The Book: A rollicking tale of how a ‘Jack-the-Lad’ art student in 1960s Liverpool is taught to be a teacher by the kids who confront him. Filled with a gallery of finely observed characters, the book is a hilarious roller coaster ride through the disasters and triumphs of the author’s first year as a teacher, which amazingly led eventually to a long and distinguished career. It is often funny, at times heart-warming and sometimes very perceptive about teaching and learning. A ‘must’ for anyone who has ever set foot in a school and is looking for a ‘laugh out loud’ read.
The Review: My recent item mentioning the upcoming Paintings from Hiroshima in London resulted in an unlikely link – the discovery of an enjoyable eBook by the veteran artist, Mike Stevenson whose title, Do Yer Do Nudes, Sir?, will surely resonate with anyone who has taught art of comics creation in schools or colleges.
While it’s purely text-based (which is a shame, as the cover is great fun and more illustrations in the same vein would have been a bonus), anyone who went to school in the 1960s or early 70s will find something to stir memories in Mike’s account of teaching at that time. Set in Liverpool and mixing art with football and more, it’s a little rough around the edges in terms of the actual editing (too many “…”, for example), but for anyone who likes a school-based yarn, there’s much to enjoy for a measly £2.40, in my view. Mike’s genuine astonishment and surprise at the joy his work brings to some of his pupils is a delight, and their of course plenty of ‘school characters’ providing mayhem throughout.
Now a landscape painter, Mike trained at Liverpool College of Art and after graduation initially taught in secondary schools and was head of an art department, before moving into primary education, eventually becoming Head of an experimental primary school. He was appointed as Curriculum Development Leader for Visual Arts in Manchester.
He subsequently worked as an adviser and inspector, responsible for developing art, design and technology education in the schools and colleges of a Local Education Authority. Now retired, he ended his career as a General Education Adviser responsible for improving school performance, but as an artist he continues to exhibit his work across the UK.
• For more about Mike Stevenson’s work visit: www.mikestevensonart.co.uk