards the end of November 2019 - I thought I would pass on writing about that until I sounded and felt less like a self-centred three-year-old. Unmoored and abandoned, you know, was probably the core of that feeling. James, of course, was an Australian expatriate, who went to Pembroke College, and demystified oh so much with his unique take on life. He had spent the last nine years living with leukaemia. Yes - from roughly 71 to 80 years old.

I have two of James's critical anthologies: The crystal bucket and In the land of shadows.

And in November 2007 - the Big Kahuna - the Cultural Amnesia.

Then there was the whole Marie Frederiksson tribute. She has just died too. So good to know her Swedish songs from the 1990s as well as all the awesome things she did with Roxette.

The Grand Final of Child Genius happened on the Special Broadcasting Service.

Our four genii were Karin whose mother is a doctor; Mahesh and Aidan who both attained perfect scores in the anatomy round [15 points is what you need] and Callum who was doing it for a young lady in the competition - Cecilia - and also has a phenomenal knowledge of the human body.

Callum was the one who said the brain did everything. His brain does a lot - 145 and more in the Intelligence Quotient stakes.

Karin is very very confident and she had 14 all up; Callum had 10.

The genii spent time with a University mentor and showed off their skills.

As there was a tiebreaker and 10 questions were required the last 5-10 minutes were intense!

Turned out to be all the general knowledge.

I yelled out that there were twelve stars in the European Union flag - this is something that will always be; no matter how many countries enter or leave. That is a form of strength and stability I do appreciate very very much. [Aidan answered that question too very quickly - speed is Aidan's big thing - Mahesh has a good memory which is not necessarily photographic/eidetic - but fortunately that kind of memory is not the only one which will succeed in gifted land; whether under pressure or not].

Also the Swedish flag. Love the way they described it.

I will always remember about fibres as the thing that holds the body together when your body makes clots. Some people thought capillaries or celluite or another connector beginning with C.

The first three questions in everyone's set were relatively easy. This was usually because of missing letters like portmanteau...

And the spelling - I got none of them correct at all.

The mathematics - I kept my distance [would have to do the sums backwards and/or sideways].

Mahesh made a wonderful acceptance speech - thanking his Mum for helping him study and Aidan for being such a good competitor and keeping him all the way down to the wire - and his whole Sri Lankan Tamil family and friends and community.

Aidan shone when he received the silver medal.

Remembering how very big the trophy is for 12-year-old Mahesh - it must have taken up his whole middle.

Thinking of how Callum lost confidence after about question 10 and promptly had the next four go wrong.

Karin - well, Karin! She shone on the stage and her mother and father and brother were there.

So happy to see all the genii and their families in the audience as well as everyone who has been interested in this competition's 2019 iteration - people like Susan Carland and the people of Mensa and the universities.

And really, The last leg? HUGH GRANT is "the prime minister Britain needs right now?" ;*).

No, afternoon sleeps do not make elections go any faster - though they may well be needed and desired after a tussle at the ballot box.

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