5 November 2018
‘Be sorry to see you go.’ Biggles is fiddling with his ‘tache as we sit in the staff common room. ‘Are you sure you want to leave?’
‘It’s only an interview. No guarantee I’ll get the job.’
‘What are they looking for?’
It’s a new post.’ I wave a piece of paper. ‘Director of Drama.’ …
30 October 2018
In the morning of the twenty seventh of August 1982, the phone ringing wakes me.
I’ve had a disturbed night, despite spending the evening at the Flyer – ‘Another pint!’ I pump money in the jukebox. Happy music only. Norma makes a comment. ‘You look like the cat what got the cream. You won the pools?’ Hands me her glass. ‘A G and T. Double.’…
23 October 2018
I’m just staggering back from the Flyer one evening in the middle of August when the phone goes at Orchard Cottage. I briefly consider ignoring it but instead turn down Toto.
“…it’s a feeling you never belonged to me…”
‘Hello?’ I grump.
‘Oh there you are…”
16 October 2018
A few more weeks of summer term and that’s it. Five years done. Where have all those years gone?
‘Fuck man, what you gonna do? Slit your wrists? Och. She’s all over you and she’s a real babe.’ …
9 October 2018
‘So. Inspection.’ The Big Cheese’s addressing the staff at the beginning of my fifth new academic year. In full swing.
My own relationship with him has gradually morphed from outright fear to grudging respect. In turn, he even occasionally tries to share a joke with me nowadays as if somehow, I too have morphed from dangerous deranged specimen teaching an irrelevant subject to a young radical bringing in valuable and valued new pupils…
3 October 2018
The silence between Cher and I thickens; just the piped music insinuating.
“…sometimes I don’t know what I will find…”
This is moving things on. Clive could be in here. Consenting adults. Like with the Femme Fatale. Is that what I want? Is that what Cher wants? Or will it just complicate things? Make things awkward after.
And then something clicks…
26 September 2018
I’ve lazed the early weeks of summer holiday 1981 away. Bit of cricket. Bit of social. Lot of thinking. Bought a copy of “Face Value” by Phil Collins which is welded to my turntable.
To my surprise, on the morning of summer school starting, I’m awake early, a stirring in my guts. Why?…
17 September 2018
Summer term. 1981.
I’m in my study listening to Pat Metheny on the cassette player, holding a letter from The Big Cheese, countersigned by the Bursar confirming a rise in salary next year. “In recognition of your contribution to drama at Fitzrovia.”
It’s warm June sunshine outside with the aroma of fresh mown grass through the open window; a presage to cricket nets in half an hour. At the sound of footsteps in the corridor I thrust the letter into my pocket…
11 September 2018
Just before Christmas, “Bouncers” takes place.
‘Ticket sales are picking up,’ says Hovis Hair a few days before performance. ‘A slow burner.’ She purses her lips. ‘A friend tells me it’s quite violent. Bad language.’
‘It’s meant to be a comedy,’ I venture. ‘There’s an edge to it, but essentially it should be funny.’
She frowns. ‘My husband and I are coming on the Saturday. Is it suitable for children?’
‘I’d exercise some caution. Teenagers, fine. Younger than that probably not.’…
5 September 2018
“…innocence raped with napalm fire, twenty first century schizoid man…”
Next morning I’m in my study, still assimilating how I really feel about the previous evening with Miss Dazzle, when there’s a knock on the door. ‘Come in.’
It’s Fizz; flushed in the face; looks as if she might have been crying. Red eyed. Puffy. She should be in school uniform, ready for Sunday chapel, but isn’t.
What’s going on? I turn down King Crimson…
28 August 2018
The White Horse Hotel, where I’m to meet Miss Dazzle, is on the outskirts of town. It has rooms, and a reputation for decent food. ‘Reassuringly expensive,’ says Biggles.
I’ve taken a ridiculous time getting ready, changing in and out of clothes, staring at myself in the mirror, before getting a grip. Does it matter what I wear? Why not just be myself? Like I said I would be. And just what am I expecting – hoping? – to happen? In truth, I’ve stopped pining for her. Barely give her a thought.
And yet…over the past few days…
21 August 2018
It’s the start of a brand new academic year. My fourth at Fitzie’s. No more the new boy. Instead there are others who’ve arrived, fresh faced, new shoots, following more pruning by the Big Cheese. Out with the old; in with the new…