Tuesday 19 January 2016

Being cool to the really cool older kids in Gospel Oak Primary school. Orchestra. 1981.

(I can name every kid in my class. I cheat, with a copy of the school concert programme, but I can still name them. I won't in case they want their privacy... but I know they were in my class.)

I remember really clearly being in thrall to some kids two years above me in Gospel Oak Primary School.

They were so cool because they were the Saxophone section of Mr. Hays School Orchestra.

(Richard Hays is uber-famous to the kids of NW3 - there used to be a facebook fan page dedicated to stories about him on Facebook, and he deserves a post in his own right. One day.)

In breaks, the three of them - in my head it was William Palin (son of the comedy god and national treasure), Demitri Doganis (the BAFTA award winning documentary filmmaker) and Alex Garland (Oscar award-winning novellist who wrote The Beach and 28 Days Later etc etc, but was better known to me then as Theo's big brother).

I'm sure I've got these names wrong - but those three were definitely in my school in the year above, and hung out with each other, and were really really cool.

(This is where it happened - only photo I could find of the hall was from this flooring company.
Funny thing is it's the exact angle I remember staring from as a kid).

They would play "that" tune from Geno by Dexy's Midnight Runners.

In the next little break that came up, I mustered up the courage to have a go at it on my clarinet. (I only started the clarinet so I could get up to a Saxophone, which I never did. Maybe my parents just told me that because they couldn't afford it).

Anyway, having worked out the tune under my breath to get the notes right, I let rip and blasted it out. And the three of them did a double-take... then... made approving noises and - William, in my head - said "Look at him - he can play Geno!" and they all gave me that older mentor nod of "hang in there kid!".

I was in seventh heaven in the second year.
Is it on - or in - 7th Heaven?
Either way, I felt cool.

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