The Lessons

aug-1963-bruntcliffe-high

This is a photograph of my secondary school – Bruntcliffe High – taken when it had recently opened in the early 1960’s. I wasn’t a pupil there until 1979, but it still looked pretty much like this at the time, so seeing this brings back a flood of powerful memories. Unlike so many people I’ve spoken to over the years, I really enjoyed my school days and absolutely did not want to leave. Even after we’d completed out A-levels I used to go back there and hang around the quadrangle or even walk into classrooms until, inevitably, a teacher took me to one side to make it unmistakably clear that it really was over and I needed to move on. If I’m being honest, school taught me very little in an academic sense, and I probably learnt more in the subsequent 6 months I spent on the dole – going to the library every day and just picking books at random – than I did from 7 years of formal educaion. What the place did teach me was a a scepticism for received wisdom and turbo-charged my innate mistrust of authority. I was also one of the best in my year at art throughout all my school years, and that’s where the seed was planted that perhaps I ought to try and do something with my abilities. Why it’s taken 30 years to finally get around to giving it a go I can’t say, but as I embark down this new road I am feeling that younger version of myself resurgent.

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