Agk! I hate these ones. I’m guessing it’s late 1981 early ’82



I particularly hate this drawing of Luke. Once again, it’s my impression – at the time – of what constituted handsomeness.Chin Dimple, hair blow-dried back at the sides. God.

Don’t you think he resembles Kirk Douglas?


Personal Historical Stuff

(Skip if you get bored)

Secondary School Application

The spelling is pure atrociousityness. I pity my teachers. But then again, I think I was one of the above average ones. Do you know, when I started in Secondary School in Naas, Co.Kildare in – ’81 or 82 – they let me off with sitting for the Irish language in their entrance exam? It was great of them to do that, I thought. You see, I’d already done the entrance exam for the Christian Brothers‘ secondary school previously and having written nothing on their Irish test, I still got 9th place out of 96 applicants. At least… that’s what the acceptance letter said. I’d be going into the A class. I got to tell this to my skeptical teacher/principal in primary school, with a sort of ‘screw you’ air.

Screw You!

He’d been holding the class geniuses up before the rest of us – inviting them to proclaim that they had indeed got into the Christian Brothers’ school in Naas. Just like proper middle-class lads were supposed to. So then, having demonstrated what true excellence in a pupil was, and trying to make us feel crap about ourselves; he turned to me and asked, “And what didyour letter say John?” over his glasses. Sarcastically in front of the class. I reckon he was thinking, I’m going to take this English pup down a peg or two once and for all, in front of everyone.

But I proudly announced, “Actually sir, I came 9th.” Stunned silence.

It was pretty incredible. The ultra-conservative guardians of all things sacred, Irish and monied had actually accepted me. And I’d no Irish! I was Bloody English too! From England!

But then: Disappointment

Boo hoo…

Incredible is right. A few days later a letter of clarification arrived. Now they were saying that I’d actually come 93rd. Clerical error. Clerical is right. I’d be going into the C class. What a thing to happen! How do you explain that to the class?

Anyway… (still with me? Thanks) Naas Vocational School – or Tech was the next option. Dad had no intention of my going into the dunce class just because I hadn’t learnt Irish. So they passed me and I was in. The classes were B1A, B1B and B1C. B for Boys, 1 for the year, the letter for the level. I found myself in B1C. That’s C. So natuarally, I was worried.

Am I a… dunce?

I got even more worried when we did our first English class and had to read aloud in turn. Half the lads in the class could barely read! Or so it seemed. “Oh my God, C does mean the dunce class.” After a day or so I discovered that C was actually the highest class. I wonder if this was an attempt at being progressive? Let’s not stigmatise the less academic kids. Perhaps.

Was it all a Tough-Guy Act?

Do you think people who spit can like classical music?

It occurs to me now actually – and I don’t know if it ever did before, that these fellows who could barely read had got into the same class as me, and others who were actually very smart, much more academically inclined than I was. One of them, my friend Martin is a Doctor of Genetics. Only a small number of the lads elected to move down to B1B but not all of them. So some of the ones on my class that seemed like real thickos and thugs – that stayed – must have had some smarts, somewhere. I mean they must have done well at some of the tests or they wouldn’t have got in with the really smart fellows. Were they just putting on an act?

You never can tell can you? Just because they can’t read, smell bad, and enjoy punching you in the face doesn’t necessarily mean they’re thick.

(Oh, did I mention kicking your 2000AD comic around the school?)