Tag Archives: common room

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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March 17th 1975

“First committee meeting, Was put in charge of records – great!”

Uh-oh…. this could either turn out great…. or fantastic!

The coffee club ‘common room’ featured a small hi-fi on which students could play their music. It was my job to make sure everyone got a chance to hear and share their stuff, although I am sure I often favoured the material I liked?!

I was also in charge of sourcing, arranging, recommending and storing music that might get played at dance nights, or for any of our 6th form stage ‘spectaculars’

I think you could describe me as that proverbial pig… knee deep.

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December 9th 1974

“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…

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