Monday, September 16, 2013

1982: Why I'm alive

Driving to work this morning, taking in the crisp early autumnal landscape and chilly feel of these back to school days, up popped Donna Summer's State Of Independence. 'That reminds me of the time...' I thought.

And then what it actually did was remind me that I still have a blog where I post songs that recall a moment in my life and which I have ignored since April. Time for a revival perhaps?

If you're ready teams, let's play.

Today's subject is school trips. I was always the first to put my name down for a school trip. When I arrived at boarding school I couldn't believe what was on offer. Whereas all previous school trips had been confined to the Tudor House in Southampton, Lulworth Cove and once a regional theatre production of Death Of A Salesman at the Salisbury Playhouse, these outings were to London theatres, galleries and museums. Of course I was going to go. In that first term I was as regular a coachgoer as Brendan Sheerin.

I didn't really want to see Toyah Wilcox as a wrestler in Trafford Tanzi, Dennis Waterman in Windy City or Cats at the Young Vic but I was going anyway. The most fun of it was on the minibus and then wherever we went to dinner or lunch afterwards: A small and very old-fashioned Greek restaurant in Waterloo, Pizza On The Park where we cheeked the waitress until she could take it no more and the cafe at the National Gallery to name but a few. What fun it was to be out in London in 1982 aged 17.

London was much of a mystery to me back then. I'd been up for the odd day but now I was a much more frequent visitor. I knew that it wasn't necessary to get the Tube from Covent Garden to Leicester Square, but there were still some parts of it we'd travel through that were totally new to me and captured my imagination, sometimes because they were so awful but mainly because it was all so exciting and different. Even now, there are still some bits of the city I've never been to and I've lived here since 1987.

So can I remember anything about any of the actual trips themselves? To be honest, not really. But I do remember the feel of the weather and this song always puts me in mind of bright autumnal days, milling about first thing in the morning and waiting to get on the bus. We must have done a lot of trips from September to December.

We had one disaster: breaking down on the A3 headed for Noises Off. Smoke billowed from under the bonnet forcing gnomic economics buffoon Phil (teachers were always called by their first names remember) to pull over just north of Guildford. But no one really cared about missing the show. We had much more fun sitting on the soft verges until we were rescued.

Culture vulture? Me? Not as such. Not then. I can't remember doing any more trips outside of the first two terms. Perhaps I was barred or they stopped doing them or I just got bored. That's me, never sticking at anything for long. It makes me wonder how long this blog revival will last.

But anyway, how is everyone?


  1. One of Mrs M's all time favourite songs. Strangely I don't think I've ever heard the Jon and Vangelis demo (there must be one)..

    Yes still here, and blogging (just).

    Our school trips were as expected Ice Skating and old buildings: Greenwhich, Colchester Castle, Kentwell Hall. The real excitement was travel-sickness, back-chatting one of the parent-volunteers, or if a cheeky one* popped a knocker out for the crowd. It did happen..

    *Not a parent of course

  2. He's back!
    Great to see you blogging again, Mr Peake.
    The only school trip I really remember was one to Nether Swell Manor, in Gloucestershire (the name of which caused much sniggering). Two incidents stuck in my mind: Matthew Fage got mercilessly teased for taking a cuddly Glo Worm toy with him, and David Tabb, whose dad was a policeman, deliberately set off the smoke alarm by squirting clouds of Brut talc at it. Fire engines came. I think our school was banned after that.

    1. We went to Nether Swell Manor too. I just remember the supposed rumours that the manor was haunted by a blue nun. Was highly amusing as people tried to hype each other up

  3. Hi, I started dropping by and enjoying your reminiscences not long before you (and another mutually-read blogger) decided to give it a break...! So it's good to read something new and I hope you'll continue.

    My school trips were few and far between for some reason, but art college trips to London galleries were the best because our tutors all buggered off down the pub whilst we went on the search for record shops. There was many a trip to the HMV when it really should have been the ICA. What you say about the 'feel of the weather' was resonant - yes all my memories are of Autunm days too, misty mornings, red leaves, the dark closing in on our way home. Happy days.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to comment everyone. Good to hear your memories too.

    I still have good intentions to continue, so watch this space!