Monday, 28 December 2015

The local solicitor, darts & school

I've nicked/borrowed/finagled a chair. No idea if it will be comfortable enough to keep me writing until I sort out a proper replacement but I'm giving it a try.

Apropos of nothing, I noticed via Twitter that a local solicitor sponsors a darts 'star' as well as a charity run in the name of a local rugby player. I know nothing about either. I live in an area dominated by darts and rugby but especially the latter. To the south we have Warrington, to the north lies Wigan, and to the west is St Helens; all three powerhouses in the world of big men running into each other nostril first. I've never seen the appeal. I hated rugby at school where I lost a few too many nails grabbing the shirts of louts barrelling past on a cold winter morning on a field frozen into a solid bed of iron slag. My school celebrated sporting achievement over anything else, which perhaps explains why it was one of the worst places for academic development. I only ever started to perform half decently at exams once I got away and had the time and space to teach myself about the world.

My school was one of the worst in the country when I was there and a few years later was bulldozed because the local education authority thought it was simply better to start again. Oddly enough, my school was around the corner from that local dart-supporting solicitor and I would have passed them every day. I now rarely venture into that corner of the town, possibly because it reminds me of bad academia and rugby, both of which holding a special place in my hatred. The school is now an academy that claims it is 'Working together to inspire excellence guided by Christian values'. Christian values... They never learn.

It's apparently a 'good school' but that's according to Offsted, which means it's misleading. Offsted changed the goalposts recently and with a classic piece of Orwellian trickery, they renamed the lowest acceptable grade 'good'. So, when you see a school claiming to be 'good', you should know that it means 'acceptable' or one step above requiring improvement.

But I digress...

My lack of rugby knowledge makes me reflect on how the culture of the local area is largely non-existent. No book shops but a dozen tattooists. You wouldn't get local firms sponsoring a writer and occasional cartoonist. You wouldn't get them sponsoring a novel or non-fiction book. Would it be snobbish to suggest that both might have more value than the results of obese men throwing darts? Yes I know... Even if it is snobbish, it's important to support the world view you think the best and I think bookish culture is more important than sporting culture. Yet, as a nation, we seem to disagree. The news will report any old tosh that David Beckham spouts yet would ignore more meaningful contributions from experts. Meanwhile I live in a town where I wouldn't get a job reporting on the local free newspaper and have to write a blog instead...

I feel my brain moving into my usual self pitiful areas. Perhaps this chair might be okay...


  1. I know you'll hate me for this, but take heart:

    I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
    “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
    And he replied, “Go into the darkness
    And put your hand into the hand of God.
    That shall be to you better than light
    And safer than a known way.”
    --- (Minnie Louise Haskins, 1908)

  2. Ah, thank you RR but again no hate. I don't know why you think I ever hate any kind sentiment. I will try to keep my spirits raised, taking the hand of my faith in working hard and trying to believe in people's better angels.

    Best wishes for 2016 to you, as well. ;)