School continued business as usual and we had all settled into our little clicks of friends.
I always tried to be mates with everyone and even though there were many groups there wasn’t any bad blood and most people got on with each other.
It became more clicky in later years of school as we all went to different classes so with new classes came new friendships but for the first year, we were all together and we made the best of it.
Our science teacher was a guy who was around 60 years old called Mr. Lutner and he was a strict old school teacher who had been with our school since the British army were still using muskets and catapults.
He was as old as time and didn’t take any shit but at the same time, he was a nice guy overall.
He took the time to teach us and even though he was strict you could have a joke with him.
He didn’t kick off if we were all talking he would just step in if we were being too loud.
We never disrespected him as we knew he would come down hard on us and besides, we didn’t want to.
The only run-in I had with him was in my second week and he told me and Paul McVeigh to stay behind after class.
I hadn’t done anything wrong so I decided to think positive and thought he could be taking us out for ice cream.
I wasn’t that naive but I didn’t fuck about with him so I wasn’t worried.
The end of the lesson came and the class was dismissed and his face changed into a scowl.
OK Bailey you know what this is about
I’m sorry Sir I don’t
Don’t play games with me lad I wasn’t born yesterday
I am well aware of that sir I said mocking him about his age which I instantly regretted.
Luckily he didn’t catch it and was hell-bent on getting me to confess my wrongdoing.
OK lad ill give you a clue it’s about homework
You haven’t done it
yes I have
No, you haven’t stop lying
I have done it and I pulled out my book and opened it on the page with my homework which I had done the same night he had set it.
Lutner was speechless but determined to lay down the law and he quickly retorted with Well that’s no good to me is it?
What seriously? Why not?
You should have brought it to me the next day
You never told me to
Well I shouldn’t have to
I’m sorry sir that’s ridiculous if you told me this I would have brought it to you.
So let’s get this straight I’m in trouble for not doing what you didn’t tell me to do?
Lutner thought about this for a minute and smiled and said well-played lad but in the future, you better bring me your homework the next day.
No problem sir I said smiling at him and he turned his attention to Paul
Have you done your homework?
Lutner went ballistic when he paused for breath and to continue I interrupted
OK sir this has got nothing to do with me anymore so I’m going home to watch Grange Hill.
Before he could answer I had left the classroom and poor Paul was in a world of shit.
I mentioned in my last blog Paul ended up in a special school but this was before his difficulties were known and I’m sure if Lutner knew he wouldn’t have been so hard on him.
Lutner was old school and he took no prisoners.
About a month later I forgot my homework he didn’t even raise his voice he said you should know better and gave me detention on the spot.
I was pissed off but accepted it as he had given me a fair warning and I enjoyed his class so didn’t want to fall out with him.
He was supposed to teach us in the third year as well but that fell through.
I was in Miss. Kitchens office one day on a message not because I was in trouble and the phone rang.
She looked very surprised and then put the phone down looking a little upset.
Well Arlo it looks like Mr. Lutner won’t be teaching you all in the third year
Why not miss?
Because he’s dead that’s why.
I was stunned by the answer as I wasn’t expecting it.
I wasn’t upset that he had died just surprised and it came as a shock.
I found out he had a massive heart attack in the night and died on his way to the hospital.
It’s Such a shame I think outside of the classroom he would have been a cool guy and nobody in our class spoke badly about him.
We used to have Mr. Duffy for technology class this could be anything from woodwork, projects, metalwork but for the most part, we copied out of books that were so boring to the class.
This was not Duffy’s fault it was the curriculum and he followed it to the best of his ability.
Now Duffy is a strange character in the first year of high school I couldn’t stand him.
Granted I acted up but he came across like a bad arsehole.
As soon as you had a joke he lost his temper screamed at you and would send you outside.
You would then end up getting another bollocking and usually detention.
Now there is no shortage of teachers like this but he completely changed in the fourth and fifth year.
I had decided to take typing as one of my options as I thought it would be a useful skill when applying for jobs.
I lasted two weeks in typing class.
Miss. Riley was about four feet tall and was so old she had an autographed bible.
Riley taught the class using typewriters from the 1960s.
Miss. Riley would stand at the front of the class clapping and I felt like I was trapped in an episode of Sesame Street.
The more this went on the harder it was for me to take her seriously and I raised a valid point one day.
I asked her why we are learning to type these typewriters when computers are more commonly being used across the workplace.
This was before the internet but still, all workplaces had started using computers.
She laughed in my face and told me to shut up telling me I was clueless about the world of work.
I quickly interjected clearly not it seemed I am a lot more informed than you especially when it comes to equipment.
Everyone was looking at her and she was losing the battle and she quickly said without conviction there aren’t the resources to use computers for everyone.
Really I said what about this and I got out of my chair.
Her room was opposite Mr. Cothard’s computer lab and a storeroom and I prayed he hadn’t locked it.
Her door was open and everyone could see me in the corridor I pulled on the storeroom door and it flew open.
Everyone was blown away and Miss. Riley was furious.
Inside the room were about fifty keyboards and monitors all stacked up to be used as spares.
Why don’t we use them, Miss?
Get out of my class right now
What have I done?
the whole class was laughing and I was smiling as I found it hard to take her seriously as she was wrong but determined to keep control
Get out of my classroom and go and see Miss Kitchen and tell her what you have done.
Riley thought about this and said wait a minute don’t you go anywhere and she frantically wrote a note for me to give to Miss. Kitchen.
Now Riley wasn’t stupid so she put the letter in a sealed envelope so I couldn’t read it.
So now on my way down to Miss Kitchens office, I had to figure out a way to open this envelope with anyone knowing.
Fuck this I just opened it I’m sure Kitchen would not check if it had been sealed or not.
I opened it throwing the envelope into the bin on the landing.
I’m making my way downstairs reading about how I’m the worst student she’s ever had and that I’m a thug and a trouble maker.
This was the first argument we had and I had done all the work up to this point.
When I got to Miss Kitchens office and we talked she didn’t seem mad with me.
She would never take the side of a student over a teacher unless it was a safety issue but everything I said she could see my point.
I said I was happy to apologise to Miss. Riley but Miss Kitchen told me we were past that.
Riley made it quite clear she never wanted to see me in her class again and was furious that I had even been allowed near a typewriter.
I had no interaction with her previous to this but clearly, my reputation in the staff room had followed me.
I was told I had to pick another class and I picked Vocational and I picked this primarily because it was all coursework and no exams.
I was happy with that then Miss Kitchen dropped the bombshell OK report to Mr. Duffy I’ve phoned him and he knows your coming.
Oh shit, I thought to myself as Duffy was a prick in the first year. I got to his class and he smiled at me
Hello mate how are you
I’m good Sir
I heard you got kicked out of typing you naughty boy he laughed
Yeah it wasn’t for me sir
Well don’t worry about that now that’s in the past
Five minutes later the class I was now part of came in and it was business as usual.
It was weird as Duffy was now a completely different person.
The class was so relaxed and we had a lot of discussions which ended up with us all laughing.
He helped us with work and explained it well and everyone loved his class.
I’ve no idea what changed but he stayed like that right the way through school.
Duffy was in great shape he looked like Bruce Willis but in better shape.
Now I’m taking young Bruce not 60-year-old Bruce watching Aston Kutcher bang his ex while on holiday.
I don’t know if that actually happened but they had a very strange relationship even after Bruce Willis and Demi Moore broke up.
It’s probably best you all do your own research on this but let’s just it’s an interesting read.
I found out later from a friend of mine that Duffy was very proficient in karate.
He had done it for years and was well know in the martial arts community.
I know he worked in town for a little while doing nightclub security back in the 90s.
Back in the 90s, no pretenders or jacket fillers were working on the doors as it was a very unforgiving environment.
I will talk a lot more about the doors later on I’m just making a point to say Duffy could fight.
Going back to the first year when Duffy was shouting you just stood there and took it.
A lot of the time I felt he went overboard but like I said that all changed later on.
Having said that I never felt at any time he was going to hit me it was simply an interview without coffee.
I went away on a couple of holidays with the school which he was a part of and I then saw another side to him which cemented that he was a decent guy.
I think it fair as there won’t be a chance later to mention Mr. Collier.
He was mates with Duffy and in his mind that made him a black belt as well.
He never made any such claims but he was quick to shout and would try and get in your face when shouting.
He used to stand in for Duffy and if I remember rightly he taught our class in the second year of high school.
There was another teacher who taught technology called Mr. Jennings and they used to call Jennings and Collier Ronnie and Reggie after the Kray twins.
There have been two movies made about the Krays and countless books written.
To this date, nobody has written about Jennings or Collier until now.
They used to walk around the school and try to carry themselves like they were old school gangsters but it’s difficult to portray yourself as no matter how much you shout and beat your chest a gangster teacher does not have a ring to it.
They were a tag team and they would always work together.
one of us would be sent out of class and Collier would be in the corridor screaming at them.
Then Jennings would appear
What’s going on here Mr. Collier?
Oh this little toerag thinks he can gob off to me
Oh really son fancy yourself as a hard man do you
I learned after my first encounter with the Krays not to try to talk as they would just talk over you.
They would get louder and louder telling you to belt up and to watch your back and you better not dare give them attitude or there would be hell to pay.
Neither of these teachers laid a hand on me but in my mind, I thought it was a possibility so I was always on my guard.
I couple of times Jennings tried to get in my face and I kept circling him and sidestepping him.
He saw what I was doing and continued to shout but backed off.
In my mind, this would be a fight to the death as an 11-year-old against an adult has the odds stacked heavily against him.
Two adults, it was clear I would get the beating of my life which I was OK with but I would make them work for it.
Luckily it never came to that but I think that many teachers relied on that intimidation of what they might do so they could keep order.
I knew I was no angel and I didn’t think of the consequences.
Many teachers saw that with me in high school so violence was never inflicted on me.
When I was outside the class and I started circling away from Jennings he knew what I was doing and right away changed tactics.
He could potentially lose his job or what if he lost the fight?
He probably wouldn’t of but there’s always a punching chance a prime example of this would be Lennox Lewis getting knocked out by Oliver McCall.
Later on in school, I had no classes or contact with them and when I saw them they were friendly enough.
They didn’t single me out they were like this with everyone they deemed as a troublemaker.
I didn’t take it personally I knew in their minds they were just doing their job.
Threats and intimidation didn’t work with me but I knew I couldn’t get by on blind luck forever so I started making inquiries about boxing clubs in the area.
These clubs kept me out of jail as well as the army cadets but that will be addressed in full in later blogs.
Mr. Collier popped up in the people you may know on Facebook a few months ago so I added him.
I had no bad blood with him nor did I have any resentments about our time together so I reached out.
I sent him a message saying it’s been a long time sir I hope all is good with you.
He saw my message and ignored it and when I checked a week later he had either taken himself off Facebook or blocked me.
At least I tried to reach out to him so if he does not want to talk then it’s up to him.
I’ve heard he’s retired and that’s all the information I had on him and I’ve heard nothing about Jennings.
Whatever they are both doing I wish them well and all the best for the future.
Another pointless lesson we had was Religious Education and nobody even the good kids took it seriously.
We had reverend Upton Jones take us for this class and I think he was around 60 years old.
I’ve never laughed so much in my life and every lesson would a complete cluster fuck.
Now in modern times, students are not forced to take RE and they have the option to not do it.
I don’t think there would be any of us who would have willingly done this and it is reflected in the bedlam of the class.
I remember the tet books were all full of graffiti and I’m not sure if it was one person who had done all this or it was just a collection from over the years.
It was hilarious but stupid and you never knew what you were going to get.
You could open the book to a little girl with a beard or it could be Mickey mouse with his dick out.
It could be a series of riddles that would get you turning to numerous pages and in the end, you would get called a pervert or a dickhead.
The reverend was frustrated as nobody wanted to learn and his department was so underfunded.
He knew what was in these books but the fact he kept showing up showed me how much he believed in god.
He kept me behind after class one day and I got myself out of trouble.
He was about to start shouting at me and I interrupted
I thought Jesus says we have to forgive?
yes that’s right Arlo he did
Brilliant thanks sir see you next week
Before the Reverend saw he had been scammed I was long gone.
I tried the same thing a week later and he was prepared and I ended up with a detention.
To be fair I’m surprised I got away with that once so twice was taking the piss and I got what I deserved.
The party never stopped in RE as you would get sent outside and then you would be looking through the window waving and still disrupting the class from the corridor.
This backfired massively one day for John Farrell as he was sent outside as in the middle of a lesson about Mary and Joseph John just randomly asked
Sir do you have a good recipe for flapjacks?
The whole class broke down and the lesson was finished the Reverend screamed get out boy.
The Reverend was trying to get us back on point and John had spiked his hair in the corridor and was jumping from left to right looking like a crazy clown.
We were all screaming laughing which he could hear outside which encouraged him to keep doing it.
We would see John fly sideways with a huge grin and his newly spiked hair.
John got too engaged in his act he didn’t notice Jennings to his right creeping upon him.
We couldn’t see Jennings either as the only view we had was through the small window.
Jennings like a ninja sneaked up on John and the next thing we heard a huge thump of John hitting the door.
Then we heard John getting the bollocking of his life and all of us had us all in fits of laughter.
Jennings burst into the class like John Mcleese and started screaming at all of us.
He knew the control was lost so he told us he was going to get the headteacher Mr. Barnes
What’s up said, Ian Black
He’s missed out the year head and gone straight to the headteacher
We all calmed down quickly and the lesson continued and after twenty minutes there was no sign of Barnes the headmaster.
So like an idiot I asked a stupid question.
Sir was Jesus gay?
Of course, he wasn’t don’t be stupid
Yeah but he was never married, his best friend was a prostitute and he fucked off into the desert with ten fellas?
Get out get out get out
The class was lost again and I had completely screwed him over as well as myself just as I was being sent out I saw Barnes on his way to our class for a showdown.
He wasn’t expecting to see me and he asked me why I had been sent outside.
I told him I asked if Jesus was gay and then the unexpected happened.
Barnes had forgotten he had come upstairs to shout at us all and he ended up having a discussion with me in the corridor about the possibility of Jesus being homosexual.
After a few minutes, Barnes told me I had made some very interesting points and told me to go back into class.
I’m pretty sure the class heard every word and so did the Reverend.
I went to take my seat and the bell went it was time for music class.
We all filed out of class and made our way to the lower building for Mr. Jones’s music class.
All of the class was pleased with me as I had helped them dodge a bullet with Barnes.
It was not intentional it was just like good comedy the timing was perfect and so was the delivery.