Tempus mutandis

I still think the only reason to go to school is to learn how to read. After that you can teach yourself most stuff. The idea that people are still leaving school illiterate is to me a total disgrace. I went to a slum school in Salford, a secondary modern, but I swear to Christ, nobody left unable to read a book.

John Cooper Clarke.

And this is good:

So which way would you vote?
It’s a tough call. I wouldn’t recommend any of them. I suppose if I had to I would vote Labour but only out of blind class hatred, nothing else. That’s what keeps these bastards coming back. To be honest, the only one whose language I even remotely understand is Nige [Farage]. Shoot me down in flames. Everyone else: they talk about nothing that seems to matter. It’s beyond satire. And even satire has become PR, you know, since someone told politicians they will get more votes if they join in with the piss-taking themselves.

20 thoughts on “Tempus mutandis”

  1. A so-called punk poet, inspired by a teacher quoting Vitai Lampada, JCC’s work is excellent, especially when it was set to music by the Invisible Girls. JCC himself is a top bloke – a friend and I bought him a pint in a Stevenage pub back in 1978.

  2. Times change in that back then we aspired to read and write. Nowadays it’s a post-graduate qualification.

  3. The Other Bloke in Italy

    Very, true, Bernie.

    I have been preparing a couple of Italian students for a degree exam in a course of business English. Even before we started, their standard of English was better than that of many Brit youngsters. Not only youngsters, either.

    I am not happy with all the ways in which English is taught here, but if the schools in Italy are going provide a higher level of English than many in Britland, I am comfortable with keeping my criticisms behind my teeth.

    Jeff Wood

  4. Jeff,
    “…I am comfortable with keeping my criticisms behind my teeth.”
    Jeff, are you teaching Italians phrases like that? And is English your first language? Genuinely curious.

  5. The Great Redacto

    That ditty of JCC’s “Like a nightclub in the morning, you’re the bitter end…” was reportedly inspired by the late Dr Rhodes Boyson, before he was late, obviously. I went to see JCC in Deptford the Christmas before last and a colleague went to see him in Margate a few months ago. Same type of crappy little venues, same jokes, same result: we both pissed ourselves laughing. He looks frightful. As he says himself, walking behind a hearse is the only exercise he gets these days.

  6. you go to school to learn to read so that you can read the adverts.
    If you don’t then you wont want to buy anything.
    So no tax and so no government.

  7. I fear it is statistically true for most kids, Tredwell (assuming you count reception or whatever they call it). Being relentlessly middle class, my wife taught our kids to read well before that*, but good teachers at infants school are needed to teach most kids to read, and to improve the reading of the more advanced, I guess.

    *Their capacity led to an amusing moment where a Competitive Mum button-holed my wife one day and said ‘Calum is on reading level four (out of I think 20), the highest in the class. Your girls are quite good at reading aren’t they? What level are they on?’

    My wife is not one to brag, at all, but this woman had form, and lots of it*, so after wrestling with herself for a moment she replied (truthfully), “Level 20.”

    *eg the moment when Competitive Mum – who literally had her son practising pass the parcel on Sundays, and he was good at it too – while at a swimming gala turned to a friend of ours, remarked on her own son’s prowess, and then said, “Of course, I used to swim competitively myself. Did you ever swim competitively, Sarah?”

    “Yes,” said Sarah.

    “Who for?” said Competitive Mum. “Because I swam for Coventry Brownies.”

    “Great Britain,” said Sarah.

    Two digressive stories which confirm the old barristerial adage – never ask a question to which you don’t know the answer!

  8. Interested,

    In a form we can be bothered to read please. Or we have to assume you are incapable of expressing yourself.

  9. So Much for Subtlety

    I went to a slum school in Salford, a secondary modern, but I swear to Christ, nobody left unable to read a book.

    It is like an Edgar Allen Poe story really. We can all see the ceiling descending, but no one at the dinner table is brave enough to talk about it.

    So. What is it precisely that means back then children were taught to read and now they are not? Answers on a postcard.

    By the way, I hope Bloke in Spain is all right. I know it is not a good thought but reading this, I wondered …..


    (And speaking of declining education, I am appalled that the Daily Mail is unable to correctly identify the cars)

  10. So Much for Subtlety

    Edward Lud – “Split infinitive, SMFS, split infinitive.”

    It looks like a small example of quasi-semi-demi-illiteracy, but *actually* it was a subtle and rather clever ironic dig at Norman Imperialist Linguistic Hegemony.

    Or so I will claim to my dying day.

    But really. There was a time when every school boy knew what an Italian tractor maker’s product looked like.

  11. My Mam taught me to read –not the scum of the state. I was lucky–I was 2 years ahead of my Brother who was amongst the first to be “taught” to read with all that ITC shite–my Mam had to work hard to undo that bollocks and get him back to scratch.

    Also thanks to my Granny who bought me a Batman comic–which showed me that reading could be fun. I still buy all the Warner DC superhero cartoons in memory of those wonderful days.

  12. My working class mum (who left school at 14 and was probably the least ‘Competitive Mum’ in history) taught me to read – age 4. When I got to school next year it was not unusual – most in our reception class could already read and write. Mind you that was 1959, there was a golden age of English education and I was lucky enough to be at school then.

  13. The comments to the JCC article make amusing reading. A lot of lefites twisting themselves into knots trying to explain or dismiss JCC’s admiration for Nige.

  14. Less than 10 minutes before reading this post i handed my 15 year old son a book that may help with next months GCSE’s;

    “How to read a book” by Adler & Van Doren.

    From my time with it, it should be compulsory in all schools.

  15. @luke

    …nos et mutamur in illis.

    I forget who said it, but:

    100 years ago we taught Latin and Greek to 11 year olds. Now we have remedial English classes for Engish students in universities

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