Saturday, 12 March 2011

"Lawyer, Lawyer"

I've always had an interest in the law, mainly breaking it - I hold my hands up, I sent Neil Lennon a nail bomb.  It was in an email so isn't likely to cause all that much damage, although lets face it a nail bomb could only really improve Neil Lennon's appearance; they should call it a 'Neil bomb'.  When I was young I thought I would grow up to be a lawyer.  My mum supported my decision but I knew she thought it was a phase, there had been a few potential career paths offered up to this point, such as my vet phase, my song writer phase, my RAF phase, my guitar, drums and chanter phases.  It was time to ditch the vision of the drum, guitar, bagpipe playing rock and roll RAF vet, and settle down to learn the law.

I studied intensely, mainly by watching Jim Carrey's memorable performance in 'Lawyer, Lawyer' - sorry 'Liar, Liar'.  I decided to take Jim's erratic, unpredictable style and wild interpretations of the law into the classroom.  I faced one simple problem.  I had no one to defend, and, outside of court cases involving Gary Glitter or Michael Jackson, thirteen year olds aren't usually allowed in courtrooms.  So I went for the next best thing, the venue of many a miscarriage of justice, the classroom.

My mandate was simple.  I would defend my proletariat brethren against the bourgeois faculty - embodied in this case by our entirely innocent and likeable French teacher whose only crime was to try and teach a class of absolute donks how to speak, read and write in French.  I should point out that I was not responsible for Mrs Warde's breakdown.  My role as 'classroom lawyer' meant I merely defended those that were.  I'm not sure if that makes me accountable?  I'll ask Saddam Husseins's lawyer - Giovanni Di Stefano, who, by all accounts, seems like a stand up bloke...despite being arrested for major fraud last month and defending other loveable characters such as Gary Glitter, Harold Shipman and Ian Brady.

I worked on a 'no-win-no-fee' basis - which worked out well because all my clients were skint and I rarely won a case - with all costs recovered from the other side - which ironically resulted in me defending a pupil for attempting to steal from the teacher.  A typical session would go like this..

I was often removed for contempt of court.  I was a worse excuse for a defence lawyer than Tommy Sheridan.  Not that my clients complained.  Nine times out of ten by defending them I in turn got myself into far more trouble than they could have managed themselves.  Eventually a letter was sent home to my parents.

That was a difficult one to explain.  I was back to having no idea what I wanted to do when I left school - which would be sooner rather than later if I didn't give up my advocate roll in the classroom.  When you're a teenager people seem to always ask where you see yourself in ten years, where you think your talents lie, what it is you want to accomplish with your life.  When prompted you're expected to deliver a pre-prepared, eloquent answer that demonstrates just how well rounded an individual you are.  When my mother and I bumped into an old couple she knew I had such an answer prepared.

How was I supposed to know he was a retired minister?

My art teacher thought I should go to art school - 'performing arts' school.  He was one of those brilliant teachers who believed class clownism was an expression of free will, a necessary part of childhood to be nurtured and encouraged.  He was my favourite teacher - and art, as I'm sure you've guessed, was easily my poorest subject.  One time I was drawing a portrait of my mate, I asked him to adopt the pose of Rodin's 'The Thinker' and would take any deviations from this pose seriously.

After he posed like that for three consecutive art lessons I was ready to reveal my finished portrait.

He went mental!  Mr Houston was particularly bothered I'd portrayed my pal as a witch on a broomstick, he even displayed my drawing on his wall, my shit picture of a witch stayed up there for a whole year!

The only time I remember Mr Houston getting angry about anything was when he arrived late to class one day.  I had taken the opportunity to post a message on the blackboard.. 

Now, I'm fairly sure Mr Houston wasn't familiar with the 'I Know What You Did' movie franchise, which makes you think, what did he do the previous summer..??

School is supposed to prepare you for the world of work, but I've yet to encounter a boss who'll let me dick about to the extent Mr Houston used to, and, when I did make attempts at acting out a potential future career for myself, I was immediately reprimanded.

School never did prepare me that well for the world of work - which would explain why I'm still there.  I never did get around to working out a life plan, setting goals, or finding out where my talents lie.  And, like every other disillusioned individual with no clue which career path to take, I settled into a career in teaching.

I've yet to encounter any classroom lawyers in my teaching career, but if I do, I'll be sure to point them in the direction of the nearest performing arts school!

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