Im still not completely sure what Facebook is for, though it does certainly fulfil the being easily stalked and making one feel a bit old criterion that were suggested whenI asked about it a couple of months ago
I found a Facebook group relating to my dreadful West London secondary school, for example. I read a thread of comments about the teachers at the school. I added to it. I recieved a comment responding to my comment.
Hahahahaha, thats MENTLE! That must have been Such A Long Time AGO!
Or something like.
To which my immediate response was of course
Ha ha ha! Yeah! Actually, it wasnt a long time ago at all, really! It was only 1992!
At which point I realised that the person I was responding to probably hadnt started school – nursery school – at that point yet, so yes, it probably was quite a long time ago after all.
I have been repeating this story to people over the last few weeks, in the shameless hope that theyd say No, youre absolutely right, Anna, its barely last week, 1992!, but they havent.
Theyve said less helpful things. Like WHAT? And No, not REALLY? Was that Allowed? Even THEN?
When all Id told them was the simple story of our annual school musicals. There is nothing special in the news that not that many young boys in medium-rough inner city London state schools are that interested in demonstrating their skill in the arts of musical theatre – so I dont think that can be what they were shocked at.
And what else were they going to do, in that case, but draft in the male teaching staff to play the parts the boys did not want to play?
Which I suppose would have been fine if wed stuck to the safer fare, like Oliver, and Annie, and all those safe asexual shows, but we were more ambitious.
So the year I took took the lead in Guys and Dolls (see how I just dropped that in there? Subtle. Subtle like a fox, thats me), my romantic lead was also my PE teacher. I had to snog him. Several times.
Did I have a problem with this at the time?
Well, yes, of course I did.
The amount that I bunked off PE meant that this was a very embarrassing casting for me indeed. I mean, he barely recognised me, but you could tell that he thought he should have been able to.
It wasnt just me, of course. One of my best friends at the time had to snog the other PE teacher (PE teachers and musical, eh? Who woulda thunk it?). Several other skimpily dressed dancers (pupils) were groped (and that) by gangsters, who otherwise taught them French, Maths, History etc.
Now Im explaining this all again, I can see how it might be considered, well, a little wrong.
I mean, you can get in trouble now if youre a teacher for just patting someone on the head, cant you?
You certainly couldnt have shared a small darkened backstage area with a pupil of the opposite sex without four chaperones and a signed consent form from eight members of the students family, in triplicate.
You probably couldnt even SAY small darkened backstage area without getting sued for something
And there we were, up on stage, pretending to be lovers, acting like equals, singing, and everything.
I know this was 1992, but how on EARTH did they get away with having us doing that?
Kissing, and canoodling, what would now be considered basically putting on an annual live pupil-teacher sex show right there in the assembly hall (over a run of four nights, concessions for unemployed and under-16s) – My God! How did we cope?
Well, I suppose the shock might not have kicked in yet. What with it being two weeks ago and that.
Still, all joking aside, and looking back at the idea. Well, it does seem a little tiny weeny bit wrong, doesnt it?
Even if it WAS a long long time ago