Versa is a biannual publication and will be published every autumn and spring term. Versa will replace the former magazine, OA Bulletin and will offer a comprehensive insight into the many facets of alumni life.
8 Reunions CLASS OF 1963 reunion by Mike Darby (OA 1963) MOST OF THE MEMBERS OF ‘MATHS UPPER’ The 19th July 1963 was the last day of term and the nine members of Maths Upper went their separate ways (most of whom are pictured above). Fifty years later, to the day, six of us had a reunion meal at Lussmanns. One other of our number, Andy Lister, was traced to Australia, but said it was rather a long way to come! Since then we have met biannually and in 2015 managed to fix a date so that Andy could join us. On 4th July this year we were hosted by the School’s Development Office. We were given a tour of the School, and reminisced about the Walnut tree in the Orchard and the former CCF rifle range, and many other things. We were disappointed that the ‘maths room’ where we spent so much of our time with Harry Schofield (and other teachers) at the top of the Science block no longer existed, having been amalgamated with the former TLR (Top Lecture Room). We marvelled at the new swimming pool and contrasted it with the pool at Belmont. Afterwards, we went into St Albans and had a coffee in St Peter’s Street before returning to 5, Fishpool Street for an excellent meal prepared and served by the School’s caterers. All in all, it was an excellent day. If any reader of this piece has knowledge of the contact details for our two ‘missing’ members, P(eter) N R Chadwick (last heard of in Germany) or D(avid) M Griffiths (last heard of in Canada), I would be pleased if you would let me know via the Development Office. EIGHT old boys meeting by Mike Hodge (OA 1065) In June, eight of us OAs from the 1965 vintage, made our annual pilgrimage to the Digby Tap in Sherborne. We first met on 18th September 1958 on our first day at School and motivated by the first 50th year reunion in 2008, our splinter group has carried on with a small annual reunion. Apologies for absence were received from Pete Smith who was attending his Godmother’s 95th birthday. Fair enough. We chose The Digby Tap because it is a sort of ‘central’ point for us travelling OAs. Our homes range from Sidmouth, Bath, Fairford, Oxford, Belgium, Hoddesdon and Harpenden. Mike Nurton now lives in Sherborne and also gets an invite. All of us have had very different careers, which shows the benefit of the wide educational basis provided by the School. Many subjects were discussed and many things were put right. It was as if none of us had been away – the humour and stories were endless. The landlord at The Digby Tap is keen to have us back next year (8th June 2018) as it is a very good day for his takings! We ‘Diamond Geezers’ are now contemplating another reunion on or around 18th September 2018 to celebrate 60 years since we were ‘new bugs’! 1967 & 1974 GOLDEN JUBILEE reunion This summer marked 50 years since the Classes of 1967 started, and the Class of 1974 left St Albans School. In celebration, we held a Golden Jubilee Reunion for these two year groups, bringing together just under 50 OAs, some of whom had not seen each other since their School days! The group enjoyed a tour of the School site and an update from the Headmaster on where we are today and future plans. It was then up to Woollams to enjoy lunch and a drink in the School Pavilion. For some, the reminiscing continued long into the night in the local St Albans pubs! Thank you to all who attended and we hope to see you again soon. (IN THE CHAIR) DAVE CHAPMAN, (BACK ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT) SID OWEN, BARRY MACKENZIE, MIKE NURTON – OA STAFF FROM 1966 TO 1971, MIKE HODGE. (FRONT ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT) RICK MOORE, BILL NEALE AND DAVE MERRIOTT.
9 LINES by Niall Matthews (OA 1974) time takes a cigarette i the park breathed come to a strange place we’ll talk over old times ii twentieth century boys iii distant memories diffracted reflected refracted by different shards of glass my salad days when I was green in judgment cold in blood to say as I said then but come away get me ink and paper iv fingers stained royal blue the smell of ink in the bottle when the white eagle of the north is flying overhead v arma virumque cano vi I sing of arms and a man cross-country runs along the flint wall where roman boots once beat in cadence boot caliga caligae spit polish blanco on khaki webbing the last post construe so many, many songs were waiting to be sung vii the ablative absolute long forgotten viii somehow I still conjure latin roots e ducere lead out education ductile the duke of edinburgh swiss time was running out it seemed that we would lose the race smoke on the water fire in the sky ix we mixed emotions in clever retorts we used slide rules logarithms irony sarcasm I got a silver machine it flies sideways through time x pocket chess the french defence cela se fait à paris! xi but that’s what’s done in paris baguettes and bottled beer hey babe, take a walk on the wild side xii il pleure dans mon coeur comme il pleut sur la ville xiii tears in my heart like the rain on the town je t’aime moi non plus xiv I love you... me neither me neither can’t even think of a word that rhymes xv subjunctive mood détente detention writing lines bet you’re wond’ring how I knew xvi gowns unfurling like black wings jackets of tweed or beige linen teachers some were kind going back to find to a simpler place ’n’ time xvii I could last forever outlast the sea the earth and all men xviii in our paintings the teacher always found a line to admire the smell of oil paints this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine making the green one red xix no more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue xx der die das a sharply-dressed german german teacher carried a brown leather accusative case we rowdily declined adjectives über den wolken muss die freiheit wohl grenzenlos sein above the clouds freedom has no borders xxi do I der to eat a peach? xxii cabin’d, cribb’d, confined, bound in to saucy doubts and fears xxiii a gentle english teacher showed us the jokes in shakespeare you were half blasted ere I knew you xxiv he collected shopping bags tonight I’ll lose my head tonight I’ve got to get tonight xxv film club old oak pews film reels flickering strangers on a train xxvi fingers stretching for a lighter is there concrete all around or is it in my head xxvii walking home through the park in my striped school blazer three boys from the secondary modern looking grim fell into step a girl called out “he’s my brother” and reluctantly they faded away I never saw her again kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town xxviii at a rock concert a girl from the grammar school smiled though the music is lethal let the night take me in xxix visiting years later on the hill is the shop where I got my first camera still somebody’s shouting up at a mountain only my own words return xxx in the high street a man sitting on the pavement shouts “change please!” but we had already changed time may change me but I can’t trace time xxxi in the end maybe there were no answers only questions and I know where to find some good ones the park breathed and as for time he’s waiting in the wings xxxii i David Bowie, Rock ‘n’ roll Suicide ii Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Somebody called me Sebastian iii Twentieth Century Boy, title of a song by T Rex iv Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra act 1 scene 5 v The Moody Blues, The Dream vi Vergil, the Aeneid, opening line vii Dusty Springfield, Yesterday When I Was Young viii = an ablative absolute ix Deep Purple, Smoke on the Water x Hawkwind, Silver Machine xi Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary part 3 section 1 xii Lou Reed, Take a Walk on the Wild Side xiii Paul Verlaine, Il Pleure dans mon Coeur… from Romances sans paroles xiv Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, Je t’aime… moi non plus xv Alice Cooper, School’s Out xvi Marvin Gaye, I Heard It Through the Grapevine xvii Gladys Knight and the Pips, Midnight Train to Georgia xviii Joseph Conrad, Youth xix Shakespeare, Macbeth act 2 scene 2 xx The Rolling Stones, Paint it Black xxi Reinhard Mey, Über den Wolken xxii Do I dare to eat a peach? T S Eliot, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock xxiii Shakespeare, Macbeth act 3 scene 4 xxiv Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra act 3 scene 13 xxv Easybeats, Friday on my Mind, covered by David Bowie on Pinups xxvi Strangers on a Train, directed by Alfred Hitchcock from a novel by Patricia Highsmith xxvii Mott the Hoople, All the Young Dudes xxviii Pink Floyd, Time xxix Mick Ronson, Music is Lethal xxx Deep Purple, Pictures of Home xxxi David Bowie, Changes xxxii David Bowie, Time