Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act.
The post “Totaalvoetbal” recounts a memorable episode in my life – an epiphany of sorts. We all have these, where to sense something, which could be of any nature, leaves such a mark that things never again seem quite the same. Although to some it might seem trivial, seeing the Dutch football team in 1974 is an example. And there are others.
When I was at school I abandoned the study of English literature, without even telling my family, and therefore received one less “O” level than my contemporaries. This didn’t seem a big deal at the time, and doesn’t now. However, even in those days I was a prodigious reader, so that decision does come across as a little incongruous even to me. The problem I had was the selection of texts that we had to study, which to me at the time were the dullest bunch of books ever written, and at the discretion (from a set selection) of the particular teacher. I was in the top set, and the class just below got Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm and My Family and Other Animals. All of these, I read in my spare time. But we were expected to study Jane Eyre, Vanity Fair, A Tale of Two Cities and the like. I would read them and not remember a thing about them five minutes later. The tipping point came with Silas Marner by George Eliot. Again I read half of it which didn’t register – this was the last straw and I went to the teacher and asked her if I could drop down a set. Her response was no, but I could drop down three sets and just take language only. I agreed to do this. I was now relegated to the company of those of lower expectations. But the teacher, Mr Hawley, was rare in that I responded to him, and the class, in my last year before sixth form, was just about the happiest I was ever in. Continue reading