LiBeL Column

School Daze

Columns from The Nation newspaper

A trip down memory lane

Just before climbing the stairs to the spare room that’s home to my computer and my girlfriend’s collection of ‘70Baht made for TV any softer and they’d be Andrex’ sexy VCDs I had the misfortune to tune into one of the DLTV ( Distance Learning TV) study English programs on UBC, channel 15.

Perhaps misfortune is too stronger word, I’m sure the folks up country who presumably watch avidly find the shows a source of amusement and possibly even education. I’ve been planning to write more about the ‘study English’ programs on TV but due to my inability to sit through an entire show on DLTV and the nauseating effect that VJ Bee and that fluffy blue puppet, of spurious gender and purpose, on ‘Oreo Go West’ have on me, I’ve never got round to it.

The basic framework for the DLTV show I saw was as follows. In the role of MC there’s a rather foppish, ‘Flock of Seagulls’quiffed, Thai ajarn. Playing the part of Vanna White was a farang female – who possessed more than a trace of Germanic accent. (“This is Fraulein Eva. According to my script she’s from Vancouver, which, as those of you with an atlas can see, is no where near Berlin”)

Highlights included a bit of vocab regarding “doing Europe” and “holiday Romeos” Can’t think of any instances when these will come in handy for the up-country guys n’ gals watching. Unless of course they head to Pattaya or the Big Mango to look for work in which case “doing Europe” could well end up being used as a job description.

This vocab segment was followed by a review of a few adverbs of degree “I’m fairy shy”. ( Don’t knock it – at least everyone could pronounce the sentence correctly.) Just to keep things trundling along nicely Flock of Seagulls and Vanna concluded that they were both “a bit fuzzy” (or fussy ??).The expression on some of the students’ faces appeared to concur with this sentiment and, I must admit, so did I.

As I was going to say, prior to my adventures in channel surfing the Beer Chang had kicked in and I was overwhelmed by the urge to reminisce about my schooldays. Half pissed reminiscing is one of the many facets of life that has been revolutionalised by the Internet. No longer do you have to sit alone and bore the life out of your dog or a Samaritans’ operator, you can now head straight to the source of your memories by hitting your alma mater’s website.

I’d previously discovered that the village fruit and veg shop in Ingleton, North Yorkshire is still owned by the same family and a guy who used to be a builder is now a rather well known artist, but I’d never thought of looking up my old schools. So I ‘googled’ the schools and came up with the following:

My old primary school http://www.ingleton-pri.n-yorks.sch.uk/ a nice little site with a quiz for the kids – I scored 4/5, I think I screwed up on the colour of the school jumpers. News of note:

‘Mrs Rowe is planning a trip to the Halifax at the end of this term.’ Not too sure why but I guess, in my absence, Halifax must have been transformed from a grim, disused mill town, into the UK’s version of Disneyland.

‘Due to foot and mouth we have no plans to take pupils into the countryside in the near future.’ No mention of the fate of Porky the piglet, Clarissa the calf and Larry the lamb who are currently residing in the school’s petting zoo. Expect to hear comments of “Mummy, why’s Larry all bloated and green?” in the coming months.

‘We have had some upsets at playtimes because some children feel very cold when they are outdoors. We firmly believe that time outdoors is healthy’ . Unless, of course, it’s nudging zero and sleeting outside.

Things got less riveting when I found my old middle school http://www.ingleton-middle-school.org.uk/. I clicked on ‘Achievements’ only to find a blank page – some things never change. Not much info on the site but the school uniform has been revamped ‘It was felt that ties were outdated and that polo shirts should replace shirts and blouses. It was also suggested that girls’ uniform should be extended to include black trousers’, reads the blurb from last year’s A.G.M. Also there’s never a dull moment as ‘The school’s teddy bears continue to travel around the world our fame is spreading with an article about them appearing in the Mail on Sunday’.

Last, and definitely least, is Settle High School – no website and now a school / community college. Basically it’s become the British equivalent of a Rajamangala or Rajhabhat. The only info I could gather was that S.H.S. is now the seventeenth best high school in the Craven district and they’re not bad at sports. I’m sure they’re as proud of me as I am of them.

And the lesson I learnt from this half hour exercise in futility? – It’s true, there is more to the Internet that email and porn, but not a lot.