Friday 7 November 1986

…Today was Recorder Day at Burleigh Community College.
I was dead nervous meeting all those 15, 16, 17 and 18-year-olds.
But I soon got used to them.
We played some quite interesting pieces.
There were two jazzy pieces which were my favourites.
There were also some boring pieces that we didn’t manage very well.
It lasted from 9.30am to 5pm!
My fingers were tied in knots.
After that because I had survived we went down to the chippy to
get some chips which were very tasty.
Drew a picture of Big Ben for my project.
I thought it was quite good…

I’d been to one of these “Recorder Days” the previous year, which wasn’t that exceptional save for “the tower next to our building catching fire.”

This one was less combustible but more discomfiting.

For one thing I was more aware of the significance of where I was. Burleigh Community College was somewhere I knew I would eventually go to school. I would be one of those 15-year-olds that I felt dead nervous about meeting. They all looked so enormous and so confident. Everything about them seemed so impossibly remote. How was I to get from here to there?

More immediately disturbing was one of the teachers I met on this day 25 years ago. He was in charge of music at Burleigh, and he had the most hideous and unrelenting bad breath I had ever experienced. Even at the age of 10 I realised there was something wrong with this man’s character as to be so unaware of boasting such advanced halitosis.

I had no way of knowing that I and many of my peers would eventually end up sharing a classroom with this individual on a weekly basis for a number of years. If I had known, I might very well have swallowed my recorder and ended it all there and then.

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