Our 1st year English teacher had a great nickname, but his real name was Mr Nankerville.
Mr Nankerville deemed me not good enough to fail O Level English, so I was placed in a class where I could fail CSE English instead.
As I was in the top groups for Maths and Science I initially resented being thrown into Dipshit English, but it turned out to have its advantages. The top English set got to read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Presumably us thickies weren’t considered literate enough for such a challenge, so we were given a nice little yarn about a farm with some talking piggies called Napoleon and Snowball instead.
I’m pretty sure that I would have stumbled upon Orwell sooner or later anyway, after all I read Golding in my own time to see what I had been missing out on, but chances are I wouldn’t have read Animal Farm until I was much older.
The books and records of our early teenage years can seem overly profound and powerful; they influence our thoughts and remain within us. When our developing minds are fortuitous enough to collide with a genuine work of art a life-long passion and appreciation is forged and our weltanschauung is no doubt knocked about a bit.
So it was that thanks to my limited grasp of the English language and a friendly kid in my class who was happy to lend out his older siblings albums that Animal Farm and The Dark Side of the Moon are buried so deep in my psyche.
It is therefore with immense pride that I slap a new banner onto the sidebar of this blog featuring George Orwell’s ugly mush in recognition of the fact that this blog has been long-listed for the 2011 Orwell Prize.
It would be far too pretentious of me to suggest that the allegorical satire of Animal Farm influenced my preferred methodology for ridiculing bullshit on this blog, What I do is more akin to the 6th form clown playing up to his audience, but I’m more than happy for you to humour me.