You may find it of no little interest that my original intention for whatonomy was not that he would become an alter ego for obscure wittering, emotional appeals for a humanist pedagogy and absurdist satire of modern educational mores – like data fetish and conspicuous innovation. No.
In fact, he was to be the voice behind my long-anticipated artistic opus. I say ‘voice behind’, really he was intended to be more of silent voice – a mute compere to my greatest works. It was ever my intention that, rather than bleat on about virtual reality headsets or spreadsheets outliving their data suppliers, whatonomy would stand adjacent to my work, gesturing at it with his mouth slightly open. He was never meant to breath a word about anything, let alone bang on about education in a strange way.
When I wrote about the abiding influence of Mick Hucknall upon every British teacher, inwardly I would curse myself for not in fact remaining silent and allowing whatonomy to gesture unblinkingly at one plate of a triptych of my defining work.
Whatonomy, you see, was intended to provide simply a silent and human frame to my works: nothing more and nothing less. He was not, under any circumstances, to tell stories about dancing inspectors, dancing with inspectors or inviting particular inspectors to dance. He was under strict instructions not to remind us that death puts pay to many of our silly attempts to milk ourselves to a raisin dryness with bureaucracy, scrutiny and Orwellian accountability.
He didn’t listen. Whilst I was adding the final, painstaking brushstrokes to ‘Dog, Askance’, he was blithering on about how Peter Bowles drove me into the teaching profession (like a chaffeur might drive Hieronymous Bosch into a landscape populated by anthropomorphised back-ends of cows being prodded with a trident by Nick Gibb). Whilst I was tearing up and restarting the umpteemth iteration of ‘Dog, Aloof’, whatonomy was incoherently burbling on about how much he enjoys lying to his students (my students!) about a myriad of things: the merits of punctuation; the colour of his socks; or whether he is in fact a teacher and not the caretaker.
He was and remains incorrigibly unhelpful in my attempts to further my art career. I hold him directly responsible for the fact that I am not, currently, held in the same high regard as Lucien Freud (who successfully muted his edublogging alter ego: ‘Splay, the Nude IT Advisor’) and Francis Bacon (who also successfully silenced ‘Mr Brodie, the profane and heretical RE tweecher’). They both managed to channel their quotidian educational frustrations into their art. I, meanwhile, have not. Not only has whatonomy stood, fairly and squarely, between me and my art; he has also spawned another alter ego, Michael Keith Benzine, to stand in for him when he’s feeling tired or wants to stay in my kitchen gorging himself on fig rolls (my fig rolls!).
Yes, you may marvel now at my works. But, believe me, it is only too painfully clear how they have been undermined, obscured and rendered trivial by the wibblings of whatonomy elsewhere on this blog. It is only now, during a period of lulling calm, that I am able to present to you (unfettered by the randomized scrittling of blasted whatonomy) my completed triptych.
The pinnacle of my artistic endeavour, I give you:
‘Dogs In Different Directions’