Row upon row of shiny faced youth, not a scowl to be seen. Eager faces, spotty faces, plain faces, bored faces but all with the beauty of youth, all listening carefully to whatever bullshit I threw at you.
First the chairs. I had a bet with Moss (Steve) that I could persuade you to stand on your chairs and you did – bless you. But if I’m honest I wanted you to tell me to go to hell, who the hell did I think I was to ask you to stand on those chairs, so another time dig your toes in and refuse. Was it that I represented authority, be very careful of authority, it can so easily crush your freedoms, remember the communist days. Do you think your teachers would have stood on those chairs if the roles had been reversed?
I pity poor Peter having to teach you Burns and Chaucer. Burns was a rustic bore who wrote in a Scottish vernacular which few people understand, he was full of blood red roses and is mostly quoted when people are drunk. As for Chaucer he too wrote in early English which is impossible to understand, A more pretentious choice of English authors would be hard to find!
I would have you read George Orwell, Animal Farm, 1984, Down and out in Paris and for poetry I would get you reading Roger McGough. Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, you tell Peter to find something more suitable than boring old Burns and Chaucer.
But back to those chairs, they symbolize the theme of ‘them’and ‘us’. ‘Us’ is you, the students, having to do what they (them) tell you to do. Fight them tooth and claw, Chairman Mao wrote, “The world is yours and mine but in the last analysis it is yours” and in China Youth had a revolution, there was a dangerous time when people of your age were in charge. Unfortunately it got out of control but it taught the teachers to respect the students.
If I remember I spoke about racism, you didn’t respond to that, class, the Downton Abbey world I come from, I think that interested you more. I spoke a little about literature but I’m not a very good writer so I’m glad I didn’t waste too much time on that, I stuck metaphorical pins in you and you didn’t squeak – maybe you should have! But now I have a train to catch, before I go, I throw out an idea, if any of you would like to email me I would be delighted to respond, just ask Steve for my email address, meanwhile I love you all and wish you luck with your course.