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Bring back School Milk...

Janitor ("Jannie") was common in Scotland in the 1970s, used for the brown-coated wielder of the sawdust bucket.
I was just about to post this. I was in primary school (in Scotland) in the 1960's/1970's and he was the "jannie" then. If I recall correctly, an alcoholic former professional footballer to fill the stereotype.
 

Yokel

LE
You’re right. Bugger. It should be “caretaker”. Historical accuracy is passé nowadays do thank you for your service, I can’t be bothered to change it but will “going forward”.

Exclusion, especially in sport was a foundation of education. Many today see that as a bad thing but it taught failure as a part of life and also it ignored the other side of the same coin, most schools worked hard to find something that everyone was good at, the somethings were all different for different people and taught that everyone is good at something, go find it.

No you misunderstand - perhaps my fault for not saying 'expelled'. The school had a real aversion to taking robust action like kicking violent bullies out, preferring to explain that they made do things to you that you do not like, but nothing could be done. The also encouraged to to say sorry to the arsehole who had his hands around your neck, or would sit opposite you at lunchtime and spit and you....
 
No you misunderstand - perhaps my fault for not saying 'expelled'. The school had a real aversion to taking robust action like kicking violent bullies out, preferring to explain that they made do things to you that you do not like, but nothing could be done. The also encouraged to to say sorry to the ******** who had his hands around your neck, or would sit opposite you at lunchtime and spit and you....
The best means of dealing with bullying I came across (apart from taking out the shins with a well aimed hockey stick - right in front of the Master who was reffing - of a bloke who was bullying me at school), was when I was teaching at a Prep school in a ‘gap year’.
A young lad was being bullied by a much bigger and older boy. As staff we all spotted it, but schoolboy omertà prevented the young lad from saying something.
One evening, a senior Master - former Woofer Coy Cdr and a qualified boxing coach, invited both lads to the gym where he had set up the boxing ring: no spectators.
He fitted gloves on both boys then told them to set to.
Apparently, the young lad just looked and said ‘Really? Can I just hit him?’
And proceeded to batter hell out of his larger and, now demonstrably cowardly, bully.
The bullying stopped and the message got out!
 
And so came summer. Cricket was out as with 22 people notionally involved only 4 would actually be doing anything; a bowler, one of a very small minority who could be trusted to hurl a solid object without being actively dangerous, two batsmen who were in the same minority but could also swing a piece of wood about without being actively dangerous, and a wicket keeper who was a victim of earlier attempts to widen the minority out a bit and had been clouted by bats and balls to such an extent that brain injuries were no longer much of an issue. They’d just go on to be actively dangerous to society in later life.

With just 4 out of 22 doing something in cricket, a new endeavour that ensured the required amount of physical suffering for all throughout the summer needed to be found. They called it athletics.


My own work. I’ve been sketching out a none too serious Life Of An Ordinary Bloke for a while now, and school was / is a big part of it. Most of it is true to life but with a bit of spin and obviously names changed to protect the guilty.

The idea was to write something that Ordinary Blokes could relate to “feck, that’s Mrs Biggins from Sewer Street Primary to a tee” kind of thing.

I wrote a weekly news sheet for a couple of years during Blair’s reign that got distributed around a few local pubs. It was a pre woke piss take of the emerging anti British shite his tribe were peddling, things like exposes on Jaqui Smith’s bath plug etc.

It was well received, got me a few pints and I’ve always enjoyed writing with a sideways view from an Ordinary Bloke, none of this “I was abused so I must be heard” bollocks. Being furloughed has sort of reignited it.

I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it and it’s a useful bench test as to whether I think I’m funny or other people think it’s funny. A few guys have launched books off the back of Arrse critiques over the years, Picking up the brass was one, a sequel, Map of Africa and another was about a guy and his search dog in NI, I forget the title. All were bloody funny and any squaddie Was immediately right there with them.

Stumpy.
 
Plimsolls. They must deserve a social history text of their own.

When I was at school there were only plimsolls. They had a huge variety of names, mostly regional variations (beamers, pumps, daps).

There were no trainers in the sixties. I have no idea when they arrived but they didn't exist when I was a kid.

Most plimsolls were black but there were some brown ones. For some weird reason the brown ones were regarded as a bit common (this strange hierarchy existed in all manner of things - Wranglers/Levis, No 6/Sovereign fags, Fred Perry/C&A shirts).

The only alternative to the plimsoll (though essentially the same thing) was the Dunlop Green Flash. These were usually worn by poshos playing tennis and were beyond the pay grade of the average family. I thought they were pretty cool and aspired to get a pair. I don't think I ever did (thanks Dad, you tightfisted old bastard).

About 1970 basketball boots became popular, although rarely for playing basketball. They were cool insofar as you could decorate them with coloured biros. They were called "bumpers" but sometimes they carried over the "beamer" nickname. Here is a picture of me wearing them to a gig in 1971.

IMG_1631 (2).jpg


I always thought the popularity was down to the island sampler album Bumpers. (Or maybe it was the other way around).
bumpers.jpg


I really have no idea when trainers became popular. One day I had never seen them. The next day every chav in England was wearing them. Then, mysteriously, they somehow became semi-respectable footwear (if you had no taste, style or manners and thought looking like a slob was acceptable).

The only good thing about plimsolls was writing on the sole with a biro. A strangely calming effect.
 
In our ruffy tuffy all Boys School back in 1970/71 only the poofters carried duffel bags to school.

If you wanted to gain any street cred with the cool and with it guys you had to have one of these bad boys from the Army and Navy Store. Usually adorned with various colours of felt tip pen with the badge of your footy team, names of girls you'd allegedly shagged, and anything that made you look hard as feck.

20200930_123116.jpg


They came with a shoulder strap so you could sling it over one shoulder so you could look cool when stood outside the school gates at home time, whilst letching at the 4th and 5th year girls passing by.

A pair of brogues and a two tone suit, with a button down collar Jaytex shirt to finish off the look and you could be getting your legover on the school bus in next to no time.
 

Scunner

Old-Salt
I absolutely hated 1970's 80's school, miserable place run by bitter teachers who hated the kids. Another Brick in the Wall, summed it up perfectly. Such a revelation to visit my kids schools these days, happy places filled with colour and teachers who are decent human beings.

Got it in one. Our lot all wanted to be college lecturers instead of slumming it with primary and secondary kids. One of them actually made the break and got a slot in the local University and the rest of the teachers treated him like an escapee from Colditz who'd made a Home Run.
Just to increase my primary school misery, my teacher lived two doors along the street and would sometimes drive me to the school ! (the shame still haunts me... ) the next door house on the other side was a teacher and two more teachers lived a few houses along the road. My mother was a maths teacher (I failed maths) and my dad was a geography college lecturer. My sister went on to become a maths teacher and later a statistician for the civil service. Surrounded by the fuckers ! Which is why I buggered off ASAP :p
 
In our ruffy tuffy all Boys School back in 1970/71 only the poofters carried duffel bags to school.

If you wanted to gain any street cred with the cool and with it guys you had to have one of these bad boys from the Army and Navy Store. Usually adorned with various colours of felt tip pen with the badge of your footy team, names of girls you'd allegedly shagged, and anything that made you look hard as feck.

View attachment 508534

They came with a shoulder strap so you could sling it over one shoulder so you could look cool when stood outside the school gates at home time, whilst letching at the 4th and 5th year girls passing by.

A pair of brogues and a two tone suit, with a button down collar Jaytex shirt to finish off the look and you could be getting your legover on the school bus in next to no time.

I had one exactly like that one, similarly naked and unadorned with any blanco. I used mine for fishing, though.

'37 pattern half pack?
 
Some uniform at your school mate!
Back in the late sixties and early seventies Skool Uniform was compulsory up to the 4th year. Once you became a 5th Year, the right of passage was that you could wear your own proper clothes to school.
 

Oops

War Hero
You always knew when the athletics season was imminent as Sqn Ldr Utter-Bastard (Retd), the maths master, set the class a problem: Calculate the radius of the curves on the Athletics track. Now, most people would say “pffft, easy. Each side is 100m so each curve has to be 100m“. Well, yes and no. Firstly, this was the 70’s and we didn’t use those foreign measurements, we used Imperial ones, as in having (had) an Empire. The full track was 440 yards so The Mile, the ancestor of today’s 1500m race and more of which later, was 4 full laps or 1760 yards. The smartarses who were going “pffft” a sentence or two back aren’t do smug now are you. Circular geometry in feet and inches, stuff for Real Men. Next, the 110 yard curve only applied to the inside of the inside lane so you got to do double maths in calculating the stagger in the outer lanes so everyone ran / ambled the same distance.

These figures were then passed to Monsieur Alpohonse, the art teacher. He was actually a Moroccan pimp on the run from Interpol but the School Governors reasoned that having a French sounding art teacher leant an air of respectability to the dank cupboard with all surfaces representing a Jackson Pollock masterpiece that was more formally referred to as The Art Room. Something else they reasoned was that the janitor couldn’t be trusted to use the lime filled line making machine as the track would end up looking like the wiring diagram for the Space Shuttle. Lime is a kind of paint so the job defaulted to the kind of art teacher.

After two days of painstaking and precise work involving ropes, line marking machines and threats of sale to a mate in Montmartre to any kid seen within 50 yards of the process, the genuine masterpiece was complete. It truly was a thing of beauty.

The janitor then decided the grass on the school field needed mowing and erased the bloody lot.

Monsieur Alphonse reached for the stiletto in his waistband, remembered where he was and went down town to buy a gallon of weed killer which was then used to permanently mark the track out which was inspired if regrettable once the seasons changed and the football pitch needed marking out as we were now back at the wiring diagram state of affairs. It also took Fatty Simkins out in a fairly big way, probably his intention given his aversion to movement, in that his party piece, pretending to be a cow and eating grass had an unfortunate outcome. He returned to school about 3 months later looking like a tapeworm in uniform and he went on to be an athlete of some repute in later life. Who knew?

So we were now ready to go. The sun was beating down, butterflies danced on the gentle breeze, the smell of freshly mown grass, weed killer and Fatty Simkins’ partially digested and now projectile vomited three breakfasts filled the air and we had a bit of waste ground masquerading as Crystal Palace.

Bring on the gladiators.
Weedkiller.....there's posh.

Creosote, the 'proper' stuff from.a 45 gallon ( not205lt) drum that burned the skin off up to your elbows and eyelids , marking everything from the long/ triple jump lanes to the cricket square (ha)...goose shit covered pasture that got mowed weekly rather than monthly.

Eta.
I was rather quarter decent athletics wise...
Remember my first 200mt race at Stretford on a proper 'tartan' track....
My legs couldn't get down fast enough for the next step after wading through a jungle of a grass track all my life.....
I even got bought a new set of spikes for Crystal Palace.....
There we came up against some really 'well developed chaps' who looked to be in their early twenties and possibly from another Continent iykwim.....
Feck they could run fast.
Mad Mike thought the lions must've eaten the slow ones.....

( Y'know when you watch the Sweeney nowadays,and there's a disclaimer about 'the prevailing attitudes of the time?'....)
 
I had one exactly like that one, similarly naked and unadorned with any blanco. I used mine for fishing, though.

'37 pattern half pack?

Hmm, not sure we used the small pack for carrying our books to school. It was the large pack in the late sixties in Leeds.
I only ever used my issued small pack for packing a few items when reporting for sick parade during basic training.
 

Oops

War Hero
In our ruffy tuffy all Boys School back in 1970/71 only the poofters carried duffel bags to school.

If you wanted to gain any street cred with the cool and with it guys you had to have one of these bad boys from the Army and Navy Store. Usually adorned with various colours of felt tip pen with the badge of your footy team, names of girls you'd allegedly shagged, and anything that made you look hard as feck.

View attachment 508534

They came with a shoulder strap so you could sling it over one shoulder so you could look cool when stood outside the school gates at home time, whilst letching at the 4th and 5th year girls passing by.

A pair of brogues and a two tone suit, with a button down collar Jaytex shirt to finish off the look and you could be getting your legover on the school bus in next to no time.
Backpack ...check
One shoulder strap ....check
Suited and booted Mod gear.....Nah

I had 'Motorhead' felt tipped across the top
Black DM's and a natural scruffy demeanour...
We had our share of
'Rock Chicks' before they were even invented.
Oooh ,those tight lurex clad minxes.
I've come over all emotional...
 
Hmm, not sure we used the small pack for carrying our books to school. It was the large pack in the late sixties in Leeds.
I only ever used my issued small pack for packing a few items when reporting for sick parade during basic training.

We used the small pack for school books.

Went well with the army greatcoats which were fashionable around 1970. That was the first and only time our cadet uniform was vaguely trendy.

you-can-all-join-in.jpg

Simon Kirke out of of off Free.
 
I’ll come back to the mayhem of athletics in a bit but lates take a short musical interlude as it were. The School Concert.

As a father of two I’ve now been through enough of these to realise that I really should have cut my parents some serious slack as if the modern day equivalents mirror those of my school days, and they surely must, then I can only say one thing; I’m sorry mum and dad. Here’s an outline of one I attended. A description of one covers all.

Mrs Hujarse, the music teacher has spent the year spreading artistic enthusiasm through her charges via the miracle that is music. The gym is cleared, the curtains of the stage opened and the kid who opened them has been removed from the mechanism and safely despatched to hospital. The piano has been polished and the school cat plus offspring removed from it, the kid tasked with that sharing the ambulance with curtain kid. The caretaker has polished the piano, apparently using a handful of swarf and has fashioned a new front for it using black painted chipboard.

Parents file in and are encouraged to part with cash for the school fund by the bursar in exchange for a cup of tepid orange squash with a pH of 0.0001. Fathers have taken the afternoon off work on pain of no sex again, ever, although those that have been here before have brought hip flasks of vodka to take the edge off the orange juice and the coming musical extravaganza. Finally, everyone is in, the doors welded shut and sentries posted. Mr Thudnut, the Head rises (unsteadily, he has had his vodka already) to his feet and nervously welcomes everyone, fully aware that there are some bigwigs from the Education Authority in the audience and that he’s showcasing his school and therefore his job. He’s buggered and he knows it.

“Our first performer today is Emily from 4C and she is going to play Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major. On the recorder”. Emily, with about much chance of pulling this off as she has of being given the contract to repoint the Taj Mahal, makes her way gamely to the stage, stands on the little sticky tape cross on the floor and assumes the visage of concentration normally reserved for people about to undertake pioneering brain surgery or that of drunks trying to put the key in the front door without waking the wife.

Mrs Hujarse tinkles away a little introduction on the piano whilst nodding and smiling encouragingly at Emily except the smile is more the rictus grin you see on the face of someone who’s just dropped a truck battery on their foot and is waiting for the pain to register. Mrs Hujarse knows what’s coming. With a final, emphatic nod that is Emily’s cue to join in, the horror begins.

A series of bleeps, honks, farts, screeches and whistles issues forth from £4.99 worth of recorder and the audience stiffens perceptibly. All except Emily’s mum who is now weeping uncontrollably at her daughter’s fantastic talent. Her dad’s weeping too, there are other dads in the audience he knows down the pub and he’s going to have to face them tonight.

Eventually Emily comes to the end of her 2 minute slot and there’s a stunned silence whilst the collective audience ask themselves if that just happened. The pause is just long enough to be significant to adults until Emily’s mum leaps to her feet for a solo standing ovation which stirs the audience into desultory applause. Dads across the room reach into their inside pockets. The orange juice is all gone but desperate times....

This process is then repeated several dozen times as a series of 7-10 year olds attempt staggeringly and patently unachievably ambitious works by great masters on instruments some of which are bigger than the kids themselves. But Mr Thudnut has an ace up his sleeve, one kid who is genuinely talented. S/he is always on last in the vain hope that the bigwigs leave on a literal high note. At my daughter’s last concert this was a lad who played ”I Vow To Thee My Country” on the euphonium and it may have been the vodka but I admit to finding the dust in the room made my eyes a bit watery. He played it beautifully.

And at last, the finale, the whole school sing a catchy number. This is welcomed by all as a) escape is imminent and b) nobody has that awkward moment of listening to their kid crash and burn whilst friends sympathetically murmur to you “isn’t she good” whilst thinking “Jesus, if POWs were made to listen to that it‘d be classed as a war crime“. Everyone is equally to blame for what is about to happen.

In my day it‘d be something like “Onward Christian Soldiers“ or “Jerusalem“ but nowadays that’s out so suitably innocuous alternatives are used. This is a shame because kids don’t get the chance to see where they got it from as parents don’t know the words so can’t join in. In my daughter’s case it was something called ”If I was a butterfly”.

On the face of it this is straightforward. Each class sings a verse and the chorus is sung by all. You see all the kids suck in a great lungful of air to roar out the chorus which is where it went wrong and I became a pariah.

Mrs Hujarse is from Yorkshire and had taught the kids the words. In Yorkshire.

Big deep breath and all together now; “Uf Ar Wer A Booterflah”.

I‘d just taken a deep draft of battery acid vodka twist and blew the lot out of my nostrils with an accompanying snort normally only heard in hippo pools at the zoo. 300 parents glare accusingly, my wife breaks three of my ribs with her elbow and joy of joys, my daughter starts laughing too. This becomes popular amongst the kids and I’m not sure we ever got to verse 4.

I sometimes see Mr Thudnut on his bin round.
 
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I’ll come back to the mayhem of athletics in a bit but lates take a short musical interlude as it were. The School Concert.

As a father of two I’ve now been through enough of these to realise that I really should have cut my parents some serious slack as if the modern day equivalents mirror those of my school days, and they surely must, then I can only say one thing; I’m sorry mum and dad. Here’s an outline of one I attended. A description of one covers all.

Mrs Hujarse, the music teacher has spent the year spreading artistic enthusiasm through her charges via the miracle that is music. The gym is cleared, the curtains of the stage opened and the kid who opened them has been removed from the mechanism and safely despatched to hospital. The piano has been polished and the school cat plus offspring removed from it, the kid tasked with that sharing the ambulance with curtain kid. The caretaker has polished the piano, apparently using a handful of swarf and has fashioned a new front for it using black painted chipboard.

Parents file in and are encouraged to part with cash for the school fund by the bursar in exchange for a cup of tepid orange squash with a pH of 0.0001. Fathers have taken the afternoon off work on pain of no sex again, ever, although those that have been here before have brought hip flasks of vodka to take the edge off the orange juice and the coming musical extravaganza. Finally, everyone is in, the doors welded shut and sentries posted. Mr Thudnut, the Head rises (unsteadily, he has had his vodka already) to his feet and nervously welcomes everyone, fully aware that there are some bigwigs from the Education Authority in the audience and that he’s showcasing his school and therefore his job. He’s buggered and he knows it.

“Our first performer today is Emily from 4C and she is going to play Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major. On the recorder”. Emily, with about much chance of pulling this off as she has of being given the contract to repoint the Taj Mahal, makes her way gamely to the stage, stands on the little sticky tape cross on the floor and assumes the visage of concentration normally reserved for people about to undertake pioneering brain surgery or that of drunks trying to put the key in the front door without waking the wife.

Mrs Hujarse tinkles away a little introduction on the piano whilst nodding and smiling encouragingly at Emily except the smile is more the rictus grin you see on the face of someone who’s just dropped a truck battery on their foot and is waiting for the pain to register. Mrs Hujarse knows what’s coming. With a final, emphatic nod that is Emily’s cue to join in, the horror begins.

A series of bleeps, honks, farts, screeches and whistles issues forth from £4.99 worth of recorder and the audience stiffens perceptibly. All except Emily’s mum who is now weeping uncontrollably at her daughter’s fantastic talent. Her dad’s weeping too, there are other dads in the audience he knows down the pub and he’s going to have to face them tonight.

Eventually Emily comes to the end of her 2 minute slot and there’s a stunned silence whilst the collective audience ask themselves if that just happened. The pause is just long enough to be significant to adults until Emily’s mum leaps to her feet for a solo standing ovation which stirs the audience into desultory applause. Dads across the room reach into their inside pockets. The orange juice is all gone but desperate times....

This process is then repeated several dozen times as a series of 7-10 year olds attempt staggeringly and patently unachievably ambitious works by great masters on instruments some of which are bigger than the kids themselves. But Mr Thudnut has an ace up his sleeve, one kid who is genuinely talented. S/he is always on last in the vain hope that the bigwigs leave on a literal high note. At my daughter’s last concert this was a lad who played ”I Vow To Thee My Country” on the euphonium and it may have been the vodka but I admit to finding the dust in the room made my eyes a bit watery. He played it beautifully.

And at last, the finale, the whole school sing a catchy number. This is welcomed by all as a) escape is imminent and b) nobody has that awkward moment of listening to their kid crash and burn whilst friends sympathetically murmur to you “isn’t she good” whilst thinking “Jesus, if POWs were made to listen to that it‘d be classed as a war crime“. Everyone is equally to blame for what is about to happen.

In my day it‘d be something like “Onward Christian Soldiers“ or “Jerusalem“ but nowadays that’s out so suitably innocuous alternatives are used. This is a shame because kids don’t get the chance to see where they got it from as parents don’t know the words so can’t join in. In my daughter’s case it was something called ”If I was a butterfly”.

On the face of it this is straightforward. Each class sings a verse and the chorus is sung by all. You see all the kids suck in a great lungful of air to roar out the chorus which is where it went wrong and I became a pariah.

Mrs Hujarse is from Yorkshire and had taught the kids the words. In Yorkshire.

Big deep breath and all together now; “Uf Ar Wer A Booterflah”.

I‘d just taken a deep draft of battery acid vodka twist and blew the lot out of my nostrils with an accompanying snort normally only heard in hippo pools at the zoo. 300 parents glare accusingly, my wife breaks three of my ribs with her elbow and joy of joys, my daughter starts laughing too. This becomes popular amongst the kids and I’m not sure we ever got to verse 4.

I sometimes see Mr Thudnut on his bin round.
Ahhh the good old days eh. Screech, good old fashioned concentrated Orange Powder.

Get the mix just right and it would cause all your fillings to fall out.
 

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