This is my old school. Posh, eh? (Oh all right, it was a comprehensive by the time I went, but it looks very smart.)
And out front, that's its most famous alumnus, Lord Byron. I passed him every morning and afternoon for six years (except during holidays and illness) and sadly, never appreciated him. All I knew of the man was that extraordinary sheet that makes him look not unlike Sally Bercow, and the fact that he was responsible for one of the songs on my mother's Alexander Brothers LPs. (Dark Lochnagar. If you know anything of the Alexander Brothers, you'll know that's no way to get to know a poem.) Oh, and the fact that I didn't get to be in Byron House (bunch of jessies).
Why didn't they tell us? Why didn't they tell us he was a rake, a rogue, a soldier of fortune, probably bisexual and incestuous, and that he actually looked like THIS?
Nom. Anyway, if I'd known he was as interesting as THAT, I wouldn't have walked past him every day with a roll of my eyes and my nose in a Marvel comic.
Maybe nowadays the students get, to paraphrase Horrible Histories, literature with the babe-a-licious bits left in. I hope so. Anyway, I remembered the old stone bloke the other day when reading Leslie Wilson's terrific post about language and sex in young adult books. If he'd been around today, I'm sure the young scoundrel would have been a proud presence on many a banned books list.
Anyway, I wish I'd discovered Byron a lot earlier. I think I would have, if they'd left in the language and sex.
What's not to like?