Thursday, August 11, 2011

London needs Mrs Jack

Regretfully it seems UK chickens have come home to roost. It seems our young molly coddled children have run amuck. They are just not afraid of authority. It is no good having riot shields and batons and water canon if the rioters/children know you are not going to use them. I am not an advocate of the Spare the rod, spoil the child brigade but sadly it does look as if they were right!

Everyone needs a dose of authority! To live in our society one must have rules and one must behave even if one doesn't want to. Although I am loathe to admit it in the last resort a God who punishes the unruly with eternal damnation might be a good thing when all else fails.

So what to do? My recipe for success would be to bring back Mrs Jack.


Mrs Jack was the headmistress of my ballet school, Arts Educational, in Upper Berkley Street London in the late 1950s. She was a formidable woman and one who by character alone held all the pupils and staff in fear and dread. If one put so much as a toe out of line the result was the threat of immediate discipline of the first order. She gave the impression that the results of any digression from the rules would result in immediate expulsion. This worked. The school was terrified and the apocalypse never materialized.

Her presence as she walked into morning assembly was enough to give the whole school the jitters. Her eye for the school uniform code was like an eagle. Wrong shoes meant trouble. She insisted that we curtsey to her every time she passed. Her staff knew that the threat of being sent to Mrs Jack was enough to quell the bravest offender.

Consequently we learned to do what we were told without question. Ballet companies need dancers who do what they are told as one cannot have individuals in the corps of Swan Lake! If I am in any production I do what the director or conductor wants regardless of what I think personally.

Mrs Jack was strikingly beautiful but scary. She was superb at teaching English and although she never got me to spell I can parse my way through anything. This is not fashionable these days. I can be extremely cheeky on occasions and spent many hours outside the classroom door which was unfortunately right next to her office. This was dangerous as I could have been in great trouble but fortunately the loo was next door so if I saw her coming I would pretend that that was where I was going to avoid the unthinkable consequences.

Being of light complexion my mother used to get her rouge & powder out every morning and give me the once over as she thought I looked so pale and ill. Mrs Jack's eye caught the offending make up and all hell let loose! I was terrified and said "My mother did it!". The explosion that followed as my excuse was given has stayed with me to this day. A phone call to my mother followed. I was never made up again but I escaped with my life.

One does have to fear some authority if the group is to survive. Lets hope the politicians are up to it. No cell phones for under 17's might help.

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