I remember as a kid, probably about 7 or 8 driving through the south of France on holiday with Mum and Dad. Before health and safety was invented I used to travel in the boot of the car amongst the luggage looking at the world going by out of the back window. The album ‘The Sound of Bread’ was one of Dad’s favourites and we listened to it on that holiday over and over again. It was either that or French radio, we only seemed to have about 3 different tapes. Dad passed away a few years back and it very much brings back fond memories of him.
School was very happy for me and is indeed why after I discovered I hated being an accountant, and lasted one-day on the FOREX exchange, decided to become a teacher. Most of my memories of that time are of playing rugby, but I was also in a band. I was the brass section all on my own. We mainly played our own stuff, which I am certainly not submitting here even if I could dig out a copy of the album. The band was reasonably successful and actually very briefly made the Top 40. Unfortunately, I never played on that record, I was sampled out by a synthesiser – not that I am bitter to be replaced by a machine! Anyhow, one of our favourite songs was Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves and we used to do a cover of it at the end of our sets. It reminds me of all the good times at school and all the friends I unfortunately never see enough of!
I had a great group of close friends at university and we lived together in a large Victorian house overlooking the sea and when not going to the odd lecture and playing yet more rugby we used to listen to a lot of music. Your musical tastes are forced to change at university, it is compulsory that you have to listen to something a little more meaningful. About as meaningful as I got was the Velvet Underground and my favourite was Sunday Morning. Sunday mornings at university are spent in bed, long lazy Sunday mornings, boy how I miss them!
I was lucky enough to live in Canada for a while, I used to go out and play summer seasons in Toronto after the English season had ended. We didn’t get paid very much but it was living the dream and getting paid to play the game that you love. It has taken its toll though, 4 years of playing 80+ games per year has reaped havoc with various parts of my body, but it was worth it, it was amazing playing for The Toronto Scottish, some of my very fondest memories, I loved it. Indeed, I nearly stayed, I got asked to try-out for a place at a Canadian university to play Canadian football and do a degree. Canadian football is basically just American football but in Canada. Maybe if I had liked the game a little more I would still be over there! Although not a huge fan, a Canadian band we ended up seeing was The Barenaked Ladies and their song If I Had a Million Dollars, although it annoys me now, it brings those four years flooding back.
My first teaching job was at Stowe, like RHS an absolutely stunning place to live and work, if at the time a bit shabby. Stowe has beautiful grounds and I used to spend a lot of time jogging very slowly around the grounds with my greyhound listening to my mini-disc player, the height of technology at the time. Jogging for me really hurts so I needed something soothing and relaxing to listen to while I put up with the pain, so I liked to listen to jazz while jogging and a favourite was Oscar Peterson’s Hymn to Freedom, it is just beautiful and deeply moving. If you are going to listen there is a long slow intro, perhaps start about two minutes in!