Wednesday, 2 May 2007

I dreamt I was back in uniform...

Every now and then I check this Wikipedia info for my old school. Not because I have any real affection for it, but because there are some funny minxes out there who vandalise the entry every two months and get told off by the internet authorities for doing so (scroll down to 'Important Staff' and 'Other Facts' hahahaha). It's interesting to note that the school recently celebrated their 125th birthday... when I was there, it was all about the Centenary shenanigans. *holds hearing trumpet to ear - what?*

Anyhoo, the education establishment in question is St Cuthbert's High School, in Newcastle upon Tyne. The same (public) Catholic Boys' school that the very reverend Neil Tennant went to - can you imagine how excited I was to hear that the year AFTER I left. I always knew Sting went to my old school too, which was never as big a thrill, but still quite an interesting pop fact. Actually, it might also be interesting that Dec (of Ant&Dec) went there, as did loads of Paddy McAloon's cousins (connection with all of them = catholic). Imagine. All of us wearing this MAROON blazer going: "What the fuck?"...

La Tennant penned two songs about his time at my school (BTW, we really did have Benediction every Wednesday afternoon). He didn't have a good time there, obviously, which I can empathise with. At school, all you want is girls around you because they're funny and great to hang out with, but instead all I had was boys, boys, boys. That's fine years later when you're shaking a tail feather in some club looking for action, but aged teen-whatevah most of 'em just stank of BO, stale jizz and were covered in burst zits. Nice.

It's a Sin was famous for being a dig at his Catholic education and This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave, says it all. Funnily enough, the lyrics ring very true for me, for instance, I have the recurrent nightmares of being 'a candidate for examination'. And I remember a teacher saying, at least a year before West End Girls, "Sting is the exception to the rule. He was my friend at this school and has made a career in music like no one else from here ever has, or ever will." That tit is now the Deputy Head (heaven forbid), of a place I waited years to leave.

It's a Sin (Disco Mix) - Pet Shop Boys (mp3 download)
This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave - Pet Shop Boys (mp3 download)

10 comments:

Tricky said...

Oh dear Lord, on reading this post I made a noise similar to the one that tweenagers emit as they ride a rollercoaster. Telling stories about how a PSB album track changed your life has me at hello. But! You actually went to the school that informed the song!

Next you'll be saying you went to the station with a haversack and some trepidation!

Phil said...

Ooooooh nooooooo. I wouldn't ever say a track, by the Pet Shop Boys or whoever, has changed my life. Tad crass. Songs enhance life, yeah, but never change it.

One thing I've noticed though, Neil does refer to St Cuthberts a LOT. Every other interview there's a mention of it and it's far-reaching effects.

And when I was 20, I did indeed go to the station with a haversack and some trepidation and played that song on my walkman as I left Newcastle for Liverpool!

Tricky said...

Fair enough. They're probably the soundtrack to the thing that's happening rather than the instrument of change.

Concur, NT endlessly refers to St Cuthberts. There's a long-winded schpiel about it in A Life In Pop too.

Your Newcastle station story reminds me, back when it was released, I seem to recall listening to a song on their Bilingual album called The survivors following that journey 'cross a windy bridge, one winter night, past Embankment Gardens, enter warmth and light', presumably referring to Heaven. Though I don't think I bothered actually going into the club: one can take these things too far.

J'ason D'luv said...

Forgive me, father, for I have sinned... and I'm British-school / Catholic-illiterate... But what the FUCK is Sunblest?

Phil said...

Sunblest is the name of a daily mass said each morning. It's a shortened version, and at St Cuthbert's, we had one at 8.30am every day and I don't think I went once. In La Tennant's time, it was probably compulsory.

J'ason D'luv said...

Thanks for that!

Anonymous said...

"That tit is now the Deputy Head (heaven forbid"

as a former pupil (2001-2008)id love to know who youre talking about,

care to spill the beans?
even just the first letter of there last name?

Phil said...

Dave Staypleton is a very nice man. Not even sure if that's how the name is spelled it was that long ago! Does that answer your question? Let me know! lol

dean mc said...

thanks, i remember him.
top bloke in my opinion

Phil said...

Actually, he wasn't the bloke he may have appeared to you. He hit me with a leather strap as thick as a bible and twenty-odd years later I can still remember him enjoying it.
And he knew I had problems being gay in that school but he never said a thing. He was a top bloke to a select few!