Tuesday, January 06, 2009


My name is Radge, and I went to Belvedere College.

Hi Radge.

OK that wasn't so hard, I've been messing with that confession for quite some time now. I went into it at 12-years-old hoping for 'Dead Poets Society.' What I got was 'Renards - The Early Years.'

Those years were marked out thusly:

1st year - One Grammar Loyola
2nd year - Three Syntax Loyola
3rd year - Two Syntax Loyola
4th year - One Syntax Loyola
5th year - Poetry Loyola
6th year - Rhetoric Loyola.

We were hard, we Loyolans. Barry Donlon once lit a match in class, and another time we arranged all the desks back to front before the sub walked in. Hard fucking out.

I remember the accents around me at thirteen and the sheer fucking annoyance of it. Lads from Killiney affecting their toughest Darndale brogue, only for their soft 't's to give them away.

I wasn't unpopular but I wasn't popular either. In moments of weakness I'd sidle up to the cool kids and laugh in all the wrong places before being told to fock awf, but for the most part I was happy thinking of the outside, with an equally perplexed group of three.

I hated the teachers who were all about the school and nothing else. I respected those that clearly came in to pay the bills and would leg it out the school gates at 3.30 to drink or be with their families. "Extra-curricular activities? Fuck you on about?" DZZZZNNNNG. "I'm out of here."

There were bright spots. I hold two of my classmates close even if I only see them once a year or thereabouts, and it bred in me a healthy hatred of rugby that serves me to this day.

And there was Paul Bermingham, our Latin teacher, an inspiring and terrifying man. No more chilling a phrase than 'take out a page from an ordinary-sized copy' have I heard uttered since. It meant test time, and time for me to fuck up my nouns from my verbs.

"Annus, Anne, Annum..." fuck fuck "...Anni, Anno, Anno?"

"Very good, 'Radge,' but you learned that three years ago. GIVE ME A FUCKING GERUND BEFORE I GO FUCKING POSTAL."

Shite sir, I'm all out.

"See me after class."

In my second year parent-teacher meeting I was described as a 'phenomenal' Latin student. By sixth, I 'could' get a C. I reddened more and more every year when he'd look my way, it was shit.

He cared, that was his problem, he cared about more than rugby and the yearly opera, which was really just a school play, but they called it an opera.

You see?

Around this time last year I met Colm on the street. I barely knew him in school but he recognised me.

"What are you doing with yourself?"

"I'm working for Setanta, pays the bills, standard response, you know? You?"

"Oh I'm a stockbroker or something. Or maybe a solicitor. I can't remember. Anyway, are you going to the reunion?"


"Yeah all the buds are going to be there. Girv, ROG, Geordan, BOD..."

"Are you naming rugby cunts?"

"Well we're all the one really, aren't we fnar fnar fnar fuck I'm after getting froth on my tie. Anyway, yah, here's my number beside the 'ccino stain on this napkin. Call me to sort, yah?"

"Yeah, yeah, that seems like... yeah."


"Good luck."

Luckily, there was a bin nearby.


adogwoof said...

Per Vias Rectas! Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam! Quidquid tu es Domine si disputem tecum! (or from Aeneas: Fit Via Vi)...indeed, a way will be made by force! (ya remem Bermo's translation had ya in knots?)

Radge said...

You find me a 15-year-old who doesn't snigger when they hear 'rectas', and I'll show you my surprise.

Susan said...

Interesting tags you've got there, hon.

I'm dropping everything now to forward this post of yours to my dear friend Elizabeth: she's a Latin Teacher these days, but she and I were recently discussing our upcoming 25th school reunion.

At first I thought I might maybe peek in on it, just to have a snigger at who got fat/bald/wrinkly the worst. Then I remembered that truly, I just don't care.

Thanks for those laughs!

Conan Drumm said...

Elements, Rudiments, Grammar, Syntax, Poetry, Rhetoric...

...and an amdg to you too.

Radge said...

Thanks Susan. Balls seemed apt. They were everywhere.

Conan - You escaped too?

Anonymous said...

Don't pull your common man stuff on me. You went to a rugby school, filled with rugby people, learnt latin and had an annual opera. Quite frankly, drinking cappuccino is the least of your sins comrade.

Radge said...

That's a load of posh pish, anonymous.

Elmo said...

I think anonymous has a point....they used to call you "cuddo" for fucks sake!

Radge said...

Elmo - ELMO!!!

gimme a minute said...

Bastarding fucking bastards.

That is all.

Conan Drumm said...

To be fair, I escaped the Kimmage Manor crowd for the Milltown Park crowd. Funny how they all liked their HQs in fancy houses on the south side. And the Brothers had the Radisson on the Stillorgan Rd.

Radge said...

Gimme - Bastards.

Conan - They liked their frills. Bastards.

Kath Lockett said...

Latin? I didn't think any poor kid had to suffer through that since the 1950s - you poor bastard!

And I'm with your reaction to the dreaded school reunion. I'd rather eat my own leg off than find out what Mr Sports Hero and Mrs 'I stayed in our home town and had four kids' are doing now.

Gypseysdog said...

I'll bet she lived up to her name.

Anonymous said...

A mate of mine went to 'Belvo' and hated every last minute of it. I swear it could've been him writing this post.

He hated going so much he used to skip school a huge amount. So much so that I had to write his sick notes in his school journal. Then when he was genuinely unwell and his mother wrote him a note the teachers didn't believe it was real as it was a different signature to mine. The ensuing enquiry led to my door. Let's say I never signed another note after that!

Except the one where I wrote "Dear Sir, Conor wasn't in as he had an inflamed scrotum". Poor Conor was a bit dim, I told him it was a sore throat.

Radge said...

Brilliant, Narocroc. Brilliant. Similar story myself.

Because my parents moved away and I was living with students in sixth year, I used to write my own excuse notes.

The headmaster knew my circumstances. One day he came in. "Mr. 'Radge', do you have a note for me?"

"Sorry sir, with you in a second, I forgot to sign it."

"Take your time."

He was sound, actually.

Maimie said...

I wondered where I failed you Radge - now I know. I didn't insist on you learning those Latin verbs. Veni, vidi but I didn't obviously VICI. Guess it's too late now!!!!!!

Radge said...

Maimie, I do ok, but those Latin verbs...

Conan Drumm said...

It's all come back, and I'm blaming you. We had to get "Licet Exire" slips from the Dean to be allowed off the premises. The annual 'old boy' reunions are golf outings...

Radge said...

Conan - that's terrifying. I'll be happy to pay for your shrink, my bad.

swiss said...

laughing fit to soil myself.

you posh rugby wanker. not only that you've got a nickname that ends in 'o'.

plus you've got the nads to criticise one of your school mates/pals for being a stockbroker. you know as well as i do that at that reunion they'll be in some homoerotic rugby cuddle thinking about you and they'll say something like

what happened to old cuddo?
doing well. in meeja

they'll be tapping you for tickets before you know it


Radge said...

Fock awf Swiss you focking oaf! I'll focking sock you one in the face.

Kitty Cat said...

'ccino stain? CCINO? How did you not punch him in the face right there and then? You must have fantastic self control.

Elmo said...

I just remembered...they also called you 'Splash' - didn't they Radge....why was that again? Please remind me. Here. On your blog. (Heh Heh!)

swiss said...

you'll probably try but then again you'll no doubt to do so using some sort of weird public school fighting rules. in latin.

don;t blame me for the vista of comedy you've opened...

Radge said...

Kitty Cat - sometimes it takes more to walk away (I'm a complete fucking coward).

Elmo - I'm not telling that story, getting enough ridicule for this one (I'm a complete fucking coward).

Swiss - Can we be friends again? (I'm a complete fucking coward).

yamo said...

there'll be no invite to the 20 year reunion if this gets out...

i'm sure you'll live though.

Terence McDanger said...

I've just nominated you for an Irish Blog Award in the 'Best Radgery.com' section.

Word is, you're a shoo-in.

Go Rodge!

Er, I mean, Radge.

Radge said...

Yamo - Mud. My name will be mud. I could do a shiny-side up piece but not so sure anyone would read it...

Maybe I'll publish our yearbook photos??

Radge said...

Terence - I'm hopeful, though I reckon www.radgary.blogspot.com could be considered a dark horse.

swiss said...

of course we shall. antipthy to rugby will, at the very least, make you a friend in my house


Yes, I went to Belvedere for six years ('85 to '91) and I hated it. I am amused by your reference to those teachers who were "all the school" in contrast to those who ran out the door at half three. We know to whom you refer ...
It was only a fucking secondary school, FFS, not a cult. Even at that, I found the teaching to be mediocre at best - I'm a secondary teacher now myself and I can see that, in a cosseted hothouse like Belvedere, shit teachers with loud mouths could prosper.

I avoid all the old boys like the plague - I'm in touch with nobody and I avoid the reunions. I'm happy to be out of the place with all their fanatical bullshit.