P&J Column for 10.2.14

You can never have too much education. Unless, of course, it clashes with ‘Pointless’

Jonathan M Lewis, local Headteacher  

This week I’ve had my door literally battered down by concerned parents, teachers and pupils.  It’s not as dramatic as it sounds, the door had been on a wobbly hinge for some time, having been hung by young Tyler Bishop, one of our alumni who entered the world of work at the earliest legal opportunity. While it’s always nice to see a former pupil as he progresses in life, Tyler’s workmanship was always dubious; he only achieved his ‘acceptable’ in Practical Craft after successfully carving “BISH WOZ ERE 2012” onto Mr Henderson’s car bonnet with a braddle.

But no doubt you’ll be wondering what could have caused such consternation as to render the very portal to my office defunct. It was Michael Gove’s latest suggestions which had a few people somewhat needlessly hot under the collar.  As you know, Educational issues are devolved to the Scottish Parliament and so, regrettably, the plans of the visionary Gove won’t directly affect us here at Garioch, but they proved a ‘Hot Topic’ nonetheless.   His inspirational proposal is that pupils should be in state schools from 8am until 6pm every day.  As you can imagine, our teachers relished the idea of having 3 extra hours a day to shape young hearts and minds.  Our Physics teacher Mrs Gray immediately propsed running a cleverly named course on LEDs and lasers.  “Me stay here until 6pm?  Aye, that’ll be shining bright!” she said.

The pupils, too, were devasted at the thought of their English counterparts enjoying a 10-hour day whilst they eke out an education on a meager 6 and a half.  “Get a grip!  There’s no way I’m coming to this dump for an extra 17 hours every week!  That’s like… 4 more days!”  said one student of Higher Mathematics. But thankfully, this outburst was all down to Drama teacher Miss Innes, who had clearly asked her pupils to adopt the role of disaffected, lazy, ungrateful and obnoxious teenagers.  They were all extremely convincing, and, staying true to Stanislavski’s teachings, have remained “in character” for weeks.

Some have asked where these revolutionary ideas come from. Well, as a contemporary of Mr Gove’s at Robert Gordon’s College in the mid 80’s, I’m perhaps better placed than most to shed light on his thinking. Clearly, Michael is keen to replicate his own Scottish private education as closely as possible for every state school pupil in England and Wales. He was always the first boy to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night. Largely in an attempt to avoid the attentions of the first XV, whose second favourite sport after Rugby Union was flushing his head down a lavatory.

Jimmy Hollywood, Sandilands’ most eligible bachelor

I see ‘Back tae the Future’- that classic film aboot time travel and fancying yer ma – is tae be made intae a musical. Absolutely magic. I canna wait tae see that.

But it got me thinking aboot the other classic 80s films which they might turn intae a stage show. I loved the 80s. In particular the fashion. And as the Richard Gere of Ferrier Crescent, with a singing voice fit is the envy of the karaoke at the Pittodrie Bar, I think it’s high time some North East impresario took a pop at reviving these films and setting them in Aberdeen. For me tae star in, naturally.

Fit aboot Top Gun? I could fair see mysel as the Tom Cruise character looking cool in shades and flight jacket. Unfortunately, I canna fly a plane – or drive a car withoot L-plates – so it’ll need to be set at a different type of training academy. But I hiv the answer, transfer the action tae Aitken’s bakery and hey presto – Top Bun!

But my favourite film o’ the eighties hiz tae be Richard Attenborough’s multi-Oscar winning ‘Gandhi’. Yes, it is a hell of a length and yes; it is not immediately obvious how well the story wid transpose tae Scotland. But there is one man, a North East hero, oor equivalent of Mahatma; fa hiz never got the recognition he truly deserves. 80s goal-keeping legend, Jim Leighton. Fa widna buy a ticket for ‘Bandy – The Musical’?

‘Cava’ Kenny Cordiner, the football pundit who’s totally unbiased. COYR!

The old saying goes that lightning does not never strike twice. Well my old club the Dons blew holes out of the water in that old wolves tale on Saturday down at Parkhead! Everyone was thinking they’d suffer something of an overhang after their heretics in last week’s semi-final. But they was well and truly up for the cup by beating Celtic in the ground the home fans cry “Paradise”.

It’s a funny nickname that, when you lie down and think about it. “Paradise” conkers up images of a place you’d love to travel to for a game of football. If they wanted to make travelling fans and teams fearful, they’d be much better off crying it “Hell” like what those Turkish fans in Istanbul infectionately called their ground.

Some Scottish stadiums do have daunting names. There’s Brora Rangers’ Dudgeon park – which sounds a bit like ‘dungeon’, and the less said about Dumbarton’s old ground ‘Boghead’ the better. I remember at Inverurie Locos there was once moves afeet to rename Harlaw park. The Chairman says to me he says, ‘Kenny, do you have any suggestions for a name for the ground – somewhere a footballer wouldn’t look forward to going?’ ‘That is a easy one,’ I says ‘call it ‘Disciplinary Hearing’.