Reviving The 70’s
A reunion in September 2001 for Moseley Inmates from the 1970’s
Midnight on September 15th 2001 and 250 drunks stagger out of the old school hall singing ‘6,728 Green bottles…’ and amble off down Wake Green Road in search of a curry.
Upturned chairs, several half eaten egg sandwiches and many, many empty cases of beer and wine, are the only signs that something momentous has occurred. The silence is broken by Richard Callaghan “I’ve still got six bottles of fizzy water left if anyone is interested?”
Rod Ling surveys the debris. “They missed the last piece of chocolate cake as well” he says. Geoff Goodman looks up from counting his box office takings. “Didn’t old thingy look good? He didn’t look that good when he taught us and anyway, who shrunk the gym and all the classrooms?”
But perhaps I should start at the beginning. (Wavy lines and dreamy music)
April 2001 and Colin Harris, our then illustrious Chairman, has an idea, prompted by the lack of young(ish) blood in the Moseleians Association, especially 70’s blood – and lets face it Colin likes to see blood. He feels a reunion is the way forward and so sets about building a pyramid of cohorts who are willing, able, or just not quite quick enough at thinking up excuses, to put his master plan into action.
Five months later and mountains have been moved, rivers have been crossed and Maurice Paramore’s chequebook has been put on stand by. Over 300 ex-pupils and staff have been rediscovered and the invitations have gone out. There is no going back and indeed the main problem is how to stop the thing getting out of hand. How many people will turn up? Will there be enough food, drink, nasty sticky name labels and above all space?
A rough quorum is assembled the evening before D-day to make final preparations, lay plans, hump tables, arrange chairs and eventually to swig Ale. 180 tickets had been pre-sold and who knows how many would turn up unannounced.
By mid-afternoon on the Saturday, the final, final preparations were well in hand (despite Colin’s headless chicken impersonations). Car parking signs were in place, old photographs had been dug out and displayed, staff had been press-ganged into taking tours around the school and most importantly of all… the food and booze had arrived. By 5.30 the guests had also started to arrive. Some we recognised, some we didn’t. Some had weathered the years well and some, frankly just looked well…weathered. The vast majority of people took advantage of the school tours and many received their first ever visit up the famous tower. Although it was possible to visit the tower during the 1970’s it was not the safest of pursuits and therefore only available to the lucky few.
The school looked splendid, far better in fact than during our time as inmates. Tony Thacker led the first group of ‘tourists’ on the 30-minute round trip. He returned 55 minutes later. Time keeping was never his strong point! Groups were now setting off at regular intervals and surprisingly enough, things were going to plan.
By 7 pm people had began to filter into the hall and chat over a glass or two (or three) and this seemed to set the pace for the rest of the evening. People were happy to mingle and talk to old friends and teachers, swap stories and catch up on the years. For many it was like they had never been away. The years fell back and the memories flooded vividly into view. Musician Steve Ashcroft provided a musical complement to the atmosphere from the stage and the fantastic buffet was given a good bashing during the interval. Outside groups of old friends stood on the entrance steps and along the gravel driveway taking in a breath of fresh air (or a crafty cigarette as the case may be) and admiring the old place in the moonlight. The gargoyles that looked down from their emplacements may well have been smiling. It was just like we had never been away. (The camera pans away over the playing fields).
Malcolm Stent provided entertainment from the stage for the final hour and all too soon it was time to return to the 21st century and in Richard Callaghan’s case, the washing up! It was generally agreed that the evening has been a fantastic success which raises the question…. What happens next?
New members had been signed up to the Moseleians Association and certainly more will follow as a result of this very successful night. The final tally was something in the order of 250 ex-pupils and staff and a substantial sum raised, all of which will find its way, through the Association, back into the school.
Many thanks to all those who made it such an event. To Rod Ling, who had to sort out all the logistics, to Geoff Goodman and Vic Corner on the box office, to Richard Callaghan on the bar, to Colin Harris, Steven Whateley, Stephen George, Richard Cobb, David Peck and all those who I have offended by not mentioning who also gave their time and support. With a team like this who are able to produce 250 ex-70’s Moseleians, the Association can only grow from strength to strength.
I know… because I was there!