Let's get graphic about learning;Opinion

28th May 1999 at 01:00
THERE WAS a time when comedy was hailed as the new rock and roll. Acts like Rob Newman and David Baddeil were filling football grounds and I was getting away with telling a long, involved joke about a blue gorilla in place of singing a song at my mother-in-law's parties. (Did somebody say mother-in-law? My mother-in-law's so . . .) Poetry, too, was hailed as the new rock and roll. There were no reports of poets filling football stadia and I was personally on less firm ground. I've only attempted one poem since secondary school, inspired by the realisation that I associate a colour with each quantity in physics. Volts are green, green as the sea snakes tracing across my oscilloscope screen, if you're interested.

Based on a more solid foundation was the idea that football was the new rock and roll. Who can deny that football teams regularly attract stadia full of fans? I'm less sure of the one I heard on the radio a month or so ago: archaeology is the new rock and roll. I've always seen the appeal of the subject and plenty of rocks would have to be rolled, or at least lifted carefully out of the way, but archaeology is no crowdpuller.

Citing the number of interior makeover television programmes, I suggested to my techie teacher pal that he promoted graphics and craft and design with the slogan "design is the new rock and roll".

What on earth has happened to technical education? When I was a lad and streaming was rife, widwurk, metalwork and techie drawing were not offered in S1 and were not available for the top two classes in S2. (We got German with Old Ma, who had returned from retirement so many times that I used to picture her opening a cupboard in her house and being buried by an avalanche of carriage clocks and engraved trays.) Now there is graphical communication, a subject I once foolishly assumed was dumbed down technical drawing. I stand corrected. The techie corridor in our place is one of the funkiest in the school. It takes a lot to make a slaphead like me look at pictures of hairdriers but I cannot remain immune to the charms of the precisely drawn, rendered and highlighted specimens pinned to the jigsaw-themed boards.

Graphics has joined CSYS English and Intermediate 2 history as the subjects to go back to as a returning adult if my six numbers come up. And maybe guitar classes. Though I doubt I'd show any talent for it.

Rock and roll is the only true rock and roll.

Gregor Steele fears that education isthe new rock and roll . . . sensationalised in the tabloids, distrusted by parents . . .

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