Tag Archives: religion

November 19th 1972

“told in TIBS that would be confirmed at easter + that TIB group would go out on my birfda”

In the whole Church of England malarkey, confirmation is a ‘grown-up’ ritual where individuals who were baptised as babies renew the ‘promises’ made for them at that baptism by their parents and godparents.

Only after confirmation is the individual admitted ‘up the front’ for the whole Holy Communion brouhaha, where you get wine and stuff.

It all sounds so…. so, archaic, quaint… but completely unrelated to me in my adult life. These days I’ll take my atheism anyway I can find it.

It does present me with the opportunity to have a brief blasphemous imaginary comment from 1972 (even if the pop culture reference point had not yet been invented)…….. 

“I can’t believe it’s not bread*”

It looks as if I was going to get my chance to go to “big church” sometime around Easter of 1973. I may have been excited at the time, even if now I feel horrified by the notion.

However, I’ll bet a few quid I was more excited about having a shindig come my birfda in January?!

[*with apologies to regular readers – and commentators – M & P]
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May 22nd 1972

“no more norty things. bit tired all day but not to worry”

Blimey, I’m not surprised I was tired.

That was, apparently, one (if the word can be excused under the circumstances) hell of a sleepless church weekend!!

but not worry” makes me appear ridiculously nonchalant about it all though, especially when the “no more norty things” is taken into account.

Isn’t it strange that years later I would – as many men do – unashamedly ‘boast’ about my sexual exploits, but at the age of 14 – at, pretty much, my introduction to all the fumbling tomfoolery – I reduced everything to a few lines of inconsequence.

I am, quite possibly, as disappointed as you dear reader.

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May 21st 1972

“locked val and sue out of their room in afternoon” / “service in afternoon” / “more norty tricks” / “got home at 5:15, found out that have lost pen”

Lest we forget the true purpose of the weekend, “service in the afternoon” probably relates to something ‘church-esque’. I am pretty sure it doesn’t suggest anything untoward, *ahem*, if readers get my drift?

Apparently, it was straight from the vestibule and back to “more norty tricks“. The, sadly, only-vaguely-recalled  ‘orgy’ continuing somewhat unabated it would seem? (I wish I could remember more about it, oh, I really do!)

That final sentence of the diary entry made me – as it may have done you, dear reader – REALLY laugh out loud. For all the reasons you are thinking of, as well as all of those of my own!

Isn’t it a fantastic ode to extraordinary teenage naivety though? A weekend of apparently unbridled shenanigans featuring my introduction to ‘the female form’… and my reaction was akin to “where’s my bloody pen?”

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an aside (II)

I need to clarify something.

I received a handful of e-mails today, more or less asking “Good god man, you first had sex at 14?!”

No, I did not.

Sure, I indulged in some harmless fumbling, but the *ahem* complete ‘sausage in a basket’ thing did not happen to me until much later in life. (I’ll admit I was something of a ‘late developer’ in that regard)

 In American terminology, I think that over this weekend I got to what is commonly known as “third base”, but – and to continue the analogy – then Cincinnati Reds’ Adam Dunn stepped up to the plate.

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May 20th 1972

“more norty tricks” / “played football, won 20-5, scored twice” / “Shared with S.B. in s.bag”

My diary makes this weekend sound like an utter bacchanalian event, interspersed only with food and the beautiful game?

Given the final subject matter however, the Benny Hill in me is trying hard not to say “surely I scored more than just the twice?!” Wey-hey!

So, “S.B” became the first woman I ever ‘slept’ with. A church weekend… I’ll repeat that again… a church weekend offered up my life’s introduction to ‘naked fumbling grubbiness’ and maybe the only time I could genuinely and honestly say “sorry darling, that has never happened to me before”

If religion was always like that weekend, there is a chance I might have actually stuck with it.

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May 19th 1972

“TIBS weekend” / “Abbots Road by 6, rave up in A’s room” / “Arrived at 7. Had supper. Unpacked. Played Norty Tricks. Brilliant Fun”

OK, it’s time to play something of the “voyeur” with my teenage self.

This was an away-from-home weekend, linked to my T.I.B church group. Not just the individuals in my own little ‘sect’, but fellow teens from other similar weekly gatherings across the region. If I was a guessing man, 36 years later, I would say there were probably 20 to 30 people all ‘crashing’ at this minister’s private residence linked to the church I (sometimes) attended.

A veritable cornucopia of people and their sleeping bags. Brought together by the almighty. I certainly had my eyes opened, but not for any spiritual reason.

I have complete zero recall of the “rave up in A’s room“, but I suspect that the words “rave up” in 1972 meant something completely different to the connotations later applied to them. Maybe a can or two of warm cider, the odd scream or giggle, most probably accompanied by acne-ridden suggestive glances across the room.

Despite the appalling spelling, “Norty tricks” relates to something far more… erm… undocumented in the bible. Personal acts between teenage girls and boys that may or may not deny them automatic entry to heaven come redemption day. It was, as I mentioned yesterday, something of an ‘awakening’ for me, even if this awakening involved nothing more invasive than harmless fumbling over, in and around various items of clothing. With, I am somewhat both proud and embarrassed to state later in life, more than just one girl. Go me!

What’s really important though is that I evidently had supper first. Wouldn’t want to get into all that hanky-panky without some food in my belly.

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January 23rd 1972

“T.I.B. – Didn’t go”

To the untrained eye, “T.I.B.” could be some kind of bizarre acronym.

“Tried Intestinal Bleeding”, “Tie is Blue” or perhaps “Tinkerbell is Beautiful”?

It actually stood for – and I am not making this up – “Training in Being”, a 1970’s church group.

Now let me state, right out of the blocks, that I am not religious in any way, shape or form. Even as far back as these early teenage years, I found the whole strange concept of god, jesus and the bible somewhat nonsensical, more akin to a poor sci-fi novel rather than any reasoned level of historical fact.

However, back in the early seventies, the ‘church’ (rather than ‘religion’ – I am eager to make the distinction here) was, pretty much, my “social life”.

I need to backtrack here a little before proceeding with my “T.I.B” explanation. The prior explaining the latter.

When I was born – in 1958 – my Mum, sadly, had a very hard time of it all. In a nutshell, she suffered from extremely bad post-natal depression (now known as “postpartum”), and spent the initial important weeks of my life in hospital, unable – mentally – to care for or look after me.

Parish Church, EastleighDad’s best friend at work was Bill, a tall gentle bloke who was married to Dot, a kindly church-going deeply religious soul, and the pair of them lived just a few streets away from the rented house my parents lived in when they were first married. Bill & Dot (specifically Dot) offered to help my Dad look after me whilst Mum was trying to get better.

With little other options available to him, and desperately needing to continue working to pay the bills etc, he took Dot up on her wonderful offer, leaving me with her from 9-5 during the weekdays.

Mum eventually got better, came home and started her own motherhood. The kindness of Dot & Bill was never forgotten however, so when the time came for my Christening – and in those days pretty much every child was christened, almost regardless of beliefs – they were asked to be my godparents. Which they were honoured to accept.

Thus began a – very mild I have to state – indoctrination into ‘religious matters’. I believe that the times I did go to church back then (and I certainly can’t recall going every weekend?) was not so much due to any kind of faith, but more as a deferential ‘obligation’ to Dot & Bill.

In the Church of England set-up, if a kid is baptised/christened they are also supposed to be “confirmed” at a later age of life, usually in their mid-teens. Confirmation, apparently, being a religious rite of passage, intended to reinforce the person’s faith in the big fella upstairs.

Returning now to “T.I.B.” – Training in Being. It was a small gathering of 8 to 10 teenagers – all scheduled for that “confirmation” – who met up every Sunday night at somebody’s house, supposedly with the intent to discuss ‘bible matters’. In fact, as I remember it, we actually sat round in a circle playing records we’d brought along and “talked about shit”. Every so often, Sue, the ‘group leader’ (with a huge overbite), would drag out the bible and try to relate something we had been talking about to a passage or two.

If I actually didlearn anything religious during these meetings, I certainly can’t remember any of it 35 years later. It strikes me that we talked on a far more “psychology” level than one of faith, although given the bible’s (admittedly) ‘moral overtones’, I suspect similarities were regularly noted. OK, so some of the group may have been ‘fanatics’, but back then I merely looked on these people as my friends – rather than any kind of religious nutjobs as I might have cynically appraised  them in later life. Indeed one of the group, Trev (mentioned on Jan 7th), had been a pal since I was 5 years old.

I’m sure that future diary entries will make reference to T.I.B., probably less-so for any religious reasons than for the ‘social eventing’…. of which there was plenty during this period of my life.

Indeed, because memory for these kinds of things rarely fade, I am already aware that – because I am a ‘gentleman’ – I may need to later ‘skirt around the edges’ of my initial experience of getting to first – and second – base with a girl. This was at a ‘sleepover’ gathering in the vicarage attached to the church I attended! (Is that in the bible? I think not)

But for today, Jan 23rd 1972, I can only report that “I didn’t go” to T.I.B.

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January 11th 1972

“Hot seat at church”

As if to (completely) qualify the comments in my previous post, this is a sentence made up of words which mean NOTHING to me.

Does it suggest I sat on the vicar’s lap during the sermons or something?

“And Lo, the lord has risen”
“Yes, I think can feel him reverend”

I will talk at some length about my ‘church-going’ activities later on. For now though, I’ll leave you to make up whatever the hell you want about the words “hot seat at church

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