Happy Birthday Alan Border! The former Australian cricket captain, who is 58 today was quoted in the week as saying about the current team’s batting in the Ashes series so far :
“Our major concern right now is the performance of the top six. I could honestly say the nine, ten and jack [No 11 batsman] looked more competent than our one, two and three. If that was me in the top three, I’d be embarrassed.”
Chin up mate and enjoy your special day!
Great photo from REUTERS/Philip Brown of two blokes who could play a bit in their time, but now just enjoying the day at Edgbaston yesterday.
But what were they saying?
My guess is that Warne was saying to Vaughan.
“Hey, I reckon that the Aussies could bat for a day and a half in an extended game over here this Summer.”
To which the ex-England skipper replies, “Yeah right, maybe against Scotland!”
Any other suggestions?
David Bowie had a flat in Schöneberg!
Well I am surprised at that one, as it was never the most jumping part of Berlin from my memory of living there in the 80’s. I do remember an Arthouse cinema being down there that was about 8 seats wide and 40 deep. Inside the auditorium a well dressed tailors’ dummy sat permanently in one of those seats.
I do remember that there was also a very good sausage stand in that part of town that people used to travel to from all over in order to grab a famous “Kurrywurst.” Nevertheless Schöneberg was not the edgy, dark side of the city like Kreuzberg was. Schöneberg was ‘safe’. No self respecting anarchist, or draft dodging student from the “West” would want that sort of Postleitzahl. Even posh neighbourhoods like Charlottenburg were more bohemian. Wedding and Moabit were working class districts. Schöneberg was just dull.
It was famous for one thing though. JF Kennedy once stood on a platform outside Schöneberg’s town hall and declared to the huge crowd gathered there that he in fact was “a doughnut”!
I found this page of information about Schöneberg at an ex-pat website. I think it is quite amusing that it appears to be as dull as I remember. Still each to his own. Berlin was a really crazy place to live with its distinct districts having their own flavour. Maybe there was a “scene” there that was “out there” in Schöneberg when Bowie lived on Hauptstrasse. I just cannot see him living in a flat near the sausage stand!
Staff talent show.
The Staff Talent show was something that students eagerly anticipated for weeks leading up to Christmas. This lunch time performance was hotly contested affair, which always took place on the Thursday of Charities Week (See Those were the days Part 26).
The winner was chosen by a panel of judges that was not quite of the same caliber as that from X-Factor. Teachers used to dodge the honour of appearing on this judging panel as it always used to end in tears and tantrums from the Staff band in particular if they did not come out on top.
Your brief as a judge was basically to decide if the Staff band had done enough to defeat a less talented, but very determined bunch of reprobate teachers (mainly teaclub members) that locked horns with the band every year. Other groups of staff performed various party pieces, or mimed to tracks of the day from performers such as Rick Astley. Invariably these side acts were poor and often slightly toe curling. Therefore it always boiled down to a straight shoot out – The band versus the “Tea Club Boys”.
The Band was pretty tight and would bash out an Oasis cover or something similar. The Rake 2 for further stories from the band’s exploits.
The lads in opposition knew their limitations, but would use props, bribes, humour and what talent they had to try and win over the audience. One year they built a life size Cadillac out of MDF for their performance of Grease Lightening.
The vision that I still have of one of their best shows was of the four of the reprobates lined up, wearing tutus, leotards and ballet shoes performing a series of demi plies to the soundtrack of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The whole front row of the audience was screaming in shock and blind panic every time the lads bent their knees to lower their torsos gracefully and sweep their arms upwards. This was due to the fact that one of the teachers had burst his tights in a rather crucial area and so every time he stooped down his scrotum squeezed out of the hole for a gentle airing! This was the cause of the screams of terror from the Year 10 girls who were copping an eyeful of this in the front row.
Not only could Jim Chinnor teach, but another string to his bow was he was in charge of the school’s “Charities Week”, which was an absolute blast. Charities week was traditionally held on the last week before the Christmas holidays.
This whole week had a semblance of chaos about it, but it had a tried and tested format.
In fact how Jim pulled it off each year I will never know, but he knew how to delegate effectively; each Year 11 form took responsibility for an event during the week. Jim briefed them and let them loose on their projects. Publicising the events, production and sale of show tickets, the rehearsals (where a lot of the weaker acts were weeded out), booking the Hall and such like were jobs that the kids had to do. It was all part of being a Year 11 student. They just did it.
There were student talent shows set up for lower & upper school kids to have a shot at the big time in front of their peers. These shows were held at lunchtimes – tickets were sold by Year 11 students.
Two of the members of Scouting for Girls played at one such school talent show and one lad brought his Dad down to play at another show!
The staff talent show was the highlight of the week – that is another future post I think.
Tickets for the Charity Auction were always particularly sought after. Held for a double period between break and lunch on the Tuesday, the auction was presided over by Reg Ball, a deputy head who was an auctioneer and antiques dealer in his spare time. The auction was always a hot ticket, because possession of one got you out of lessons 3 and 4 on that Tuesday.
The Year 11 form in charge of the auction would write to businesses, sports clubs, even celebrities to ask for donations of goods and services that they could put up for auction. In the days before e-mail and the internet it was amazing to see what the kids gathered in for the event.
Musical chairs competitions were always arranged some time during the week and they were often brutal, almost gladiatorial affairs. Jim Chinnor somehow always managed to organize and control these sessions without a hitch . He would get a whole year group down into the school hall and make all the students to cough up a quid to enter. Then Jim would get about 100 chairs slung out in the middle of the hall, get the 240 or so students from one specific year group to trot around the outside edges of the hall and you can guess what happened when the music stopped! Anyone remember that children’s television programme hosted by Mike Reid “Run Around”, if so you catch my drift.
Risk assessments and health and safety were not de rigueur then needless to say. The students got whittled down to a single winner in a cauldron of noise and pure energy. The din in there could be deafening as the tension built with students cheering on their favourite.
On one occasion in the final play off one student, who clearly could not get to the last chair in time, pulled the seat away from the winner as they tried to sit down. This made Jim mad as hell. He tore into the guilty student whilst the rest of the year group looked on. Half way through his rant he spat out his false teeth and in a blink of an eye caught them in one hand and popped them back in place without pausing from delivering his verbal dressing down. It was one of those jaw-dropping moments where you double take and turn to the person next to you and ask, “Did you just see that?”
Those were the days Part 22
The West London comprehensive school where I first taught had a few Science labs that were situated on the ground floor of the “sixth form block”. Above these labs were the sixth form common room, offices and three classrooms where languages were taught. “Languages” was commonly known amongst some staff as ‘Bosnia’, as it was truly a war zone up there. On regular occasions I would be invited over to help sort out kids from my form who were messing around in class. Consequently the joke was that anyone taking a trip over there could be regarded as a UN peacekeeper.
I was lucky not to be timetabled in that block. The main reason being if you taught below a language lesson it was quite disturbing at times due the chaos occurring above you. Regularly school bags would be hung on the blinds cords and left to dangle out of windows so that they were seen swinging outside from the labs below. The kids would eat up there all the time and chuck their leftovers and other bits of rubbish outside too. The occasionally rejected sandwich would land outside the lab downstairs whilst the odd crisp packet and sweet papers would drift past on the breeze. You always had to go up and sort things out if you were teaching below.
Luckily I did not teach in these labs that often, normally it was for a room swap. On one occasion I had to cover a test in one of the labs. The kids in my class were quietly doing the task in hand, whilst it was clearly kicking off upstairs. All of a sudden a large, dark shape wizzed down past our windows and landed on the playground outside with a huge thump. “Oh my God!” shouts a kid, “someone has fallen out the window!” It did look like it, and certainly sounded like it. Pandemonium broke out in my room; one kid started screaming. I dashed out the fire exit to check, only to find that the premises manager was replacing some carpet in an upstairs office. He had lugged out an old roll of underlay from an upstairs window onto the playground to save carrying it downstairs!
Two major discoveries occurred this week.
I was stunned by the revelation that Stella Artois was in fact not what it seemed and it had fallen from its lofty position of 5.2% abv to a much lower alcohol content. The once “reassuringly expensive” premier lager had quietly drifted into being a weaker concoction that was no longer top of the line in my humble opinion. To me this was a real eye opener.(See my previous post)
The second Earth shattering discovery of a particle that supported Higgs Boson theory was announced at CERN on 4th July 2012. As with a lot of “breakthroughs” that happen at the high end of Science, the Press get hold of the new concept and either dumb it down, or get a so-called expert in the field in question to explain in “lay man’s” terms how it affects day to day life of the average person in the street. These “experts” are normally socially inept academics who may be able to talk a lot about, in this case, Particle Physics but do not say much.
People want to hear that Higgs Boson can make their plasma telly work better, or their iPhone will need less battery charging time. They do not want to be tied down by quantum mechanics. Well I think that the common man is in for a disappointment, but at least we have come a few steps from the point where the tabloid red tops were scaring the living daylights out of some of the kids I taught at the time that the CERN project started. This was due to the fact that the kids were reliably informed by the tabloids that the World would end when the linear particle accelerator was switched on.
It is so much more reassuring that the Daily Star reports this week that the discovery…
means one day we could travel faster than the speed of light – like in Star Trek. Beam me up Scotty!
If you are happy with that explanation then do not watch the video below. I am quietly thinking to my self if the same tabloid had announced that Stella Artois could no longer be considered to be “wifebeater” it would create more of a stir!
The Germans have a word called “erledigt” it has numerous different meanings, but one rough translation means ‘job done’.
The bloke on camera would shout “erledigt” on completion of the task were he actually german, which in this case, he is not.
Bootsy Collins is a crazy cat. The sort of bloke you would not sit next to on the tube unless you had to. Well he does dress terribly loud.
He appears here on a classic BBC2 series from the 1980’s called Rock School – the programmes sought to give musicians an insight on the technicalities of playing certain instruments with certain styles, be it Rock guitar, Reggae drums or in Bootsy’s case – Funk bass guitar.
He makes it look so simple!
It is just all about being on the “ONE”!
Now where am I heading on this post then? Well there are two things that stand out about Bootsy.
Firstly he has lived a life and seen the World, for instance you see him happily playing bass lines for the Great James Brown in a televised show in Italy. Notice the crowd clearly do not know what to make of the Godfather of Soul here as he struts on stage. Nevertheless Bootsy seems to be enjoying himself in the background.
Now that was years ago – but Bootsy keeps busy giving talks on his musical past and also helps to encourage and support young musicians with his own University of Funk. The next clip has Bootsy telling a story in one of his seminars about the relationship he had with James Brown.
So I say “Good on you Bootsy!” for giving it back.
And listening to Bootsy speak reminds me of, the second thing…….
PETER CROUCH – Mr “You know….” immediately to mind when you hear Bootsy speak. You know you end up counting them, you know, during any interview that Crouch gives on TV.
I can sometimes come out with these one liners in public that can be toe curlingly embarrassing for those that are with me. For example on Christmas Eve at the Coop I was checking out my shopping and packing it in carrier bags when the girl on the till asks “What is this?” as she holds up a butternut squash.
“Vegetarian chicken” I reply giving my best attempt at totally dead pan face. I winked at the ATC cadet who was helping with the packing for charity as the girl swallowed the bait.
After 30 seconds of searching on her screen for the product code the teenage girl twigged and just gave me one of those looks over the rims of her glasses – pure distain. Good times!