Ex-pupils from a bog-standard London comprehensive school are trying to nix a visit by Homeland and Band of Brothers star Damian Lewis because he is too posh.
Since Lewis was privately educated at £30,000 a year Eton, they claim, he represents a “wholly inappropriate choice” of celebrity guest to launch the 50th anniversary celebrations of Acland Burghley school in Tufnell Park, North London.
The campaign to ban Lewis was launched by a former pupil of the school called Rachel Cohen, 30, who has now risen to the dizzy heights of lecturing in Sociology at the University of London.
“Damian Lewis, was educated at Eton a school that, more than any other, represents the reproduction of privilege and inequality in the UK.
“We have nothing against him as an actor or local resident, but he is a wholly inappropriate choice for this celebration of a wonderful local comprehensive school.”
So far her campaign has attracted 90 signatures. (Not literal signatures, obviously, because that might involve an ability to write with a pen).
Cohen believes it would be more appropriate if the celebrations were launched by one of the school’s famous alumni.
These alumni comprise Sarah Brown (wife of Britain’s most abysmal prime minister); Eddie Grant (who sang Electric Avenue); Lee Thompson (the sax player from Madness); and Ms Dynamite (who did quite well for about half a year singing about being “Miss Dynamite-eee” before disappearing without trace). It is not altogether certain that the kids actually at the school would be grateful if any of these were to be substituted for a bona fide Hollywood star.
If Lewis doesn’t turn up and the kids at Acland Burghley want to know whom to blame, they should address their complaints to the Sociology department of City University, London, where Cohen works.
Here, for the curious, is the vital research she does:
Dr Cohen’s main interests are in the sociology of work and employment; especially ‘non-standard’ work, including self-employment, mobile work, and homeworking and in work-life boundaries. Her PhD focused on the working lives and employment relations of hairdressers. Her current research explores similar issues in the working lives of car mechanics and accountants. Her research involves a mixed-methods approach.
Dr Cohen has co-edited a special issue of Sociology of Health and Illness on ‘body work’ (work which takes the bodies of others as its object), and an issue of The International Journal of Social Research Methodology on feminism and quantitative methods. Both of these form part of ongoing collaborative projects. Dr Cohen is interested in statistical literacy and is currently editor of Radical Statistics (www.radstats.org.uk). She has also written on gender and sport.
Such a pity she couldn’t have gone to Eton. She might have ended up with a proper job.