|Sadly this was not a requirement for GCSE algebra|
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Professor Brian Cox: thinking woman's crumpet
I think it’s a fairly commonly held view that Professor Brian Cox is every thinking-woman’s DILF. (Dad I'd Like to...you get the drift) He has hair. Lustrous brown hair like a nice pony or a wig. It’s thick and stuck to his head, unlike most men of 40+, where the hair has migrated downwards and reappears in the nostrils, ears and foothills of their burgeoning bellies. And he has teeth. What teeth! Truly a Wonder of the Molar System, like glistening giant windows on the world. And he has legs. Well, you know, I could go on but the main thing about Brian Cox is that he talks like an ordinary bloke and he saunters around like a bit of a dick and he comes out with bonkersly clever stuff in a really accessible way. We love him in my house. My 9 year old daughter, in particular, puts him on a pedestal and announced when Wonders of the Solar System first shone out of our telly that she was going to be an astro-physicist and go to Cambridge University. Ahhhh, what a child!
I think her aspirations are brilliaaaant, as Brian Cox would say. Why? Well, because her parents are a pair of over educated duffers who chose utterly useless subjects to study at university and consequently ended up in the most random and boring careers known to humanity. Who the fuck needs to be fluent in medieval Dutch epic poetry and slightly conversant in Kafka? Anyone?
If ONLY I’d paid attention in maths. If ONLY I hadn’t sat through physics trying to sniff the Bunsen burners when I should have been listening. If I’d scored more than 2/40 in maths, I could be generating the Higgs boson now by chasing very fat people on their mobility scooters round and round the crisps aisle in Lidl and forcing them to smash into each other underneath the rack of “Imperial Spirit” and eggnog-flavoured drink. I could have been in Cern, creating quantum Black Forest Hole gateaux that bends time and is only 14 calories per slice.
But I didn’t. At school I had a physics teacher who gave the term “fart-faced old wassock” new meaning. You had only to say the word “God” by accident and she would expel you from the lab for blasphemy. She was one boring bastard. I should have tried jumpstarting her during the classes on circuits and electricity. Then the chemistry teacher had no chin. Say no more. Add to this the fact that I am fundamentally stupid and my only grasp of maths involves spelling rude words upside down on the calculator, and you’ve got...well, you’ve got an arts student, haven’t you? On a career path to nowhere.
So feeling like I wanted to encourage my brainiac daughter all the way to Cambridge, I queued in Waterstones in Manchester to get my daughter’s copy of Wonders of the Solar System (the book) signed by Professor Bri. I fancied a good gawp at the Sublime Overlord of all Dorks – yes, that includes me. I’m a dork too - and even put my lipstick on to give the impression that there is more to me than my anorak. But then I had to buy his new bloody book on quantum physics which, no doubt, I’ll end up wedging the bathroom door open with because it has hardly any pictures in and the words are in small print.
When I got to the front of the queue, Lord Bri was charming and obliging. But you know what? I felt like Borat trying to put the marriage sack on Pamela Anderson in a book shop. Click on the link if you don’t know what I’m talking about. I couldn’t stop grinning and gabbling. What a complete tit! Really, I shouldn’t be allowed near celebrities. So now I’m waiting for the restraining order to come through the post. Waterstones are surely going to ban me from book signings, unless they’re my own.
But the point of this is not that I went to letch at old Bri (well, I sort of did). I went because I want to encourage my daughter to do science because I don’t want her to fritter away the first twenty years of her working life, as I have, hating her bullshit accidental career and waiting for a vocation to happen to her. If Brain and his soporific Oldham twang can chivvy her down the path to her own scientific discovery, then it’s worth feeling like Borat. Wa wa wee wa.