We face difficult days ahead. The magnitude of the current crisis is becoming clearer by the day. In these exceptional times I just wanted to take some time to reassure you that we, at Thomas Rotherham College, are doing all that is necessary, recommended, reasonable and proportionate in the face of the pandemic. We have and will continue to take advice and direction from Public Health England, the Department for Education and the local and national governments, as to what we should and should not do.
I want to reassure you that, at this stage, there are no reported cases of the virus in our college community, however, we will continue to work with our students, their families and professional partners as the situation develops, in the coming days and weeks.
We remain vigilant. We remain calm. We remain professional.
At times like this a national spirit emerges. I believe that we, in the British Isles, often turn to laughter and the surreal to lift those spirits and to give us all a focus beyond the challenges of the crisis. Laughter may well be the best medicine; although it won’t be prescribed as a cure.
For no apparent reason I’ve had a week of Frankie Howerd. Many of you will remember the troubled comic genius of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s. (Catch the Radio 4 Extra retrospective on BBC Sounds, of a couple of weeks ago, or the Sky Arts channel Comedy Greats series). Frankie was a strange fish, to say the least. His star would rise and fall over the years. Beyond the radio, stage and TV performances he seemed to be a tortured soul; wrestling with his ego, his fame, his loss of fame, his sexuality and his toupee. All that said he brought laughter to many people in a period of British history where we saw rationing, economic and social boom and bust, a loss of global status and political unrest. And so in memory of Frankie (who died almost 28 years ago) I give you a comedic fillip.
“Because you’re all students, so naturally to you I’m not what you call an academic and no way at all could you call me an intellectual. Which is why I feel so much at home here tonight.” (Oxford Union)
I saw this man, actually he saw me, and he said “Excuse Me, you Frankie Howerd?” I said “Yes” He said “Dear God I thought you were dead” I said no “I’m very much alive and kicking if you know, if you know, what I mean”
I feel limp….Don’t laugh it’s wicked to mock the afflicted. Oh no, I feel like I should be in bed…..anyone?