“Travelled to Eastleigh. Took books back to library”
New Year’s Days were certainly mind-blowingly exciting back in the Seventies.
I know what you’re thinking. That this blog has all the makings of an online classic?
Please don’t leave, I bought extra pretzels.
I wrote my school year exam results on one of the “notes” pages. I presume these were for the year ending in the summer of 1972.
The first thing is the subject, the second my ranking in the class, the third my score on (presumably) whatever test we were given (I can’t remember how the scores or percentages were calculated)
• English Literature • 12 • 47%
• English Language • 12 • 55%
• Maths 1, 2, Comm • 11 • 50%
• French • 21 • 34½%
• History • 18 • 37%
• Geography • 13 • 49%
• Physics • 1 • 54%
• Chemistry • 30 • 26%
• Biology • 11 • 39%
• Religious Education • 24 • 37%
• Art • 14 • 50%
• Technical Drawing • 4 • 40%
• Woodwork • 5 • 59%
It’s weird, but I had totally forgotten that we did R.E. (Religious Education) at school. These days I really despise that kind of indoctrination of schoolchildren, feeling it is entirely up to parents if they desire their kids to learn about all that god fearing mumbo jumbo. The fact that everybody took R.E. back then – completely regardless it would seem of their faith or upbringing – says a lot about how cultural diversity has changed teaching practises during the ensuing three decades.
I’ll guess there were around 30 to 35 pupils in my class, a pretty much equal mix of boys & girls. (Funnily enough I can STILL remember – and recite – the surnames of all the boys. I always found the list – which was read out loud alphabetically during every morning registration – somewhat poetic in construction… so maybe that’s why it has stayed with me?). The same class wandered from room to room taking the different lessons. I can’t remember fraternisation being encouraged with other classes in the same year, but it’s peculiar that it’s with people from those other classes where many of my later ‘lifetime’ friendships grew.
The only thing I can recall with any level of clarity about what appears to be my worst subject – Chemistry – was our teacher, “Boris”. It was not his real name of course, but I can remember we all silently sang the refrain from The Who’s “Boris the Spider” a lot during his lessons … doubtless whilst some of us also snorted the unlit gas coming out of the bunsen burners bolted to our desks. Aaaah, my first high.
I’ve recently discovered during one of my trips back to “blighty” (the U.K.) that the now-retired “Boris” lives just three doors away from my Dad. As comedian Steven Wright once said “It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to have to paint it”
One of the “notes” pages – before the actual diary pages – carries the sentence “I travelled 123 miles during the summer holidays“.
As this would undoubtedly have been on my pushbike, I can barely contain my pride in that sentence 36 years later…
… especially considering that during the ‘summer holidays’ of 2007 I travelled about 0.5 miles by the same mode of transport, and deemed it to be “too bloody exhausting”!
As you can see, I have decided to remain coy about my real name by fuzzing out the incriminating evidence.
Not surprising when my hand-scribbled cover of this 1972 “personal memo diary”, printed by Northern Novelties (Pencils) ltd., from Bradford, is already proving incredibly embarrassing to the 50-year-old me.
Not only do I describe myself as a “M.C.S” (Manchester City Supporter*), but I appear to have pledged my 14-year old self to an extremely questionable list of bands and artists:-
• Emerson, Lake & Palmer
• Curved Air
• Deep Purple
• King Crimson
and erm……. Fudd (yes, you may well ask who the hell Fudd were. Even allmusic fails to have a listing for them!)
I suspect this cover was not drawn in one go, rather scribbled on in spells as the year progressed, Fudd actually being the giveaway because I know for a fact that they didn’t come across my naive teenage radar until September of 1972, the date of my first ever rock concert!
*The whole Manchester City thing is/will be HUGELY embarrassing to me. I am actually a die-hard Southampton FC fan, having been born within miles of The Dell. My fascination in 1972 for Man City was obviously due to
a) the phenomenal success they enjoyed
b) the GREAT team they had back then
c) really NOT knowing the ‘ground rules’ of football supporting
I was, thus, no better than the prawn sandwich eating Man Utd fans other supporters enjoy taking the piss out of in the 21st Century. If there was a turning point, I suspect it was May 1st 1976, although my diaries may tell a different story?!
It feels a little daunting to be honest.
Here I am, one day over my 50th birthday, planning to share my personal little world from 30+ years ago.
I wrote in these “schoolboy dairies” completely unaware – at the time – that my life would take me from working in the music biz and being involved in the “punk era”, to being a ‘medium sized cheese’ in the early burgeoning video industry, then later running my own business (in what was – initially – a cutting edge music format) and eventually emigrating to the USA.
If we write diaries when we are young we know nothing of the future. Nothing of what lays ahead to usurp our teenage dreams and desires, nothing of whom we might meet and/or fall madly in love with.
I’m pretty much reading these diaries of mine as I am writing about the entries, refusing to “cheat” by reading too far forward, less the action of that undermines the subject I am writing about and commenting on. I feel that if I did that, the content could feel “affected” and maybe not sound so honest.
By way of an early disclaimer – that I may repeat occasionally – names may be changed to “protect the innocent” (or the “easily embarrassed”) and for my own sake I reserve the right to leave out certain portions of the diaries for whatever personal reasons I see fit. If it is a dead horse, there’s no reason to keep flogging it.
That’s not to say I won’t spill some beans about myself, some of which may – or may not – come as various shades of “shock” to those reading these words who are closest to me. I realise already – from ‘dark buried memories’ – there’s handful of things I might feel shameful about when I get to them. My mood – upon reaching those points in the diaries – will determine if I write about them or not.