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Spanish Bums in Andy Luke's Ear
by Bernie Rhodes
Ours wasn't a bad school, all things considered. It had it's usual array of bullies, swots, school-team poseurs, specky no-mates, free-dinner types, and lads who - had they been born twenty years later - would clearly have become Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, but, by and large, you were allowed to go about your business unmolested. What we did appear to have, though, were a disproportionate number of psychopathic teachers; complete loonies who would twat you as soon as look at you, rip your carefully crafted homework into 1,000 pieces before your very eyes, and make you do cross-country, in your undies, if you forgot your kit (Barry Hetherington was never the same again, having had to jog shortless through Tuebrook, his bedraggled skids featuring a Young Ones-esque cartoon worm proudly proclaiming that 'Baz the Spaz' was 'girl bait'). This was (early 70's) also the days of 'the stick' or 'the cane', and any minor indiscretion could have you sent down to the Housemasters office for 'six' on the hand - leaving weals there for months on end. Nowadays, of course, they'd have got a six-month stretch for half the things that went on, but, back then, between 9.00am and 4.00pm, the school was responsible for you, and the 'teachers' were clearly empowered to leather you all over the fucking shop.Perhaps the scariest was Spanish Prof, Mr Telfer (name changed in case the arl bastard is still alive). As soon as you arrived as a fresh-faced first-year, this prick set out his stall. He would start every lesson with a 'vocab', and, if you got any of the tenses wrong, out would come his size 11 white trainees, and he would bend you over the desk in front of the whole class. He would take his time, too, the sadistic freak, pulling your strides tight, so that your miniscule arse was in the optimum position for a sizeable spank. I remember looking up once - as I waited, prostrate, for the sneaker of damocles to descend onto my teenage ring-piece - pleading with my eyes for him not to do it. Everyone was pissing themselves with laughter - as I was one of the quiet kids - with the hard lads genuinely enjoying the overt sadism, and the farties pretending to be in on the joke ("ha ha, look at Rhodsie, shitting himself. It's only a pump, eh, only a pump"). His face showed no compassion, though, and his eyes sparkled as he raised the humungous sports shoe. My last vision was of some spittle dribbling out of the corner of his mouth . . . Christ, some nights I still wake up, bathed in sweat, shouting "Tengo, tienes, tiene, tememos, tenes, tienen - please don't hit me sir, please don't hit me".As is often the case, this beaut was also a PE teacher, and stories of his after-match shenanigans were legion. Being a mix of pre and post-pubescent lads, nobody ever really showered at school, after footy, but Telfer was having none of this, oh no. Showering was mandatory and - get this - you weren't allowed to keep your shorts on. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, whatever, Telfer made you get your trollies off, and get in there, which was a real pisser if (a) you were an early developer ("ha ha, Rhodsie's got a fanny round his balls") or (b) you were Amrik Khan (name changed here) and nicknamed 'The Baron' for your unfortunate habit of getting, ahem, a 'bar-on' in the communal shower. Tumescent-tastic. I remember one day, after a hard fought 2-2 draw with Queen of All Saints, Andrew Luke refused to fully disrobe; whereupon Telfer got Lukey on the deck, and placed his (Telfer's) not inconsiderable rusty sherrif's badge on Lukey's head and farted (as Lukey said afterwards, "right down my fuckin' ear 'n all"). Again, everyone laughed - some of us rather uncomfortably, in fairness.But Telfer was, of course, of a time and of a place. We left school, and schools evolved. These days, the jack-boot appears to be rather on the other foot, with teachers getting battered by Lacoste-clad youths, or tempted into the sack by short-skirted minxes in year 11. Little do they know - and I would never condone it - but these little gets of 2008, the YouTube generation, are exacting revenge for years of systematic abuse of their forefathers by freaky Fenn Street Gang graduates from Teacher Training College, class of '64 or thereabouts. In fairness to Telfer and his ilk, they probably never saw it as abuse; rather, that's just the way it was, being a teacher in the 70's. In the long run, it never did me any harm, I suppose, and I emerged from my academic years with 4 'O' -Levels (including Spanish - ha!), a decent final report, a Youth Opportunities Scheme to walk into, but with a life-long aversion to size 11 Dunlop fuckin' Green Flash.
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