Archive for February, 2007
I have a Blue Peter badge
In about 1985 I sent in meticulous instructions on how to make a cardboard bird that would stand on the edge of a table, rock backwards and forward and produce a speech bubble that said “my brother is a wally”.
My Mum was once on Page 3 of The Sun
To celebrate their engagement in 1987, my step-dad bought my Mum the 1.5 tonne Dhruva Mistry sculpture “Reclining Woman” which sat rather snuggly in the front garden of our family home in Worthing. That meant two things: firstly that a large naked bottom greeted us when we left the house each morning, and secondly that my passage through our ultra-conventional high school was even more treacherous than it might have been. Our house became the focus of drive-by ooglers. It was the most exciting thing to happen in Worthing since Oscar Wilde wrote The Importance of being Earnest there in 1894, and that’s almost a fact. Although Jimi Hendrix was once booed off-stage there.
Anyway, Mum gave very few interviews, but did agree to spend three hours with a very charming Sunday Times journalist. The interview later appeared on page three of the Sun. Journalists – can’t trust ‘em.
I can do stuff on a trapeze
I had a static trapeze in the garden as a kid, and have done a few courses as a grown up. Once I persuade the landlord to let me put a few bolts through a mighty big rafter, I’ll have one at home. My first catch on a flying trapeze is here.
This seems very boring to me but not a day goes by when I don’t have to spell it out. It’s not made up. Jemima is an old family name, after my great grandmother Ellen Jemima Cavill, and Kiss is Hungarian from my great-great grandfather Emil Kiss. It’s pronounced Kish.
I struggled for years at school with Playschool/Puddle Duck jibes. I asked people to call me Jo or J for a while. No-one French or Spanish can pronounce my name. But all of that is character forming and I love my name now.
It does teach you to make an effort to get other people’s names right and not to say the first thing that comes into your head. I have also developed a mean right hook specifically for people that either ask me how Big Ted is, or tell me I should pronounce my surname “kiss”. Do not test me.
When the geekdom set in
When I was 13, I won a Texaco competition to design a logo for unleaded petrol. I got to meet Maggie Philbin and Peter Bottomley at the QE2 conference centre in Westminster. Maggie Philbin had a moustache. I then won the school technology prize even though technology didn’t actually exist in 1988. Serge & Larry were probably still pulling the legs off spiders back then.