Liberté, égalité, and French Gin

Citadelle: it’s a French gin; goes well with both lemons or lime. Apparently it’s just your preference; you are free to choose. The choice here is liberating when it comes to gin; in the UK we may not be used to having the freedom to choose your path. You’re restricted by class, restricted by your family, restricted by your own outlook on life.

In the UK, being the class-ridden society that it is; one of the things that comes up is that while I grew up on the mean streets of the city (no really!), I went to public school. I had the education and opportunities that my parents wanted; we were emigres in the early 70’s and my siblings and I were very fortunate to attend public schools, all of us via the council sponsored (at the time) assisted places or through scholarship.

You could put this all down to the classic immigrant trope that education will solve all our ills; my father describes it better: he paid for his children to go to school with like-minded parents. Not because we were all of a similar ability or anything like that, but simply because all the parents were invested in the school and education.

Personally, I was ambivalent to all of it. I don’t see any of my peers from school; I don’t even keep up vicariously through the old boys magazine. I have recently been told from a rugby playing colleague that my old-school club is the only one that has a chef in his local league; and he can choose his meal. This says more about his expectations than it says about my school though.

In terms of opportunity, I had loads. It didn’t seem like it at the time; but I borrowed violins, trumpets and all sorts to try out at home, things that simply wouldn’t be possible in the state system, then or now. My school (at least according to the web) has a zoo and sure, when I mention it, it is always raises some off-colour comments about me being a posh bastard. A key point remains; ever since I came to this country; public schools haven’t been about the posh, the rich, or even the respectable middle class. Some of us are lucky enough to attend public school and that’s unfortunately all there is to it.

Like French Gin; it might not seem right; it probably isn’t; but you need to have the freedom to choose.

originally posted on medium

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