|The Electronic Newsletter of St Augustine's Grammar School, Sharston Mount, M22 4PJ||30
|From the Headmaster||News||Old Boys||Old Staff|
|Looking Back||Miscellaneous||Classified||Births Deaths and Marriages|
|Letters to Editor|
Distributed to all Old Boys, Staff and
"Friends of St Augustine's" with known email addresses.
Please (print and) forward to any not on emailing list.
|"From the Headmaster"||Stripes in Magenta|
|News||Stripes in Magenta|
The Grand Reunion will be held on Friday 9 November 2001.
Help would be appreciated in trying to
contact all old boys and staff, so pass the word on.
It would be very helpful if one or two from each year could coordinate trying to contact as many as possible from their year.
We plan also to place adverts in local newspapers in near future.
If you would like to be actively involved, contact
...or share your thoughts via the Message Board
Porn. . .
The website www.staugs.org continues to grow....
All contributions are
welcome: particularly letters "From the
Headmaster" , speechday tapes, any period photos,
the 1st and 2nd speechday programs (pre 1969), further
information on TV Top of the Form and, of course, your
|Old Boys||Stripes in Magenta|
|Old Staff||Stripes in Magenta|
Alan Addis has now moved to
|Looking Back||Stripes in Magenta|
|These stories are gathered
from memories from over 25 years ago: they may well have
grown in the telling.
Fiction may have been confused with fact but this has not been allowed to get in the way of a good story!
The first time I ever 'got sent'
was when Neil Creighton forced us to own up for
misbehaviour in Kenny's Maths class. In our first
year, we were mainly in Room 1 and were next to where the
new 6th form common room was being built.
Consequently, there was a considerable amount of building
material available and the room was close ankle deep in
gravel by the end of the class. Since it was his
form room, Nellie was upset and shamed, as I remember,
about 17 of the more honourable/gullible of us into
owning up. We formed a queue outside Spike's office and
I happened to be somewhere about 7th or 8th in
line. Although we only got 2 strokes each, this was
enough for poor old Barney Nuttall who must have thought
that the end of the line would be a safe bet.
However, by the time he had seen a string of red faced,
groaning fellow wrong doers passing him on their way to
the toilets for a private blub, he'd lost his nerve
completely (quite understandable) and was in tears before
he'd even got close to the head of the queue. In
future, be warned, it's best to get it over with!!
We were the first year to leave en masse to go to
VIth form college with no VIth form left at Aug's.
"They" knew we were going to cause trouble and
had a good idea - they let us assume we were going to
finish at Friday lunchtime (ie we were going to get the
afternoon off). But then, on Thursday afternoon, told us
not to come in on Friday at all. It would have been a
good idea had we stayed away from school. Unfortunately
they gave us the whole of Friday to cause mayhem - which
we did! one thing I remember was telephoning anyone we
could think of who would send a van or lorry to the
school (AA, RAC, Gas, Telecom, Dynarod etc). They all
arrived at about the same time and caused Gridlock. Good
One time sent I got sent to Spike
was for fixing results in a peer-marked French vocab
test. We had mutually rounded up the marks so as all
three would pass. Later that day, the master apologised
to two of the trio involved (the third being Andrew
Matthews) ... "couldn't miss getting Matthews' son ,
you understand"! Nevertheless, we were guilty as
charged and it was perfectly legitimate to punish all
three of us.
As for the 2 Humphries... They had
some parental French connections - I'm unsure what - and
this resulted in them hosting a French exchange student
who had the pleasure of attending one of Kenny's Maths
classes. Perhaps in a fit of over exuberence, the
host Humphries got into some carry on or other in the
class which resulted in the French boy - Didier as I
recall - getting on the end of at least a telling off if
not a flying board duster from Kenny. (I'm trying
to deal with the apochyphal story you understand and
should never let the truth get in the way of a good
story). Didn't do much for the Entente Cordiale as
I'm sure you understand.
As I now sit here as a teacher at the end of a long, hot week in 2001, we are cautioned to be on guard regarding drawing attention to our students' shortcomings and to avoid embarrassing them at all. Perhaps Eric Taylor Morris might have borne this in mind before distributing the certificates to 1F for their Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music theory exam back in 1974:
In a fit of Political Correctness, the Associated Board had decided that all participants would receive a certificate regardless of whether they had passed ( 66 out of 99 as I remember) or failed (below 66). Those passing would receive a pink certificate whereas those failing would receive a blue one.
As Mr Morris made an Academy Award performance out
of handing out the certificates, we could all see that
there was one blue certificate at the bottom of the
pile. Naturally, he started with the highest score
and worked his way down. Although not all the class
had sat the exam, all knew the significance of the
different colour at the bottom of the pile. As each
successful student was called forward to receive his
certificate, there was obvious relief for him and an
increase in tension for the remaining students. It
eventually came down to it that the poor student who had
failed was Anthony Jeffries ( 'giz a tot, Jeff' ) who, by
the time he had to go up to the front of the class to
receive his blue certificate was already in tears.
Unfortunately, Jeff also had the reputation of being a
pretty hot recorder player and had practised those
passages we had to play at exam time every lunchtime and
could rattle them off like Acker Bilk!!! It must
have been terrible for poor ol' Jeff, but the rest
of the class were pissing themselves with laughter and
relief by the time he had to walk out the front to
collect his certificate. Nothing like sensitivity
when you're a teacher, eh?
I was forced to practise the piano in school one summer, perhaps in 1978/9 because a neighbouring flat dweller, a casting director of Granada Television, felt persecuted by classical music.
As I sweated over Ravel, the Headmaster
materialised beating a wonderfully refreshing 'John
Just a quick few memories of some things we did with a certain chemistry student teacher:
The REAL fountain experiment, following the broken tap and watershooting into the air, then all over the place when someone tried to stop the deluge by putting a stool over the broken pipe
Sorry I have to go now as lessons are due
SUMMER EXAMINATIONS - FRENCH - TWO HOURS
All the questions should be answered.
1. Translate the following passage into English.
Par un beau matin de juillet, le bateaue a quitté le petit port de Newhaven en route pour Dieppe. Le soleil brillait dans le ciel bleu, et les mouettes tournaient et plongeaient, tout en attrapant les morceaux de pain jetés par les passengers, qui mangeaient leurs sandwichs, lisaient leur journals, se parlaient ou se promenaient sur le pont, en attendant d'arriver de l'autre côté de la manche.
Charles Higgins, assis dans le bar de bateau, un verre de Coca Cola à la main, etait en train de lire, pour la douxième fois peut-être, une lettre qu'il avait recue juste avant de partir de Londres. C'était de son ami français, Julien sorel.
"Mon cher Charles,
Charles a replié la lettre et l'a remise dans la poche intérieure de son veston. Par les fenêtres, il a jeté un dernier regard vers l'horizon, ou la côte anglais, avec ses grandes falaises blannches était toujours visible. Lentement, le bateau s'est dirigé vers le large.
. . . Thanks to Paul Fay
|Miscellaneous||Stripes in Magenta|
Striped Sideways by Stan Cliffroade
Schooldays eh? You cant wait to leave, and then the old nostalgia bug starts to bite.
Here are some mysteries, some memories, and a little opinion - if you, like me, swing from nostalgic wallowing to cynical dismissal (and back again) of those times past, you will bear with me I hope.
Spike, the Bossman, the Boss, the Monse - hero or monster?
Many of his staff hated him with a vengeance - witness the collection taken to commemorate his silver jubilee as a priest - the exact figure is somewhere in the old letters, but it was something like £39.50 from 35 staff. Even as a callow youth I recall thinking surely some bugger could have made it up to 40 quid, for Gods sake!
He was of course a man of many parts - scholar, RAF bod, musician, manager, prelate of honour, drunk who knew him? Low born clod of brute earth or dearly ransomed soul?
"lone in the garden shade" he fought against mediocrity for his boys - his pitch to continue as Head of the Plessington monster became the stuff of legends in Crown Square, such was the eloquence and style, yet it was his ending. He was of course offered ways out - sabbatical in Rome, he turned down, a parish was beneath his talents, and he celebrated his expensive detox stays with gin and tonic on the train home - he was talented, driven and flawed - a mystery but not a monster. ( Now, that thug who replaced him, he WAS)
Hero, I think, on balance.
"a la researche du tomps pairdu" as many would write following years of M. Thibault and his incomprehensible doings in France (wasnt language teaching merde?)
I think Prousts character had his memories triggered by the taste of a biscuit or some such - R G Scrowston would know; biscuits do little for me in the way of memory ( except maybe Bandits and Choc Orange Dainties and Uniteds and Montegos), but music is something else again.
I havent heard or sung or read most of the Edwardian stuff we sang every morning, for decades, but its still there, doctor, inside me .
"Ye boundless realms of joy
. Ye heavens
above and clouds that move in liquid air"
Ill bet you can complete it
There are dozens of the damn things - "in lowly pomp ride on to die", " loud organs his glory forth tell in deep tone", " who so beset him round", "love divine all loves excelling", "in lowly pomp ride on to die", "ransomed healed restored forgiven "
- to say nothing of the Christmas lists, and of course the poetry and splendour of "for all the saints" with its golden evenings and yet more glorious days (Does anyone have a mobile phone tone download for this yet webmaster??)
There they all are, waiting in some dusty cortex for
Morris or Jessett, or on a
Spike himself, to pound the keyboard once again.
"Spoken English" - what WAS that?
The turning of the year - that was something I can still taste, because the seasons were so marked by the long hours in school.
"that time it snowed" - not the slushy muck of often and again, but the fabulous deep and crisp and even stuff, I thank it was circa 1970. Lunchtime ran on and on, a concession to boyish fun - it never happened again, just one or two days of winter joys
"hit it farther father" shouted the scallywags at the end of summer cricket match - remember the slope, the sky, red ants, the hot classrooms ( particularly the ridiculous Lecture Dem. Room and adjacent class, facing south), the disgusting but welcome water from the taps in the bogs, the "shirt sleeve order" which followed on the "declaration of summer?"
"so here it is, merry Christmas, everybodys having fun" - the Christmas carols, school-made decos twinkling down the years, Spike pleasantly pissed and singing like a pithed frog, the choir a-singing, the frost on the way home - a little bit of Dickens come to Sharston Mount by Gatley town
Dark days - who propped the ceramic toilet lid over the door so that the caretakers wife was crippled, c. 1977 - even Harry Rigby went to his grave without solving that conundrum .?
Who smashed out onto the roof in 1976 and caused "charges to be brought" on an amazing number of lads in true "blunderbuss" sure- to- hit- the - right - one somewhere Augustine style?
Who rode the service lift for two floors ( before it was disabled for ever around 1973)?
What was very wrong about the original chapel stained glass?
(Prize - a piece of the later glass for your very own!)
Calcium carbide affair
Those of you who recall some chemistry might remember this granular solid, which when wet would give off clouds of noxious and flammable acetylene gas.
How did it come to get in the inkwells of the desks in every ground floor class, where scamps would gob on it and what was it doing in the sink in the chemistry lab in a lesson unrelated to organic chem, and who set fire to it?; who sprinkled it upon the open windows of Mr OMahoneys ( God rest him) already unruly maths class, so that when closed against the rain, the whole fizzing stinking mess ran into the room and who peppered poor Mr Starkeys balding head with the stuff, and watched him go out in the rain Stan knows, but he aint snitching!
What happened to the following :
the artefacts taken from the school on the day Fr Stratton held an open evening circa 1986 - a few lads came and went, taking what was left of loose fittings of nostalgic value - were you one of those lads on that October evening, if so, ring Nostalgiacrimestoppers or contact Webcop with the goods
the cine film of "our school day" - about 10 minutes of dire footage on real film, last heard of in the hands of the year of 1970, possibly at Greygarth Hall ( beware the Opus bird my son); includes pictures of Chunky (Fr Austin "the Headmaster is a personal friend of mine" Smith, Fr Rog Callan, and possibly the blessed and holy man himself ( Spike, that is, not Christ)
the bell they rang for Latin grace in the dining room - and can anyone remember that grace? " Benedice domine nos et dona tua" something something something .
Thats all folks - but if its nostalgia youre yearning for, point your turgid browsers at www.sterlingtimes.co.uk/nostalgia-overflow.htm, where youll find Bleep and Booster, Dr Who, Robinson Crusoe, The Singing Ringing Tree, Follyfoot, Belle and Sebastian, Magic Roundabout, Animal Magic, Jackanory and a zillion more!
(Next time - "summer the first time - sex and drugs and rock and roll in Sharston"
"Stripes in my eyes - boys and staff perform school review 25 years too late"
"The strange case of the secret toilet" ( no, not the one in Spikes office))
|Classified||Stripes in Magenta|
Serious and less serious adverts carried free of
charge to friends of St Augustine's Grammar School.
Sub-webmasters for entry years 1965-1968,
1970 1972 -1975.
[1971 and 1976 sub webmaster posts are now filled.]
|Births Deaths and Marriages||Stripes in Magenta|
|Letters to Editor||Stripes in Magenta|
|Letters should be addressed
to the editor