Panic not – this isn’t a blog about my infinite love of Thor. Although he is the best hero around. Dur.
When we’re growing up, we’re always encouraged to find a ‘role model’. For some reason, apparently Wayne Rooney was a big role model of my generation, as were the wealth of scantily clad popstars with no bras. I do see what the tabloids are always saying; that the pop culture figures could be a bad influence to young, impressionable fools like us. But I have grown up with a selection of people that I would class as my ‘role models’. People to aspire to. People to look up to.
Some of them are predictable – Fearne Cotton for her amazing career and awesome life aspirations. Victoria Beckham for raising a beautifully well rounded family without the drama that most WAGs put themselves through, and creating a worldwide fashion career from a below-par singing job. Hayley Williams from Paramore for simply owning her orange hair and becoming an indie sex symbol in the process.
And then some are a little more personal.
My amazing Auntie Sarah, who’s technically my godmother more than auntie, and has been a shining example to me always. She’s confident and bubbly and funny and encouraging and spiritual and insightful and just great. A wonderful inspiration of being able to smile and laugh through everything life has to offer. Plus, of course, my number one Twitter fan.
Chris, the ginger northerner with an international business and an Aston Martin. He had the biggest brain of anyone I’ve ever met with an equally big heart to accompany, and did all he could to encourage and support everything from me and my future. Even though that’s in the past now, it’s a past I’m pleased I had the chance to experience. Super cringey but luckily he doesn’t read these anymore.
But, in all honestly, my life would not be where it is now without my GCSE Music Teacher, Mr Nicholson. I say that but he was so much more than that. He was a teacher, a mentor, an adoptive-Dad with accompanying Dad dancing, a musical genius, a conductor, a referee, and a friend.
He joined the school when I was in Year 9, and immediately cast me in the school play where I realised how awesome music is. He showed me that music was fun and was something I was actually quite good at. He encouraged me to learn double bass, an instrument I’d never looked at before. He improved my singing and listened to me attempt so many variations of so many crappy songs. He sat with me afterschool and listened to my constant angst over school bullies. He sat and had lunch with me when said bullies left me with no one to hang out with. He encouraged me to start writing and gave me my first outlet on the school newsletter. In fact, he always dubbed me ‘the future Lois Lane’. And now I’m producing a newspaper and writing about stuff and, well, Lois’ing it up. Exactly as he said I would.
We did trips all over Europe to go and hone our singing skills, our performance skills, our social skills, our life skills – he wasn’t just a music teacher, he was a life teacher. That sounds so so cringey, but it’s just so true.
When I collect my first BAFTA/Oscar/Brit Award, or whatever I end up doing, genuinely, Mr N will be the first person I thank in my acceptance speech. I do all I can with the intention of being able to email him and go ‘Hey! Guess what I’m doing now!’ I still put him as my job reference so he can see the new opportunities I’m doing (and say how amazing I am.) And anytime I have the option of popping back into school and saying hi, he’s always the first I’ll head to, to tell him how far I’ve come because of him. I genuinely do all I can to make him proud of the little nerd he knew from 2010.
Now, 3 years after I left, he’s moving to Hong Kong to continue his world musical domination and to be a teacher over there, and I couldn’t be more excited for him. I saw him at his finale concert, and I felt the genuine pride that came from him as I told him about my new career. And it was all from the encouragement he gave me all those years ago.
So, Mr N, thank you for everything and good luck with your incredible future. I know all my fellow music nerds will feel exactly the same way – we couldn’t have done it without you. X