Monthly Archives: April 2011

October 18th 1975

“Party at Hiltingbury. Good. Punch up near end – Geoffo again! Got off with Caitlin again”

I do believe I am referring to Niles’ ‘official’ 18th birthday party?!

Which was apparently ‘good’ despite our crazy friend Geoffo initiating some kind of teenage brawl at the end of the night.

As I have waxed lyrically about before I don’t think I there was ever a party at Hiltingbury Pavilion without there being some kind of altercation. The kids of Chandlers Ford were obviously ‘punk’ before it was invented?

For me, any mention of “Hiltingbury Pavilion” always conjures up Jeff Beck’s hit single “Hi Ho Silver Lining“, it being the strange 70’s equivalent of the “Macarena”… or any song that the DJ plays which the entire venue then feels somehow obliged to dance to.

“Hi Ho Silver Lining” was written by American songwriters Scott English and Larry Weiss and it was first recorded by London band The Attack (who included The Nice’s Davy O’List and Marmalade’s Alan Whitehead amongst their lineup). Their single was released in March 1967, but it was followed just a week later by Jeff Beck’s version.

Beck was all over the music media (such as it was in 1967) at the time – mainly because of his succesful “Beck’s Bolero” album, a collaboration with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins and Keith Moon – and so charted first with his balls-out foot-stomping version. Perhaps sadly for The Attack the song has been predominantly associated with Beck ever since, to the point where he has actually attempted to distance himself from it because it always comes back to undermine his more serious ‘guitar hero’ credibility.

I love the song. I think it’s a great pop song which has stood the test of time. I always do a little shimmy whenever it turns up on my iPod and resist the temptation to pick a fight with the person nearest to me.

Talking of which, I often wonder what happened to our old college chum Geoffo. He was such a fun gregarious character.



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October 17th 1975

“Two weeks before Halloween dance. Morning speech quite a grin. Dance = real good. “Got off” with Caitlin. The group were crap!”

We really held a “two weeks before Halloween Dance”? Why?

I wonder why “got off” is in inverted commas? I suspect I just danced with Caitlin rather than do anything touchy-feely, but that in my head I most certainly ‘got off’ with her.

I can say here that Caitlin (again, name changed to protect the ‘innocent’) was amongst the very first ‘loves of my life’, but that like many she would eventually break my fragile teenage heart. I realise I should maybe hide that outcome and release the embarrassing information slowly – if only to enhance this blog’s ‘drama’ quotient and add a little frisson to proceedings – but there seems little point in holding back the cold stark truth from you all when you have doubtless already guessed the certain inevitability.

In other news, I have no idea who the ‘crap group’ were. I’d love to be able to say they were someone who subsequently became famous… but I doubt (very VERY much) that was the case?!

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October 16th 1975

“Still doing the Common Room. Painted brown clouds on the ceiling (?). Not such a laugh as yesterday but quite funny”


so not even white clouds on a blue ceiling…

but brown clouds on a white ceiling…

I wonder what they looked like? (I don’t even want to contemplate it!)

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October 15th 1975

“Started to decorate the Common Room. REAL laugh. Nig C clock, Bob D panelling, nearly had kittens laughing”

As I think I have said before, the ‘common room’ was the relaxation area for all the 6th form students. A reconstituted office space that was located far too close to the staff room for comfort, it nevertheless became a haven of good music and laughter for many of us who didn’t take college life too seriously. (Hands up Paul, Niles and more!)

The ‘coffee club committee’, in its infinite wisdom decided the space needed sprucing up and dragging into the 1970’s!

So, an extensive redesign was discussed over a number of beers at the pub and it was decided we would half-panel some of the wall (to stop damage by furniture – good thinking by the drunken powers-that-be!) and redecorate the room, including painting clouds on the ceiling… an idea which may or may not have germinated in Niles’ fanciful mind.

So, eschewing all educational activities, several of the ‘committee’ got to work on the renovations.

I can still remember the laughter from these days, mostly at the expense of myself and others.

Bob D installed several yard’s  worth of the panelling before realising he was putting it in upside down… but the real classic (at which I ‘had kittens’ – what a FANTASTIC turn of phrase steeped in seventies lore) was when Nig C removed the clock on the wall to make painting easier.

An electric clock. An electric clock which was linked to every other electric clock in the college. Electric clocks which identified the start/end of every lesson and sounded bells accordingly.

Electric clocks which ALL ceased working when one in the system was disconnected.


As I recall it took almost a week to reset everything… we were not the most popular people with the teaching staff

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October 14th 1975

“Went up Nigs in evening. Mart P, Martin P & Mal came up. We all went down Fox & Hounds”

Ah, the good ol’ Fox & Hounds pub…

Actually, given the number of pubs that were within easy walking distance of all of us in Fair Oak, the Fox must have really had something special going for it? It was a good 1 to 2 mile walk up the Winchester Road to reach it … and then the same distance back under the afluence of inkahol!

The pub is – I believe – no longer in existence, the land being turned over to developers a couple of years back. This was after a remodelling job and a change of name to (just) “The Fox” in the late 90’s.

My last visit  was perhaps the saddest time I have spent inside its walls, my late Mum’s funeral reception being held there in early 2006.

My photo album is packed with pics of me at the Fox in my teenage years… it really was -along with the Clock Inn – my ‘local’ of choice. No, I’m not sharing them, sorry.

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October 13th 1975

“Niles’ 18th. Went down pub during dinner-hour. Went up Tim H’s in the evening. Reg congratulated me on newsheet”

Evidently a mixed bag of a day… not even written up in chronological order…

First up was Niles’ 18th birthday celebration at the pub where at least one of us was finally legally old enough to drink. (I can’t help thinking the exciting frisson of drinking under-age must have been lost to us all when we reached 18… sad really)

Reg was otherwise Mr Bowyer, our estimable and erudite headmaster at college. He was a somewhat intimidating figure who ruled with a will of steel and a demeanour to match. However, I think he was far more suited to overseeing schoolkids (as he did when the college was a mere grammar school) than he was somewhat unruly teenage college students, but that’s probably because I had run-ins with him on several occasions during my pair of years in the sixth form. Along with several of my college chums I felt we were considered somewhat ‘unsupervised’, ‘unstructured’ and perhaps even ‘unsavoury’ characters and thus treated with an element of suspicion by all the authority figures.

Looks like today though he was congratulating, rather than berating, me?! Naturally I have only the merest lackadaisical memory of the ‘newsheet’ (news sheet surely?) to which I refer, it doubtless representing the beginnings of the massive career in publication I would later not pursue.

Tim H was my co-conspirator in ‘the band’ (embarrassingly mentioned before). Maybe we were reforming after splitting up due to uncreative differences?

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October 12th 1975

“Started to read James Dean book and finished it – good book!! Film in PM was “Catch 22″ – v.good!”

Aaaah, those were the days…. when I had the patience and lack of distraction to finish a book in a single day!

One book I never read in full – even though over the years I have tried countless times – is Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22”, regarded by many as a modern day classic.

I think it’s because the book flip-flops all over the place and moves backwards and forwards through time, often without notice. A bit too confusing for my already complicated little mind.

Better then the movie, a Mike Nicholls directed tour de force about the lunacy of war and the madness it can inflict on its participants.

Alan Arkin is dead-on perfect as the “is he crazy?” Bombadier Yossarian, trying manfully to escape his fate but up against the quizicality of being told that an airman “would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he’d have to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t, he was sane and had to”

Once again it’s a film that I deemed “v.good” in 1975 but which later viewings resulted in less favourable remarks from me. Maybe, like many other seventies films, it has just not stood the test of time very well?

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