NETHERLEY COMPREHENSIVE

The late Monday light forsakes us
All, as if offended.
Here we sit, you and I,
Made brutal by mutual fear.
This is the way wars start.
God help us. I’m supposed to give you
The power that comes from…what would
You have me say? Courage? Effulgence?
Fortitude? Bliss? A certain…lustre to your inner eye?
– And something to outshine our little, ashen lives.

August 2006

NETHERLEY COMPREHENSIVE

Stephen Jackson

London, United Kingdom

  • Artist
    Notes

Artist's Description

This was one of the schools they sent me to during my teacher-training in 1981. Netherley is an outskirt of Liverpool; and I was there at the time of the Toxteth Riots. The only day I took off sick the pupils rioted: bricks through windows, teachers spat on as they were kicked to the floor. Just goes to show what happens if I take my omnipotent stare of anything for a minute. More to the point (what with the canings and the revolting, smug or lackadaisal inmates of the Staff Room) the kids had my fullest sympathy.

I dreaded school when I was a child: the rituals and restrictions, the bullies, the boredom. I had one illness after another and taught myself all I needed to know from my parents’ marvellous books. As Quentin Crisp commented, “Education is the biggest waste of time the world has ever known.”

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