Monday, 3 October 2011

Back In The Jug Agane

The third year of my degree started today - except that now it's called Level 6. In fact a lot has changed. We're in a new building; the staff have changed about; the grading system is different... and the grades will all count towards my final mark.

At two o'clock this afternoon we had our first assembly, back from the holidays with the staff lined up in front of us. On this day last year I got the times mixed up and missed the first meeting. Thus it was only today that I was taken back to new school years. It all reminded me of this passage from "Back in the Jug Agane" (1959) from Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle's Molesworth series - especially when Jonny made a reference to Proust.

Chapter 1:

It is the skool bell which sumon us to asemble in big skool into which enter anon GRIMES, the headmaster surounded by a posse of thugs and strong-arm men in black gowns. The beaks, of course, alias 'my devoted staff'.
Now GRIMES stand on the platform, smiling horibly at the pitiable colection of oiks, snekes, cads, oafs and dirty roters below.
'Welcome back,' he snarl, 'Welcom back to st. custards for a new term. I hope you had a good hols? i did myself - spane, the s. of france, then on for a couple of weeks to the italian riviera. This term, of course, the fees will be higher to meet the mounting costs.'
But this evidence of good humour is short-lived. Without warning, he bare his fangs.
'Now listen, scum,' he yell, 'The last mum hav departed in tears. You are in my clutches agane and there is no escape. And its going to be this way this term. More work, increased production, trades unions supresed and the first boy i hear who sa poo gosh at a skool sossage will get 6. And strikes won't help you. If you go out the shop stewards will be flogged.'
'Remember this,' he leer, 'You never had it so good.'
'And wot,' sa GRIMES, 'have we all been reading in the hols?'
Tremble tremble moan drone, i hav read nothing but red the redskin and Guide to the Pools. i hav also sat with my mouth open looking at lassie, wonder horse ect on t.v. How to escape? But i hav made a plan.
'fotherington-tomas,' sa GRIMES, 'wot hav you read?'
'Ivanhothe vicar of wakefieldwuthering heights treasureislandvanity fairwestwardhothewaterbabies and ---'
'That is enuff. Good boy. And molesworth?'
He grin horibly.
'What hav you read, molesworth?'
gulp gulp a rat in a trap.
'Proust, sir.'
'Come gane?'
'Proust, sir. A grate fr. writer. The book in question was swan's way.'
'Gorblimey. Wot did you think of it, eh?'
'The style was exquisite, sir, and the characterisation superb. The long evocative passages---'
'SILENCE!' thunder GRIMES. 'There is no such book, impertinent boy. I shall hav to teach you culture the hard way. Report for the kane after prayers.'
Chiz chiz to think i hav learned all that by hart. It's not fair they get you every way. And so our first day end when we join together singing our own skool song.
St. custard's is brave.
St. custard's is fair.
Hurrah hurrah for st. custard's.
As lashed by the beaks we join our boyish trebles in this fine old song we feel positively inspired i do not think. We are in for the joliest term on record. In fakt, i am back in the jug agane.

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