Wednesday, August 06, 2003


I should have gone to the gym or the pool or have done something because by 9pm last night my teeth were itching with boredom. Emma turned to watch That’ll Teach ‘Em on Channel 4, a series where children of the noughties are taught in the style of the 50’s.

There was nothing wrong nor right with the programme, it filled a space in the schedule whilst most people enjoyed the last of the evening sun in parks and gardens up and down the country.

The only interesting thing about it was Mr Daplin the PE teacher. Y’see, Mr Daplin was one of my PE teachers at school, a PE Teacher Without Portfolio. He wasn’t the debonair Mr Jones (Brittle Bones, Jam and Scones) the head of the department and destined for a deputy headship. He wasn’t in the brigade of young bucks, like Mr Bannister, who was subject to enduring, probably apocryphal tales of being banned from one of the school’s sites after being found in the showers with a sixth form girl. Nor was he, The PE Teacher Who Used to Play for Morton, who definitely did enjoy carnal knowledge of someone he taught, because nowadays they are often seen cosily doing their weekly shopping together around town.

Mr Daplin was just a ubiquitous presence in the changing rooms of our school (am I allowed to say that?). Little did we know of the successful TV career he was planning for himself.

I can’t let this pass without giving you the simple stratification of women games teachers. There were only two kinds, the Gorgeous Ones (at our school numbered one – though thinking back she did look like a Duran Duran groupie, but at least she was young and wore a short games skirt), and The Lesbians. The Lesbians all had husbands and children, but because they were women and hung around where women got naked, and had short hair they were all lesbians, those were the rules. Don’t blame me for it, this is the law of PE.


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