When I was at school, each year group was split into forms, and each form met every morning for registration. I’m sure it’s much the same set-up now, but just in case, that was how it went. Some teachers read the register by first name. Very occasionally, we got one who went by surname. It threw me a bit when I was fourteen being addressed as Binney. Now, I have friends, and borderline family, who do it.

Anywho, my form group used to convene in the main music room. Sometimes, the boys played poker. More often than not, they used to stack the mini stools, seven or eight high, and jump over them. I seem to remember one or two of the lads managed to leap over ten stools, but I may have a smidge of the rose-tinted going on.


Because it was the main music room, there were a couple of tape recorders as well as sheet music, keyboards and some small-scale percussive instruments – claves, triangles and such.


Being fourteen, perhaps fifteen, we didn’t much bother with claves anymore, but we did make use of the tape deck. I won’t name the album we listened to the most at that time because it will, doubtless, have its own day in this list of magical things but – hint – it’s all anybody listened to from about 1995-1998.

As well as that one, we listened to Basket Case by Green Day, before registration, at least three days out of five, for about two years.

It’s an epic song.

I invite you to listen to it and know that, when I hear the opening words, I am once again fourteen, a bit too neat, rather timid, but with this song in my head, I no longer care that I don’t understand simultaneous equations.

“Do you have the time to listen to me whine?”