Sunday, 22 February 2009

Two stories about work and mind altering substances.

This last week it's been half term in London schools. Just the right time to organise a police raid on my nine-year old's primary school...

I should explain. The caretaker had been growing - ahem, I mean allegedly growing, of course - a small forest of cannabis plants in the boiler room. It was the sky-high electricity bills which revealed the secret. Someone tipped off a tabloid and suddenly Mrs. Charlie, a parent governor, has spent half the week issuing po-faced statements of support for the excellent head and the other half fending off humorous texts from her mates archly asking if this was a new PTA fund raising initiative. This should be a nine day wonder: there's no suggestion that any one's little darling came into contact with the plants.

But these things can linger in the collective memory, as Richard Fortey's rather wonderful 'The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum- Dry Store Room No.1' has reminded me. Before the war, there was allegedly an illicit still inside the hollow Big Blue Whale. (It's a delightful book - the NYRB review is reproduced here). The Head of Exhibitions was said to be responsible. I can only imagine it didn't show up on the utility bills....

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