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New Left Review I/11, September-October 1961

M. Paxton

Learning to Read at Sixteen

perkins, the 4R form captain, did not come back after the Easter Holiday. A boy with loads of energy and good cheer, he had been longing to escape to a job. For some time now, he had viewed school as a place where he could entertain, a field for his cool talents. He would mosey into class, greet me with a “Hello Man,” snap his fingers, and break into a dance, winkle-pickers and all, You could usually bet one of the spikeytoothed Perkins clan was around (an older had already gone, a younger was in the second-year—the family was slowly becoming a legend) if a fist fight was in progress, or if low rumblings and curses were to be heard at the mention of the Queen—the thought of all that wasted money enraged the Perkins boys.

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M. Paxton, ‘Learning to Read at Sixteen’, NLR I/11: £3

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