As some of you may know I’m currently writing a memoir concentrating mainly on my school days. Just over a year ago I published some early extracts on the blog. I’ve been working hard on it ever since and now hope to have the finished product out in time for Christmas. And before any smart remarks come in – yes I do mean Christmas 2012.
At the behest of our English teacher, a walrus-moustached Belfast man called Lawrence Muldoon, known among the pupils as Larry, a small group of us attempted (“attempted” being the operative word) to set up a film club. The idea was to hire a film projector and show selected films of the more artistic type like Casablanca or Citizen Kane and profound subtitled European films from the likes of Bergman, Fellini and Truffaut rather than the standard current Hollywood blockbuster to an audience of appreciative younger pupils.
We managed to procure some used film posters from the local cinema and stuck them up at various locations around the school to publicise the imminent formation (ahem!) of the club. Inevitably they were defaced. On the Steel Magnolias poster two drawing pins had been strategically stuck through each of Julia Roberts’ breasts, and another one further south.
Due to a combination of apathy and logistical problems the film club never saw the light of day, even though about 20 pupils (mostly gullible first and second years) had already paid the £1 a head membership fee. Where that money ended up remains a mystery to this day.
Larry like many of that particular generation of teachers born roughly between 1940 and 1955 was a bit of a character. He had nicknames for virtually all of his pupils based on agonisingly bad puns.
If we ever had him for a free period (or study periods as the principal preferred to call them – even though during these interludes we did anything but study) he would go around the class asking boys their names. A typical exchange would go like this.
Larry: What’s your name, boy?
Pupil A: Sir, Aidan Duddy.
Larry: Sir Aidan Duddy? Have you been knighted?
What’s your name? (Pointing to Pupil C)
Pupil D: Otis McAleer.
Larry: So what do they call you then? McAlnose?
Pupil D: No, they call me Curly because I’ve got curly hair.
Larry: Where are you from?
Pupil D: Ballygawley.
Larry: Is that Ballygawley, Tyrone or Ballygawley, Zambia?
Pupil D: Zambia.
Larry: What’s your name, son? (Turning his attention to Pupil B)
Pupil B: Sam Teague.
Larry: I just asked your name, not your religion. (To Pupil C) What’s your name?
Pupil C: Martin McTosser, sir.
Larry: Are you from Ballykilbollocks?
Pupil C: No, Killybastard.
Larry: I didn’t know there were any McTossers in Killybastard. Sure McTosser’s not a Killybastard name.
Pupil C: My da’s from Ballykilbollocks.
Larry: Is your da called Pat?
Pupil C: No, sir.
Pupil C: No.
Larry: What the hell is his buckin’ name then?
Pupil C: Frank.
Larry: Frank, the butcher?
Pupil C: No, he’s an electrician.
Larry: You mean electricity has actually reached Ballykilbollocks?
Pupil C (Unamused): I wouldn’t know, I’m from Killybastard.
Larry: You didn’t have a brother at the school a few years ago?
Pupil C: No, I don’t have any brothers.
Larry: And what’s your name?
Pupil X: Sergio McBastard
Larry: You’re not one of the Drumgallykilderrymore McBastards are you?
Pupil X: No, I’m one of the Castlegorfinmorebrack McBastards
Larry: You McBastards don’t half get around…
And so on…
There would be situations when certain troublesome pupils were making a nuisance of themselves in class. Larry would pretend to get angry and bang loudly on his desk, then say: “Get yourself down to Brother O’Loscan’s office now!” The miscreant in question would go out the door down the corridor and on his way to receive a bollocking or perhaps much worse from the Great Satan only for Larry to shake his head with a sigh and reveal his bluff, ordering a designated pupil to:
“Run after thon buckin’eejit and bring him back here!”
He would also indulge in the occasional spoonerism – If someone had left the door open he would bark at them – “Fose that cluckin’ door!!
Watch this space…