Personal computers are a relatively recent phenomenon, aren’t they. Even my mum has one. Whenever I’m in need of a good laugh, I go round my mum’s to watch her try to do something on her netbook. She has unlimited wifi in her home; whereas mine cuts off around 15GB. Towards the end of the month I invariably run out of data (despite, in addition, utilizing the public library’s free resources), so mum sees more of me than usual. I could just park outside, but that would be rude. I told her that I was writing my autobiography, and tried to glean some information from her about my childhood and family history. I was specifically interested in anything she knew about the miners’ strike, thinking it must have had some impact, ours being a mining family and all. But she doesn’t remember much about it really, just that she had to make do with £9.00 a week housekeeping money, and found it hard to make ends meet. We weren’t a political family. I know family members voted Labour, but that was just because they always had – Labour stood for the working-class: the Tories were the enemy. Anyway, mum was too busy trying to feed two kids, and cope with my dad, to give a damn about politics. So there aren’t any romanticized stories of communist affiliations, trade union activism or even picketing at the pit. Like I said previously, I didn’t find out about communism until the ‘mouse’ suit incident in ‘A’ level psychology – I wasn’t lying. Because I’m writing my autobiography, mum thinks she’s going to find out about ‘my secret life’, as she calls it - you know the one that all offspring have when their parents aren’t looking. Well, it doesn’t quite work like that mum.
I started this section talking about computers because I first returned to education to do a computer course. It was at Coalville Technical College. It was around the time that computers were taking off big-time. Major advancements in programming and software – the revolutionary Microsoft Windows operating system, and the advent of the wondrous World Wide Web - made computing enjoyable and accessible to the general population. Computers were the future and I wanted a piece of the action. I went on a number of different courses from ‘How to build your own website’ to ‘How to build your own computer’. I also somehow ended up doing a BTEC qualification in Computer Studies, for a while. They seemed to be throwing funding at people, and I took the opportunity while it was there. However, I never finished the latter two courses. I endured the BTEC course for a couple of months. I largely blame my fall from grace on the teacher. I’m sure that teaching computer programming is difficult at the best of times; there is the problematic of how to make it interesting and enjoyable to a large class of students with differentiated abilities, but this particular teacher put me right off.
To cut a long story short: