Overcoming first impressions

Natalie Connors (Hilary Duff) thanking junior CIA agent Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz) after he rescues her at school

As Natalie Connors (played by Hilary Duff) says to junior CIA Agent Cody Banks (played by Frankie Muniz): “You make a bad first impression, and a bad second impression too. But your third and fourth impressions are a lot better.”

So it was tonight at the Wandsworth regional finals of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge. The scheme styles itself as The World’s Biggest Youth Speaking Event. And who am I to disagree. Especially as I was one of the judges for the event at the Graveney School in Tooting.

For such a big event – visiting schools, families, supporters, local MP Sadiq Khan, contestants – it all went very smoothly and to schedule (thanks to the redoubtable organiser Kymberlie Andrew).

There were sixteen young speakers giving, on the whole, excellent impassioned performances. And then there was Joseph.

He looked a bit of a mess. He was going for some ill-judged Miami Vice blazer sleeves rolled up look. (The pic to which I’ve linked does not do it justice.) He looked pretty cocky. I had already gone off him. Then he ducked into one wing of the stage, to re-emerge and collapse. I revised my first impression from cocky, to cocky and lame.

The thing is though, he went on to give such a brilliant, well argued, novel and thought provoking speech, that he clearly deserved the first place he duly won. What can I say? He completely won me over. I like having my first impressions challenged. Good luck to him in the grand final.

What? Oh yeah. I know I said it would be marriage in China this time, but hey… Events dear boy, events. Next time.

(PS: Lovejoy Ian McShane is also in Agent Cody Banks. He’s an odd colour and he’s a baddie, but not as sweary as Swearengen. Top family viewing.)

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Overcoming first impressions

  1. Haha good on him. I remember my daughter speaking in “the Voice of Youth” a similar comp out here . . pretty awesome but she’s not shut up since!

  2. I’m sure it’s very good (I used to do stuff like that when I was a kid) but doesn’t ‘Voice of Youth’ sound like a magazine for teenage Blackshirts?

    And Ian McShane fucking rocks.

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