Fun and games at Christmas….etc.
The Senior Common Room in those days put on a revue for the students (at least some of the staff who were good sports or foolhardy)
Poor image from a less than good colour slide.
I remember the names of the above, or in some cases christian names Left Paul Kusel, English as a Foreign Language. Dan, Head of TV dept (used to be the director of Cross Roads on TV!!!), kneeling Miles Brown ex. actor, drama and English. Sandy Marshall, PE and dance, me. Above me Chris Goodenough PE. Robin Cant, Education and Sociology. ? ? . Behind Dan, David Flood. Behind him Colin Dudley. Ken also took part.
Dan was the compere, you knew you were in good hands, he was well able to ad lib and crack jokes.
Ken had a rare skill, he could play the musical saw. He made an entrance wearing an evening suit and carried his saw in a violin case with his bow. He was announced as though it was going to be a violin recital. Before he revealed the saw, he made great play of adjusting his tails, his cuffs and chair…then the reveal. He was very good on it and it is a strangely haunting sound. There was laughter but there was respect for his skill
David Flood was a very serious man, you would never think he would be the type to appear in a review. At some stage he had been in the forces and picked up another rare skill, he could juggle with Indian Clubs. I think he wore a tiger skin ( I’m not totally sure about that ) he was really good. There were nervous titters when he came on but amazed silence at his sheer talent.
We had a SCR Trad jazz band, they were excellent, lead by Phil Barnes. At that time Polly was our art technician, they were a couple and later married. Phil was a multi instrument man, his main instrument was a trombone but another member, Eddy, also played trombone so Phil switched to trumpet. Ken played clarinet. They were good and later made a vinyl record and toured schools. Phil and Polly emigrated to Tasmania but sadly he died very young, he was a real polymath, a terrible loss.
I didn’t have time to give to rehearsals so I did my own thing at home. I made what was really like a kind of Power Point presentation, except that I used slides. They were projected cinema size on the back wall of the stage. I chose various themes each year. One year it was a Western, another pantomime, a holiday camp etc. I had secretly photographed staff members, used the heads and collaged them into characters with sub titles. It was accompanied by recorded music.
The principal always had ‘the lead’ in some way.
As the noble Lord of the Castle for a skit, called Castles in the Air.
Here he is in the Western
I had to work very quickly because I didn’t have much time, so they are not very subtle. I also had to decorate the SCR with foliage, baubles etc. I enjoyed it but it was a hectic time. I am including quite a lot of the slides because it reminds me of a lot of my erstwhile colleagues.
Diane Atkins head of Education Jim Blanthorn Bursar and Treasurer
Peter Brownbridge. English Colin Dudley Head of art.
Eddie Williamson. Maths Richard Goodenough. Geography
Brian Ingram Sociology Matron. Margaret
Robin Cant. Sociology. Tom Hetherington
Keith Watson Art Dept. Sandy Marshall. PE and Dance.
Chris Bounds Science Graham Brown. Vice Principal.
The above images are just a few of the ones I made. I put it together and did most of the collages. Three technicians Bryan, John and Ken helped me to present it.
There was one more Christmas tradition that I inherited… the Principal was always the Father Christmas for the Senior Common Room Christmas party for the families. Apparently it had been started by Fred Mason the first Principal and Michael Berry was expected to carry it on. Michael was definitely not a natural Father Christmas, he was quite shy and awkward socially. He was always worried about it. ‘Are my boots right/’ ‘Is my beard lop sided?’ There was a sledge on wheels which was always pulled by four of the newest members of staff…no wonder…no one else wanted to do it.It was like a rite of passage, or a joke ordeal that apprentices are put through. There were two reindeer heads, that the art dept had made. One person was the head the other one had to bend down like a pantomime cow. They were both covered with a brown blanket The Senior Common Room was off the path round the quad. All the lights were darkened. The reindeers pulled the sledge to the beginning of the darkened path. I could never stop laughing it was so funny.Then Michael rang his bell called out Yo Ho Ho and the children all crowded to the windows with delight. The lights came on and there was Santa coming round the path (with the groaning reideer, especially the hind quarters) It used to amaze me how much the children believed it was all true…especially the reindeer, they loved them. It was the most ghastly uncomfortable thing to do. In the room, the back legs had to sit down on a chair with the head part person sitting on his lap. The children used to come up and pat them, it was hilarious. No one ever wanted to do it again but everybody who had had the ordeal kept mum the next year! It was worth it though, because when the children got older they used to tell me how they loved it. Poor Mike Berry was doing his best to be avuncular when he gave out the presents. It still makes me smile when I think about it. I wish I had pictures, I expect there are some somewhere.The college was small enough to feel like a family.