The B.D Blog page allows Past Pupils to share memories, jokes or anecdotes.
There will be Prizes for the BEST blogs as judged by a random selection of past & present Teachers ...
To enter your 'Blog' please send it (ideally as a "word" (.doc) attechment via e-mail to Terence OR Eric ( firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com )
Alternatively you can type it into the 'Contact Us' or 'Guest Book' sections of this site ...
Bear in mind that the UK Laws of Libel apply ... (AND the Judges' Decisions are final ;-!)
To start you off here's an entry which will NOT be winning a prize ... UNLESS nobody else enters ;-!) ...
'OUTED' ... (IN OSTEND ;-?)
Coming back from the 1974 "Wider Horizons" trip to The Rhine we stopped over-night in Ostend Belgium, before catching the morning ferry to Ramsgate.
As it was our last night, the Teachers took us to a 'Continental Cabaret' in the Down -Town district . Soon after we sat down, the Glitzy 'Game-Show Hostess' spotted young faces in the crowd & called out three girls to come on stage. There, under the spot-light & microphone in hand, she asked the question ... "Do you like boys?" ... The girls cowered & coyly responded (with variations on the theme of 'NO' ;-!(
Then the 'Hostess with the Mostest' turned on the boys ... before she had a chance to pick the third boy, I seized the opportunity to have a laugh & jumped up on stage. The first fellow to be questioned was summoned to stand in the spot-light (to protect the innocent I'll call him 'Mick' ;-))
The Compere then asked the question "Do you like girls?" 'Mick' mumbled a reluctant "Yes" ...
To his embarassment, his honesty was 'repaid' with a kiss on his cheek ...
Then the next 'victim' was called to the spot-light (I'll refer to him as 'Marco') & asked the same question ...
He too mumbled an unconvincing "Yes" & was given a kiss on the cheek for his sins ...
Finally it was my turn ... Keen to have a laugh, I strode into the spot-light, lips 'puckered' for the only 'snog' I was likely to get that side of puberty... My action temporarily stunned the 'Dame in Diamante' BUT as a professional she played along & made a comment along the lines of "We've got a 'Joker' in the Pack" (which raised a few laughs ;-))
Anyway I got a kiss on the cheek & the compere took back control, asking if I too liked girls ... 'on-a-roll' I piped up ... "No ... I like Marco" ;-!) which got the audience roaring with laughter ... (at least I thought so ;-)) ...
Sadly 'Marco' didn't see the 'funny-side' of my 'frivolity' ... & thereafter we drifted apart ... Moving into different peer groups with opposing musical allegiances ...
Now almost 40 years on, we're both happily married, have similar musical tastes & EVEN drive the same make of car ... BUT ... Somehow I think he will NEVER forget that night ...
(NOR will I ... BUT for ALL the wrong reasons ;-!)
SCHOOL DISCOS - MY PERSONAL HELL by Mick Quinn (Line House 1972-78)
Let’s get this straight from the start, I hated school discos, I would never stop any child from going to them and enjoying them, but as for me, I hated them. Right from an early age they have been a total and utter disaster for me, a time of awkwardness and embarrassment, more so in secondary school and around the ages of fourteen to sixteen, but everything about school discos and parties were my worst nightmare.
A school disco was something that nearly every child in every school loved and got excited about, an end of term or year ‘celebration’, a chance to wear your own clothes and meet your class mates in a different mature and grown up environment. A time of fun and laughter, a time to relax and celebrate the end of a successful year, but they were pure hell for me.
Every year I was hoping it would be cancelled or just not happen, I remember it was always in the playground, (where we would all gather in the far corner, so as all the tough kids could smoke and hide from the teachers and I stood with them to be ‘in’ but didn’t really quite fit) that the up and coming end of term disco was announced by the cool kids in the know. The dreaded shout… “Disco in the hall at the end of the year lads….yesss!”
“Friggin brilliant, there’s a disco at the end of term…I’m friggin well havin’ it, are you?!” This roar into the group was for everyone, including me I suppose, in the immediate crowd “And Me” “yeah nice one!” “I’m friggin definitely goin” came the crescendo of answers, with the word definitely spat with so much venom John’s head jutted forward like a cartoon character and just about stayed on his shoulder. With that all the other kids would all shout their approval and start planning who they were going to ‘get hold of’ that evening or which way they were going to come to see if they could run into a fight. I of course also blurted out a ‘brilliant’ or a ‘fantastic’ in the falsest show of enthusiasm anyone could ever muster, however, I refrained from bragging about who I was going to ‘get hold of’ because I knew I had no hope in hell of getting within five yards of any girl let alone ‘feel up’ my favourite.
But I went to them all, just because everyone else did and I pretended they were great. The ones in junior school were not too bad, the sort that were held in the dinner hall with the permanent smell of mince and mashed potatoes and floor varnish in your nose all night. The type where it was more of a gathering than a disco in which the lights were permanently on and no one ate any of the food or drank anything because it was all non- fizzy.
All the boys escaped into the playground as soon as they could to play football rather than stand around in a hall full of girls they hated and nuns and teachers forcing the kids to enjoy themselves and have fun. Teachers that pretended they were having a great time because they were young and ‘with it’, which they never were, as they jigged around like the teachers on’ Please Sir!’ at their disco, doing embarrassing dances with ’look how cool I am’ faces. They then painstakingly encouraged us to dance to great songs like the Piglets ‘Johnny Reggae’ and Lyn Anderson’s ‘Rose Garden’ or old Beatles hits and anything from the top forty on a 99p Pickwick Album that were chart hits done by cheap cover artists and not the real ones.
However the catholic junior school discos, by the way, where your Mum and Dad both went too, were nothing, nothing compared to what was about to come. The pain really started in my mid-teens in the Bishop Douglass end of term discos, when my life and body was changing and everything personal to me suddenly became hugely magnified because I was growing up.
Music suddenly mattered, except I liked different stuff to others, appearance mattered and these discos suddenly mattered. Everyone except a handful of boffins and painfully shy kids went. You had to go. And all the girls were there and the girls you fancied were always there too, in their nice ‘what I got for Christmas’ clothes with their hair done, smelling of too much Faberge perfume and all ‘grown up’ and live in front of you, only feet away for most blokes but literally miles away for me.
And you had to go, you just had to, if you didn’t you were forever labelled a ‘spastic’ a cruel and even politically incorrect term nowadays but in the seventies it was common use. So you went and pretended you wanted to. And when you were there you were there for the night, until the end and the slow dances, usually ‘Nights in white satin’ or ‘whiter shade of pale’ or some shit from Heatwave or Rose Royce. And if you wanted to get out there was no escape, none whatsoever. You were trapped, even going to the toilet you were monitored and timed by the teacher who stood in the shadows watching everything that went on and taking a mental register of the class every few minutes.
The old typical Mr Molyn or Mr Baker who smiled at you in a ‘I’m not so bad out of school am I?’ sort of way but was really thinking how stupidly immature you were and knowing you had no chance of pulling the bird you fancied. And of course they were right. On all counts.
Now, I wasn’t particularly shy as a teen ager, not outgoing or loud, just what you would call normal, very silly and immature , but for that day and era, pretty normal, but as for streetwise I was clueless and with girls I was a disaster and girls and disco went hand in hand, unfortunately I never did.
The planning of the disco night would begin at lunch or morning breaks in the corner of the playground. What you were going to wear! Going to wear? I only had one decent out of school outfit and that was for church, weddings, christenings, birthdays, all occasions outside the world of my council estate in Northway Court and everything that wasn’t ‘playing outside’ activity. What time were we going to meet and what time would we get there and are we going anywhere after? Whoah! Slow down too much to take in. What time were we going to meet? It takes an hour to get there and we know where it is why do we have to meet? It starts at seven o clock so don’t we get there at seven? Am I missing something here?
Going somewhere after? At ten o clock at night where could we possibly go?
What pub were we going to meet in? Pub? I was fourteen or fifteen. I didn’t go to the pub. My father was tea total, a man who frowned at alcoholic drinks. He was a practicing member of The ‘Catholic Knights of Saint Columbia’ who were against the horrors of alcohol and everyone who went within three miles of a pub. I had no chance.
And anyway, how was I going to get served in a pub? You had to be eighteen to drink in a pub and I was only fifteen and looked about twelve. If My Dad found out I was drinking in a pub at that age I would severely get it. Well, he would report to my Mum who dealt with punishment and she would then chase me round the house administering sporadic blows to my head telling me what an ungrateful brat I was and how disrespectful I had become to her and the catholic church, stopping only when I feigned death or threw myself on the floor in surrender pleading for forgiveness. This would be followed by daily, hour long lectures, about the evils of drinking and how I would never have anything in life and be useless to anyone if I drank. I didn’t know it then but she obviously has the power to see into the future.
So, the fateful night came all the arrangements had been made and I was home from school had had my dinner and it was now time to get ready before I got the bus to the Burroughs to meet in 'The Greyhound' pub in Hendon, the only place we had any possible chance of getting a drink. I put on my best clothes a bottle green pair of flared high waist trousers, a green shirt with white collars and a brown ‘Fonzie’ style bomber jacket, with a pair of black flat shoes with big round tops. I thought I looked good it was the best I could do, the only thing I could do. I bet I looked terrible.
I could never get my hair right either. My dad used to cut it and the tops of my ears, once a month, and then my sister who thought she was a hairdresser because she worked for a few months in 'Patricia’s hair salon as a junior, also had a go, but it never ever came off. It looked like my nephew had styled it with a pair of garden shears and a toffee apple. It never lay in the right place and stuck up and out in all the wrong places. I couldn’t get it all to lie down no matter how much water or brylcream I slapped on it. So, giving up on my hair and making the best I could do, I was ready to go.
But Friday night was pub night around our flats and I had to leave my house when everyone was heading for the pub, and get to the bus stop without any of the older kids seeing me in my best clothes etc. I just had to run into someone, I would never make it, and of course as luck would have it I did. Like hyenas waiting for the wounded infirm or straggling helpless animal from the herd they hung around in the shadows. As soon as they saw I was leaving they majestically appeared. Hungry and ready to attack and ridicule every single thing about me.
Those involved, who shall remain nameless for legal reasons, we shall call them Johnny Western Donald Sproat and Steve Ferny and his friends, would do to my confidence what people do with water and a sponge. Soak it all up and then squeeze out every last drop, leaving it discarded and worthless all over the floor.
Ridiculed to a point where everything was covered and there was nothing left to have a go at, my tormentors had finally finished and were breathless with hysterical laughter. They headed for ‘The Royal Scot’ and I was released back into the wild, with just a few playful kicks and a percentage of confidence that was well into the minuses, I was badly wounded but not quite dead. By the time I got on the bus to go to my night out, I was a broken man and the night was just beginning and about to get a whole lot worse.
I got off the bus at Greyhound Hill and walked up the hill slowly towards the pub, as I got near I did not see anyone; I walked up to the pub and after a few minutes of circling and desperately trying to get some grown up confidence, I carefully opened the door and looked around. I walked into the pub and up to the bar trying to look confident and over twelve and asked for a pint of bitter. The barman laughed and asked my age and when I said eighteen he laughed again, but then, after a pause, amazingly to my sheer delight asked which bitter I wanted?
Shocked that I wasn’t told to piss off within two seconds, I pointed at the hand pumps read the first name out and nodded, he laughed again and then walked away. I thought I was foiled, I thought he was going to get the pub’s age inspector or a t worst the police, I was growing hotter and redder and then to my upmost surprise he came walking towards me with a frothy pint of bitter ‘35p please mate’ he said, nothing else but grinned, he had been here before.
I handed him a pound note and waited for my change desperately wishing he would hurry up in case someone else saw me and realised I was illegally drinking. It seemed the pub and everyone in it had stopped and paused and were all staring at me. Time seemed to stop, he handed me my change and said thanks. I nodded and made my exit from the bar I’d done it, I had got served, victorious I carefully walked over to an empty table but turned and headed for the door to sit outside on the tables where I thought I would be safer and be able to drink without being ridiculed.
About ten minutes later a couple of my friends turned up and insisted I had another beer before we got the bus to the school disco, well insisted I had another beer if I paid for it. I agreed as if it was a normal weekly event. We all had a laugh and a beer and talked about who was going to do what at the disco. I was quiet at this time; I only fancied one girl and she had already been claimed, so I had no chance. We finished the beer and then worked out how we were going to smuggle some into the disco or plant it round the back so as we could go and have a quick swig now and then throughout the night, all ideas failed. I thought it was a great idea but had had enough really as I was a bit 'tiddly' on one; I was warm and fuzzy on the second and predictably lost my balance and fell over when we had to rush for the 143, saved only by a shop window, which I bounced off of and pretended I was being a real lad by bumping into it on purpose. What 'Crazy Kids' we were!
We got to the disco and bowled past the teachers on the door laughing and giggling as the teachers mad funny quips about how smart we looked. The disco was in the dinner hall and up on the stage the resident DJ Terence North, the best DJ around I’ll have you know, had already started the disco and Tina friggin Charles was half way through telling us that she loved to love but unfortunately her baby just loved to dance. I’m not surprised, the last time she was on top of the pops she was bursting out of her cat suit in all the wrong places, no wonder he kept escaping to the dance floor.
The colourful seventies disco lights, green red white and blue, flashed sporadically on and off lighting the dark hall, it wasn’t a Pink Floyd light show but it was more than good enough for us. Up on the stage the disco unit also had flashing lights either for effect or to stop people from seeing anything and going up and asking for stupid records that he either didn’t have or wouldn’t play.
Once my eyes got used to the disco darkness I looked around and started vaguely making out who was who. Most people were there but the one girl I was waiting for was not. Well, I say waiting for, I was hoping she would show up so as I could stare at her and wish I was with her before someone better looking and more trendy whisked over and claimed her or ‘pulled her’ something I didn’t have a hope in hell of doing. I had fancied her for four years and she knew it and had shown as much interest in me as a film star would show with one of their fans. Enjoy the adoration but that’s where it ended.
The next hour or so was the same old ritual, boys separated from girls, with a big open floor populated by a few over confident brave young ladies jigging along to hits by the Real Thing, Barry White and of course ABBA while frequently looking over their shoulders to see who was watching them, but no one ever was, the boys were busy talking rubbish about football and fighting and still trying to escape to the fire doors behind which the three or four emergency cans of Watneys pale ale were hidden. All attempts failed and anyway they had possibly been snapped up by someone else or by some lucky old down and out passing by.
The night was pretty dull, I didn’t really want to be there, I didn’t like too many people there, I just went because I had to and the music was crap. The music was really friggin CRAP! Sorry Terrence North, you did a good job, you were the best disco in town, number one in disco sound, but I wanted to hear Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd but no one else did, so it wasn’t your fault, I was at fault and there’s no denying it.
I was staring at a sparsely populated dance floor lit by confusing irritating lights in a half pissed drunken state when all I wanted to do was be at home in my room with the lights out snogging my favourite bird along to the sound of Dylan. I was so far away from paradise it was untrue, I was actually in hell.
Finally the night suddenly improved dramatically and un-expectantly, she turned up, her and a few friends showed up, coming in late of course, like the stars of the gala night, and then making their way to a corner looking around to see who was there. My heart jumped when I saw her, it was the highlight of the night and I felt nervous and sick but it brightened my night up completely, just seeing her was enough, it was all I could expect really, no more, the rest was left to my vivid imagination. You see for me it was all fantasy the whole scenario, the nice girl, drinking, acting tough, football and fighting, none of it was a reality all dreams and talk. For most of the blokes it was a way of life but I was too shy for nearly all of it. Except of course getting drunk on two pints of weak bitter. As for the girl, no chance, she was way out of reach
You see, these girls only went with the toughest and most trendy kids and then fell hopelessly in love with them as long as they treated them like shit and chucked them every week and made them cry every other day by ignoring them at school or getting off with other girls in front of them at local discos, these girls forgot people like me existed, except only as a member of their class and a name on the class register.
The disco passed pretty quickly now with the excitement of Miss Bishop Douglass having arrived and because of the alcohol, and the clock sped round. As I was calculating how much time was left to get brave enough to talk to her, knowing it didn’t matter really as I wouldn’t have the confidence anyway, before we knew it was time for the slow dances. Then just as the first bars of 10cc’s ‘ I’m not in love’ rang out all the popular fanciable blokes made a rushed move for the girls, like housewives do for the bargains the minute the sales doors open. I looked in despair as my mate went for the girl I wanted and he grabbed her and they made their way to the dance floor.
Other lads moved in on other girls and I was stuck to the spot, frozen in time again, like I had trodden in a vat of ‘Evo-Stick’ I could do nothing. I was wishing there was some possible way to escape, a way out, a way of disappearing without being seen. Some of the other ’I ain’t got a hope of getting a bird’ blokes were standing chatting pretending they were not interested and talking about logarithms or code words and chemical words for sulphur etc. I tried to join in with a laugh and a piss take of those who were dancing but seriously I would have given anything to have been on the dance floor.
There were girls left, little groups of them, but I didn’t want one of them, the biggest prize was gone, I didn’t want second prize and to go for one of them was exactly that. That was accepting second best. Not that I was in anyway better or in some case equal to these girls, it’s just that I had set my standards too high and was set on only one girl, someone I knew I wouldn’t get and so had built myself up to this impending desperate impossible situation. It was my own entire fault another failure, another disastrous failure and I still had the long journey home, on two buses, gutted and still half pissed and then I had to try to get passed the local older kids again without being smashed again. I never seemed to end up with anyone at the disco and they knew it.
The slow dancing was painful to watch, there they were, her and him, in a pathetic bear hug like two knackered heavy weight boxers in the fifteenth round they clung onto each other and rather unsteadily shuffled around the dance floor twirling around slowly in the half lit arena. Every so often his hands would slip lower down and she would quickly move them back up and this fight continued throughout the song, I know because I was transfixed, staring, devastated to know that the very slim if not non-existent chance of getting anywhere near her had now completely gone. Although there was another song or two, this bloke was stuck to her for the night and never letting go.
Then in a surreal moment things could have been different, a girl in my class came over to me and told me that another girl wanted to dance with me. I couldn’t, if my favourite girl who was dancing with someone else saw me with someone else then I would be associated with someone else and not be free, as if she gave a shit, but it would finally close all doors. The girl who was now offering herself to me didn’t interest me, I didn’t fancy her so I said no, then her friend stared shook her head, called me a knob and walked off. In three hour or four hours I was a 'spastic' and a 'friggin dick' and now a 'knob'.
I stood staring at the dance floor watching everyone and realised I had to get out, the mates I were with were all getting off with the girls and I would have to go with them but I couldn’t face it so somehow I got passed the teachers and broke free into the summer night air and walked up Hamilton road to the 143 bus stop
I made it to the bus stop and huddled into the shop not because it was cold but because didn’t want to see anyone. The bus took ages. Friggin Ages! The bus took for friggin ever, it was over half an hour and I was still there in the shop doorway. Then voices in the distance, coming from Hamilton Road, Oh no, they had caught up with me, disaster, and they appeared my mates with girls and my mate with my girl the one I liked who should’ve been mime but was never going to be, ever .
Everyone said hello and asked how long I had been waiting and then minutes later as if on cue the bus turned up. We all went upstairs and they dived in the back seats with their girls and started getting off with them, I stared out the window. But it was dark, so I couldn’t stare out the window, I could only look into the dark windows with the bus light on and suffer the reflected goings on and indignation of my mate grabbing my wanna-be girlfriend on the back seat. It was the longest journey and the worst journey from Finchley to Hendon Central ever.
We all got off at Hendon and I said a tough but embarrassed “See Ya” at the ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ and got on the 113 bus to Mill Hill. I went upstairs the bus was empty and wondered why I had bothered going at all, what a waste of time. Finally the nightmare journey was over. I jumped off the bus at apex corner and walked down the subway over to the flats. The pissed group of older kids were straggling back from the ‘Scot’ and loaded with alcohol saw me again, my timing is crap, and only this time they seemed interested in my night out as though I was a little brother. And in slurring protective voices assured me it was okay for them to take the ‘mickey’ out of me but if any wankers from my school started on me they would be up there like a shot and kick their friggin heads in.
That was nice, a night full of shit but really there were people that mattered that did give a shit. I knew when they sobered up I would geddit again, but for the moment the small victory was mine.
As for the rest of the night it was crap, awful and absolute disaster, that’s why I hated school discos, I friggin hated school discos, they were my worst nightmare, but you could guarantee I would be at the next one …
Bishop Douglass School opened in 1963 as a ‘Secondary Modern’ and later became a ’Comprehensive School’ under Michael Caulfield, (the first ‘Head Master’); when appointed, he was the youngest ‘Head’ in the UK.
In 1991, following Michael Caulfield’s retirement, John Meadows was promoted, from his previous role as ‘Deputy Head’.
In 2002 an interim ‘Head Teacher’, Michael Kelly, followed John Meadows for one year & was replaced in 2003 by Angela Murphy .
In September 2007 the School was granted ‘Special Science College’ status.
In July 2010 B.D.’s status as a ‘Specialist Science College’ was renewed. It retains the Comprehensive ideals and is a fully inclusive community; where everyone is welcomed & valued.
In September 2013, B.D. entered a partnership with the Arts Institute of Hampstead Garden Suburb. Adult education is located on-site, providing a life-long learning facility.
For further details, please refer to bishopdouglass.barnet.sch.uk
Diary entry by Paul Willcocks about school play TOM SAWYER which was performed Nov/Dec 1979 ...
Who Needs Theatre Critics?
Extract from Diary Nov 29th and 30th regarding the school play ‘Tom Sawyer’ by Paul Willcocks, who was one of the gang in the play…
Thursday 29th Nov
I had History and P.E today. Then, I saw Laurel and Hardy in a fix, as usual. I left to go back to school at 6.0. The play began at 8pm. TOM SAWYER! It was just one big muff up! Tom laughed on stage. I laughed but no one saw me, luckily. Huck was about the best. Injun Joe swore on stage, quietly. And the celebrational scene went all wrong.
Had a 10.30 late start today – only the people in TOM SAWYER! Tonight’s showing was better.