Tag Archives: physics

August 20th 1974

“Got 5 ‘O’s including Spok. English”


Let’s review these results shall we?…..

Economics: Grade F FAIL
E.Lit. Syll.B: Grade E PASS (English Literature Syllabus B)
Physics: Grade F FAIL
Eng. Language: Grade E PASS (English Language)
Geography: Grade F FAIL
Rel.Studies: F FAIL (Religious Studies)
Spok. English: C PASS (Spoken English)
History: E PASS
Tech. Drawing: E PASS (Technical Drawing)

The back of the actual certificate (shown below) states “Attainment in an Ordinary level subject is indicated by a Grade A, B, C, D, or E of which Grade A is the highest and Grade E the lowest……. Grade E is the lowest level of attainment judged by the University to be of sufficient standard to be recorded

I think it’s fair to admit I was…. a somewhat less than an average student who somehow managed to barely SQUEAK by in some of these important examinations. It feels astonishing to me now that I could apply myself quite admirably the year earlier and take/pass Mathematics quite easily (albeit also with an “E PASS” grade) but then when the rest came around I was phenomenally sloppy and without any personal application.

I’m surprised in retrospect that I failed Economics (it being something I dealt with quite successfully later in my career) and amazed that I completely stumbled in Physics when, just 2 years earlier, I was flying high in the subject and was first in my class.

No surprises regarding Geography (my wife is nodding her head as I type) or Religious Studies. I don’t think the *ahem* things I was ‘studying’ during my church retreats were necessarily likely to turn up on the exam paper?

I’m afraid I can only be flippant about all of this 36 years after the event. I can’t be convinced that passing more of these O-Levels would have changed my life that much so there’s no point in being regretful after the event is there?

In a nutshell I seemed to adopt ‘slackerdom’ at an early age?!

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January 11th 1974

“Physics -> quite easy” / “Had to sit through a 3 hour bloody Bio exam”

OK, how could I have ever found Physics to be “easy”?

This fondness for the subject kind of creeps me out 35 years after the event, as I can honestly not admit to knowing a damned thing about it now.

Was I actually a closet ‘nerd’ back in the day?

Probably.

No idea why I had to sit through a Biology exam. Maybe a shortage of teachers meant some had to share both examination and revision classes? I blame the Conservatives and Edward Heath!

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June 19th 1973 (I)

“Physics <- Hard. Started to rain. Had to sit all way through B10 exam in afternoon/ david Bowie – Guildhall”

Despite being #1 in the class in the subject in 1972, I couldn’t even tell you what physics involved these days.

Wikipedia describes it thus:- Physics (Greek: physis – φύσις meaning “nature”) is the natural science which examines basic concepts such as mass, charge, matter and its motion and all that derives from these, such as energy, force, and spacetime. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the world and universe behave.

Hmmmn… so that’s why I lost interest. Too bloody complicated!

No idea, naturally, why I had to ‘ sit through ‘ the B10 exam in the afternoon, although I do make it sound like some kind of punishment.

The Bowie thing will be dealt with in part II…

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June 18th 1973

“EXAMS START – Morn – English Lang. <- Quite Easy. Done some physics. Went into Eastleigh after school”

We now proceed with a number of boring diary entries, mostly concerned – it would appear – with my exams.

I can’t remember a THING about sitting down and taking these tests. Not the process, the procedure, the content, the location… nothing.

However, I do note with not inconsiderable irony that although I found English Language “quite easy” my knowledge of the language didn’t stop me from then writing “done some physics

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March 23rd 1973

“Got sent out in Physics thanks to Dave B” / “Rode my bike from school so’sat I get home earlier for work” / “Nig started work wiv me over Lancaster & Crook”

I wonder what misdemeanour I got sent out of Physics for? Seems as if this Dave B character was real perpetrator and I was merely a victim of circumstance?

Where did we go when we were sent out of class? Were we sent to the headmaster’s office? What if he wasn’t there?

Why would being sent out of class be a deterrent? Surely kids would WANT to be sent out of lessons they didn’t like?

So many questions, so little memory bank remaining.

In other news, it appeared my work ethic kicked in during my teenage years? Why else would I be eager to get to work early by riding my bike to and from school?

Plus, it looks like I blagged my pal Nig a job alongside me at the supermarket!

This could spell either trouble or fun.

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February 5th 1973

“Gra lent me Made in Japan – Deep Purple – Brilliant!” / “Have decided to buy Who Do WeThink You Are with first wages” / “Found out that I was 2nd in Phys”

Over the years, my personal fascination for live albums has diminished considerably.

However, in 1973, I determined Deep Purple’s “Made in Japan” “brilliant“. Hmmn?

The tracks on this live album, recorded in Osaka and Tokyo, are culled mainly from Purple’s “Machine Head” studio album, the whole of Side 4 dedicated to an extended – and admittedly overdone – version of “Space Truckin’

Years later I can’t say I hold any great affection for this album. I certainly haven’t owned it in any format for 30 years or more, so it’s initial brilliance faded quite fast.

In fact my teenage admiration – and it does appear to be admiration – for Deep Purple generally has really not stuck with me at all over the interim 3+ decades.

With the exception of the other album I mention here… “Who Do We Think We Are?” which a) I still play very regularly and b) I shall doubtless talk about in some depth when my diary entry shows I bought it. With my first wages no less!

2nd in Physics eh? Surely there were more than two pupils in my class?

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The 1973 Diary (II)

This shows how hard I worked as a 15-year-old schoolkid!

Here’s my school timetable, at least (presumably) for January – July 1973. (The diary makes no reference to a timetable from Sept 1973 onwards… maybe it was the same schedule?)

I had Economics (as in ‘world financials’, not ‘home economics’ and all that cookery nonsense) to kick off the week, followed by Religious Education (ha!) and English Composition after the break. Monday afternoon was History, French, Physics and Maths.

Tuesday morning consisted of a double period of Technical Drawing (TD), Geography and (the dreaded) Gym, whilst the afternoon offered up (more) Geography, French, English and History. (I have no idea why the two Geog lessons of the day weren’t twinned together)

Wednesday commenced with French (“quelle horreur”) followed by Grography (again??), SINGING (!!!???!!!) and Maths and after lunch I was subjected to English Drama, History and a double TD.

SINGING?????????????????

Thursday started off BAD for me with double Games (outdoor physical nonsense like football, hockey, basketball, running, cross-country leg tiring) with Physics and French after the morning break. The afternoon threatened double Maths and double English.

My Fridays were top and tailed with double Economics and double Physics with French, Maths, History and Geography in between.

The one thing I really CAN’T remember is that the timetable suggests we had preset evenings for specific homework. The nights don’t even seem to always line up with next day lessons, so what was the point I wonder?

SINGING?????????????????

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