Sunday, September 15, 2013

Leaving the Gates (Leaving School)

Leaving the Gates
(A call for submissions!)

Sarah Williams suggested this as a possible title for thoughts, memories, creative writing after I posted a
comment on Facebook. If anyone wants to rise to the challenge of submitting a piece of writing exploring your thoughts on leaving the school for the last time, please send them in here or via the Facebook page. I will add any contributions to this page, so get thinking / writing.

To whet your appetite I will add my flippant comment that started it all and a song lyric which I began writing on the coach in 1967 as it began to pull out of the school drive in my final year at the school.

My flippant comment was made as Rick Gillespie pulled into the school drive on 10th August 2013 for the latest school reunion - 

"Just remembered - having escaped the school when i left in 1967 and never having returned - my shocked comment to Rick as we pulled into the school drive was "Uh, you never said you were bringing me back here!!" Trev Teasdel

Sarah Williams commented " Sarah Williams I didn't realise you'd never been back Trev. What were your first, unfiltered, feelings? I've been a few times since 1967 but still get emotionally ambushed by odd new memories."

Trev Teasdel  "It's a long trek from the North east and I don't have a car, so never went back but i think we were quite relieved to get there on time as we took a wrong turning through Far Forest and ended up at 6 Ashes instead of Cherry Orchard. But entering the gates is pretty quick so a crowd of thoughts sprung to mind - mixed emotions, excitement, curiosity, memories but there wasn't much chance to think really as we had to find out where the reception was and then to circulate and socialise so there was little opportunity for introspection. As we approached the gates i thought of the last time i was there, in the coach leaving for the last time (or so i thought!). As the coach left the gates I began to jot down lines for the embryo of a song lyric in a sort of S & G mode "It's a long Hitch Hike home' (albeit we went by coach! I may have been thinking about the initiative test when we left the school with a ruck sack on our backs and hitch hiked off somewhere). It might be on the blog - about being 'off to seek my fortune but not in pence and pounds' using imagery of climbing up the glen and slipping down the embankment metaphorically and climbing back up - a metaphor for life. I was thinking it was pretty accurate and it was probably one of my first lyrics finished off later. I was also thinking that I felt i didn't count for much at school but now things were a bit different. All the times you left the gates come to mind - down to the village / cross country / visiting day etc. All those kinds of thoughts and emotions as you momentarily speed through the gates and then concentrate on practical matters! Oh, and thinking of the above quip to make Rick laugh after all his driving! But you need a bit of solitude to really reflect and correlate past and present memories and emotions."

Sarah Williams "Leaving the Gates - a title waiting for a story - or a song."

Trev Teasdel "Found lyric i began writing as we pulled out of the school gates for the last time - the 1st verse & some of the lines about the glens and valleys were jotted down as we made our way to Cherry Orchard. I wrote it up in Feb 1969 in a S & G ballad style Actually the window sill image in the 1st verse was prompted by Sarah or Rose's window sill as we got on the coach in the drive and i looked out of the window as i jotted down notes!"

by Trev Teasdel

Well now, at last, the term has ended
And we’re ready to return.
I say goodbye to all my friends
For I have many things to learn,
And ambitions to fulfil
And I whisper to my friend
Whose mind is still on the window sill.

Chorus -
It’s long hitch hike home
So I give my hair a comb
Put my rucksack on my back
And proceed down the track.

I’m off to seek my fortune
But not in pence and pounds
I’m off to seek my fortune
But not in jewels and crowns
I’m off to seek the truth
I’ve been looking for, for years
I’m off to seek a sun,
In a crowded mass of tears.


I’ve travelled through the glens
And made many friends
But as I try to wend my way
Up the embankment’s slimy clay
I sometimes slip and fall
Like a silver waterfall
But eventually I’ll climb
And overcome the slime.


I’ve travelled many miles
Through many empty valleys
And I’ve had my fair share
Of the darkness of the alleys
I’ve come across folk
Searching for their yoke
They sound their motto wide
“Seek and thou shalt find”


Everybody’s searching
For what? – They do not know
Gazing from their windows
They bow their heads low.
People trying to reach
With hands that can not feel
People trying to speak
To images unreal….

It still rings true for me even though I was only 16 when i began writing it. The imagery was derived from the school and its surroundings and the line "I'm off to seek my fortune, but not in pence and pounds" has been sustained - I've never been materialistic - true wealth is inside. Perhaps it was the times - the 60's and also perhaps the teaching of  the Rev DA Williams (Jake) - Cat Steven's song "Mathew and Son" was a meditation in my last year at the school. What were your aims / expectations when you left the school?

"Everybody's searching - For what? - they do not know!

Did we know what 'it was all about" back then? Are we any wiser now? Does anybody really know? What have we learned about life?

There are lot of faiths and ideologies and home grown wisdom but do we really know what it's all about and how?

Science offers a lot but only manages to push the concept of God back to the Big Bang.

Did you achieve your goals? Did you have any? Did you think about the future when you left? Did you miss the school life and why? Are you disillusioned about the society we were educated to join / contribute towards or did / does it work for you and why? What did you find useful from your education at the school that helped you in your career / life?

Questions, Questions Questions to get you thinking.

Although those at the school same time as me, knew me as an Elvis fan - my tastes were a lot wider too but after leaving the poetic / philosophical lyrics of Paul Simon were the main musical interest for a few years and i wrote my first lyrics in the 4th year 1966, usually in the prep room after i finished the homework early. It was seeing the lyrics to Wild Thing juxtaposed to Paul Simon's Dangling Conversation that started me writing. That was the inspiration behind that lyric.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Old Photos from Pioneer Centre Archives

During the reunion August 2013, we had a look through the archive photos held by the Pioneer centre which go back to the 40's. I managed to photocopy some of the press cuttings that we haven't got on here (they are now on of course) and Ralph Alhous kindly re-photographed some of the photos which I thought we hadn't got. Some we had got but Ralph's versions are a bit clearer and there are some that are new to us from the 1950's.

Headmaster Mr Morris left of  the Lord Mayor and Directory of Coventry Education Dept Mr Chinn left of Mr Morris.

In this photo "This is from mid 60's.Gary Coulter in trunks in middle. - Chris Appleby)
"Tony Kemp in the back row and Bryce ((click) on the right end." Lauri Lindsay
"Clicker Boyce on far right he came in 64/5" Raymond Bothwell
"Look's like steve pearce front centre." Mick (Dragan( Gajic.

This was on before but a clearer version.

Taken by the Coventry Evening Telegraph c 1966 in the New Library - Frank Dutton standing up reading.
I sat some exams at those tables and was a librarian for Mr Williams (Jake).

Possibly in the 70's as the wash basins weren't boxed in in the 60's.

At the back Tony Baker who tells us " Batsmans Bride was I think 1957 or 58. More likely 57. The fourth year lads were the batsmen and first years the brides. Cannot remember story details but it was a short playlet. On the same bill was another playlet called Dumb Boy put on by the 3rd year. Both were produced by Wally Clarke." So the actually title was 'Batsman's Bride' not Batman's Bride as it says on the photo and which explains the cricketers in the photo. It was (according to Amazon) The Batsman's Bride. An operetta in one act. Libretto by Donald Hughes.

I wonder if this was based on Old King Cole nursery rhyme or something different?

Not sure if this above 1950's production would be deemed politically correct these days!
Tony Baker tells us " Definitely not 1955. I think 1958. It was taken at the old Coventry drill hall. I am on it with the rest of the 5th year. I have a copy . As you say the political correct brigade would have a fit today. We did not think anything wrong back then. A classical example of evil being in the eye of the beholder. The occasion was a concert by all Coventry schools. This was our contribution. We sang about Darius the Mede." Darius the Mede is mentioned in the Book of Daniel and Flavius Josephus etc Read more about it on