Saturday, May 28, 2022
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BoJo’s Inferno

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THE world of academia was shaken to the core last night with the heartbreaking news that the BoJo Academy had been destroyed in a cataclysmic fire. For centuries, this world-renowned institution educated and mentored thousands of pupils, some of whom who went on to achieve great things in public life.

Initial reports suggest that the seat of the blaze was the Headmaster’s study, where an intimate, last-minute invitation soiree for a handful of colleagues was taking place. Sources tell us that after a few glasses of wine had been consumed the Headmaster was persuaded to show guests a recent purchase from Shapps’s Luggage Emporium in the high street.

Wheeling in a substantial trunk from a well-known manufacturer, he proudly announced that it was from their ‘cocktail in a case’ range. The ‘XL’, with castors for easy manoeuvrability, non-slip handle and space for 20 bottles is the premium model in the collection.

Getting into the work event spirit, the Headmaster suggested rustling up a few ‘flaming sambucas’ and simultaneously letting off a few Chinese indoor fireworks, kindly donated by the school’s indefatigable volunteer M/s Lee. At this juncture, some of those present pointed out the inadvisability of mixing pyrotechnics and cocktails, given that so much paperwork was strewn chaotically around the room. These imprecations were tragically ignored and whilst attention was focused on ‘The Gardiner Grand Bomb’ with shooting stars, silver tail and white strobe effect rain, a ‘flaming sambuca’ was inadvertently knocked over, setting in train an uncontrollable conflagration.

The inferno spread quickly, engulfing the dormitories, sports hall, the disused sanatorium, the teaching blocks – and most upsetting of all, the Chapel. As scholars know, the celebrated stained glass window depicting St Margaret slaying Arthur the dragon was one of the Academy’s most treasured pieces.

There is one crumb of comfort to be had from this disaster, that mercifully pupils and staff were evacuated in short order and there were no casualties.

In a cruel twist of fate, it transpires that the school’s insurance policy was not renewed at the end of last year, for which the Headmaster accepts full responsibility. He can be forgiven in this matter because his workload has recently become overwhelming, and it was only a matter of time before something snapped.

Reaction from both home and abroad has been swift.

Monsieur Macron, a lifelong friend of the school commented:

Quelle dommage! I was heartbroken to learn of the Academy’s destruction. What a pity the Headmaster pulled out of being in the European Schools’ Alliance last year. Our comprehensive insurance policy would have meant that the Academy was fully covered for just such an event. Malheureusement, there will be no “phoenix rising from the ashes”.’

Clearly distraught, former dance teacher Mrs May said: ‘What can you expect from putting in charge someone so completely unfit for office? I warned the staff repeatedly in the common room, strong and stable was better than lazy and louche and not to be taken in by this seemingly charming individual. The chickens have well and truly come home to roost. I, for one, will not be shedding any tears at this quite foreseeable and avoidable debacle.’

With emotion getting the better of her, Mrs May suddenly broke down in uncontrollable laughter.

Mr Cameron, who for a short period wielded the Headmaster’s cane and now runs an extremely successful whelk stall on the south coast, spoke for many when he remarked: ‘Schadenfreude is a lovely German word; it seems so appropriate at this moment. Tonight, I will be tucking into a dish of something cold, whilst reflecting on the ignominious end to such a great seat of learning. I will for ever be immensely proud of the philanthropic bent the Academy took under my stewardship. Indeed, many people still hold up our unchecked generosity to Kids Company as a textbook example of how to make sure every penny counts.’

Mr Starmer, in charge of nearby Rayner’s Lane comprehensive, was quickly on the scene. With a beer in hand, he struck, for once, a somewhat conciliatory tone: ‘No one likes to kick a man when he’s down but, on this occasion, I am happy to make an exception. The BoJo Academy has been a disgrace, the stench of corruption, the indifference to the plight of ordinary people and perhaps worst of all the nauseating “parties” that went on whilst the public were obeying lockdown restrictions, will live for ever in infamy. How ironic that the school’s destruction was brought about by just such an occasion.’

Many staff toiled in vain to help fight the blaze, most notably sociology teacher M/s Truss, who in the confusion and commotion mistakenly threw a jerrycan containing what she thought was water on the fire. Instantly she realised her error.

The Headmaster was quick to thank the fire service, but lamented the fact that they did not arrive earlier and hose down harder.

One of the many distressing aspects of the fire has been the incineration of many priceless and irreplaceable artefacts – several collected centuries ago.

These includedthe Bashir Tapestry, an intricately woven 36-yard length of fabric telling the story of a princess and her prince. Archaeologists have long questioned the veracity of the narrative, yet only recently, the authoritative BBC (British Bygones Commission) authenticated it. What a tragedy – lost to the nation for ever.

Another was the famous illuminated manuscript Unus Europa by The Venerable Heath, the Salisbury Monk. Painstakingly written and lavishly decorated, Heath’s magnum opus proclaimed a new world order and a Europe of one nation. Historians have been divided as to Heath’s real worth; was he a far-sighted prophet or just a curmudgeonly, slightly pudgy charlatan?

The priceless twelfth century Oprah Chair, which was on long term loan from the Aged Democrats High School in America, was destroyed, as were the contested Blair Bronzes, acquired by the School’s Combined Cadet Force whilst on a seasonal exchange visit to Nigeria over a century ago.

Sunak’s steam-powered Wooden Money Printer (housed in the science wing) was regrettably all too combustible. Last, but by no means least, the fabled Major’s terracotta gnome army is lost to the public.

Amid the sadness, there is a small ray of sunshine. The magnificent Easter Island-style 12ft-high stone, Colossal Head of Gove dating from 1250 AD survived the fire unscathed. It has long ‘stood guard’ over the school and was an instantly recognisable feature. Its brooding presence and sideways stare have long baffled experts conversant with this type of statutory. Many attributed the off-centre gaze to be symbolic of something ‘shifty’ and ‘untrustworthy’. More recently, however, it is thought to be the work of a boss-eyed sculptor.

There will shortly be announced a date for a commemorative ‘get-together’, and all past and present staff and pupils will be welcome. It is suggested that you ‘bring your own bottle’.

While the BoJo Academy is gone, we are confident that it will be replaced by something bigger and better going forward. Lidl and Aldi have already expressed interest in the site.

Semper Invicta.

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Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin is a retired media executive who worked across domestic and international media.

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