Thursday, 30 September 2010


i only ever had a passing acquaintanceship with jonathan emmett
when i arrived as a fresh-faced eighteen-year-old in 1986
to study architecture at nottingham university
he was a second year student flogging his drawing board and t square
in order to buy a bigger, better model
it was me who bought his old board
and the t square with his name printed neatly on the handle:
a name which i never bothered to scrub off or change
after this brief financial transaction
i don't recall having anything further to do with jonathan emmett
our paths never crossed again...
until yesterday in a weird way they did...

during the day
i've been thinking about looking out that old drawing-board of mine
i bought myself a set of pastels and some nice paper a while back
and now i've got some free time on my hands
it's a good opportunity to give the pastels a go
maybe try a self-portrait

later, after dinner, it's time for the woodle's school reading book
she has to read the a story aloud with me as part of her homework
this tends to be an onerous chore
as woodle suffers the task unwillingly
and aims to get it out of the way as briskly as possible
despite her obvious talent for reading and words
she mumbles, skips items she doesn't instantly recognise
and generally races through with the minimum of interest and effort
a typical exchange goes something like this:
woodle: 'billy cried out...(mumble)'
daddy (in a helpful encouraging tone): 'cried out in astonishment'
woodle (accusingly): 'that's what i said!' (carries on reading)
on this occasion it's a curious book entitled 'doohickey and the robot'
which hannah actually finds pretty straightforward
we uncharacteristically surge through most of the book at one sitting
before i tell her she can stop and get ready for bed
as she puts down the book and i thumb absent-mindedly through to the end
i come to the 'about the author' page
something about the photo of the boyish-faced writer makes me look twice
i check the cover and see the name inscribed: 'jonathan emmett'
surely not?
the book's from the late nineties
but there's a reference to the author's website
so i dash upstairs to check it out
the site's no longer there but a quick search takes me to another page
where the now considerably greyer and older-looking author
pulls an animated sequence of wacky kiddy-friendly faces
i scroll down the 'about me' section
blah blah blah...
before alighting on a crucial piece of evidence
a passing reference to his architecture studies at university
that seals it - it has to be him!
by some weird quirk of fatherhood, woodle's homework and modern technology
i am virtually reunited with jonathan p emmett once again

1 comment:

  1. Your post just came up on my google alerts and I thought I'd freak you out with a third reappearance.
    Glad to hear the drawing board and T-square are still in use and that your daughter wasn't too bored by my book (which was the first I ever got published) - but less of the "greyer and older" please!
    And my middle initial is D - not P
    All the best
    Jonathan Emmett