“Started to write in Dairy again. Occasional Holiday from School. Went to Southampton and bought Xmas Cards Pressies. Wrote some Xmas Cards to people”
Somewhat ironically given the content of this entry, this would prove to be my last scribblings in the 1974 diary.
Annoyingly, the dearth of entries over the summer, autumn and winter periods means that I am unable to properly express my reaction to starting sixth form college following the “ahem* successes of my O-Level results.
I can tell you that I opted to continue at Barton Peveril, which was still in its transition stage from being a Secondary School into a full Sixth Form College.
The new school year meant that I joined the “1st year 6th”, bringing with it both freedom from any kind of school uniform and a whole influx of new friends (and some foes). The college brought 16 or 17 year-old kids in from the surrounding secondary schools and with some of those people a new set of influences and distractions arrived. (The distractions were generally housed in a female form)
I chose a peculiar triumvirate of ‘A’ (Advanced) Level subjects to study. The first was Technical Drawing, something I vaguely enjoyed at Ordinary Level and one of the few subjects I successfully passed. The second was Art, not because I was in any way talented in the subject (I wasn’t) but because I felt it would be a subject in which I could express myself as well as gather with people who, like me, were interested in music and films. (I was also eager to become a “graphic artist”, my head doubtless swayed by the works of record sleeve designers such as Roger Dean or photographers like Mick Rock)
My third subject was an undoubted mistake. I took English Literature. I think I stuck with it one term (semester) before dumping it off my schedule (the 1975 diary may prove enlightening in this respect). I quickly realised that none of the literature we were exploring in the classes was material I was even vaguely interested in reading, let alone discussing.
The (eventual) lack of all those English lessons meant I had many mornings and afternoons free to spend around other like-minded ‘slackers’ in the college’s “common room” a space put aside where people congregated to drink tea/coffee, play records and generally do very little other than lounge about on vinyl-upholstered chairs and sofas.
I do believe that this “common room” – somewhere I shall probably refer to regularly during 1975 and early 1976 – was more of a place of ‘education’ for me than any of the classrooms. Here, I listened to more music than I could ever imagine and was introduced to lots of new (to me) stuff like R&B, Soul and early German electronica. I interacted with not only my own ‘lower sixth’ classmates but also those students who were a year older in the ‘upper sixth’. I started to come out of my shell more and was able to express myself without feeling reserved or withdrawn. In short, I guess my time in the 6th Form helped me to “grow up”?!
In terms of this project I can’t help feeling – as you may – disappointed that my 1974 diary yielded so little. However, I hope what I have managed to share has been fun to read and that you’ve found my meanderings a satisfactory and entertaining distraction.
On then… to 1975…