Thursday, 31 January 2013


I don't have a photo of Kim, so you'll have
to settle for one of Caroline Munro

Her name was KIM, a stunning-looking girl with long hair and a body more shapely than any 15 year old female had a right to - definitely far too curvaceously-endowed for her age.  Don't be alarmed - you haven't stumbled into a perverts' paradise by mistake.  I too was only 15 at the time, and consequently offer my observations of her feminine charms from that perspective and not of the 'middle-aged' man I am today.

All the boys fancied Kim, some secretly, some far more obvious in their eager appreciations.  Her 'goddess' effect, unfortunately, was somewhat compromised whenever she opened her mouth, because - in today's parlance - she was a bit of a 'laddette', whose foul tongue could strip wallpaper at fifty paces.

So, in the absence of anything else to write about, I thought I'd share with you just how Kim 'ruined' my reputation with my teachers at school, although I was unaware of it until some time after the fact.  (Don't get excited - it's not as interesting or as lurid as it sounds.)

The school hall, old block

One day, in Mr. MILLAR's maths class, a handful of pupils found themselves needing to sharpen their pencils at the start of the lesson.  I was one of them, the stunning Kim another.  Unfortunately, however, the class pencil-sharpener affixed to the top of a floor cupboard next to the blackboard wasn't working, so Mr. Millar took us through to the class behind ours by means of an adjoining door at the back of the room.

I had finished sharpening my pencil and was heading back through to my class when curvy Kim, who had been standing against the wall near the door, pushed me as I passed.  Ever the gentleman who knew how to treat a 'lady', I promptly pushed her right back.  "F**K OFF!" she roared, in a growl that would've put a navvy to shame.  I was just resuming my seat when a clearly stunned Mr. Millar came through the adjoining door, fixed me with his accusing eye, and said "Was that you?"  Thinking he was asking if it was me who had pushed a 'mere' girl, I replied "She pushed me first!"

However, he was having none of it.  Out came the tawse and I was duly belted two or three times.  (I must here boastfully confess to being the best at 'taking the belt' in the whole school.  While guys twice my size doubled over in agony at each stinging stroke, howling in pain, I stared my teachers right in the eye and received each lash without flinching or uttering a sound.)  It was so on this occasion, and Mr. Millar was doubtless deflated by his inability to elicit any kind of response from me other than a sneery half-smile at his seeming impotence at administering corporal punishment.

Ground floor corridor, old block

It was all a sham on my part, of course.  Inside I was screaming like a demon and my palms were on fire, but I was too proud to ever let it show.  When I think of the times I was belted for no good reason, I rather suspect that some teachers saw it as a challenge to see who could be the first to demolish my resolve.  They were all doomed to equal failure and disappointment.

Anyway, I digress.  Some weeks later, Mr. McLAUGHLIN, one of the Tech teachers, was regaling me with a list of my faults (as he perceived them) and included "Swearing in Mr. Millar's class!" amongst his catalogue of alleged misdemeanours.  I almost did a double-take.  Until then, I thought I had been belted for pushing Kim, not swearing.  It just goes to show what a growl she had, if a teacher could mistakenly attribute her outburst to a boy rather than the girl responsible for it.

(To digress again for a moment:  I had once drawn Mr. Millar on the back of my maths jotter, and was struck by how much he resembled a WAYNE BORING drawing.  I don't just mean that the portrait looked like Wayne Boring had drawn it - I mean that Mr. Millar actually looked as if he were the real-life model for one of comicdom's (and SUPERMAN's) finest artists.  Whenever I saw him thereafter, I couldn't help but think of Wayne Boring.  Even the folds in his jacket looked as if they were by WB.  Uncanny, but true.)

Stair sign, old block

Right, where were we?  I have to be honest and say that this example of injustice always bothered me down through the years.  I occasionally ran into Mr. Millar (who was nicknamed 'Buttonheid' by his disrespectful students), and even sometimes spoke with him when I did, but it wasn't until over three decades later that, compelled to set the record straight, I broached the subject when our paths crossed one day and attempted to clear my mistakenly-maligned name.

"Well, if you didn't deserve the belt that time, doubtless you did another time!" was his response, completely missing the point that my reputation had been unfairly tarnished by another's actions.  Younger readers, never having experienced corporal punishment, should be aware that, back in the days to which I refer, it wasn't uncommon for an entire classroom to be belted for the misbehaviour of a single person when the teacher was unable to determine who the culprit was.  So, if one ned threw an eraser at the blackboard when the teacher was writing on it with his back to the class, unless the miscreant admitted his crime, everyone was punished for it.

Thing is, it's only recently occurred to me that Kim may have pushed me simply to attract my attention, in that "I like you, so I'll pretend I don't like you!" sort of way.  Who knows what might've happened if indeed that was the motivation behind her action.  Given her voice though, I'm not sure if I missed the chance of some titillating 'tonsil-hockey' or escaped a fate worse than death.  Just imagine a woman who looks like TULISA, but with a voice like BLUTO from POPEYE - would you?  Could you?

Anyway, I've publicly put the record straight and finally righted a nearly 40 year-old miscarriage of justice.  Now where do I apply for compensation?


For Part One of Schooltime Scandals, click here.


DeadSpiderEye said...

Did you go back to take the snaps? I can't go back to my old school, even though it's just round the corner, I'll instantly turn to dust as soon as I cross the threshold.

Kid said...

I went back and took photos all around the school before it was demolished about 4 or 5 years ago. However, these are even older snaps from another source.

moonmando said...

Ah!..Buttonheid!I was in Mr O`Neils class directly across from the aforementioned.As you probably remember,Millar was constantly staring across at us reprobates and wondering what we were getting up to,our class indeed being a remedial one and as such filled with the outcasts and unteachables.As he stared across at us,particularly me,as my brother gave him such a hard time,i felt him gaze with a real sense of self satisfaction that i,like my bro` were cast from the same mould and would never amount to much in life.I would show him,i thought!
Cut to five years later and i had left school with no qualifications but a willingness to work just the same.I managed to get a job with the local cleansing dept as a labourer.One day,being assigned to take over the local roadsweepers job,him being off sick,i was told to cover his area,which at the time was the village.Imagine then my horror when out of one of the local hostelries(The Monty),popped Buttonheid!I felt his glee and utmost delight on seeing me push this dustcart,with brush in hand trundling along the street.Through his laughter,i`m sure he called out my name,commenting some derogatory remark at the same time.So much for showing him!
Anyway,i`d love to end my short tale by letting you know that i went on to better things and finished up by having a stellar career and retiring on a fat wad of cash.....You know better though,eh Kid!

Kid said...

Ah, but Moonmando, O'Neil's class was not JUST for outcasts and unteachables - it was also the repository for those who had free periods in 3rd year. I found myself amongst the great unwashed of Mr O'Neil's class on occasion and we were free to do anything we wished: play cards, sit with our feet up on the desks, eat crisps, drink cans of Coke, etc. Mr O'Neil called me 'Gorgon Robthing' and once sent me up to the new block to fetch a pack of cards from an English teacher. "If he asks, tell him I'm showing you some magic tricks," he said, although it was so we could play poker.

When I knocked on the classroom door, I was summoned inside. "What can I do for you, Gordon?", asked a teacher whose class I had never been in before. I explained that Mr O'Neil was looking for a pack of cards, which were passed into my hands. When I got back, I asked Mr O'Neil how the teacher could possibly have known my name. "Very simple, Robthing" he explained, "whenever you walk through the playground, the teachers in the staff room point to you and say "That's him - that's Gordon Robson, that's him there!" I assume it was because my fame as a caricaturist of teachers had preceded me, but maybe it was because quite a few of them had come second place in discussions with me over points of 'pupil etiquette'.

I last saw Mr O'Neil in The Forum Lounge Bar one evening in the late '70s, I think. We had a brief chat wherein he asked me what I was currently up to, still addressing me as 'Robthing' in the process. Great bloke, wasn't he?

Sadly, I'd heard he had died a good number of years ago, which is a shame. At least he lives on in memory, eh?

Martin said...

Have you ever read David Mitchell's 'Black Swan Green'?

Kid said...

Is that the comedian, Martin? Haven't read any of his books - didn't know he'd written any.

Any good?

Kid said...

Martin, I Googled the book, and it certainly looks interesting. I'll pop into the library today and see if they've got a copy. Thanks for the heads-up.

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