Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Back To Skool

Here's a lovely film by my oldest pal Michael Cumming – see my last post for link to his site;
a collective exercise in memory that marked the 50th anniversary of our old secondary school back home in Windermere.
There is a sequence that involves some illustrative content by yours truly, within the Art Block area that kick-started both Michael's and my own creative careers – see below – as well as snippets of a commentary that I contributed alongside a selection of fellow alums. The neat conceit that MC imposed was that our past recollections be spoken by current pupils.

You had to be there?
I don't think so – what MC's done is speak eloquently of a certain time in all of our lives.

My text in full:


An empty vessel; the unlovely building, which we filled with life, mapped with our whispers, frowns, hope and footsteps, racing or dragged along echoing corridors between classrooms, cloakrooms, stairwells.
Marking our times.
Outside, seen with yearning through window glass across the seasons; the distant fire of new flowers, fresh mown grass below hazed air full of drifting dust and dandelion seeds, dancing leaves in gusting winds, dank fog over brittle crusted snows. Inside, a language of the senses; 
thick gravy boiling up as the crust of a steak and kidney pie was first breached and portions allocated.
Slade singing about Christmas.
The dreadful sour tang of the changing rooms.
The chemical spice aroma of powder paint, damp paper and clotted ink.

An erotic encounter in the Art Block while skiving games; white nylon shirt and blue skirt and the smell of fresh clay on the potter's wheel.
The shifting sands of emotions; bitter tears, joyous laughter, cruel laughter, happy tears.
Early victories and defeats and pointless anxieties, before experience gave us a sense of proportion.
Walking the foot slopes of volcanic puberty, stumbling towards our future selves. The suggestion of how life would be hanging ahead of us, but only ever a pencil sketch, an impression, a rumour, a misheard piece of gossip.
At school they teach you the names for things, but the most powerful of all are the names of those that we learn from and alongside.
Those that helped:
Mister Kadelbach. Mister Dover. Miss Fell. Mister Maddicks. Mister Shiel. Mrs. Pownall. Mrs. Welford. Mister Laycock. Mister Emerson. Mister Metcalfe. Mrs. Reece. Mister Luker. Miss Bromley. Mrs. Atkinson. Desmond Levi Bradshaw Hartley. Mister Oldfield. Mister Mackay. Mister Holloway. Mister Baty. Mister Yardley.
Those that needed it:
Mike Nicholson, Michael Cumming, Robert Crockford, Sean Emery, Mike Stanning, Lou George, Alan Miller, Doug Cumming, Sharon Murphy, Cathy Folland, Pam Hodgson, Valerie Mossop, Sarah Lishman, Alison Bentley, Patrice De Villiers, Rachel Voysey. Katie Crawshaw.
The Lakes School… We knew so little when we got there but we knew a little more when we left."

MIKE NICHOLSON - 1974 – 1981

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