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7th of September, 2002 ANTE·MERIDIEM 03:09

Reading Andrew Sheil’s[1] weblog this evening, it strikes me how prolific the guy is when posting to the thing. Now, growing up—and I haven’t noticed a change in it the few times I’ve seen him since he left Ballycaden—Andrew was always really “well-spoken”, as Diane’s[2] mother puts it. More than that too, he never had any compunction about using a word he had picked up reading and never heard aloud. His father speaks the same way, and I imagine that his primary school was sufficiently close-knit that no-one gave him ѕhіt about it. But the secondary school he attended was the FCJ, in Bunclody, which is, eh, less so. It’s a good school; comparing notes with other people in college, I realize the occasional very good teacher, plays, musicals, band, big-fuсk-off trips are all things that you might get in a private school but almost certainly not in a garden CBS.

On the other hand, it is a school of 700 pupils in a town of about 4,000 people.[3] This means that there are going to be a significant percentage of attendees for whom a degree and possibly a masters are not huge priorities; that is, normal human beings, in this part of the world. So Andrew goes in, expresses himself lucidly and clearly in (pretty much) Standard English, and quite a lot of people a) don’t entirely understand what he’s saying and b) do realize that this way of talking means he’s not one of them. This is Ireland, and “not one of us” in a schoolyard becomes an occasion to think up some inventive insults and to engage in a scrap as necessary. Andrew fought his corner and won, and spent the rest of his time in the FCJ in his own niche, not hassled, but not in the mainstream either. [4]

Me, I stopped myself whenever some phrase from the Somerset Maugham or Kingsley Amis short story collection I’d been reading the night before struck me as appropriate for the conversation, did the ng -> n and th -> d thing with the best of them, shut the fuсk up and left the place mostly fitting in. (I started there four years after Sheil major.)

So, 2002, no-one gives a bat dropping about secondary school any more, but it takes me a half-hour to write this much, and Andrew’s posting this much three and four times in a day, and working with it. I imagine it’s because he talks the same language he writes, whereas I don't  use the word “compunction” in oral conversation, and wouldn’t consider it. I’m happy with my writing ability; I don’t write that much, and I’m sure if I did it would speed up. IME, it’s worth a slight degradation of your/one’s creative writing rate to have some decent memories of the people you/one went to school with. ’Night, all.

[1] I’m a little uncomfortable referring to someone down the road from whom I grew up with a nickname that implies he’s from the mid-West. I’ll get over it, some day. Maybe. http://​gothwalk.​starflung.​com/​blog

[2] http://​netsoc.​tcd.​ie/​~diane/​

[4] Anyone want to correct me on the population of Bunclody, go for it.

[3] Bruce, his brother, picked up the Bogger accent, but it was done late, which is probably the reason it slips so easily when he’s drunk. :-)

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