“It is always exciting to win a prize. But even more so when you are just a student with no contacts in journalism, hoping to make it in a fiercely competitive world.”
– Lucy Manning
A ‘meritocracy’ – that’s the claim.
But we all know that it’s all just so much bullshit. And none more so than Lucy…
Growing up in Leeds as a poor lawyer’s daughter she’d had but one dream: to become a BBC reporter! But fate had dealt her a wretched hand – one only had to listen to the radio or turn on the TV to realise that strong regional accents ruled the roost.
Just look at Jimmy Savile for heaven’s sake – he practically owned the bloody place!
Lucy’s young brow furrowed. What chance for her, she wondered, encumbered with a private education at a girls’ school? Elocution lessons were sought – but was it already too late? The letter aitch remained resolutely un-dropped; unnecessarily-elongated vowels would have caused Shakespeare’s ears to have bledeth…
But she would practise, practise wherever a chance arose! In the chippie one evening her request elicited such a puzzled response from the ‘waiter’ behind the counter that she all but threw in the towel: he’d thought the poor thing was requesting some ‘orrible sea-creature:
“Scraaaaaaaaahps? No love, just ‘addock. Cod’s all gone.” – Stan
Blushing, she curtsied and left. What was she to do? Give up? Give over!
Craning her neck she’d watch them swanning around their ivory towerblocks, futures mapped out almost from birth: secondary modern; elite former polytechnic; and then on, on to the upper echelons of society. Neither talent nor ability played much part – they were simply ‘the chosen’.
But while her spirits occasionally waned her determination did not; each evening, facing her own reflection in the bedroom mirror, she would adopt the ‘star power’ position – hands on hips / feet apart – and intone at a steadily increasing volume:
“It must BE!
The B! B! C!
It must BE!
The B! B! C!”
Over & over and over & over until the neighbours started banging on the wall; they were furious – they’d had to walk down a long gravel path to get there.