Apparently, it’s GCSE results day today, but as I’m 29 and don’t have kids, I only found this out via Twitter.
Yes – today’s the day when everyone seems to get A* results, girls do slightly better than boys, and the newspapers are full of rehashed reports that exams are getting easier.
But who wants to know about Jonathan getting his 15 A*s, really? Nobody. I think it’s much more interesting to look at the other end of the spectrum, and see what the worst result was.
Take me, for example. My worst GCSE result was an F in Art. I’ve told people in the past, that this means it says “F..Art” on the results sheet. This probably isn’t true. I bet they list the subjects first, THEN the results. It’s been so long since I looked at the official paperwork I can’t remember. I’m not going to look now, in case it actually is “Art..F” and ruins what is the only perk of totally flunking a subject.
I’d say the reason why I got an F is something of a selection of bad choices. I hated art, but I had to choose art, drama or music from a kind of “arts” section.
My inability to play an instrument in music would probably have involved some singing, and I didn’t want that. And I couldn’t take the public performance aspect of drama. I know you only put on shit plays in the school hall that nobody really watches, but even still – no.
So art it was.
It did have some perks.
For one, it was in two floors of a separate building, probably half a mile’s walk from the rest of the school. This meant you could get to your next lesson late and use the excuse that you “didn’t get let out of art early enough”.
They had the radio on for every lesson. And if you get bored, there’s always a reason to get up and wander about – whether it’s sharpening a pencil or getting more clay. Other people would come in and start work, whereas I’d come in, look at a blank sheet of paper for two minutes, then plan what I was actually going to do for the rest of the lesson. Most weeks, that was cocking about, chatting to my mates, and checking out a lot of girls I didn’t have the slightest chance with.
One of the slight downsides is that one of my best mates, who tended to sit on the same table as me, did spectacularly well at art. He’d borrow his dad’s industrial equipment to weld a broken flower pot onto a broken bicycle wheel, and get himself an A-grade. Every other week. It’s all subjective, see. I might think he’s taken two broken bits of old crap and glued them together, but not everyone did.
The larger downside is that I suck at art. My drawing resembles that of a 3 yr old, and paint just goes horrifically wrong. I have no ability to do detail, with a brush. I can paint a garage (I’ve done two, now), but not a Gauguin.
I tried making things out of clay too. The most successful of which was a series of books with a worm/train emerging from a hole through the middle. The First Great Western, it wasn’t. It probably looked a bit like a penis, but never mind.
So for my final exam, 10 hours of timed work went into…well…erm..a painting. It’s fair to say that lack of planning meant I finished it quite early, and wasn’t sure what to do with the rest of my time. I started adding things to it – like additional trees and stuff. I changed it from sunny to cloudy to grey sky about eight times.
After all this, still with 3-4 hours remaining, the question came up about how I was planning to mount/display my backup research work.
Erm…what? What research work?
Apparently everyone else had been doing this throughout the year. Riiight.
I cobbled together some other poor pieces of work, which included aspects of my final piece. It looked shit, obviously. You can’t make up for a year’s slacking, in a few hours.
All of this brings me nicely onto the biggest perk of taking art as a subject you obviously suck at. You know when you go into a school, and they’ve got pictures up by GCSE/A-level students, that are really good, showing detail? Light and shadows? Textures? My work will never be shown there. It might be shit, but at least nobody else gets to see it.
And thankfully, I did much better in English Literature (B), English Language (C) and Maths (C).
So would any of my readers like to share? What’s the worst GCSE (or equivalent – CSE/O-level, etc.) result you got?