Sorry Sir! I was swept up by the spirit of the Games
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Monday 10 September 2012
It's the second week of the school year, and the nation's scholars are buckling down to some serious work. In classrooms across the nation, with new colour-coded Ryman files and newly sharpened pencils, they are throwing themselves into the autumn term, their eager faces shining with desire for information on geometry, Artesian wells and To Kill a Mockingbird…
Though not, perhaps, in London.
We suspect there will be an unusually high absentee rate today. A suspicious number of schoolkids will call in sick, having fallen prey to autumn flu, verrucas or diarrhoea. A remarkable number of school attenders will disappear at lunchtime and fail to return. Teachers may find themselves facing echoingly empty classrooms at 2pm.
We would never condone acts of truancy. But frankly, if the Olympic Games committee will organise a major-league parade of Team GB Olympians and Paralympians through London at lunchtime, with 800 athletes (including Mr Davey, Ms Ennis and Sir Christopher) showing off their medals on 21 gaudy floats processing from Mansion House to the Mall via Trafalgar Square, the whole thing to be broadcast live on BBC1, what can they expect?
There are some historical events it just seems right to bunk off school for. Fifty years ago one took the Tube to Heathrow to scream at the Beatles or the Stones, returning from conquering America. Twenty-three years ago, it was the fall of the Berlin Wall – if you couldn’t be in Berlin with the cool kids hacking bits off the wall, you could be at home devouring it on television.
Having your team win the Premier League would justify it too. And now, if you’re called to the headmaster’s office, you can say, “Sorry sir, I was swept up by the spirit of sportsmanship, endeavour and patriotism, sir” – and who would criticise you for that?
Crystal Palace manager latest: Malky Mackay ruled out due to messy departure from previous club Cardiff
Sami Khedira to Arsenal: Midfield omitted from Real Madrid squad for Spanish Super Cup
Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
Angel Di Maria latest: Manchester United target is Real Madrid's 'best player', says Diego Simeone
Luis Nani exit: The curious case of the Manchester United winger
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
- 4 Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda': Singer finally releases predictable video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women