Potty Mouth Training
I'm sure you've noticed but just in case you haven't yet, I swear an awful bollocking lot!
I didn't swear at all until I was about 20 years old, even though my parents did. I think it started when I lived with my gorgeous friend, 'The Right Honourable Rory Campbell' of the historically murderous Campbell clan, who killed the McDonald's in their beds at the 'Massacre of Glencoe' in 1692. Posh bastard and wonderful creature that he is, Rory swears like a fucking trooper and I think he might have infected me with his intelligent use of bad language.
Now I'm a proud mum of little Phoenix, what do I do? Do I temper my language or do I embrace the fact that swearing is just 'language' and if used intelligently can be both humorous and descriptive?
Honestly, I don't see what the big deal about swearing is. A few times while I've been out and about with Phoenix, I've openly sworn and I've heard people gasp or look at me like I'm some harlot with no brains or morals
I'd like to put that straight now, I'm definitely not a harlot - I may have done a few 'nearly naked' photo shoots - but men wise I'm still easily in single figures thank you! I do have brains, I've actually got 3 A-Levels (although it has been argued I'm cleverer with my body than my head). Moral wise; I do not lie (you may have noticed). I haven't taken any drugs for 15 years and won't be doing so again. I will never be drunk in front of Phoenix and I would never ever cheat, I don't steal and I am generally a very nice lady.
So all that in mind, I think aside from the swearing I'm a the original Saint Mother Fucker!
I know by swearing in front of Phoenix, it's much more likely that he will swear from a young age- but if he picks his moments and swears intelligently or with humour, I really don't mind. Sure I'll probably be called in to school a few times and of course I will be judged harshly by others. Swearing is such a huge part of our every day lives though and all language is important. I will teach him there is a time and a place for expletives and hopefully by teaching him a more intelligent way of looking at swear words, he will use them as part of our wonderfully expressive language and not just as a way of rebelling.
I'm sure you will tell me many reasons why I should or should not swear in front of my child and I look forward to your comments on Facebook or Twitter - for now I leave you with an amusing anecdote of me, kids TV and swearing....
One of the happiest times I had filming for kids TV was while I was filming, ‘Ready, Set, Learn’ or ‘Paz the Penguin’ for the Discovery Kids Channel USA. It was a skin job and I was playing the role of Mummy Penguin. I was the ‘body’ of Mummy Penguin and the fabulous Rebeccah Nagan was the voice. Although it was for American TV, we filmed it here in England for a wonderful independent British Production Company called ‘Open Mind’. The production company, cast, director and crew were all awesome and even though it was physically very demanding, the whole filming process was a joy. We had an absolute fucking blast.
There were only 3 of us in the cast, myself, Rebecca Nagan and Tim Lagasse. Rebecca, the voice of Mummy Penguin, was a British stunner! She had to adopt an American accent for the role, which she did wonderfully. Rebecca is tall with thick dark hair and a lovely olive complexion. She actually puppeteers and voices the doll, Rosie, from the show, ‘Rosie and Jim’ and if you’re familiar with that show I can tell you she looks pretty much like a real life grown up version of Rosie. She was so easy to work with and so much fun. I don’t think 5 minutes went by without us laughing our heads off. I love her with all my heart. A brilliant woman and a great friend.
Tim Lagasse, was the puppeteer and the star of the show and Mummy Penguin’s son, Paz the Penguin. Tim is from New York. At the time he had long rockers hair and an uber cool, yet geeky goatee (if there’s such a thing). Tim is wild and wonderful. A kind of Jack Black of the puppet world, in fact it was Tim that brought Tenacious D to my attention before anyone knew about them here in Britain. He also taught me about chainsaw pumpkin carving and the band, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes. We loved all the same things and we laughed until we physically hurt most days. He is probably one of the coolest people I have worked with - and I did panto with Henry Winkler! He is also a puppeteer or I should say one of Jim Henson’s muppeteers on Sesame Street and the latest Muppets and get this, he is sometimes, ‘Grover!’ Need I say more?
Skin work, is physically really tough but what a joy it is. I have to pretend I simply don’t exist when I'm playing a 'creature' and I mess around a lot to get me through the day. I love the challenge though, I would love to work with Andy Serkis or Peter Elliot, creating creatures is something I’ve always been interested in and when you are an ex contortionist there is an awful lot you can do to make fabulous things happen.
While filming Paz, to aid our communication with each other, Tim, Rebecca, the director and myself all wore microphones, so everything that we said was amplified onto the studio floor. I also wore an in-ear piece, which had a feed from all the other microphones to it. This is because once the penguin head was on, I could not see or hear a thing.
To keep our energy up during the day we would chat constantly while we were waiting for shots to be set up etc. Most of this chat was debauch and comedy to make us laugh and to keep us in the right frame of mind. A fun one.
There were a few times when I was so tired I could barely chat and I would literally rock in my penguin suit pretending I didn’t exist just to get through the shot and keep the pain of the heavy suit away (they weight about 20kg, I weigh 42kg) but in the main we kept each other going with banter.
The day I want to tell you about had been particularly potty mouthed and raucous. The director had shushed us numerous times and it was still only the morning. I always rehearsed the scenes in the body part only of the Mummy Penguin costume, so my face and head were clearly visible on camera as we practised. Tim was in his puppeteer trench under the floor.
That day the chat had very quickly got down to base level between myself, Tim and Rebekah as we waited for the cameras etc to set up the shot so we could block the scene through. Tim had called me and I'd like to think it was in an affectionate way, “a vagina”! Which had made me and Rebecca laugh our heads off but me, being me, in the name of comedy, just had to take it further.....
“Eeeeew” I replied. “I don’t like that word, it sounds diseased!” We all laughed. Rebecca piped in, “I agree, I like the word ‘twat’ better or even the word ‘cunt’.” All of us laughed, shocked at the beautiful Rebecca using such a 'naughty' word. Not to be outdone I added, “Personally my favourite is, ‘hairy axe wound’”. This resulted in the 3 of us laughing like naughty hyenas and the director finally losing his rag and making us wait in silence like the naughty children we were.
The rest of the morning went fairly happily and I thought no more about my filthy use of words.
It was only at lunch time that day that I learnt a very valuable lesson about the TV Studios, ‘ring main’.
I sat down to lunch slightly after the others, as I had to have a shower, having sweated my ass off in a 20kg foam and faux fur costume all morning. A man approached me to see if he could sit with me. I kind of recognised him as a local news reader. I smiled at him and carried on eating. After about 5 minutes of silence he said to me, “My personal favourite is ‘Hairy Axe Wound’ too!”
I spat out my food and looked up at him with the widest eyes I think I’ve ever had in my life. “Whaaaaat!?” I said. “Oh” he smiled, “I was sat in make-up having my face done and your show was on the ring main and because you were all micro phoned I heard everything you were saying to each other, although I could only actually see you. One of the most amusing times I’ve had in the make-up chair I must say”. He then smiled at my bright red face and carried on eating. I was mortified but also secretly amused and in awe of how cool he had been in letting me know what he had heard, sat there all suited up and looking like butter wouldn’t melt, with his clever news reading face. He too had a potty mouth in there, how wonderful!
So that was how I first became aware of being cautious about what you say when you are wearing a microphone while standing in front of the camera. The ring main, is big brother, it is always watching and listening. A bit like social media now I guess!
I'd like to leave you with a little known fact about me. Because of Paz the Penguin, I ended up in a Spielberg movie in a scene with Tom Hanks.....
I'm in the movie, The Terminal, at 1 hour 46 secs (1:46:23), there you’ll see me for a few seconds, prancing about, dressed as a penguin, I even manage to throw in a comedy double take - potty mouth gagged by a penguins head.
It's the greatest fucking job, I never had.....
Here is Paz if you would like to see it...
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