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The Happiest Days of our Lives
By John Connolly
When we grew up and went to school, there were certain teachers who would hurt the children in any way they could. By pouring their derision upon anything we did and exposing every weakness, however carefully hidden by the kids. But in the town, it was well known when they got home at night, their fat and psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives. Ho ho ho, one for the Flaboyd Fabans thaber labar.
Everyone always tries to tell you it was the happiest days of your but in reality, it wasn’t. Not even a bit. Okay, going to school itself was fine and some of the lessons were okay (games, art, drama…oh yes).
Like any other nutty Comprehensive, my school had sadistic teachers who ruled with an iron fist inside an even ironer glove, they had too. Not like today were they’re all scared of the kids. Of course we also had weak minded teachers who we’d turn the table on and persecute with extreme prejudice. There were some okay ones, usually the art teachers who smoked pot and laughed off their sleepy classroom shenanigans as ‘Jamaican narcolepsy’ or the odd games teacher who curried favour by wearing boss trainees and occasionally going the match (more often than not bumping into you outside Limey while you’re waiting for Boro or outside the Arkles/Blue House asking woolly teds for the time).
The king of the Sadist was the head master Mr Tucker. No need to tell you what his nickname was but what I will tell you was everyone was terrified of him. He wasn’t big, he wore bad glasses and had a cows lick but struck fear into you. Gossip abound was that he’d given the cane (note to readers under 30, this isn’t a good thing) to lads across their bare arse. Maybe it was a rumour to cement the fear. Whatever it was, it worked.
Next up was Mr Walsh or Walshy One Eye (no clues readers). Walshy fancied himself a bit and looking back he was an embarrassing nonce who had all the 16 year old girls and sixth former swaning around him. Much like Mr Sugden in Kes, he’d take part in the kick abouts, tackling you like it was the World Cup, before making sure all the boys got a shower. Any challenge was met with a back hand or the gym teachers version of the cane ‘central heating’. Central Heating was a size 15 Dunlop Green Flash that was twatted across your arse by the gleefully repressed hom if you stepped out of line. On more than one occasion he offered me and anyone who fancied their chances, a one-on-one in the gym, Queensbury Rules. I’m not sure if he offered this service to all and by the time I was old enough to fancy my chances, all be it with the help of horseshoe in the glove, he’d left and I’d changed my focus to mentally torturing my English teacher. Any, fortunately for me, Walshy was the basketball coach and not the football coach, so he didn’t really have any power to make my life anymore of a misery than he occasionally tried to.
Next up was Mr Franklin. Bully extraordinaire, rugby type from a middleclass back ground who obviously was too thick to get a gig in a grammar school, so he was stuck with inner city retards to bait and push around. Now, I loved Kirsty’s Richard Dawkins piece from last month but like Dawkins, I was a know it all who didn’t buy into religion. Mr Frankiln was an overtly religious zealot who forced the good book upon unsuspecting weak minded pupils. Whenever he filled in for a teacher who was ill, it didn’t matter what the subject should be, he always made it about GOD. My first encounter with this idiot was a maths class. He filled in and passed a paper around and asked us what we thought of the bible! Never one to resist a challenge I scribbled down that I thought it was a load of Jewish folk stories, none of which I believed. As we handed them, I waited as he flicked through the papers then seen his big pompus wanking on a cracker rugby kipper go beetroot. TILT! Too easy, I thought, this is going to be fun. He exploded, I stayed cool. He then made me stand up and tried his best to belittle a 13 year old devout atheist. It didn’t work. I had all answers, as I was used to this by now (most of my fambo were Charlie church types who I ridiculed as often as possible). He pushed tables over to get at me as I burst out laughing in his face. If the class wasn’t full, I’m sure he would have killed me. I got the cane for my little episode but it was worth every stroke.
Further down the scale are the okay teachers. Mr Winchester was an art teacher who let the lads make clay pipes and make collages out of old Sunday supplements. I was and probably still am pretty handy with a 2B pencil. I was useless with the paint brush but I sketch a mean bottle of Leifranbilch/Goats skull/plate of fruit. Hardly St Martins College material but I enjoyed the class. Winny encourage you in art and didn’t have a regimented class plan. We didn’t take the piss too much, he freely told us about his fondness for the herb and how Eek-a-Mouse was ‘boss to smoke weed to’.
The good games teacher and Walshy One Eye’s antithesis was Mr Dodd. He was the footy manager, and used to take great pleasure in ripping the piss out everyone, Walsh included. He was into cool music, drove a cool car and had a ace looking wife. He took no shit but he was that good a bloke, you wouldn’t give him a bad time. He left early when I was about 14, we bumped into him when Liverpool played Blackburn in the cup – he still commanded the respect of us, even though he wasn’t in our school and it was out of office hours.
My Shaw was the maths teacher who looked like Magnum and behaved like 12 year old. We loved him! In a manly sort of way of course. I lost my cherry during a footy trip to Butlins when I was 15. Mr Shaw got wind of this and made me tell the tale to class, great guy! He’d turn up at parties and smoke spliffs with us, a bit like Hazell turning up in the Young Ones as Dr Jim Morrison. He was only my teacher for a year and if he’d have been the maths teacher for my final year, I might have done better than a grade 3 CSE (not really, I was nicked after a Blackpool v Everton testimonial and missed one of the three exams).
Of the poor teachers, the ones we used to make cry, there was Miss Morgan. She was a Home Economics teacher who we’d take bets on how long it would be before she’d burst into tears. I think the record was 3 mins, a well placed fart noise followed by a spit ball fired through a pea-shooter was enough to break her. Poor Miss Morgan probably had older kids drooling over her because she was beautiful, but this cut no ice with pre-puberty mischief makers like me. My own japery and blatant flaunting of her (and indeed anyones, bar Mr Tucker, natch) authority landed me in hot water. Now, I’m not proud of this, or indeed the many bad things I done as a child but it makes good copy. If you want to read about a model pupil, go to www.boringnomatestwatwhoprobablyturnedoutatransvetiteanyway.com ok? So, Miss Morgan in desperate attempt to restore order, decided to place me and my horrible cronnies on detention. As it was Miss Morgan, I swerved the DT, thinking everyone else would do the same. They didn’t, they stayed and made her cry some more, extra crying punishment for this poor girl, the fool.
She decided to make a scape goat out of YT and demanded I go see her, alone, in the Home Economics block, with its cookers and fake bedsit. To accompany me on this bogus dressing down, I enlisted the services of Tony C, fellow japer and good company for the walk over the fields to middle school. Tony waited outside while I bounced in, ready to take my punishment. As mentioned, Miss Morgan was really pretty lady and sniffing around her at the time was the geography teacher, Mr Hyde. Miss Morgan tried to tell me off then asked ‘what have you got to day for yourself?’ Her voice shaky but semi-authoritive, no doubt due to the man guff exuded by her knight in cord and tweed armour, Mr Hyde.
Mr Hyde saw right through my empty apology and decided to flex his leather elbow patched muscle. I burst out laughing at the tough guy, save the damsel in distress attitude and, like many before him…TILT. Only this time, there were no witnesses. He ran for me, rage in his eyes, grabbed me scruff of my pringle jumper and said something like ‘YOU NEED TO BE TAUGHT SOME MANNERS, APOLOGISE NOW!’ I uttered some phoney saw-dust caeser crap like ‘I’LL GET ME DAD FOR YOU’ not even believing it myself. He went to slap me, I moved and belted him in the jaw. I was probably 15 inches smaller than him but he shit himself and grabbed both my arms. I bit his arm, he let go then dangled me, cartoon like as I flayed away, possessed. He dragged me out of the classroom, a bemused Tony C look on while I shouted GET INTO HIM! As if, said his eyes.
I got the cane about ten times each from three different teachers, none of them Mr Tucker, was suspended and bizarrely let back into school (hey, I wasn’t all bad). Everyone thought I would get expelled but after the teacher met my parents they realised I was from a stable background and this was a one off episode where the titler became the tilted. After being suspended for a week, I strolled into an assembly that already begun like I was the lost Kray twin, derision on most teachers faces, joy and laughter on the kids. I’m sure loads will read this and think ‘you horrible little twat’ and they’d be right, I was, I’m not proud of it and not glorifying it. I’m normal now, got a great job, I’m living proof that the system works…stitch that Thatcher!
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