Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Death & School Days

(I've been searching for images of my old school but none seem to exist (has it been written out of history?) & there are no photos of me from around that time so I've posted the above for no particular reason other than you could say it represents me tumbling (or diving) through uncertain times)

.......it was a school reunion & a roll call of the dead....
                                                                                  not the usual school reunion, just someone I went to school with coming out of her mum's house whilst I stood in my sister's garden having a fag when she acknowledged me with a polite 'hello' before realising who I really was then walking to the fence wide-eyed in surprise.................
                                the eyes........we stared into each other's, those portals of the past, unchanged, presumably, whilst our skin certainly had............
                                                                        so she asked if I remember so-and-so (name already forgotten as I write)
'"Er, yes"
"She died"
and so-and-so, remember her? long ginger hair...
"She died."
"Duncan Edwards?"
I remembered him very clearly because he was in our gang despite not being born in the village.
"He died a few months ago."
She knows all this because she works in Buckingham, where we went to school, on the Tescos Information Desk...........so she's good at giving information, even the kind you don't necessarily welcome...........

Back in the house LJ says "You know you're getting on when your friends start dying"........but we're only in our 50s! isn't that a bit early to be counting them off? I thought people were supposed to live longer, these days..............

Memories of Buckingham Secondary School naturally surface..........
> hearing T. Rex's Ride A White Swan at the disco held in the gym
> the cool older kids talking about Roxy Music's Virginia Plain
> being ridiculed for wearing Oxford Bags ("Look at his turnips!" as in turn-ups, which no-one wore in those days...yet)
> Duncan Edwards having his tie gripped by the school hard case then his chin smacked with the same fist...we were spared that treatment only because the bully's mate came from the same village as us
> hating almost every minute of being there except English & Art classes even though the English curriculum was solidly Classical & how the hell could I relate to what Jane Austen was writing about?
> being taken aside by a teacher & told I had great potential but needed to stop messing around otherwise I'd fail all my exams, then being asked what went wrong because I'd won Pupil of the Year at Junior school, to which I had no answer, the truth being that I was passionately interested in subjects that weren't being taught, such as girls, music & fashion
> being passed a note from a friend of the girl I desperately wanted to date, saying she was now free having just dumped someone & I was the lucky next-in-line........that affair didn't last long, probably because I flunked the When Were You Born? test thrown at me by the guy in the cinema ticket office when we tried to get into an X-rated film...that & some bad snogging during Gold (starring Roger Moore), which wasn't my fault because she was sat on my left, the wrong side! oh & I was mute in nauseous terror on the (small) big wheel at Buckingham fair feeling my guts churn every time we rolled over the top therefore being too distracted by that to either kiss her properly or even talk
> peering over the fence at the Royal Latin School kids cruelly positioned next to us 11-plus failures, wondering "Why them? Why not me?" then learning that I'd only just failed my 11-plus (a friend of my mum's was on the exam board) - well fuck that...it's like coming second in a race...you may as well come last! but had I passed, who would I be today? the same me but with a career? it seems impossible to have both my character and a career............does our path shape us, or do we shape the path? eh?
> getting my first pair of running spikes after much pleading to my dad, which was like being given another gear & since I was a keen sprinter you can imagine the joy....100 meters, 200 meters & 100 meter relay...I was fast....................long distance, forget it....

anyway, enough memories, a new year is on the horizon!


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