Monday 15 December 1986

…This afternoon we had to write a poem about “what Christmas means to me”
and what’s more you could only have two words on each line.
I got my piano exam result.
114 out of 150.

It wasn’t, but I’d been engaging in what psephologists like to call expectation management, as per the Liberal Democrats at this week’s by-election.

You had to get 100 to pass. Deep down I’d thought – I’d hoped – I wouldn’t get anything below this, but I’d been startled by the extent to which I’d slipped up, especially since I’d managed quite high scores in the previous two examinations.

To adopt a rather haughty tone*, as would be the case eight years later when it took me four attempts to pass my driving test, I think I needed reminding of the point of needing to try hard at stuff and, if necessary, try and try again.

As for what I’d had to play in the exam, it certainly didn’t feature anything by Joni Mitchell. I am STAGGERED that this is now on the syllabus. The closest I ever came to contemporary music in any of my piano exams was George Gershwin.

*Just for a change.

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