Saturday 1 August 2015

Week 52 - The Grambler on corporal punishment in schools

Stewart was an amazing person -  A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle.  He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good.  We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer.  If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via .


If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent.  It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will.


Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery.  He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter.  His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige.  Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see. Read on and enjoy…


Best days of your life, schooldays.  That’s what they say.  Whoever ‘they’ are.  Bollocks, I say.  Horrible time.  I spent most of my schooldays trying not to upset the many sadistic bullies that seemed to proliferate there.  You know the ones I mean.  What was it they called themselves?  Teachers, that was it.  When I were at t'school every teacher carried a belt to beat lumps out of  'unruly' pupils. You know; those unruly children who couldn't spell a word or couldn't count too well.  Never did it occur to them that they should perhaps consider their own teaching methods and maybe even give a little more attention to the less able in a class. 

Certain teachers seemed to delight in doling out the belt. My first introduction to one such was at the age of seven.  I had just moved from the ‘Infants’ to the ‘big school’ and I had already heard tales of the cruelty of one (and thank goodness there was only one) Mr Charlton.  This utter sadist used to usher the children into school first thing in the morning, after breaks and after lunchtime.  He would make everyone stand in lines in absolute silence.  He would then prowl up and down the various queues and if he heard so much as a whisper, the individual responsible was yanked from the queue and forced to stand apart while everyone else went into the class.  Often as many as a dozen boys (and it was always boys) were left standing as their classmates headed into the building.  Us new kids to the big school didn’t know what happened to these boys, but after less than a fortnight in the big school I found out.  Ever heard the expression ‘mind your own business?’  Well, I should have done just that as I stood in the queue next to a boy who insisted on chatting.  I told him to be quiet or he would be pulled out.  I then heard the dulcet tones of Charlton boom out ‘YOU BOY!’  I looked at my mate and said, ‘See.’  I then noticed that the teacher’s gaze was aimed at me.  I believe I may actually have pointed at myself and said, ‘Who?  Me?’  But I can’t be sure.  Any road up, after all the others had found their way into the building without incident, I and another half dozen or so boys were walked up to this swine of a teacher’s classroom.  He then thrashed us all with a belt, or tawse, a piece of stiff leather about two feet long by about one and a half inches and a quarter of an inch thick.  One end was shaped like a handle and the other end was split into two to about half its length. 

It wasn’t ‘six of the best’ as Billy Bunter might receive, but it was a vicious whack to one and then the other hand.  The pain was excruciating but soon lessened to become complete numbness.  I didn’t realise it at the time, but belting boys in this way, gave this guy some sort of a kick.  Remember, four times a day he had the opportunity to draw children out of the queues and there was never an occasion that nobody was selected.  So this sadistic shit of a man was getting his rocks off four times a day and nobody thought to question his behaviour.  A man like that wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a child nowadays.

He was the only sadist I encountered at primary school, but worse was to come.  Secondary school seemed to be a breeding ground for teachers with a sadistic streak.  One I remember used to carry his belt over his shoulder (under his gown) so that it was always to hand, so to speak.  When he reached for it, it was obvious he had seen too many episodes of Wyatt Earp.  He did look incredibly funny as he went for his gun/belt.  The pain inflicted by the belt was far from funny, though.

Another lover of dishing out punishment used to warn the recipient with the words, ‘Would you like to shake hands with Charlie?’  The first time he said that, there were a few worried looks.  Oh, it’s a pet name for his belt… Phew.  That’s all right, then.

For some reason PE teachers were always particularly sadistic. One I remember seemed to do little more than belt people; that is, when he wasn't devising ludicrous assault courses in the gym hall.  His favourite was to create one which had us unfortunate pupils criss-crossing the hall way above head height. No safety mats. If you fell, you got hurt. Then he belted you for not being quite up to SAS standard.  He also enjoyed twisting boys' nipples. His party piece was to me, even at that young age, the work of a truly warped mind.  It was to grip a child firmly round the neck and lift the poor sod up.  As I said; a sadist.  Nowadays such behaviour would get him locked up.

One event really made me dislike the whole profession of teaching in those days of corporal punishment.  There was one teacher, Tom Smith, who I really rated.  He got me interested in science and had a pleasant manner and rarely got flustered; I don’t recall him having to resort to using the belt.  He was, to my mind, a good teacher.  His teaching methods were such that he got you interested, even enthralled, in the subject.  He was a guy who seemed to have a bit of a sense of humour, too.  He used to rib one of the lads in the class because he had a girlfriend.  Luckily the boy took it in good part.  Where is this leading, you may ask.  Well, this teacher also had a girlfriend; a lady called Adrienne, who was a French teacher in the school.  She wasn’t French; she taught French.  Anyway, one wag in the chemistry class drew a love heart on the front of his science workbook with the words ‘Tom loves Adrienne’ in it.  The teacher (Tom) saw this and dragged the boy from his seat and frogmarched him out of the room, pausing only to take his hitherto unused belt out of his desk drawer.  We then heard the sound, from the corridor, of the belt being wielded a good half dozen times.  Thus a teacher, who I had previously thought of as a pretty cool guy and someone to be looked up to, was able to beat the shit out of a pupil for no other reason than the fact that he couldn’t take a joke.  Bastard!

Best days of your life?  Don’t you believe it.



Any birthdays to celebrate this week?  Which famous folk came into this world on the first of August?  Emperor Clavdivs 10BC (D..D..Derek Jacobi), Herman Melville 1819 (Gregory Peck’s dad), Lionel Bart 1930 (Oi’ll do anyfink, for you, dear, anyfink), Yves Saint-Laurent 1936 (Typeface.  Seriously), Jerry Garcia 1942 (Grateful and dead), Robert Cray 1953 (Sounds a bit fishy), Joe Elliott 1959 (Large cat with poor hearing), Artis Leon Ivey Jr 1963 (Who?  Oh, Coolio.  No wonder he changed his name), David James 1970 (Footie bloke, aka ‘Calamity’ James) and Bastian Schweinsteiger 1984 (Another footie bloke whose name means erm… illegitimate pig tiger, or something).

Anyone in amongst that lot able to give us a toon worth gramblerising?  I don’t think so, so we’ll not bother.




How did The Grambler’s predicting skills fare last week?  We won.  Does £1.25 count as a win?  So, in reality, we lost 95 pees.  Oh well.  Can The Grambler improve on that this week?  Really, this should be Week 1 of a new year, as the Scottish Premier league starts this Saturday the 1st of August.  However, as there are only four games being played on the Saturday, with the other two being played on Sunday, let’s have a final fling on the gee gees, shall we?  Let’s see what this week’s random choices are…

Meeting – Time – Horse – Odds

Goodwood                   3.10            Legatissimo                           7/4

Newmarket                  4.00            Khalaas                                 7/4

Newmarket                  4.35            Speculative Bid                    2/1

Newmarket                  5.10            Musadaam                            7/4

Newmarket                  5.45            Mister Brightside                 15/8

…and if the bets (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) all go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will benefit to the tune of… fanfare please…


Ha ha ha!  How much?  No chance.  Save your money.  Go and spend your £2.20 on something useful.  Three Mars bars or nearly two litres of petrol.  £51.82?  Dearie me.  Ha ha ha.





It’s Teaser time.  Yay!  Last week I asked you for whom did Pele and Bobby Moore play in the same team.  A cheeky one really.  They never did play a competitive game in the same team.  Not in reality, but they did on film.  In the dreadful film Escape to Victory they played for the allies against the German national team.  The whole was utter bollocks, but featured a whole raft of famous footballers.  As well as Pele and Bobby, there were (deep breath) Co Prins, Osvaldo Ardiles, Paul van Himst, Kazimierz Deyna, Hallvar Thoresen, Mike Summerbee, Russell Osman, John Wark, Soren Lindsted and Kevin O’Callaghan.  O’Callaghan played the young goalkeeper who has to stand down because he broke his arm, his place being taken by… a famous goalie, perhaps?  No.  Sylvester Stallone, that’s who.  An actor whose lack of football knowledge and inflated ego had him demand that he scored the winning goal.  The goalie, for Pete’s sake!  Whoever heard of a goalie scoring a go… Oh yes.  Peter Schmeichel.  Incidentally, although O’Callaghan was a professional footballer, he was a winger, not a goalkeeper.

Let’s have a teaser for this week.  A sensible one this week.  The 1982 Southampton team included Mick Channon, Alan Ball, Peter Shilton, Kevin Keegan, Mark Wright and Dave Watson. What do all these players have in common?




Once again, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer.  If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration.  Just point your doctor in the direction of .




And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, I am indebted to Larz Kristerz, a Swedish band of the dance variety, who provide this week’s unusual album sleeve.  If I were invited to a party with this many dodgy syrups on display, I might well agree with the title of the album…


Look out for the follow up to Stuff this party 1 – Stuff this party 2, or Stuff this party as well, if you prefer.


Happy grambling.


No comments:

Post a Comment