I attended Tollington Park between 1976 -83 and this week a conversation was taking place about famous ex-students. Everyone from actors from Eastenders, Grange Hill to Birds of a Feather was mentioned as well as the Kemp brothers from Spandau Ballet and Jazzie B from Soul II Soul. But whilst they were all locals most of those mentioned attended other secondary schools in Islington. Two definite famous ex students are Minty from Eastenders and Donald McCullin, the world famous photographer who worked for newspapers and published iconic pictures such as this one from Northern Ireland.
In a week when Martin McGuinness has stood down from politics and was publicly acknowledged as a member of the IRA a picture such as this is a reminder that politicians need to govern with the consent of the people. Eventually the British government and the IRA realised that there wasn’t a military solution to a political problem.
One other local resident was a member of British soul band Imagination who lived in the same estate as my mate Andreas. The effort of miming and pretending to play live is abandoned 3 minutes and 10 seconds into this clip on Top of the Pops when the bassist raises his hands above his head and the drummer jumps away from his kit to thrust his hips alongside his two mates.
Some of you may have noticed that music is one of my loves and not a day goes by without me listening to my IPod. I’m happy to appreciate it from a consumers point of view. But I once was part of a little school group called Simon and The Memories. I was a Memory. It was 1977-78 and the King of Rock and Roll had died. My mum got upset about this, I didn’t even know she was a fan. She went to Woolworth’s and got a copy of 20 Greatest Hits by the great man. And I listened to it obsessively until I too, became a fan of the King. I wasn’t the only one, there was also Simon, Bill and Robert, now resident in western Australia. Simon could play guitar. I could sing, along with Bill and Robert. And we performed to a select audience in our school one of his classics, You’re the Devil in Disguise. Back then I had the voice of an angel. But no act could survive on one number and others were practiced and it was also essential to have more than just an acoustic guitar as an instrument. I had a go on the drums. Now I like to think I have a sense of rhythm but the music teacher disagreed and I made my exit from the group. Having a fantastic voice wasn’t enough and I abandoned my efforts to become a rock star.
One year later I heard Gangsters by The Specials and I went on my own journey, alone, apart from a couple of girls who were drawn to my collection of Two Tone badges.
Anyway, Simon and I drifted apart, he left school and I stayed to do A levels. He and Gina had a beautiful boy called Wesley and a flat in Barnsbury and I never heard of him since. Until last night when I heard from another ex Tea Pot Scraper (Tolly Park School) that he’d passed away five years ago. Slowly the pieces of the jigsaw of my life are being put together. Another one is that I might be close to reconnecting to Sanjay who I was close to until after we went on a weeks holiday to Bournemouth round about 1982. In a months time I’m going to do an urban walk along the Hornsey Road in another effort to make sense of the past.
Have a good weekend.
Things I recommend; staying positive.
Things I don’t recommend; abandoning hope. I know its bad out there but remember the great words of Curtis Mayfield –
Withdraw from the darkness
And into the light
Cos everyone’s free
That’s the way
It’s supposed to be
We just keep on keeping on.