Tam Daiche is twenty-two and, miraculously at his age, in his first job as a tutor in the School of Art. Despite being excited by recent events in Paris in 1968, Tam is politically naïve and ignorant about local politics in the city.
Harold Wilson has bestowed a knighthood on the Leader of the Council. The latter rules the City but his wife rules him. When she tells him to smarten himself up, he does, and, though somewhat embarrassed, chooses to wears a Gannex mac just like Wilson’s. However, it’s useful when it rains and it’s certainly raining as he visits the city’s School of Art.
Inside the front entrance there’s no one to welcome him as water drips on the mosaic floor. He curses under his breath as he knocks on the opaque glass of the office door. He tries the door – it’s locked.
Tam is passing. You a student? the Leader asks.
No, I’m a tutor. You look lost.
I’m not bloody lost; I’m the Leader of the Council.
Oh, we were told you were coming tomorrow.
I was, but I’m here today. What’s your name?
You’re the one who wrote to me about the rain coming in through the roof?
Yes, that’s me.
Then we’d best take a look hadn’t we, seeing as how it’s pissing down? Where is it, this life room, whatever that is?
Can I put your Gannex in the staff room?
Thank you, I’ll keep it on. Lead the way.
There’s a life class going on. We can’t ….
I’ve seen naked women before, son. Lead the way.
That’s not the point. You aren’t ….
Lead the way, will you?
They climb three floors and arrive at the life room doors.
I’ll just go in and stop the class for a few minutes, Tam says.
The Leader takes no notice and barges in.
The model, Alan, is standing on a plinth.
Bugger me, the Leader says, It’s a bloke! He’s bollock naked. I was expecting a lass.
Tam is angry, It’s not a strip show. Life drawing isn’t about ogling naked women.
You mind your tongue, son; remember who pays your wages.
Alan wraps himself in a blanket and sits on the plinth.
The life class tutor says, Take a break, everybody. No one moves from behind their easels. The tutor lights a cigarette. Water from the glass roof plops into the many buckets set among the easels and chairs.
This is the Leader of the Council, Tam explains. Turning to the knight, he continues, As you can see, water’s pouring in and our students deserve a better environment in which to draw.
The students murmur agreement.
Bit of a firebrand are you, son?
No, I’m just saying the roof needs repair before it collapses. You have a duty of care.
You think the Council’s made of money, son?
No, but ….
Art’s only a bloody hobby, and that’s a fact.
I hope you enjoyed this story. Remember, I publish a new story every Sunday.
Please feel free to pass them on to others you know who may be interested.
You can read previous stories from “Behind the Plague Door” here >>>More
© Phil Cosker 2021
Phil Cosker has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved; no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted by any mean, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.