Thursday, 3 July 2014

Supreme Court art: exam nerves

I'm drawing under exam conditions, silent and alone. There's a time limit. Fear. Risk. Self-doubt. Ultimate exposure. Latin. Just like old times.

The sitters don't keep still but I chose an unpopular subject - drawing moving people - so it's too late to complain.

Trinidad and Tobago is today's jurisdiction for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Lovell Romain v The Police Services Commission came about because the Commission refused to exempt Mr Romain from taking the exam for promotion to corporal although he'd passed the exam for promotion to sergeant.

Later on, I download a sample paper for the Police Service Entrance Exam (although I can't find a sergeant or corporal exam).

I'd clean up on comprehension, grammar and arithmetic, but is that enough to pass? The local knowledge section is a granite wall, e.g. "Which carnival band won the 2011 ‘Band of the Year’ title in Trinidad?"

Back in court, a teacher drawls in my head: 'Don't look at the drawing, that won't help you.' The teacher-pupil relationship that continues into adult life is symbolised for me in Kipling's story The Man Who Would Be King, in which the destitute cripple Peachey Carnehan is guided by an illusion of his comrade Daniel Dravot whose crowned head he carries wrapped in rags.

I check the ruthless clock. Twenty to ten. Too early. It's stopped. Surely that kind of thing can't happen here. (Later on, I learn that the clock in Court 1 also stopped at twenty to ten today.)

Counsel looks at requirements for taking other examinations: 'In honour moderations, my lord...' One of those tribal terms I go without hearing for decades. Along with 'battels' and 'sconced'.  A recent memory for him, whereas for me they are a dull, distant ache.

Rule one for exam technique is to read the rubric. For example: 'Write on one side of the paper only.' So why, when someone wanted two drawings last week, did I have to confess that I'd done them on both sides of the same sheet of paper?

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