Wednesday, September 27, 2006

School daze: an audio-visual extravaganza!

When my dad came to visit a couple of months ago, he brought with him a bag of bits and pieces belonging to me that he had salvaged from the garage when my folks moved out of their latest property to go their separate ways.

The bag was a veritable gold mine of nostalgia for me, containing things I hadn't seen for years, things I thought I'd lost, and things I didn't know I'd kept.

One of the best bits was my school shirt from my last day at school, aged 16 in 1986, still unwashed and covered with all the signatures and well wishes of my friends and classmates. You can see a pic at the bottom of this post.

fingernail manAlso in the bag was a copy of The Guinness Book of Records from waaaay back (the 1979 edition), including this picture of the Indian guy with crazy long fingernails. His record has long since been surpassed, but I used to love being grossed out by this pic as a kid.

There was also a Marc Bolan book that has words and music for many of his big hits. I thought I'd lost this years ago, so I was really pleased to see it again. Strange, cos I'm not the world's biggest Bolan fan, but I do quite prize the very few books of sheet music that I have. It's a small but perfectly formed collection: The Complete Beatles, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, Billy Bragg's Back to Basics, Nirvana's Nevermind, and this Bolan book.

But there was also a bunch of English exercise books. A few years after I left school, I threw away lots of my exercise books. The only ones I felt were vaguely worth keeping were my English ones, since they were the only ones in which I had been creative, writing stories and poems and shit. I figured one day it would be fun to look back on some of this stuff, but who wants to look back on their old Math(s) books? Or Physics, Chemistry, Geography, or... Computer Studies?!

So, over the coming days I'm going to transcribe some of this stuff to my blog. They are, by turns, funny and ridiculous, bizarre and embarrassing, so I'm going to cherry-pick the "best" stuff. That said, sometimes the best stuff will be the stuff that is most embarrassing. Certainly there is nothing there that has quite the creative vibe that I obviously thought it had when I decide to keep these wretched books!

masked*1970As a taster of what's to come, listen to me reciting my poem "My Dog" by clicking on the little mini pic of me here. I wrote this on 13 May 1983. It says some things that I wish it didn't now that the pooch is in dog heaven, but it's what I wrote when I was 13, and I'm not about to censor it now.

school shirt


Blogger a.c.t said...

That picture of the man with long nails is gross. I bet he didn't have a girlfriend. I have horrible images in my mind that I can't get rid of....ughh!

27 September, 2006 14:55  
Blogger Shep said...

I still have my school-leaving yearbook, that came out in an American type stylee. Everyone signed each others, it was great. But one slightly ominous thing was my Yugoslavian friend Trevor, who had put in block capitals VIVA SERBIA! next to his face. This was way before 'the troubles' over there, but still...bit weird.

27 September, 2006 15:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, school days. i honestly don't think i have anything left over from my days at school. other than an irrational fear of smolina and mushy peas.
hated every minute of it, and couldn't wait to leave.
not that i didn't like to be educated, it was the people and the surroundings that got to me.
a decrapit old building (rumour has it , it was supposed to be temporary, but was up until 5 years after we left) in the middle of the worst council estate in the world. i have nothing against council estates. my mum and her family were brought up on one, and most of my mums family still live there, and my elder sister lives on one too. just that this place made bosnia look like the garden of eden!
and working it out, we left school at roughly the same time!
aint life odd?

27 September, 2006 15:29  
Anonymous Jaxxxxxxxxxxxxxx said...

hello Mr *. Nice to meet you. I think school is great! Some of my friends say I must be weird for liking it! If they met my dad they would know what weird is!!!(in a nice way)

Jaxxxxxxxxxx or mini-punk as my dad says. I do like his punk music I must admit!

27 September, 2006 15:37  
Blogger ems said...

Far advanced there, Shep. I thought yearbooks were relatively new over here. A colleague at my last school had to speak to a lad who was proclaiming the fact he was going to steal me off Colin. In the yearbook he wrote he was either going to be a graphic designer or a transvestite. I attract all kinds...

27 September, 2006 20:40  
Blogger mister anchovy said...

bring it on....

27 September, 2006 23:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mum found a box of my old school things. Loved reading the school reports......steven must apply himself to geography?????

Found a gideons bible that I had wrote blashpemy all over, made me laugh my arse off!

27 September, 2006 23:08  
Blogger apositivepessimist said...

I never "get" that whole grow my fingernails as long as I bloody I see is what I can't do with that hand.

heh I still have my school uniform complete with messages and signatures from classmates.

arhaaha it actually worked that time. nice poem.

28 September, 2006 04:15  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

ACT: Not nice, is it?

Shep: Yearbook is very posh, wow!

Cappy: I couldn't wait to leave either, really. Which is why I avoided college etc afterwards. Yeah, I figured we were about the same age from previous posts etc. Nothing wrong with council estates. That's where I grew up too. Don't think I'd want to be on some of them these days, though...

Jaxxxxxxxxxxxxx: (Is that the right number of x's?) If you like school, good for you. Some people do, I guess. I used to like seeing my mates every day, but that was about it, really!

Ems: That's funny!

Mr A: I will.

RD: I dunno where my school reports are. Guess me mum must have 'em somewhere. Be good to see them again, I think. I still have my German dictionary. I'd covered it with swastikas (like kids do), but then when I lent it to my cousin a few years later, shge Tipp-Ex'ed them all out. Fucking cheek.

APP: Glad you got the poem to work!

28 September, 2006 15:23  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Yikes, thats a scary looking finger nail photo...I love long nails and beautiful manicures but that just freaks me out.

That is amazing that you saved old school work. I remember once I found some old clippings of articles I wrote for the university paper and Mister Anchovy horrified said, I can't believe you kept those...he's right, I usually destroy all evidence.

I have a few sketch books from art school...they are strange but also a kind of fond feeling I have.

I was TERRIBLE in school...adhd, dyslexia, a bad attitude skipped class, smoked pot...a teachers nightmare.

I didn't write anything legible or decent so i am impressed at anyone else who actually did school work.

You are hilarious and it should be fun to see these projects.

I love the shirt with all the signatures that is uber-kewl.

28 September, 2006 17:29  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

okay... long finger nails... gross!! but classic!

i can't wait to listen to you reading the poem... but i'm at work right now, and for some reason the speakers on this stupid computer won't work... curses!

but i'll be back to listen this evening :)

28 September, 2006 19:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ROFL, I wrote a poem about my Basset Hound Dooley in first grade and won a prize. Although I doubt I sounded as posh as you do with the Bristish accent and all...=P

29 September, 2006 02:50  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Candy: It's just not attractive is it. If memory serves, he only has long nails on the one hand; the other is normal. "Destroy all the evidence" -- that's funny! I'm not sure about these upcoming school posts... But I'll put them up and see what happens!

Martha: Don't forget to listen! You'll not regret it. (Well, you probably will, actually...)

Angel: Wow, you won a prize for yours? Well done! My teacher gave me 8.5 out of 10. It was a homework assignment. (And that's not a posh accent!)

29 September, 2006 09:18  
Blogger Tanya said...

Aaw. I like your dog poem. And you have a lovely voice.

word verification word: zeugy

30 September, 2006 14:09  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Tanya: Thanks pet!

30 September, 2006 22:54  

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