Dingo the Dissident

THE BLOG OF DISQUIET : Qweir Notions, an uncommonplace-book from the Armpit of Diogenes, binge-thinker jottings since 2008 .

Thursday 22 September 2016

My Education.

In the 1950s I was unwillingly sent to Belfast's only 'Public School', The Eton of Ulster. (Ha! ha!), first as a day-boy living 2 miles away, and later as a boarder 'to knock the edges off' a misfit, a 'maladjusted boy'.  I was certainly not maladjusted before I attended this college built originally for 'the sons of Presbyterian Gentlemen'.
There were no Catholic pupils.

Of the thirty-odd teaching-staff only half a dozen were competent, and only three or four were inspiring - and they had been neither to a 'public' school, nor to Oxbridge.  

The slimy little music teacher turned out to be a predatory pædophile, another teacher was a bully to other members of staff and to pupils, the art teacher was a deplorable joke in poor taste, being the only female member of staff.  The teacher of Ancient Greek was in his doddering eighties.  The prevailing creed was Rugby-Cricket-CCF (Combined (Militarist) Cadet Force).  The only 'darkie' was a Malayan princeling who was good at cricket.

I was never admitted to the tennis courts.  The swimming pool was unsanitary (dead frogs, etc.) outdoor and very cold.  The physical fitness 'teacher' had no interest in boys who did not have big pectorals and small buttocks.  One of the rugby-coaching teachers (called 'masters' perforce) spent an inordinate time supervising the rugby teams in the showers.

I was written off because I hated competitive sports and wasn't a genius.  I was unable to combine Biology with French and English (subjects taught by three of the few non-incompetents).  I was frequently caned - often having been set-up by other boys - by the headmaster who was aptly nicknamed Greasy. 

I was bullied, of course, but not seriously.  The worst incidents were those when a top rugby-playing boy (later to 'play for Ireland') pissed in my mouth while others held me down.  Since then I have never engaged in 'water-sports'. 

As soon as I was released from this expensive unpleasantness I dropped out.  I have never since willingly met an ex-Public Schoolperson - except for three publishers, one of whom was another drop-out from the same establishment (and was almost expelled for stealing cash from other boys).

I have since then been happily downwardly-mobile and now live in rural France, where there is no discernible class-system (except amongst the immigrant English).

My poor mother (a primary-schoolteacher) was quite frankly swindled out of her hard-earned money simply because she wanted me to get "a good education" - which was actually available for free at a very good 'Grammar School' a leafy cycle-ride away.

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