• Karl

Teaching the Wrong Lesson

A few days ago an old school friend, Ian Blick reminded me of something that had both good and bad memories.

He posted on my Facelessbook page a photo of a cassette (yes that is how old I am) of the music from a school play I appeared in, and which was consequently recorded at the BBC studios---back when the BBC did things like that.

It also reminded me that it was at this time in my life---I was 15---that I first realised how relaxing watching someone draw can be.

Originally I had started doodling cartoon versions of the characters from the play to relax my stage nerves more than anything else. But I soon became aware of an added bonus: girls seemed to be interested in what I was doing and began to swarm around me, followed, sadly by their boyfriends, who just seemed to want to throw a bit of testosterone around the room and point out who was going out with who; just in case I got carried away and forgot my place in the pecking order of life.

Eventually the teachers wandered over---teachers always wander over when two or more children gather, and they positively dash when the one doing the gathering is me. So you can imagine their panic when they saw I had managed to collect twenty other gatherers and a few lingerers.

But their relief was almost palpable when they discovered that I was involved in nothing more troubling than drawing. In fact they were downright impressed, so much so they asked me if I would like to do the illustrations for the cassette cover when we recorded the songs.

Naturally I was delighted and immediately set about producing the picture and proudly presented it to the teachers the very next day. They loved it, and were even more in love when I told them that my father had offered to print all the cassette cases for free.

He's always been very grand like that. There will be more about my father in later posts, he is virtually a blog all by himself.

So far, all has been good, and you would be forgiven for seeing a Hollywood ending in sight, but it was in actual fact then that things began to go south, in a pear-shaped vehicle.

It transpired that when the teachers showed it around the staff room, the arts and crafts teacher, a Mr Hargreaves, had a hissy fit and insisted that he should be the one to do the cover, seeing as he was the art teacher. My teachers tried to dissuade him and point out that this was a young artist and couldn't he see what it meant to me.

But he was having none of it and apparently even threatened the head master with Union action over the matter. The head panicked and acquiesced.

I was crushed and then horrified when I found out that Hargreaves wasn't even going to produce anything new, he was just going to copy my art...and BADLY at that.

Now I tell this tale for two reasons. First, not all teachers are like him, thankfully, although I did have the misfortune of knowing more than my fair share of horrific people who should never be allowed around people let alone children, and two, I didn't want people thinking that I was responsible for that image. So for a bit of fun I've re-drawn the character that I played and placed it next door to the pretender, so up yours Hargreaves, I'm still standing!


All artwork and the written word are copyright Karl Dixon