Friday 23 May 1986

…Did a practice of the Assembly and did some work on floods.
In Art we put some hair onto our puppets – the papier-mache heads.
During the next few days we have got to look for material for his body, arms and legs…

Another Friday, another rehearsal for the assembly on 20 June.

If I had any doubts as to the wisdom of doing so many run-throughs, I didn’t record them. I’d like to think that my contributions, which had crystallised into the puppet routine I talked about on the 16 May plus a short recital on the piano, weren’t the cause of the endless practices.

If anything was my fault, it was my fondness for over-ambition. When it came to producing stuff for school assemblies, I always liked to think big. Too big, perhaps. For an assembly during my final year at primary school I attempted to stage a pastiche of Panorama, while a script I wrote for an assembly during my first year at secondary school involved the slaughter of an entire class of 25 pupils.

Nothing on that scale was intended for this performance, but I’m starting to wonder whether even some gag-based puppetry and a short burst of live music was perceived as too extreme for my teachers.

(Note also that the other ongoing puppet-based saga, the one in my Art lessons, was still not complete. I’d got ahead of myself on 16 May when describing the current state of my mangy marionette; it seems I hadn’t even began to assembly the accursed beast’s body…)

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