0000652c | ? 1986-09-01T00:00:00Z ?


my first term at my new school; my desk was in the far left corner of the first form common room, between russell williams on my left and sketty (simon thomas) on my right; that’s where i first got homesick, after a week or so, crying my eyes out after prep, while everyone drank milk and ate biscuits; ben bradley-watson (known to his fellow second-formers as ‘bradley-bumstain’) spotted my condition before the tears began to fall, and eventually consoled me; but that was my last bout of homesickness in the common room; sketty did all the crying after that;

i think those desks were in alphabetical order; so perhaps kingsley thomas was beyond sketty and jonathan vicary and ben young beyond russell; cool; that’s expanded my consciousness a bit; i think it was on sunday evenings that sausage rolls accompanied the milk;

i did more crying away from the house though, over time; pooler assaulted me on the mickey mouse; i cried then, ending up in the study of some heroic prefect in school house red (facebook reminds me that it was jeff wright; i think that’s right); was he going around with sally stewart? anyway, he had some comforting words for me; and our art teacher once made me cry; i suppose she reminded me of mum in some way; dai cherry was the one i told about that;

i found myself in dai cherry’s study another time too; on a cold, dark evening, mister james-pratt had given me a protracted swatting with his gloves in drama class in the mem hall; perhaps i had smiled at something, or laughed; again, tears were the order of the day; i think cherry called him on the phone, so that he could talk to me; he said something about being tired at the end of the day; some excuse; i can imagine feeling desperate in front of a class of little freaks, but i’d rather leave them untaught than resort to violence; i think he left the staff at the end of the school year, having guided his second form class to produce an anti-cherry offering for the outdoor drama festival in the summer term; i remember bill exton’s line from that; “you’re gonna die, arse!” (‘dai arse’ was cherry’s nickname);

and there were also tears when the crap nature of the class’ history prep led kim norkett to cancel our ‘long leave’ that weekend; my birthday weekend; in the end, it wasn’t cancelled; talking of kim norkett, we saw him on tv one time, playing (outside half?) for ebbw vale, being burned off by ieuan evans; when we saw him next, we ribbed him mercilessly, asking him what size boots ieuan wore, and such like [edit 2009-08-29; i’ve just remembered that this ieuan evans memory wasn’t norkett; it was noble, kevin (?) ‘chin’ noble, a later alway house tutor, who i think played at number 10 for ebbw vale; perhaps norkett had been at scrum-half then; i don’t know how this guy returned to my memory; i hadn’t been conscious of him in ages; so what did he teach? was he potter’s temporary replacement?];

the aforementioned sally stewart was the school’s only girl; i’m not sure where her study was (school house red?), but i seem to remember one of our year, kevin redworth, spending a lot of time there; perhaps she had taken pity on him in choir practice; i think he was a bit unstable emotionally; but there was a brightness about him; anyway, i remember ben pearse suggesting once that redworth would be in her study, ‘sucking her pussy dry’; i think those were the words;

we played rugby on saint john’s pitch, across dinas lane from the main school field; i didn’t achieve much there; it was all a bit of a blur; but i remember two things; one was packing down with dh in the second row, with mark gittoes in the front row; gittoes’ arse could get you from the next room, let alone point-blank range; but one would have to bind between his legs too; yuck; the other thing was clive hawes, our darling chaplain, telling me at the end of a session that you have to be a little bit mad when playing rugby; you have to throw yourself into it; that would have been fine, but half the time i didn’t even know in which direction to go; i could have done with learning the rules;

i slept in the 3rd bed on the right in oak dorm, past russell williams and md evans; after me was pedr davies; i don’t remember the rest; opposite, pooler slept in the second bed, i think; ben bradley-watson and matt pomfret were on that side too; and cp evans, at the far end; richard orledge too? i certainly remember him offending the housemaster’s wife with some sexual innuendo; he called her ‘madame...’ something or other;

i introduced the dorm to olbas oil, having been given a little bottle to alleviate my cold symptoms; at night, i would go around everyone who wanted some, leaving a spot on his pillow (talking of sexual innuendo...); i still carried a bottle of olbas oil around with me in my final year (in my pocket, next to my alarm clock);

being a competent horn player (and music scholar), i was drafted into the school orchestra and brass band and whatever; i even did a stint at the high school once a week, but i don’t remember when that was; the south powys youth wind band, or something; i performed in one concert with them; it’s all a bit of a blur;

anyway, back at school, my number two in the horn section (there was no number three) was rhun ‘tree’ francis, one of the coolest people i remember; he was laid-back and smiley, and would engage in a lot of back-row banter with pixie powell and cr davies in the trumpet section;

i also joined the choral society, which involved a weekly march to the convent school, where mongy watts and ma biggles (piano) would teach us to sing haydn’s creation; there was only one girl at our school at the time, so this was our one co-educational day of the week; the first thing i noticed, after the attractive lawn outside and the hinged gym apparatus stored against the windows, was the hairiness of the girls’ legs; perhaps i’d never seen body hair on a girl before;

in the following school term, we performed in brecon cathedral, with mongy’s brother malcolm on the organ and bryn terfel singing the bass solo; he made quite an impression on me, and i was behind him; i remember commenting (as a schoolboy might) that, if his bowels were as big as his lungs, he would have gassed us by the end of the performance

00006187 | ? 1986-09-01T01:00:00Z ?

my first letter from mumsie-wumsie; i didn’t quite call her that, but it wouldn’t have been out of place, with her calling me ‘darling mishikins’ and such like; part 1 of 2

0000616b.jpg | ? 1986-09-07T01:00:00Z ? | photo

my first letter from mumsie-wumsie; i didn’t quite call her that, but it wouldn’t have been out of place, with her calling me ‘darling mishikins’ and such like; part 2 of 2

0000616d.jpg | ? 1986-09-07T01:00:00Z ? | photo

my first letter from dad (part 1 of 2)

00006171.jpg | ? 1986-09-08T01:00:00Z ? | photo

my first letter from dad (part 2 of 2)

00006173.jpg | ? 1986-09-08T01:00:00Z ? | photo

french prep; i had been too ashamed to write out the answer that was given in the book; hence colin kleiser’s frantic scribbling; i didn’t make that mistake again; seeping through the top of the page is my first alpha, which was his way of saying ‘full marks’

0000617b.jpg | ? 1986-09-13T00:00:00Z ? | photo

letter to mum and dad; i had been homesick, a week or two into my stay; this reference must be to my lack of secondary homesickness; the ‘po’ i refer to is a ‘period order’, in which a class of boys would be ranked according to academic performance

00006177.jpg | ? 1986-10-14T00:00:00Z ? | photo


000070ea | ? 1986-12-01T01:00:00Z ?

holding jacques in the sitting room; not sure about the time

0000a6f0.jpg | 1986-12-01T01:00:02Z | photo


00009d75 | 1987-04-01T01:00:00Z

charlotte conveniently dated (monthed) the non-intercom recording by mentioning that ‘diamond lights’ by glenn and chris was at number 12 in the charts (she sings it too); there also a gap on the tape between charlotte’s monologue and the songs, but i’ll assume they’re from the same day

000077e6 | ? 1987-04-01T01:01:40Z ?

Charlotte’s monologue — Jennifer Julie and Michaela Travolta

‘Jennifer Julie’ sings a song about a cow called Betty and eventually screams “well you’re the one who invited me on this damn show!” Nick Kamen (‘the woofter’) interrupts with ‘Each Time You Break My Heart’. Another interview, this time with Michaela Travolta. ‘Oh! I forgot to offer you a fag!’

000077e7.opus | ? 1987-04-01T01:01:42Z ? | audio | alt

Charlotte improvises a song

‘Make up’, ‘break up’ et cetera. Self-parody at the end. In Jessica’s bedroom.

00007c34.opus | ? 1987-04-01T01:04:44Z ? | audio | alt

‘Diamond Lights’ by Glenn and Chris

Charlotte introduces and performs. In Jessica’s bedroom.

000077e8.opus | ? 1987-04-01T01:18:19Z ? | audio | alt


000070eb | ? 1987-04-01T01:59:58Z ?

outside my grandparents’ place on my new bike, before taking a train to the cottage with dad, from where he took me on a mountainous bike ride on an empty stomach; i ended up in a muddy ditch by a forestry commission track, saying ‘just leave me, dad’, as the snow settled around me

0000a6f1.jpg | 1987-04-01T15:00:00Z | photo


000075b0 | ? 1987-05-01T00:00:00Z ?


at some stage during my first summer term, i accidentally sat on a newt (just a couple of centimetres long), while watching people practise cricket in the nets, from a sunny spot just outside the window in front of my desk; i kept that newt, watching it dry out in the sun, until finally it crumbled away

00006188 | ? 1987-05-01T01:00:00Z ?


on the road to afan argoed country park

0000a7e5 | 1987-08-29T09:59:58Z

Brenda suggests going for a walk on a bicycle

With Gramps at the steering wheel and us in the back, I prompt Gran for today’s plan. We’re off to Afan Argoed Country Park. Gramps groans when he hears the words ‘adventure playground’, having taken us to several already. And then Gran delivers her immortal line. My voice must have been breaking, because my laugh here sounds very odd. We have a picnic lunch. Perhaps we will walk a nature trail this afternoon. This evening, a meal and Police Academy 4. (!)

0000a7e4.opus | ? 1987-08-29T10:00:00Z ? | audio | alt


on the road to afan argoed country park

000070f1 | ? 1987-09-01T00:00:00Z ?


my second year at school; i slept in the last bed on the left in elm dorm, which was conveniently located by the second form common room; my desk, in similar fashion to the year before, was in the far right hand corner; to my right sat carl roderick, who was quite sweet;

i’m not sure whether it was in this school year or the previous one, but one of my favourite dh-isms was in geography class; we had been paired off and assigned the task of classifying the shops in town; i don’t know whether dh and i used any real shops in reaching whatever conclusions we reached, but i do remember him listing “randy andy’s kinky store”;

talking of geography, i also sat the senior scholarship exams in this school year; i got my worst grade in geography; e+

000064ff | ? 1987-09-01T00:00:02Z ?


in the summer term, we (dh evans, lee francis, pooler and i) made a movie for general studies with mrs kilpatrick; calling ourselves ‘madd productions’ (matthew, adam, david and dorian), the movie’s name was ‘the rise and fall of eddie neizwadick’; we had a bit of fun, i framed some good shots, we showed it in class and then we received a good mark;

working on the film meant that we escaped the common room to the games room during prep, so that we could do some thinking out loud during the planning phase;

lee francis was responsible for providing the movie camera; his people were also responsible for taping over the finished product with coronation street or some such thing;

kilpy didn’t think much of our slapstick scene, in which i arrived with a waste paper basket, so that the hero could have a shit; ‘ding, ding! portaloo service!’;

the final scene, shot on a balmy evening on a field of tall grass, where dinas lane turns left at the foot of the hill (two fields down from saint john’s), was interrupted by the failure of the battery; we’d only been filming for about ten minutes; i was just doing a classic rugby tackle on lee, too;

back in the modelling room (by oak dorm), where we charged the batteries (i think there were two), i filmed paul roderick mooning and sunning by his bed; i nearly played that for kilpy and the class

00006203 | ? 1988-04-01T00:00:00Z ?

rise and fall of eddie neizwadick; cast list; i think this is pooler’s writing, probably done in the games room, possibly when dh was not allowed to leave prep, because he wasn’t getting his work done

00006204.jpg | ? 1988-04-01T01:00:00Z ? | photo

rise and fall of eddie neizwadick; props list

00006218.jpg | ? 1988-04-01T01:00:00Z ? | photo

rise and fall of eddie neizwadick; script (part 1 of 2)

00006434.jpg | ? 1988-04-01T01:00:00Z ? | photo

rise and fall of eddie neizwadick; script (part 2 of 2); ‘gonk smells’ refers to our pipe-smoking maths teacher; mike hepburn wrote these words on the corridor wall outside gonk’s classroom; i don’t remember when; but i remember the glorious nonchalance with which he did it; he used a permanent marker pen; i wonder whether the words are still there

00006466.jpg | ? 1988-04-01T01:00:00Z ? | photo

rise and fall of eddie neizwadick; assessment sheet

00006469.jpg | ? 1988-04-01T01:00:00Z ? | photo

Dave and Brenda in the back garden

The back of this print says 1988. I grabbed it out of Gran and Gramps’ collection after Gramps’ death in July 2016. The surrounding prints suggest that only Gran, Gramps and Dave were around for this one. I selected it just because I liked it.

0000a92f.jpg | ? 1988-08-01T14:00:00Z ? | people brenda, people dave | photo


0000652d | ? 1988-09-01T00:00:00Z ?


year three; after a sheltered first two years, i was introduced to the senior school; one of my new classmates was a boy called prodip, who would catch his farts and throw them in his neighbour’s face during prep;

not long after the beginning of that first term, prodip and i arrived late for prep; i had been watching him fish on the river; we gave some weak excuses to ‘viv’ richards, a tuba-playing, own-leg-breaking sixth-former, who was there to supervise the junior common room, and he gave us our first early call; it should have been a terrible experience, dragging ourselves through muddy ditches on a frosty morning (and indeed there were tears from some), but it was actually really good to be out early, under a perfect sky; viv was tough, but it was a good time;

another thing i remember enjoying with prodip was golf; we didn’t use clubs, but instead contrived a course, set a par score, then kicked a tennis ball around the school; i suppose we did this in this first year, but i’m not sure;

in one of my first music lessons with jonny leonard in room 1 of the music school, i sat next to the window, in the front row of tables, with the back of the piano in my face; next to me was dh; when ‘mister leonard’ described leonard bernstein as a ‘raving homosexual’, dh turned to me and whispered ‘leonard leonard’

00006500 | ? 1988-09-01T00:00:02Z ?


000070ed | ? 1988-09-01T00:59:58Z ?

Christ College U14 Rugby Team

back row (left to right): mike hepburn (lock), richard price (flanker), david morgan (flanker), me (loosehead prop!), ed milton (lock), steve joynes (centre), stuart battle (wing), kingsley thomas (number 8), rob strawbridge (centre, mounting the three previous boys), chris john (centre), will henry (wing), des lally (fly half), leon spight (sub forward?);

front row (left to right): sketty (simon thomas) (sub scrum half?), simon davies (tighthead prop), jason davies (scrum half), greg wiseman (flanker?), rob wright (hooker);

photographer trevor; location monmouth, on the playing fields on the other side of the river from the school;

we had just beaten monmouth school by 8 points to 7 (or something similar); it was murder in the front row, since the opposition had three proper props; rob wright cried throughout; sg too, i think; i myself was close to tears; kingsley broke away for a long distance try, but was caught by their speedster; i don’t remember how the points were scored; two tries (4 points each) against a try and a penalty, i suppose; or perhaps a penalty was a bit unlikely; perhaps the score was 8-6; i had played flanker in numerous matches before this one, including a thumping of llandovery college in llandovery (refereed by huw thomas); i was a bit clueless in that role, but i was quite strong, which is what got me this job; i remember jabba bush complimenting me on my strength, after he had told me try pushing the scrummaging machine on my own, over by the second xv pitch; pricey told me i had a boney arse during that session too;

There are lots of happy faces in this scene. I suppose we were still high from victory. Also, Gramps probably told us to smile. And I dare say Strawbridge said something funny while mounting Joynes and Thomas. He did a fine impression of Bill McLaren; at least, we kids thought it pretty good.

However strange it was that we were all thrown together in a public school, and though I never made any lasting bonds, I am grateful for those times. Look at all the energy in this group. We might have been clueless — certainly I was — but at least we were living.

(Does S.G Davies look like Sean Penn here?)

I suppose there was good in all these people. Some I liked; some I admired; but the only one I have really missed over the years is Rob Wright.

Like D.H Evans, Rob left school early, before he’d had a chance to adolesce. Another reason for my missing him might be his energy and enthusiasm. Just as I got a kick out of Darren Roberts and James Hartman in my final year, Rob had a way of making people laugh.

One of Rob’s acts was after a porno performance he had seen. He would imitate this slut in fixing a dildo to the floor and then riding it to arm-flailing ecstasy. (I can see and hear it now.) Days, weeks or months later, I recall asking for a reprise; he obliged. The location of one of these performances was the top floor of the classroom block, by the windows overlooking the sports hall roof. I wonder what class we awaited there. Was it in the fourth year that Krell took us for French? I would guess that Noddy Slaney had had us in the third form. And the second? That leaves Bog in forms 1, 5 and 7 and Frank in 6.

(I used to know all this stuff, not that many years ago. I am typing this latest block in 2016 and noticing a load of memories that I would probably never again have fetched without the help of this blog.)

(Here is one more Rob Wright memory, while I’m at it...)

In that third year when Rob joined the school, Adam Ormrod and perhaps someone from Orchard House were into American football. Once or twice, they organised what I suppose was a Donaldson’s-Orchard match on the U14 pitch. I remember: a cold, bleak afternoon; Orms was our quarterback; remarkably, I outsprinted the other team’s speedster Bill Henry for a long-range touchdown. However, my favourite memory is of Richard Laurent (deliberately or otherwise) elbowing Rob in the head during some kind of maul. Rob thought that it was me who dealt the blow and chased me around the pitch. I was unaware at the time why he was chasing me, but found his waddling pursuit hilarious. I think my laughter just made him madder, which probably made him funnier.

00006107.jpg | ? 1988-09-01T01:00:00Z ? | photo


000070ee | ? 1988-09-01T23:59:58Z ?


0000652e | ? 1989-02-01T00:00:00Z ?


0000652f | ? 1989-09-01T00:00:00Z ?


the start of my fourth year of secondary school; i joined the signals section of the school ccf (combined cadet force), where, on thursday afternoons, we learned voice procedure, swindling hot pasties and squash out of the school kitchens and knot-tying; in good weather, we would walk around the school grounds, exchanging inane messages using portable vhf transceivers; if it rained, we would sometimes slide around the sodden fields holding rifles;

we were educated by selwyn rees (upper sixth), matthew green (fifth form) and cyril (a sledgehammer); selwyn kept his notebook from his own first year of signalling in the hut, from which he would dictate; and it gave us a good laugh when he was out; his speeling was atroshus; when matt green entered the hut, we (at least john rhydderch and i) would strike up a fanfare of ‘matcha... matcha... matcha... green!’; i think he quite liked it;

much of the banter of these thursday afternoons went along the lines of finbarr saunders, out of viz; therefore, it was not unusual for a visiting colonel, having asked ‘are you all members of the signals section?’, to suffer my reply “yes, we’re all _members_ here”;

i slept in rex dorm, having rejected the bed i’d been assigned in new dorm (adjacent) for more favourable company; i don’t remember which late-comer gave me the opportunity to make the switch; had i displaced bob fahy? arvinder singh? i know they were new, that year; anyway, rex dorm was populated thus (clockwise); supervising fifth-former by the door (jon michael, then tom jenkins, then huw davies), prodip, jon vicary, ben young, adam ormrod, me, joe gerrard, richard orledge and garrant jones;

not long into the new michaelmas term, we second year cadets participated in the apc, the ‘advanced practical course’; we navigated east, past the mast on the hill, and camped beneath the mountains, in a lush field surrounded by trees;

i shared a tent with prodip, who was good company; leon spight got drunk, because it was his birthday; he went around, shaking all the tents, but was otherwise fairly composed; prodip’s greatest triumph was singing ‘richard, do you remember mike?’ to the ‘frankie’ tune; i laughed so much; the richard in question was also in the camp; he had allegedly had a close encounter with a chap called michael, at the prep school he had attended with prodip;

in the morning, i think we had to wait around for the eggs to arrive for breakfast; and then we walked up the mountain; ‘bryn’ was a feature of the map, i think; we left behind us a sea of mist, on which we might have cast our shadow, had we embarked earlier;

i think we came down from the mountains before reaching the beacons, but i don’t know where; prodip and i had ended up carrying two rucksacks each around those high places; james harvey-smith and scott morton had proved rather weedy;

good times

0000611d | ? 1989-09-01T00:00:02Z ? | radio

selwyn rees’ signalling notes, featuring such spelling classics as ‘communition’, ‘iterfererence’ and ‘diserplin’

0000618a.jpg | ? 1989-09-01T01:00:00Z ? | radio | photo

‘bondage bill’, one of prodip’s doodles; i don’t know why bondage played such a big role in our collective consciousness; perhaps tom jenkins put it in our heads with one of his bizarre exclamations; another prodip offering was an alternative version of ‘the locomotion’, a cover version of which had recently been released by kylie minogue; ‘you gotta swing those whips now...’

00006144.jpg | ? 1989-09-01T02:00:00Z ? | photo

prep often seemed to go on forever; here’s another of prodip’s doodles, featuring ‘nobby’; (part 1 of 2)

00006148.jpg | ? 1989-09-01T02:00:00Z ? | photo

prep often seemed to go on forever; here’s another of prodip’s doodles, featuring ‘nobby’; (part 2 of 2)

0000614a.jpg | ? 1989-09-01T02:00:00Z ? | photo

the dorm; part 1 of 2; jonathan newell had asked us to write a spoken chorus, along the lines of ernst toch’s ‘geographical fugue’; i came up with something about whips and chains, using the name of the guy (scott morton) who had slept in the next bed to mine in scott dorm; he said that he would eat his hat if i submitted this composition; much as we would like to have seen the back of his pretentious headgear, he did not fulfil his promise; on the other hand, jonny newell, having handed our work back, leaned over my shoulder (!) and upgraded my mark

00006154.jpg | ? 1989-09-01T03:00:00Z ? | photo

the dorm; part 2 of 2

00006156.jpg | ? 1989-09-01T03:00:00Z ? | photo


00006530 | ? 1989-12-01T00:00:00Z ?

My first recording of shortwave radio

A quick scan of the shortwave band of my old Sharp tape player. Lots of tantalising glimpses of strange music and sounds.

0000600f.opus | ? 1989-12-01T00:25:10Z ? | radio | audio | alt


000070f2 | ? 1989-12-25T11:01:20Z ?

Jessica sings “I’m Every Woman”

christmas side 1 01

00006010.opus | ? 1989-12-25T13:03:17Z ? | audio | alt


000070f3 | ? 1989-12-25T13:04:09Z ?

‘The Pink Panther’

Trevor rescues my banal rendition on the piano. Brenda interrupts.

00006011.opus | ? 1989-12-25T13:04:11Z ? | audio | alt


000070f4 | ? 1989-12-25T19:02:02Z ?

Finding some Morse code on the shortwaves

Back in my early days.

00006013.opus | ? 1989-12-25T21:03:04Z ? | radio | audio | alt

I’m clean, clothed, ready to hit the Church Stretton train, but without food inside me. I’ll have to go and eat something, thinks me. The old man woke me up at 7:48 and since then I’ve been getting prepared for our trip to C.S. We are setting out at 8:30 and it is now 8:14. To Breakfast, then!

0000684c | ? 1990-02-12T08:09:00Z ?

We’re off! But not to Church Stretton. I am informed by the old man that we have to ‘drop the car off’ at Retreat Street. Therefore, for the last few minutes, I have been trying to find out where the Road is on the Birmingham A-Z. We’re now on Tettenhall Road, and it has just occured to me that if Half-Term did not exist, I would be ‘enjoying’ a wonderful and exhilirating Chem lesson right now! ’Tis a super morning, and the sun is shining for once. The cold is scraping at my toe-bones and my finger-tips, but that is all part of the magnificence of a morn like this. Now on Retreat St, we have just passed the hamburger place with the two phallics for a logo. Oh well, under the ring-road!

0000684d | ? 1990-02-12T08:54:00Z ?

Well, here we are, having ‘trapsed’ across Wolves for 10 minutes, at Wolves main station. The old man’s studing the timetables, and I’m standing here, writing and waiting for something to rest this bloody book on. The train will arrive in one minute, and will depart in eleven (minutes). Dad (the old man) has just realised that it only takes 2 hrs to get to the Lake District from Wolves main station. Golly gosh! Says Papa (we’re now on the Inter-city train to Shrewsbury), ‘We could have caught another train but I always go by the "avoid Sprinters at all costs" motto.’ I couldn’t agree more! Sprinters are very crap.

0000684e | ? 1990-02-12T09:38:00Z ?

We’re off, sailing away towards that merry land of Salop. Sorry Dad? What does it mean in French? Oh.....! The sky really does look quite marvellous, and, rushing past the litter-strewn embankments of Wolverhampton, sipping my Hot Chocolate, I begin to realise what an immensely fat bastard Benito Mussolini was! Never mind! I’ll get over it. Adolf for now.

0000684f | ? 1990-02-12T09:51:30Z ?

Nearly there! Shrewsbury, that is. This stop is our changing point for the Stretton of Church. Dad’ll be hurrying out in an attempt to get the ‘next ticket’. Eeh-up! Time to go!

00006850 | ? 1990-02-12T10:27:00Z ?


000070ef | ? 1990-02-12T10:42:58Z ?

The train was a touch late setting off, but what do we care? It’s taking us to the same place as the same train at the correct time! Damn the time! Time will be the death of us all! The surrounding countryside is becoming more countryside-ish as we plough on. No more chimneys pumping out toxic gases. No more litter-clad canals. Just hills, lowlands and rivers (and/or streams). A lonely farm, a riverside array of trees, a snow-capped peak, another, not very snow-capped peak, all these are the subjects of my imprisoned thinking. It’s all pretty marvellous, actually (not as good as Wales, though). This is it, then - Church Stretton. Bye for now!

00006851 | ? 1990-02-12T10:43:00Z ?

Have made the ascent to the Long Mynd Sign, past cattle grid. Have so far talked about the wording for J.D.L’s new helper ad, Mr Newell’s stupid walk and the signs at the bottom of the Long Mynd ascent (Ice! Road not maintained in winter. Maybe blocked by snow). And so, here starteth the grand ascent!

00006852 | ? 1990-02-12T11:24:00Z ?

The walk is done, our feet are wet, our hands are swollen (fairly amazing in the old man’s case) and now we’re sitting in a comforting old pub run by a fairly outgoing landlord, inhabited by only us and a young Scotsman who just left as our food was placed on the table. Nice!

00006853 | ? 1990-02-12T13:39:00Z ?

Now that was very nice! Cottage pie (Farmhouse) and Fries - very tasty and easily ingestible. What next? The next train isn’t till 15:26! Bloody Hell!

00006854 | ? 1990-02-12T14:02:00Z ?

We’ve left the Haven’t a Clue (Dad’s guess at its name) Pub and are now in the Hollybush Cafe. We are going to have a bit of cake between us, I’m going to have a hot chocolate and the old man is going to have a pot of tea. Here she comes! Yum, Yum! (the cake, not her) (the drinks were ordered before the cake)

00006855 | ? 1990-02-12T14:39:00Z ?

Right on time! What a super service! Still cold-footed, we head away from Church Stretton, having emerged from the Hollybush Cafe, having gone to the toilet, and having thought of a rather brilliant idea for a Python sketch involving a funeral blokey coming round to the house of a pair of old dears to see if anyone has died recently. All this originated from the idea of the ladies on ‘Clockwise’ being something like another group of ladies an an ‘old-fogey’ trip in a red transit van (the fogey-helper had entered the Cafe in the search of 10 cups of tea or coffee). ’Tis all for now, thinks me. I enjoyed C.S. very much. Twas great fun.

00006856 | ? 1990-02-12T15:26:00Z ?

We’re now at Shrewsbury station where we have been since we were put down by the Church Stretton train. We are on the 16:27 to Wolverhampton and are patiently waiting for the little git to come out of school and to get onto the Train. As I write, two tarts are proceeding to the other end of the train. They aren’t of Jessica’s particular lot, but have quite definitely seen us. The old man and I have agreed that the not-very-hetero-sexual sister of mine will not see us, or will pretend not to. Well, we’ll wait and see.

00006857 | ? 1990-02-12T16:08:00Z ?

She didn’t see us, nor did bosum-buddy coloured lass. But on mounting the train, Jess recognised the back of Dad’s head, and that was that. She said, ‘Dad!’ and all her sapphic friends began to giggle. She recognised me, said, ‘You as well,’ and then turned her back, saying ‘Bye!’ to both of us. Her coloured pal said, ‘Bye? That’s nice!’, Dad said ‘For us, anyway!’ and that was that. Jess naffed off to another carriage where she is undoubtedly being homosexual as usual. Tha tsall for now! Sod off!

00006858 | ? 1990-02-12T16:40:00Z ?


000070f0 | ? 1990-02-12T17:56:58Z ?

Well, we’re back home! What an adventure! Mum picked us up and brought us home, after we had made various comments about Jessica’s laugh and those of her friends. After today, I have decided that Jessica’s school should be re-named Loud Lesbians High School. Well, that’s another adventure over and done with! Bye for now!

00006859 | ? 1990-02-12T17:57:00Z ?


0000685a | ? 1990-02-12T22:36:00Z ?


having listened through my copy of the ‘radio scr’ tape, i think that this is the correct date of the first surviving recording; the end of the 1990-03-11 session on side 2 cuts into a baz palmer sentence; baz is cut off again for some common room interviews; and then to rex dorm, where prodip links out of those interviews and gives the date (1990-02-24) and an approximate time; i presume the previous burst of baz and the common room interviews are in chronological order and from the same date; they seem to fit, albeit roughly; baz later gives a more accurate time, which i have used to date the clips taken from that session; the times of the music room session and the end-of-the-show session are false, as is the date of the quiet dorm scene after that;

prodip’s tape recorder was built in to a tall, sturdy unit; i forget the make and model; the unit also featured several short wave bands, which certainly reached lower (and possibly higher) than the single band of my sharp unit at home; i don’t remember doing much listening on it, but i remember being impressed;

i remember ab palmer (baz) for two other things; one is prodip and bob recording him in small dorm in the fifth form; they formed their questions such that snippets of his answers could be pieced together into incriminating sentences; the results were smutty and amusing; the second is bob telling us about baz standing up after having becky crockett sat on his knee, during rehearsals for ‘the mikado’, in the following school year; he alleged that he walked rather stiffly for a while, probably because her proximity had given him the pump

00006505 | ? 1990-02-24T00:00:02Z ?


00006531 | ? 1990-02-24T19:21:25Z ?


000070f5 | ? 1990-02-24T21:08:03Z ?


000070f6 | ? 1990-02-24T21:29:51Z ?

Radio SCR: Prodip and Scott start the musical part of the show

Scott does some impressions on his guitar, including a really ill-sounding ‘Mister Happy’

000064f5.opus | ? 1990-02-24T21:29:53Z ? | audio | alt

Radio SCR: Prodip record scratches with ‘Peter and the Wolf’

Trevor calls in. The Trevor routine ensues.

000064f6.opus | ? 1990-02-24T21:33:56Z ? | audio | alt


000070f7 | ? 1990-02-24T21:41:09Z ?


at the beginning of the second session on side 2 of the ‘radio scr’ tape, prodip says that it is 1990-03-11, and that it has been almost a week since he’s been on the air; hence the approximate date of these recordings; the first session i think had been a continuation of the end of side 1;

selwyn’s involvement in this recording is mainly due to his punishment for improper use of army equipment; joe and i were members of his signals section, and were dragged into a mass punishment for helping to string out a telephone line between school house red and blue, which turned out to be for the purpose of warning smokers when there were adults about (or something); selwyn had to get up with us for the early call the next morning, and he wanted someone to wake him up;

that first early call was the last of its kind, because it left me nauseous all morning; i think i must have done my forward rolls too fast; having been reduced to tears by my solo lunchtime recital on the horn (which would have been crap anyway, but was worse due to my condition), i got our week of pukies commuted to a week of cleaning out the signals hut; that week of early calls was worth it to see ‘fuck’ skidding about the signals hut at the controls of the floor polisher (those assigned the task of untangling the d10 in the shooting range might have seen things differently); and we got a nice, clean hut out of it;

the place i had stolen from whoever had been late for the start of the previous term turned out to be located beneath a very draughty window; it was so cold at this time of year that i hung a blanket over the curtain rail and held it down using bricks;

two other things i remember about that bed; one is that i would incline its east end (where my feet were) slightly toward joe’s; not because i disliked orms or fancied joe, but because i liked it; perhaps i wanted to be better aligned with the magnetic field of the earth; and the other is the sound of army land rovers at night; the hum of those tyres was quite soporific;

a tom jenks inanity not featured on this tape is ‘sick man of asian birthright!’; another master of senility was craig bould; both he and jenks often made me laugh;

since there’s quite a lot of joe on this day, i must mention his classic line; i’m not sure whether he said it in frustration at having his ‘centrally placed nipples’ (joe lacked pecs) highlighted yet again by prodip or garrant or whomever, but it went something like this; “who was it who said ‘once is funny, twice is quite good, but three times is just boring’?”; it seemed to everyone that he had just made this up, so, after a little pause, we all laughed, saying ‘yeah; who the fuck did say that?’

00006506 | ? 1990-02-26T00:00:00Z ? | radio


having placed these recordings at 1990-03-01, i have discovered in the programme for this school term that my recital was scheduled to be on 1990-02-20; not wishing to reexamine the original recording (and reevaluate my assertion that the 1990-02-24 recordings came first), i am assuming that my recital was put back a week; hence the new date of these recordings

00006e74 | ? 1990-02-26T00:00:02Z ?

Radio SCR: Prodip tries to get Selwyn on the air

Selwyn hits Garrant.

000064cc.opus | ? 1990-02-26T01:00:05Z ? | audio | alt

Radio SCR: The mad goat (Tom Jenkins)

radio scr side 1

000064cd.opus | ? 1990-02-26T01:01:52Z ? | audio | alt

Radio SCR: Tom Jenks returns to the dorm having had a bit to drink

Jenks enters and cracks his tie; I respond in the conventional fashion, followed by Prodip. ‘The bondage master is here to give you your pleasures!’ Scott joins in. Garrant laughs at Jenks saying, ‘the chains and whips and leatherware’. ‘It smells like a fucking sewage works.’ Joe calls Jenks ‘Thomas’. More crazed laughter from Jenks. ‘Fucking strong stuff’. (Pro) ‘Jenks, are you pissed?’ (Tom) ‘A bit, yeah.’ (Tom) ‘Tidball!’ (Me) ‘Mu-hu-hu!’ (Tom) “I’m just merry enough to not get done by SAS. You know, that’s the way you play the game, lads. Let me tell you now.”

000064e2.opus | ? 1990-02-26T01:18:48Z ? | audio | alt

Radio SCR: Jenks makes Joe think that Prodip is touching his backside

radio scr side 1

000064ea.opus | ? 1990-02-26T01:40:22Z ? | audio | alt

Radio SCR: A slip of the tongue from Prodip

... as he tries to say ‘whack you out’.

000064f0.opus | ? 1990-03-11T01:17:01Z ? | audio | alt

Radio SCR: Prodip counts Joe down

Joe rebels, saying, “I’m answering in a moment, Dars!” At Jenks’ suggestion, Pro closes the show.

000064f1.opus | ? 1990-03-11T01:18:52Z ? | audio | alt


perhaps it was in this summer term that jonny leonard took a bus-load of us to ‘the last night of the welsh proms’, conducted by owain arwel-hughes at saint david’s hall; our seats were right at the back, in the gods; prodip and i amused ourselves with the idea that jonny newell was operating one of the spotlights behind us; we had to do something; i think the concert must have been very boring;

eventually, prodip seized the initiative, leaving the auditorium, ostensibly to relief his bladder; however, he soon found himself in those marvellous backstage breeze block corridors; when i saw him emerge from a fire exit level with the stage, i creased up; he then took another exit, only to reappear in another doorway; and so on, all around the hall; as so often with prodip, i laughed and laughed

00007525 | ? 1990-05-01T00:00:02Z ?


00006532 | ? 1990-05-01T00:59:58Z ?

Paul plays ‘The Ace Of Hearts’ by Billy Mayerl on the piano

Including screams and a Dudley Moore impression.

00006198.opus | ? 1990-05-01T01:01:26Z ? | music | audio | alt

Paul plays an old party piece on the piano

1990 side 1; the writing in the tape box is as follows:


The Blues Brothers

However, the first part of side A is Paul playing The Ace Of Hearts, from The Four Aces, by Billy Mayerl.

00006197.opus | ? 1990-05-01T01:04:47Z ? | music | audio | alt


heart of wales railway line

00009d74 | ? 1990-07-01T01:00:00Z ?

On the train (DMU) from Shrewsbury to Llangadog

Jessica alleges that I like ‘Big Fun’ and ‘Sonia’.

000064c4.opus | ? 1990-07-01T01:06:53Z ? | audio | alt

I don’t like ‘Big Fun’ and ‘Sonia’

Passing through Hopton Heath and Bucknell, on the train (DMU) from Shrewsbury to Llangadog. The recorder runs out of steam at the end, and I go squeaky.

000064c5.opus | ? 1990-07-01T01:10:30Z ? | audio | alt


heart of wales railway line

00006533 | ? 1990-08-01T00:00:00Z ?

recording uncle tom playing me a few old gramophone records

000064fc.jpg | ? 1990-08-01T01:00:00Z ? | photo

All Alone In Lovers Lane

On Uncle Tom’s gramophone.

000064fe.opus | ? 1990-08-01T01:33:55Z ? | music | audio | alt

Good friends in the good old days

(Keith Davies and Trevor Tidball)

Whenever Keith came up in conversation in the many years after his death (usually when one of his funny catchphrases had just been used), Trevor would make a point of what a good friend he had been and how much he had made him laugh. I think he must have loved him very much.

This is out of Brenda and Trevor’s photograph collection after Trevor’s death in July 2016. I found several good things to scan, including a great one of Trevor & Brenda leaning on a gate in the old days and another great one of Trevor and Paul in a pub in 2007, but this one seemed the most appealingly nostalgic.

Nothing written on the back of the print, so date unknown.

0000a92d.jpg | ? 1990-08-01T14:00:00Z ? | people trevor | photo
matthew tidball, still photograph, audio clip