This is my view from the terrace of the Headland Hotel in Newquay, a vision of tidy tranquility. Roald Dahl’s The Witches was filmed here in 1990, but no movie memorabilia adorns the walls; instead, photo-realistic oil paintings depicting bits of cloth draped over suitcases, against fleur de lis patterned wallpaper. I sink further into an outside sofa, gazing out to sea, and try to relax. Cognitive dissonance: I’ve just devoured a slice of key-lime pie, the summer breeze is caressing my neck and I have no responsibilities for the next two days: I should feel contented. But I don’t. What right do I have to unwind whilst others are at the anti-austerity demo in London? What precious seconds am I selfishly wasting, here alone with my thoughts?
Before we found out what he’d been up to, half the girls at Weald fancied Mr. Rogers. Of course we did; it was an all girls grammar school and he was the only male teacher under thirty. We didn’t mind that he was a maths geek, at a time when NHS specs and ankle-swinging chinos weren’t a mark of roguish self-awareness and a killer record collection but a sign that you lived with your mother. Think Christian Slater in ‘He Was a Quiet Man’.
Mr. Rogers was in a band. That fact alone put him right up there with Alex James from Blur (this was well before the Tory-voting, cheese-farming crisis), even though it was the Salvation Army band and he played trombone. What did we know about music anyway? Most of my classmates thought ‘Now 35’ was the greatest album ever released.
On Saturday May 30th, some hackers impose themselves on St. Mary’s Church in Kemptown for a day of code-breaking, patch-sharing, idea swapping and tubthumping. Afterwards, something skin-sploshing and nerve-tingling happens. This is NOT how it happens:
“Hello Vicar, do you want to raise some money towards fixing this leaky old roof?”
“Well yes boys, of course!”
“How about letting us put on an experimental electronic noise gig?”
“Oh yes, we’re very progressive here in Brighton, that sounds wonderful. I love a bit of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.”