Games People Play: Fran Landesman, 70, poet

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The Independent Culture
TO TELL you the truth, my game was to try and make it in show business. Then after my grandson, Jack, was born, I dropped the whole show business thing and became Granny Franny. And we made up some wonderful games; for instance, one of our favourites was called Bangle Towers. You know what bangles are, that you wear on your arms? I've got a vast collection, and the game was, each of us would make a tower out of the bangles, and the one with the highest tower won the game. Nothing to do with Ivana Trump at all. All my bangles are made out of plastic.

I can't get myself to care whether I win at cards or not, and I don't like ball games. Do you know a song called "Seventeen"? Part of the chorus was: "Those of us who wait in vain/for Valentines that never came/and those whose names were never called/when choosing sides for basketball..." That was me; I was one of those. At school nobody chose me because first of all I was very fat, and secondly, I wasn't any good at running.

The popular children were always the ones who were good at sport. Why is it that the physical side is so important? Jack, who is now 12, is no good at games. But he's terribly witty and clever, and I suspect people like him for that.

You wanna hear how terrifying he is? His grandfather called him up from hospital to say: "I'm back to my former self." And Jack said: "God have mercy on us all."

We weren't supposed to be witty as children, but I think there's nothing wrong with witty, clever children. I don't want them to be the simple little kids that we were supposed to be.

Fran Landesman is co-writer of 'Forbidden Games', a musical play to be performed at this year's Edinburgh Festival. Details from The Pleasance Theatre box office (0131-556-6550).