Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Chip off the Old Block?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Chip off the Old Block?

Article excerpt


IBROUGHT you back into the world of my foolish friends last week. This week seems an appropriate point to broaden this out to my foolish family. In particular, my eldest, Christopher. One of Northumbria's finest.

He has inherited my lack of energy.

Nothing seems to motivate him. He's vaguely aware that there's stuff going on about university fees. But it remains filed away under "Vaguely Aware". I told him he should be supporting his fellow and future deadbeats by joining the campaign. He made a noise, somewhere between a grunt and wind. Bit like Simon Le Bon.

When pushed, he explained to me that after considering all of the facts, and his position vis-a-vis the aforesaid facts, he "couldn't be bothered as it's just stuff".

In a sense, in a very real sense, he's right. It's just stuff. And why get bothered by stuff? It then took me back to my student days, when I was similarly relaxed about stuff.

This was the late 1970s when there was a lot of South Africa going on. South African stuff and the like. Clearly important stuff. Lots of students took to the streets and shouted about Barclays Bank. I banked with the Midland. Which was next door to John Collier. Very much the window to watch. So, I felt I'd already done my bit. My South African bit.

I wasn't going to move my banking facilities, which involved the bank paying for my ale, to Barclays. I was drinking South African Friendly Ale as it were.

Plus, the students protesting were ghastly. They were terminally sincere, and critically earnest. I'm sure they've gone through their lives earnestly sincering.

They'll march at the drop of a hat. Could be good exercise, but I've never been persuaded by the science. I went for a run once and I was still fat at the end of it.

There were sit-down protests during the South African stuff. This was much more up my alley. I can sit down with the best of them. Nearly an Olympic rower, I was. I can sit down for hours.

But the venues were all wrong. They were sitting down outside and not in a beer garden either. On the students' union steps and outside Barclays banks. …

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