Yesterday some friends and I were kept in after school. Approximately 41 years after we left school may seem a little extreme, but some of them had been very naughty indeed.
Fortunately, we have all benefited by the strict disciplinary code practised at this fine seat of culture, and the successes that we have achieved have percolated into all seventeen corners of the world.
For the benefit of those of you who are careless in keeping up with news of global luminaries, here is a guide to my friends and I.
1) Dominic Plantagenet-Mincingboy. Dom studied Aramaic at the university of Tirana, founded a company manufacturing software aimed at removing the word “” from the internet. As you can see, he has been very successful. With his enormous wealth, Dominic has pioneered a project ensuring that the inhabitants of the West Sahara have round-the-clock access to the television programmes of Nick Owen and Anne Diamond. As you can see he is not paying attention in class. We will probably have to repeat this detention.
2) Dame Eritrea Montgomery. She, of course, is the first woman to perform “Ol Man River” from Showboat at the Royal Command Variety event. She has a keen in interest in geology, blancmange moulds and the poetry of Richard Nixon. In between working on her fashion designs for the over-90s, she is the principle architect in charge of the reconstruction of “Plastic Henge” near Salisbury.
3) Fortuna Aristophanes. English hammer throwing champion, compiler of the Shrewsbury University directory of bathroom windows, and lead singer with Iron Maiden, her talents are catholic as, indeed, are her propensities.
4) Hephzibah Lumbarpuncture. Pioneering surgeon whose work on replacing ankle bones with ball bearings, and the extension of the optic nerve to finger and toe ends has advanced the theory and practice of voyeurism, and her lectures at the Gdansk medical facility were truly ground-breaking in their audience participation aspects, but sadly resulted in her being prevented from returning to Eastern Europe.
5) Patriach Archbishop Arthur Rosebush of the Armenian Orthodox Church, winner of the 1996 final of “Wheel of Fortune”.
6) Gandalf Montesorri, still playing left side flanker for the Tintagel Patriots rugby union team, and a trailblazer in the field of marine unorthodoxy.
7) Uriel Wenchfondler. Tireless worker for the advancement of vegetable rights, and recipient of the Life Time Achievement award in kale husbandry.
8) Cynthia Leftpancreas. Inventor of recyclable salad dressing, pomegranate ketchup and the dodecahedral apple and raspberry pie. We are all deeply, deeply indebted to her.
9) Eroica Entwhistle. Despite, in this photograph, appearing to gaze admiringly, if not lustfully, at the star of the class, Ms Entwhistle is an expert on the migratory habits of snails, has translated the works of Jilly Cooper into 17 African languages and is widely respected in the Meccano collectors community.
10) Vicus Scurra. All round good egg, confidante of and counsellor to the rich and famous, accomplished sportsman, musician and academic.
11) Ciceley Thricenightly. Exotic dancer, aardvark charmer, Phil Collins impersonator and the only woman to be a freeman of both Willoughby Waterleys and Phnom Penh.
12) Audrey Gnomesnatcher, PhD. President of the Islamic Jihad for the liberation of Carlton Curlieu, walked backwards across the Gobi to raise money for research into research. Mother of 24 children and advisor to the Gyles Brandreth Appreciation Society.
13) Rear Admiral Sir Hezekiah Amberspoon. Sixth in line to the throne of Upper Volta, handkerchief designer and lothario.
14) Guevara Cerise. Professor of Tomfoolery at Curly Howard University, East Moron, Vermont. Dancing coach to Joshua Nkomo and holder of the world record for squid balancing.
Mr Mans has been waiting for us to attend this detention since 1968. This is typical of his deep commitment to his profession. You may think that someone who did not know the correct plural of one of the most common words in the language was not a suitable candidate for head of English. However, the alternative would have been to have been taught by one of the Mr Men. Not something to mention in your university entrance application.
Mr Mans’ favoured area of study were the works of great comic writers; Dostoevsky, Milton and Barbara Cartland were the most popular authors in this category. Here he is seen expounding on the great slapstick scene “Before the Law” from “The Trial”.
*************If I may break out of character for a moment, I request that if you adding a comment please do not make derogatory remarks about any of the people depicted above apart from me, (unless you are in the cast list).
Yesterday I went back to my school for the first time in 41 years, and met these splendid people who were all in my year, many of whom I had not seen since, and we were able to recruit Peter Mans, one of the many outstanding teachers of my time, to re-enact those days.
I see myself as very fortunate to have been educated here. Humanity was seen as more important than accomplishment, equality and fairness professed and practised. Being a pioneering school it attracted a very high standard of enthusiastic and committed teachers (interspersed with the occasional throwback and idiot, of course). I am very grateful to these people and in particular to my headmaster, who returned yesterday and expressed similar sentiments in a far more forceful and articulate manner than I can manage.
That is the end of this service message. Normal nonsense will return next time.