P&J Column for 17.6.13

 There’s only one thing a North East schooling can’t prepare you for – being Secretary of State for Education.


JONATHAN M LEWIS, local headteacher

I felt a great deal of sympathy for some of my fellow headteachers who have found themselves in the news this week.  Down in England, Michael Gove’s third attempt to overhaul the exam system has caused quite a stir.  Several headteachers were asked for their views and many of them unwisely lampooned Gove’s plans as the sort of desperate ill-conceived shambles they had come to expect from the author of ‘Michael Portillo: the Future of the Right’.  They criticized the Secretary of State for creating a climate of bullying, fear and intimidation. What nonsense! And completely unconnected to the announcement the following day of OFSTED inspections of each and every one of their schools.


Michael, his extensive experience of education matters derived from his own, very representative, schooling at Walker Dam Primary, Robert Gordon’s College and Oxford, is definitely the best placed person in the country to decide how absolutely everyone should be educated. It’s a good job he doesn’t listen to the so-called experts, (shackled as they are by the conformity of their many years of teaching and studying evidence) or none of his brilliant ideas would ever get off the ground.  I, of course, am fully in favour of our fabulous new Scottish exams and if the government want to change them again, I’ll support the new ones too.  You’ve got to admire the tenacity of the man though.  Three attempts?  Let’s hope he has more luck than Callum McGhee in last year’s S6.  He never did crack Standard Grade Woodwork!

Meanwhile, an Aberdeen City school’s headteacher had a most difficult two days last week when representatives of the Travelling Community briefly occupied his playing fields.  Parents will not need to be reminded of the occasion we at Garioch played host to an unannounced visit from some of our Romany friends.  That week saw a record number of complaints and concerns, but also an unparalleled opportunity for our young people to see alternative lifestyles, at first hand, and I was extremely proud to see the pupils of this school embrace and interact with the Traveller culture, rich as it is in history and tradition. It was very dissapointing then, that after only a few days the age-inappropriate clothing, bare-knuckle fighting and defiance of all forms of authority, coupled with the destruction of property, littering, verbal abuse and intimidation all proved too much for the Travellers who moved on to some where more peaceful. ‘Beirut’, I think they said.

Ah, the freedom of the open road. What fascinating lives they lead!


JIMMY HOLLYWOOD, Woodside’s most eligible bachelor

Jimmy always finds Father’s Day difficult, ken? As I get blawn oot by my mates who are spending the day with their old boy in the pub, or see that the bits of stuff that I’ve trapped are posting pictures of their dads as their profile pic on Facebook (it’s permissible for quines, but some of my mates dae it too – jessies!), Jimmy can get a wee bit introspective, wishing that his old man wiz here so he could see how well his little boy is getting on.

He wid be SO proud o’ fit I hiv achieved. 79 blonds and nae lasting relationships, a BMW X5 in the driveway and only 11 live penalty points, and THE best rendition o’ ‘Suspicious Minds’ ever tae be heard on the karaoke at Café Bardot (and that assessment came fae the mooth of John McRuvie, nae less).

But, alas, my daddy his nivver been around tae see his laddie grow up. Ma Hollwyood wiz cagey, but fan pressed, she explained everything  tae me, and I noo unnerstand fit wye Jimmy nivver got tae meet hiz da. I mean, for the love-child of a megastar, the media attention wid hiv been unbearable. And the birds? I’m already beatin’ them aff wi a stick – if they kent I wiz the direct offspring o’ this particular legend, I wid nivver get oot of my hoose let alone doon tae Soul Casino for a few bevvies.

However, in the interests of freedom of information, and given that female interest in Jimmy’s charms dis appear tae hiv tailed aff a thochtie since he turned 39 for the fourth time, I feel the time is richt tae let the truth be kent. As youse ken, Jimmy is the soul of discretion, so here’s the story, but I’m naming nae names.

Back in 1970 Ma Hollywood, a fresh faced Tilly quine, and barely 20 years old, happened tae be working in the International Hotel in Vegas – she tells me this was afore the days o’ BunaCamp and gap years. Onywye, she met a gentleman in the bar after een of his shows. To safeguard his identity, I shall refer to him as “The King”.  After ‘A Little Less Conversation’ than you might have expected, they were getting “All Shook Up” in the Presidential Suite. Then, faster than she could say “Thank you, thank you very much”; he’d left the building.

9 months later, oot pops Jimmy at the Aberdeen Matty. So Da, here’s tae you on Father’s Day. If yer 1962 hit film “Girls Girls Girls” is onythin’ tae go by, Jimmy is doing you proud.