By David Oddie
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Extra resources for A Journey of Art and Conflict: Weaving Indra’s Net
Years later I rehearsed that scene in my mind. I saw myself standing up, taking the cane from the bully’s grasp, breaking it over my knee and walking out of the room. There was no way I could have made such an act of defiance at the time. I was firmly trapped in the mindset of my context. The next day, which was a visiting day, my mother was upset. She was upset because I was irresponsible and would never be a prefect! My father thought the whole thing was a schoolboy jape and was rather amused by it.
My elder brother had been in the business for some years and had already established and earned his place and role, a position to which he was ideally suited 27 A Journey of Art and Conflict in temperament and skills. Somewhere inside I knew there was not really an authentic place for me, unless I would be content to permanently play ‘little brother’. By this time my passion for reading, classical music and theatre was feeding my burgeoning engagement with the arts. I had considered applying to drama school but persuaded myself that I could pursue these activities as a ‘hobby’.
My housemaster was a harsh figure who ran a regime based on fear – masquerading under the mask of respect. ’ He nearly did. One incident stands in my memory. Over a weekend during the summer term, the school was showing an exhibition of paintings by Matthew Smith, a celebrated old boy of the school. The paintings would be exhibited in the main hall. Over the weekend a couple of sixth formers would camp on the premises to keep an eye on them. The paintings were valuable and any art thief worth their salt would soon have made away with them – which is exactly what I proposed to do.