Monday, January 11, 2010

Stan Cruddy - A Postmodernist When It Was Neither Profitable Nor Popular

Well, today I am more than happy to be able to reveal to all my readers(s) that the story of Stan Cruddy, the true inventor of the Silent Way approach to language teaching, is not finished at all - no way. If you're a little in the dark as to the enormity of this proto Tefl guru, you can preview the story of Stan (pictured alongside when he was at the peak of his powers) and his unacknowledged contribution to EFL right here.

After an unexpectedly informative 'session' with a journalist from the EL Gazette, in which he generously revealed dark secrets from the journal's archives, I can now disclose the following details of Stan Cruddy's unexpected rise to fame, and his unfortunate demise at the hands of a Chinese 'party girl' in 1990.

Part 1: the early years

Stan Cruddy was born, raised, and half-educated in the rough Toxteth area of Liverpool in the years immediately after the end of World War Two. His mother was a young Irish emigrant, Maureen O'Flagherty, and his father was rumoured to be a Pakistani pastry cook from The Star of India, Huskisson Street. However, his father fled to London almost as soon as Stan was born, and he was raised by one of his maternal aunts, as at the time is was considered a mortal sin to bear a child out of wedlock. His early years are shrouded in mystery, as few written records exist of his later adoption and schooling, although a study of Merseyside police records reveals a high incidence of the name 'Stan Cruddy' in relation to crimes of petty theft, hooliganism, and teenage drunkenness.
What is known for sure is that Stan left school at the tender age of 16, and immediately went to London, intent on finding his father and discovering his exotic Oriental roots. After several months of trawling the streets of south-west London, Stan eventually located the paternal connection he had been craving for so many years. His father had opened a kebab shop in Tooting Broadway, and it was there that Stan learned the basic skills of the fast food business, while living with his father above the shop, at the same time learning Urdu and almost marrying one or two of his father's cousins.

After two years of dedicating his life to unravelling the secrets of his father's life, short-changing the customers, and preparing a shish kofte stuffed with bread crumbs, Stan enrolled as a student at the Tooting Institute of Technology and Science (TITS). After somehow passing a foundation course in pharmaceutical studies, he jumped ship - some say he was pushed - and obtained a scholarship (although only God knows how) to study at the Stockwell Higher Institute of Technology and Education (SHITE).

Here he worked and drank hard for three long years, graduating with a 3rd Class BA in Modern Welsh Poetry, despite knowing not a single word of the language and only realizing halfway through his second year that he was actually on the wrong course. In fact, he had initially intended to enrol as a Chemical Engineering student, but found the queue too long and ended up in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, which was closer to the college bar. This clearly illustrates how the factor of chance, be it ill or promising, was to be a key recurring factor in Stan’s career as a teacher, poet, and EFL methodologist.

It was during his student years that he discovered his gift for rhetoric and public debate, and he was well-known for never backing down in an argument, despite occasionally falling over and forgetting which argument he was involved in. Moreover, his clear talent for writing prose and poetry emerged quickly, as he frequently contributed to the student publication 'Northern Lines', and later edited the short-lived 'Bedford Hillbilly', most of which he wrote himself, as he was rumoured to have 'adapted' most of the submissions that found their way to his desk. Upon graduating he joined the local employment exchange - the only place that would offer him a job - working steadily and apparently putting his teaching and literary career on hold for two years.

The Stockwell Higher Institute of Stan Cruddy’s day, the mid-to-late 1960s, was a maelstrom of progressive thinking and avant garde art. Some of its most daring students, such as the celebrity gardener Phil Buckett and the fashion designer Quentin Queen, had stepped outside the narrow soporific confines of south west London, and even travelled on the Northern Line across the Thames River. Their effect on Stan, however, was not to be fully realised until his later years, when Stan blossomed as a Tefl poet, course-book writer, and methodologist of international fame.

Stan Cruddy, indeed, had never even ventured into the neighbouring borough of Wandsworth at the time, and the nascent Tooting Popular Front, which Stan had apparently joined after a lock-in at the Tooting Tavern, was beginning to exercise a tight grip on its members. Travel beyond the frontiers of the borough was seen as betrayal to the cause of urban proletarian solidarity. Moreover, the TPF had begun to attempt to impose censorship on some of Stan’s first attempts at writing, leading to accusations of 'revisionism' and indulging in 'bourgeoise affiliations' through the writing of poetry.
This inevitably led to the absurd spectacle of Stan first writing a poem, and then voting to ban it himself at a later party meeting. Stan, however, justified this by arguing that no poet worth his salt would write a book that wasn’t banned, and Cruddy seems to have actively tried to provoke the banning of his first anthology of poems 'The Hard-On' by naming one of the poems 'Comrade Cunt'.
Soon afterwards, Stan managed to wangle a way out of his civil service position at the unemployment centre on the grounds of ill health, which enabled him to claim a small pension and avoid work altogether. He also severed his links with the TPF by claiming that he, as a citizen of Liverpool and the son of a mixed racial 'conjunction', could no longer abide by the TPF's parochial, revisionist and 'anti-international' stance. So, after another lengthy lock-in at the Tooting Tavern, Stan emerged a free man, of sorts, and was to go on to produce his remarkable 'Tefl Haiku' poetry, and the 'Silent Way' approach to teaching, as well as his series of visionary EFL course books.
Coming next...
Part 2: the later years - fame, fortune, and fellatio


Alex Case said...

Ah, Stan Cruddy- we'll never see his likes. Isn't the photo Elton John though?



Sandy, why are you using your brilliant humor and fiction writing talent for writing a TEFL blog?

Dude, write a novel - you'll be like J.K.R in riches and we'll all be boasting about how we knew you when you were a blogger.


dr f kim said...

I am truely offended. I am the only TEFL guru on this site.

Kalinago, I agree. Sandy is goed writer en art world editor want him write too about conceptuele art sharlatans. But he is renegade zo he teach the English and he blog for no money.

Skidrow-on-sea? Is dat west of Hove?

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Alex: no, but the photo DOES bear a resemblance to that other Tefl guru, Fred Scuttle ... (???)

Karenne: what do you mean, 'humour' and 'fiction'? All this is absolutely true, I tells yer!

Dr K: who let you in here? Didn't I put Shaunie on door duty? I guess he was outside havin' a quick 'bong' - or was it a bonk?

fatfreddiefox said...

what a fucking bunch of crap
why does this twat cunt even bother to get up in the morning

? said...

YIKES. Infected island persons scare me big. I go back my research do.

Little Sandy burp and say hi.

Clarence Rhode said...

Lizard men will take over the earth. The British Council are preparing landing sites, pyramid vessels and mystical lines, this is true and accepted in all TEFL schools. Lizard men are like Bruce Vanderheuzen, they can morph into animal shapes. Be very careful. Only Paul Lowe can save you from destruction.

D9Robot said...

that picture kinda looks like carrot top mixed with bono

D9 Robot

Paul Owe said...

Structures discovered in the Amazon delta are the remains of a civilization pre-dating Windsor Schools. Already, teabags and condoms have been excavated, and the remains of an old grey car has been sighted. An ideal landing site for Lizard Men using dry-wipe technology and whiteboard materials. Please wrap tin foil around your head and hum very loudly, this is the only way to halt the advance of Lizard Men.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Look mate, we've had this argument before - it ain't lizards, it's TOADS! Toad-like creatures will soon come to dominate the surface of the Earth, and there ain't nowt you or the British Council can do about it.

Wrapping tin-foil around your head will do very little to prevent the attack of the Toadies, and will only serve to impede your vision, making it easier to inadvertently step on one of our new masters, which will piss them off big-time.

Ignore this warning at your peril! And stop reading Robert Rankin books, too!!