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?
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Compare the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in El Clasico
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Jose Mourinho to push for Diego Costa to play at Old Trafford
Sunderland vs Arsenal: Premier League match preview
Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Why will the first 15 minutes of El Clasico not be shown on British TV?
- 1 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
- 4 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
- 5 #AskNigelFarage: Twitter starts hilarious Q&A for Ukip leader
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts