Friday, June 17, 2011

1978: He thinks he's tough

Teachers and music never crossed over when I was at school. I've heard tales from those only a few years younger than me about teachers doing compilation tapes for pupils or lending them their albums. I cannot imagine anything like that ever happening when I was at school, and if it had it would have been met with a) derision; and b) mortification. Plus, I doubt any teacher would trust any of their charges not to wreck their records.

That said, there was one occasion when a teacher revealed that he actually listened to music - the music we listened to - and it elevated him to almost legendary status among my peers by the final bell. With everyone but me that is, because he was a PE teacher and PE teachers disliked me as much as I disliked them.

This guy was probably early twenties (ancient!), had a beard and longish hair, a Hampshire accent and wore a powder blue Adidas tracksuit that would make Sue Sylvester green with envy.

It was the time of Jilted John, John Shuttleworth in punk parody period at the time when punk was already doing that itself. A great comedy tune with lots of great lines that were quoted to death by all, especially the 'yeah, yeah, it's not fair' bit, and it had risque words in it like puff, tart and - yikes! - moron.

One lunchtime, as this was being reenacted for the zillionth time, this PE muppet walked by, chuckled, and remarked, 'yeah, but on the other side he's going steady with Julie'.

He knew what the B-side was! Everyone marveled at this revelation. It struck us that teachers were human too. Well, some of them. I bet Miss Ogg liked Sandy Denny.


  1. Brilliant - I once phoned a teacher pretending to be from BRMC (think that's right - the lot who compiled the chart anyway) after a TV news report on chart-rigging. It was a sneaky way of snooping about her record collection .All I remember is she'd bought a Diana Ross single - I think may have been My Old Piano..

  2. That's fantastic Mondo. I was always mucking about on the phone - why didn't I think of that?

    And how did you manage to get hold of a teacher's phone number? We found a list of teachers full names once, and that was sensational enough.

  3. I had an art teacher in elementary school that talked about music every week. She played records while we did our projects...Lovin Spoonful is the only band I remember.

    It's funny, I have a better picture of her in my mind now than most of my actual teachers in elementary. She had curly red hair and wore nike tennis shoes.

    The only other musical experience I had with a teacher was a substitute who turned out to be a member of the Nation of Islam. He spent the whole period explaining, through a tree graph, how Acid Rock was proof that Western Culture was not only depraved but, actually an expression of mental insanity.

    We never saw him again.

  4. Actually it was 'lady over the road' from my Dear Diary entries. She taught at a different school, but I became slightly obsessed once she started peeling off with her curtains open (that sounds much more disgusting, than it's meant to - I meant her soft furnishings. Actually that sounds just as bad. You know what I mean!)

    She had a double-barrel name, so a breeze to find in the phone book when only the landed gentry were ex-directory

  5. Wow, there are some gems here! We never had anything as exciting as Nation of Islam teachers - and certainly nothing like Mondo's LOTR, who's become a legend since his diary entries. Mind you most of my teachers were nuns, so I wouldn't have expected anything raunchier in their record collections that a 12" remix of The Spinners doing 'Oh Sinner Man'.

    Our PE teacher did let us work out a dance routine to 'The Hustle' once, but more often than not we just had to lie there doing humiliating 'scissors' to her crackly copy of 'Popcorn'.

    Wasn't the young Graham Fellowes cute? We'd all have snogged him.

  6. I remember being five years old, new to primary school, and walking home with my mum while much bigger boys sang "Gordon is a moron" over and over again at one of their friends, who was called Gordon. They'd have been about nine, I think. It took me about ten years before I realised they were quoting a song.

    There's an album track by Jilted John which ends with him sitting in his room, with his chips, feeling sad. It's screamingly funny and remarkably moving all at once.