Well, I didn’t go to the Pagan meeting with Gareth this evening. Its slightly cold but that’s not the reason.
They have stopped you smoking in the big room upstairs, now and I’ll be damned if I’ll be restricted like that. Wouldn’t matter so much if the Summer as I could just take my beer outside. So sorry everyone there, you’ll just have to miss me.
So with some unexpected time, thought I put up that book extract. Having said that, I’ve copied it from the other computer, so if anything goes wrong with the font, you’ll know why!
Anyway, its about the time I was expelled from the private school in Weymouth in . .. (guess!!) I’d already been ‘half kicked out’ by being forced to board at their Junior School for dating girls out of bounds. Then I refused to get my hair cut well . . . that really did it!!
Here it is (I hope!)
For the moment,
From The Chapter “And There Was More”
Though while my interest in the supernatural and ‘another existence’ had taken a definite turn towards an active interest – as opposed to the ‘fascinated awe’ towards such things in my childhood – I realized that I none-the-less remained a partial captive of my physical surroundings; more especially when I was drawn back into the physical world by petty mundane everyday tasks and obligations.
But I basically remained immune, and I also discovered a real pleasure in disrupting the squalid rules and regulations that I saw as contributing towards such an environment. One of my favourite past-times, or means of ‘escape’, was to arrange secret dates with girls from a nearby comprehensive school, and, joined by just one or two of the other boys, we’d smooch in the bushes that surrounded the school playing field. We’d giggle and feel prohibited flesh; like naughty children revelling in the shreds of respectability that we’d dared to violate. I had no conscience, knowing I was doing nothing wrong, although the scandal and rumours that swept the school gave me more than good reason to keep doing it! I did not stop these clandestine meetings, only was just more careful with the venue and found places outside of the school grounds to foil many of the other boys who were bent on my capture.
Most of these Judases were either moral bigots or just inwardly jealous, but they would have ‘turned me in’ at the slightest opportunity. But perhaps the most offended by these ‘unheard of atrocities’ was the headmistress herself. A staunch and conservative Christian, she eventually ‘demoted’ me to board at the Junior school about a quarter of a mile away – a distance I had to walk twice a day to attend the regular Senior school lessons. I felt decidedly out of place as most of the Junior school ‘inmates’ were at least five or six years younger than me. Perhaps the only advantage of this peculiar situation was that the children were too young to really harass me, or even understand the situation.
The school was run by a Mr. Berry and his young wife who were kind and sympathetic to my plight, and although they never said so in so many words (almost certainly because of their position), I sensed they both found the situation both incredulous and amusing. In fact, I had many long conversations with Mr. Berry himself about the complexities of life and living which he understood with great perception and ability. Courteous and understanding, I just did not have the heart to carry my vendetta into his school. He was one of the few people I had come to know who understood that my ‘reputation’ had really been formulated by bigoted principles which he did not necessarily agree with.
As it turned out, my stay at the school was not destined to last much longer and a dramatic event shortly afterwards resulted in my being expelled from the school. This occurred in early July, less than three weeks before the end of term. One day I was approached in class by the headmaster of the Senior school and, in front of astonished pupils and an equally surprised teacher, ordered me to leave lessons and go out and get a hair cut. This was certainly prompted by my refusal the previous evening to go back to the senior school to get a hair cut by the visiting barber. I said nothing, but left in apparent obedience, though once past the school gates I ‘doubled back’ in the other direction.
I walked to the beach and lay amongst the sun-drenched rocks; in half a mind to run away, but in fact, past the point of really caring. London was a long way off and besides, I quite enjoyed staying at the Junior school and the ‘peaceful attitude’ of Mr. Berry. Yet at the same time, I realised that I’d eventually have to go back and, without the required ‘short back and sides’, face a confrontation that could only really result in yet more tragedy. I had no desire to invite the latter but, on the other hand, I was equally determined not to get my hair cropped to the insidious level of my zombie-like companions. It was my hair and if I chose to let it grow (it should be remembered that in 1961 it was completely unheard of for schoolboys and young men to have long hair; it was not supposed to grow over your collar), nobody had any right to instruct me otherwise.
I decided to force a show-down, and after a care-free day on the beach, I returned to the senior school and was there confronted by an out-raged Mrs. Crocker. She was apparently more concerned about my hair than the fact that I’d ’run away’ for the day. She pointed out the seriousness of my offence and asked me to consider the bad example I was setting to the other boys. She added that apart from this, long hair was ’dirty’ as well as being a ’health risk’. I’d been trying to keep a straight face but these words brought an unavoidable smile to my face (I couldn’t help wondering how she’d neglected to apply this to women), and she then said I must go and report to the headmaster. I did, but in his study I again refused to obey the order. Furious at such unheard of defiance, I was warned of the ultimate consequence of degrading the school’s good name (I knew he was also referring to the meetings with the girls although he had no actual proof of that and this was not mentioned), and he gave me a final choice between acceptance and the humiliating act of expulsion.
Naturally I chose the latter. I had been given some three weeks grace until the end of term, but I didn’t really care. The Junior school was like a mini hotel and besides, at last I’d been given a chance to have some say in my future.
From the new book by David Farrant titled . . . (guess again!!)
Very enjoyable read – thanks for sharing!
Enjoyed the extract. Good for you not going to that meeting if you can’t smoke. I don’t bother going to pubs these days, with the smoking ban I can’t fully enjoy a beer.
I certainly remember the great long hair scandal. I grew my hair just like it is now, that is long and straight –in fact apart from two “short” experiments I have always had long hair and as you say in your book, 1960-and for a few years afterwards this was a great scandal and disgrace. My mum went mad about it but I left home at 16 to nurse, where it was an equal scandal at the hospital . Apart from preferring long hair my hair is so fine it was impossible to”train” into a nice little neat bob. Of course I pinned it up under a cap when working but it was always falling down. I could not understand why people were so against long hair, you would have thought you had committed a major crime. As for the boys, well I mixed with a great crowd in the Yorkshire Dales who were folk singers, long haired and often bearded. We used to drink pints of Tetleys bitter! I didnt like the suited short back and sides boys with boring jobs and had no dreams for a nice little semi and being at home with babaies–(though actually thats what happened, though I did marry a long haired one who didnt meet the required image from my parents point of view)
My other rebellion was the wearing of jeans,mens jeans at that, no one can imagine these days the scandal this also assumed, nice girls were supposed to wear horrible things like slacks or trews. I had hardly any money,as nurses wages were very poor, about £3.00 a week after board and lodging, I had no nice clothes, the fashions were frumpy little suits in crimplene or sticky out knee length dresses, but the boutiques were just starting up but I had no money, it was saved for the weekend beer and cig money when me and my friend could get our off duty to coincide–beer of course was about one and sixtpence a pint in old money, and five Willie Woodbines! I played Bob Dylan continuously on my old record player in the Nurses Home and drove everyone nuts, and like you, hitched hiked on the continent a few times. With no money, or very little, and no dickipoggy either, my friend who was RC was great fun but very strict about our rules, we had a coded series of “plans” and plan b and c were certainly not allowed! Which only left plan A !. Not only that the pill hadnt arrived, and we were both really ignorant about certain matters anyway.
The sixties were a great time to grow up in but you met with a lot of fuddy duffy, unreasonable opposition from adults who after all–from what we have since learned,w ere no angels in World War 11. I find the lack of understanding and prejudice of those times caused me,personally, a lot of problems and looking back it was all very petty and narrow minded.
Oh and the ultimate sin for the man was to wear an earring!!!!!!!!I knew this half Chinese guy with shiny black hair and an earring, he was a right Romeo! My friend went out with him–not me, but she was RC, very strict them days , and he was too hot to handle and after that crisis when we had only three days to live-were they going to nuke us over Cuba I think–and he told her she didnt want to die without knowing what it was all about as a seduction tecnique so she jumped out of his car and ran away –and the bomb never fell anyway! Then she met a frumpy young man called Pigface and reverted back to “normality” that is, frumpy clothes, an engagement ring, marriage and our round the world plan fell apart ! and life moved on, as it does, though I never changed into the “mould”–I went onto the enjoy the sixties, though I suppose Yorkshire wasnt as exciting as London. I did meet Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones though.
Still we had some great times also, and came to London a few times where we used to drink in the Duke of York where all the hippies went. Funnily enough I bumped into someone I met there a few years ago, my friend Sue, we had a right laugh. There was a bit od drug dickipoggy in the hospital but I wont go into that. I dont like drugs, dont smoke but as David knows like my vodka.
Look forward to more of your memoires ! Its a good job we never met up!
Sorry this seems to be about me, but you just “took me back” and I think it is hard for younger people to realise what a different world it was then!
So thats really why I have rambled on, everything was so very different, even now my grandaughter cant imagine a world without cars and computers!
Sorry if this seems about me, but I was so reminded of it all by your problems over the long hair!
Yes, its a good thing we never met up then, Barbara. I dread to think what might have happened!
haha! Well me a beuatiful young maiden and you a–what was that song–a well dressed follower of fashion! I would have liked to have been around when the vampire story was on the go but in the seventies I was at home with kids, though that didnt stop us having some good times round Bradford, and there was our very own Ripper just starting out. In the 80s of course all the Robin Hood hullabaloo started up, then it was onto Cyber wars and the rest you know,
tata for now
I didn’t know that they even objected to women having long hair! It is difficult, though, to remember how much things have changed, I know that in 1962 the national press reported how a noisy party at Glasgow University had been broken up by the police, some of the students, they said, had long hair and beards, and were wearing sandals and duffel coats! I have in front of me a signed copy of Patrice Chaplin’s memoir ‘City of Secrets’, she relates how she and her friend Beryl went to Girona, Spain, in the 1950s, and outraged everyone because, apart from those debauched sandals and duffel coats, they wore drainpipe trousers and put on black nail varnish and white lipstick. For a fiesta they donned skirts, but tight ones with slits: “The women though we were whores, the men hoped we were”. In her photograph from then she now looks really old-fashioned!
Gareth J. Medway