Tuesday, 27 September 2011

"Which way should the money go? Top discs or Oxfam?"

One of the hazards of moving into a bigger house is you get back all the boxes that your long-suffering parents have been looking after for you all these years. I was pleased to receive three carrier bags (they are keeping the box, apparently) full of all the books about which I have spent the last ten years vaguely thinking "I wonder what happened to that book?". There are loads of old favourites like Camerons at the Castle (which appears to be going for about £35 on Amazon :-o ), the Chimneys of Green Knowe and brilliantly, the Star Trek The Motion Picture Pop Up Book. You can make Mr Spock raise his eyebrows!

I also am now reunited with my school hymnbook, minus cover. I appear to have been trying to organise a kind of betting syndicate on which hymn would be sung at any given assembly, judging by the odds penned in next to each title, but it clearly didn't get very far. I am confronted again with the oddness of the book as a whole - traditional numbers like The Lord's My Shepherd mixed in with a load of trendy/ political/ angry 60s songs which really haven't stood the test of time but that I really wished we could sometimes sing, back in the day (we never did).

I like to read them all in an enraged Billy Bragg type voice. For example (I assume to the tune of Pop Goes The Weasel but since we never sang it I don't know): "Polaris subs, atomic bombs/ Germ research in progress/ That's the way the money goes/ What price, the poor folks?". Possibly the headmistress felt this was too political for a Tory-leaning grammar school.  I am also disappointed that we never got to sing: "I met you God last Saturday, when a group began to sing/ Mini-skirted girls weaved patterns, boys did a Jagger swing." Every assembly, I would wait with bated breath in case we heard: "Now girls, turn to hymn number 107, "As Israel and Egypt stretch their borders again/ The people of the Gaza strip once more will suffer pain", then sigh with disappointment when instead we got "Now, number 77, Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise."

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