Tuesday, February 11, 2014


The Cursive Killer report on TinyXtin, 1984 

Warning: Some Masters are Keen
Keen masters are usually superweeds with specs. They rush into the classroom rubing their hands with joy at the thort of lessons and make a dash at the blakboard. They sit on pins needles rat traps hedghogs etc without jumping chiz they are so enthusiastick that all should learn.
The wisdom of nigel molesworth, the gorilla of 3B. Another classic of my childhood. A satirical public schoolboy of the 50s had at least as much influence on me as Enid Blyton's farm stories. This probably explains a lot of things, but let's not poke the sleeping colonial hound. 

My grade six teacher was called Miss Maxwell. I was eleven and not exactly perspicuous in the matter of my teachers having their very own mental states. I remember grasping to my astonishment at about this time that they were people who had houses and went home when school was finished and ate dinner and maybe had a dog. Miss Maxwell, however, was keen. Even I knew it. It was her first year on the job and she was as serious as the Terminator with a warm smile carved straight out of the guidebook on Nurturing Tiny Minds. She had a very neat black pony tail drawn away from her wide white forehead as smooth as Black Beauty's flank and she wore a ribbon in it to match the fluffy 80s knitwear she favoured. Sandra Dee meets Miss Jean Brodie. We had old-skool lift-top desks and on the first day of school each one had an activity chart attached to the underside of the lid with clear contact paper, penned and illustrated by her fair(ly intense) hand. She had the kind of creepily ideal schoolroom cursive script that would have confounded any graphologist in the land. If she'd been a serial killer, she could have left notes on the bodies without cutting up a newspaper. The Cursive Killer.

At some point that year, Miss Maxwell taught us a class on The Beatles which contained a wildly involved analysis of Sgt Pepper and a detailed account of the 'Paul McCartney is dead' urban legend, complete with buried lyrics, 'the walrus is Paul', White Album backwards, the works. I can't remember whether it was being presented to us as the truth, but I remember the wide-eyed vibe and the flavour of transgressiveness in our classroom papered with the usual biological drawings of flower parts and frogs and pointless coloured cut-outs of god knows what. And then we did a close reading of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. We got to listen to it in class. She wrote the lyrics in pastel chalks on the blackboard.

Heavens alive, I can't really believe any of this really happened.  

I never forgot 'the walrus is Paul'. But apparently that day we did a project of which I've no memory at all, not even after finding the evidence in one of the bags from the Storage Unit of Doom today, on paper cut into the shape of a cloud. It's lyrics to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Not the originals. Apparently we were asked to write our own verse, inspired by the original.

Behold the contents of the little cloud. You have to imagine the felt-tip drop-caps:
Picture yourself on a snow capped mountain
With rainbow snowflakes falling down on the sand
You sit on a toboggan with velveteen cushions
And ride down the mountain with ease 
Picture yourself landing in a plum orchid [sic]
Where rich blood-red plums grow with huge abundance
And you sit down amongst the juicy red plum trees
And eat to your heart's content 
I'm distracted from my critique of TinyXtin's command of metre because I need to know: TinyXtin, you trippin'? 

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