Saturday 21 January 2023

Grammar School

Welcome to South Manchester on a sunny but very cold day. It snowed last week and the temperatures have dropped to below freezing and a lot of the snow has frozen, leaving certain areas of the pavement quite treacherous if you are walking around in dodgy shoes. I wear walking boots so I am fine for my morning strolls. 

Today’s Sunday Stealing is all about “High School” and since I live in the UK and went to a grammar school, there will be a little editing to anglicise the post and alter the Americanisms (I usually do this anyway – changing favorite to favourite for example). 

I am English after all.

Shall we dive in?

1. You are  back in grammar school... what are you doing after school lately?

Let’s say that I am in the sixth form for the next few questions; the year is 1980 and I am aged 17, studying for my A-Levels in Physics, Chemistry, Maths and the pot pourri that is “General Studies” (where you dive into weird and wonderful subjects such as religion, art, the ascent of man, history and various other odd tangential weirdness). 

At the moment, I help out in a newsagent so I receive the newspaper delivery at the shop and gather the newspapers for the paper kids to take out. If somebody doesn’t turn up, I help out with the delivery (for an extra couple of quid). 

As soon as I get home from school I will go back to the newsagent and help out in the shop and maybe collect money from customers who have their papers delivered. I will then do some home study and a bit of homework, eat and join my mates in the park. 

Oh – that’s right – I had a steady girlfriend then so I will spend some time with her too.

2. Do you do homework early or late? Do you really study?

The grammar school is supposedly the best in Walsall and is driven by academia. A huge percentage of the pupils end up at university and that is what is expected of me. In other schools, the cool kids are those who can fight well or are brilliant at sports. At my school the cool kids are the clever ones. I don’t particularly want to be cool but I am clever and I want to succeed (even though at this time of my life I am a complete arse). So, yes, I do study and I do my homework on time.

I have fun though. I’m not a complete nerd.

3. (a) Do you go to the games? Football? Basketball.. what is your favourite to attend?

Yes – I am a huge fan of my local football team (if you are American – that is “soccer”) and I am a season ticket holder, meaning that I attend every home game.

3. (b). Do you go to the dances? Prom? (what'd you wear?)

Back in 1980, we don’t have proms in the UK. That is an American thing. However, if we leave 1980 for a short time – then, yes, the “prom” has started happening in the UK. 

I don’t like the idea of them to be honest. Too much pressure. But I can’t remain as an old fuddy duddy for long. If the kids love them then so be it.

4. Lunch!  What are we having today?   What is your favourite lunch?

School dinners in the UK have a reputation for being disgusting but nutritious. Personally I think they are overcooked and we are fed terrible things like prunes, damsons, rhubarb and other foul desserts. Some are okay but it seems that the minister in charge of school meals is a complete sadist. 

If I had ruled the world back in 1980 I would have forced him to eat the gruel himself. 

Sometimes, however, I do go out to get some fish and chips because in the sixth form we can do that. 

5. What kind of music do you like the best?

Back in 1980 it is heavy metal and hard rock. Some pop bands are okay but my musical taste has evolved to the point where I love it loud and heavy. My hair is long too and I feel like a rebellious arse.

Here is a sample of what I listen to.

6. Does the radio play in your car and if so what station or kind of music plays?  Does music play in your home often?

I don’t have a car but my mate does. We are both into the same kind of music, which is lucky but his taste isn’t quite as heavy as mine. However, we are both huge fans of this album – and for me this particular song:

At home, I have a music centre (a combined radio, record player and tape deck) that my dad passed onto me when he upgraded. I listen to heavy metal and drive my parents up the wall with it. They are forever telling me to turn the volume down.

My dad thinks that music is dead – I tell him it’s the future. 

7. What do you think of the music played in restaurants or stores? Do you find it relaxing or annoying?

It’s basically pop music so, as a rebellious arse, I hate it. 

8. What part has music played in your life? What kind of music played at your wedding or at parties you have been to?

Let’s move back to the here and now. Music has played a massive part in my life and I am almost obsessive with it. I l always have music on in the house unless I am watching TV. I listen to music on my walks unless Mrs PM is with me and I even listen to relaxing ambient music while I am working. 

Now I have Spotify, I am exploring new music and old music that I have missed on the way.

Music is exciting and nostalgic and I always feel happier when listening to it. 

I’m not keen on the music I hear at weddings though I have to say; it is usually safe popular music and as such I find it boring.  There are occasional gems that I may even get up and try to dance to but they are few and far between. 

I have been known to actually ask for some decent rock music at a wedding but the response is always the same – it’s either “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi or “Sex on Fire” by King’s of Leon.

Sometimes I despair – I really do.

9. Is the farm for you? How about a ranch, a village or a city? Which is your choice and why?

I am a city man but as I get older, I find that occasionally I like to escape to the countryside where you will find farms and cute villages. I think I would find a farm or a country village a little boring at the current moment but as I get older that may change. 

10. A short auto trip for the weekend with friends or a long vacation? Where would you go?

Both. We are planning a weekend away in a lodge soon with some friends near to Delamere Forest in the Cheshire countryside but I have to say that I prefer escaping further afield. We are planning some travelling this abroad again this year – Morocco (a new country for me), Croatia and Spain are definite, with Italy a possibility. We may also go to the Canary Islands in the next month or two and I may also get to Amsterdam for a university reunion in May (as it didn’t happen last year). 

11. The quiet life at home with a cuppa and TV or  a good book or a night out with friends? Which sounds good today?

Well I will do all three to be fair. After I have published this, I will sit down and have a cup of tea and watch some TV before going into Manchester to meet some friends for a couple of beers and a meal. When I get back I will read for a while before going to sleep. 

12. You have a choice of  dinner and a movie or a game of cards and snacks at the neighbours. Where are you going tonight?

Like I said I am going out with friends tonight – no movie though. I don’t play cards but we pop to the neighbours for a chat and some fun sometimes.

13. Is there a hero or character on TV, in a book or a movie .. or even on all three, that you are especially like? What do you find attractive about them?

Nope. I am too boring to be a hero. 

If you can think of a “hero” who is fairly competent with computers, is quite numerate, like decent rock music and travels a bit then that would be the man. 

Answers on a comment please.

14.  Was there a book that was better in movie form? How about a movie you thought didn't live up to the book?

Typically in my experience, the book is better than the movie and I think it Is a rare thing to find a movie that is better than the book from which it came. I always found Thomas Harris a little difficult to read so the movies were generally better than the books in terms of enjoyment. In particular, Hannibal (the book) had a terrible ending – so the movie is far better. 

As I said, there are a lot of movies that are nowhere near as good as the books. 

Most books by Stephen King are better than the movies made from them for example.

15. When you choose a book, program or movie which subject it is most likely to be: science fiction, mystery, romance, comedy, documentary, etc.? What draws you to a particular book or movie?

It is most likely to be science fiction or a political thriller like those written by the late Robert Ludlum (the creator of Jason Bourne). I also read the odd horror story and I like a good comedy. 



Lisa said...

As always, I really enjoyed your answers today. We get very little snow where I live but thinking about going for your daily walk through snow makes me shiver!!

Roger Owen Green said...

Prom was pressure, fer sure.

CountryDew said...

Perhaps you could relate to the hero of Ready Player One, although he's a teenager. But I think he meets your general criteria, except for the age thing.

**Syl said...

That was fun to read.

I was reading your answer on the wedding music and suddenly remembered a wedding of some collegue. We were invited with a few friends, so attended. All nicely dressed up.They had a band, and all they played were laments and what I call "gymnastics music". Nothing happy and no "I love you". So we went outside and sat on the small wall, wishing we would have brought them a pepper and salt set, instead of the lovely gifts that took hours to find. We decided to go inside and say thank you and goodbye.
After leaving we went to a student party.... Had a lot of fun on heavy rock and roll and proper music.

Thanks for all the smiles!

Kwizgiver said...

I'll challenge you that the movie for Stephen King's The Green Mile is better than the book.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lisa,

It's fine if you are wrapped up with a sturdy pair of boots.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Roger,

Glad I didn't have the pressure of having to do it.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

I'm not sure I've seen Ready Player One. I will see if I can find it. WOuld be nice to be a teenager again.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Syl,

I did go to a wedding once - my mate is a big Guns'n'Roses fan so we got a playlist of them plus other similar bands.

It was excelent but sadly a one off.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

I've seen the film - but not read the book. So now I might just read the book to find out.