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King Henry VIII Grammar School

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MisterD-Di
Sutton Coldfield
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1381 of 1396  Tue 17th Oct 2017 6:26pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:881

On 16th Oct 2017 8:31pm, forgotten most of this said: I also did not like Taffy or Vent. The only thing I remember about Jeff was his glasses which were rimless octagonal lenses I think. I had him a few times for French and he was not interested in me since it was never a good subject for me, and I was not in any cricket or rugger teams, so I was written off. Years later he got in touch with my parents in some sort of plea for funds for the school wrapped up in an old boy get together, but I told my Mum to tell him I wasn't interested. Taffy did look for trouble and got pleasure from handing it out.
You and I are definitely in agreement here. I was never taught by either Jeff Vent or Taffy James. I managed to stay off Vent's radar throughout my days there, although I suspect now that he knew who I was, since he seemed to know who everyone was. I remember his glasses, and also his crepe soled shoes that enabled him to seem to appear from nowhere around the school. Someone (possibly you Wink) gave him the nickname 'Sneakysoles'. James was a different proposition. Although I never entered a classroom in which he taught, he earmarked me around the Lower 5th. He would get apoplectic if I happened to not be bothering to listen in assembly, where he would skulk around near the back looking for people ignoring proceedings and chatting. I recall one day where he dragged me and another lad aside as we left the hall and hopped around shouting at us "You ruined my assembly!" I refrained from suggesting there was nothing to ruin, but from then on he knew who I was. As you say, he loved looking for trouble. This resulted in some pranks being played on him for which we were never caught. Have you forgotten most of that? Lol
King Henry VIII Grammar School
bohica
coventry
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1382 of 1396  Tue 17th Oct 2017 6:58pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:222

There were a few rag mags drawn up featuring Vent as a snail. - Slimy Jeff he was known as. Piggy Shaw was also featured with Cazalet as Butch Cazalet and the Sundance Pig. Perhaps Bags might be able to add a few more?
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Bags
Saltash
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1383 of 1396  Wed 18th Oct 2017 4:40am  
Member: Joined Jul 2013  Total posts:103

Sorry I don't remember those. The only Rag Mags I remember were from the University. They were considered very racy, rude and daring for the time, early to mid 70s. I always got on OK with Piggy, never had a problem with him. Don't know why, but he was always quite nice to me.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
bohica
coventry
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1384 of 1396  Wed 18th Oct 2017 10:03am  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:222

I didn't ever have a problem with Piggy either. He was kind enough to lend me my bus fare home after my bus-pass and money were stolen from the gym changing rooms when I was a 3rd former. I paid him back the very next day. He seemed surprised, but always remembered me after that. The mags that were produced were actually quite funny, if rather disrespectful to some of the less than popular staff.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Bags
Saltash
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1385 of 1396  Wed 18th Oct 2017 1:03pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2013  Total posts:103

I'd like to have seen those. I wonder what proportion of staff were as you say less than popular compared to those who were popular? Have to be careful about names though, don't want to get in too much trouble. Naming the popular ones should be OK though.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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1386 of 1396  Thu 19th Oct 2017 7:20am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:400

On 16th Oct 2017 8:31pm, forgotten most of this said: The only thing I remember about Jeff was his glasses which were rimless octagonal lenses I think........ Years later he got in touch with my parents in some sort of plea for funds for the school wrapped up in an old boy get together, but I told my Mum to tell him I wasn't interested.
Which reminds me of the class reunion, which I believe was 25 years after starting in the main school. The invitation was sent in the post to my parents' house. My old pal and I had intended to go, but my pal was offended because his name had been missed off the list completely. I wrote to Jeff, pointing out several names that I knew of that were missing from our year, and he replied, saying "proof that I have completely come off my trolley". Nonetheless, my friend did not attend, preferring to leave the past in the past. In addition to a student list, there was a staff list; many of whom were by now either retired or deceased. Sadly, two of the boys from our year were deceased within a year of leaving school.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Midland Red
Cherwell
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Thread starter
1387 of 1396  Mon 18th Dec 2017 4:13pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4879

I have belatedly heard that the former Head of Music, J A Barnes, aka Beeb, passed away last month
King Henry VIII Grammar School
bohica
coventry
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1388 of 1396  Mon 18th Dec 2017 9:00pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:222

Beeb was OK, unlike many of the other 'teachers' that prowled the corridors of that dreadful place.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Earlsdon Kid
Argyll & Bute, Scotland
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1389 of 1396  Tue 19th Dec 2017 8:11pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2017  Total posts:23

I have always appreciated Beeb's analytical approach to music which made listening to the 'story' so much more enjoyable. As a consequence my range of musical tastes have always been most diverse, covering most genres. I believe he was mostly responsible for a school trip to Ludlow to attend a 'Jazz and Poetry' event which certainly brought to me a real appreciation of the merger of music and prose.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
herberts lad
Exhall
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1390 of 1396  Sat 23rd Dec 2017 5:48pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:74

RIP Be Bop Barnes
King Henry VIII Grammar School
JohnnieWalker
Canberra, Australia
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1391 of 1396  Sun 24th Dec 2017 7:13am  
Member: Joined Jul 2011  Total posts:236

On 19th Dec 2017 8:11pm, Earlsdon Kid said: I have always appreciated Beeb's analytical approach to music which made listening to the 'story' so much more enjoyable. As a consequence my range of musical tastes have always been most diverse, covering most genres. I believe he was mostly responsible for a school trip to Ludlow to attend a 'Jazz and Poetry' event which certainly brought to me a real appreciation of the merger of music and prose.
Interesting that you say that, EK. While I appreciated his passion for music, I always thought I learnt nothing from the Beeb's lessons. He played some Haydn, told us it was wonderful, then played some Beethoven, and told us it was wonderful etc etc. But I don't remember him ever saying WHY they were wonderful. Years after I left KHVIII, I remember a brilliant BBC radio programme about the history of music - they linked it to the changing church architectures, changing musical instrument technology, and finally the introduction of microphones and hifi. That's when I learned why Haydn, Beethoven etc were ahead of their time, and I learnt other things that were closer to my musical interests - e.g. the fact that Bing Crosby, Al Bowlly, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and the like could never have been successful prior to the microphone technology that allowed them to "croon" to an audience, instead of the operatic shrieking and bellowing that preceded them. I later had two other musical epiphanies. In a dingy hotel breakfast room in Paris in 1978, I found that the guy on my left was the music director for an American Theatre group, and I asked him what should have been a simple question - why are the frets on a dulcimer spaced unevenly, but a guitar's frets get progressively closer together? [Answer should have been: - guitar has black and white (piano) notes; dulcimer has only white notes]. The professional musician hadn't a clue, but the young French mathematician on my right explained the whole thing in calculus! The Beeb cannot be blamed for not realising that this was the best way to teach me music! My second was in 1974 when trying to turn a quarter acre of solid clay into a garden, with the radio on in the background. One piece of music drove me mad - it stayed with me, going round in my head over and over again. Eventually I had to ask in a high class record shop in Melbourne - that's Duke Ellington's Mood Indigo, they told me when I hummed it. My resulting fascination with all things Ellington taught me about chord structures (all those jazz sevenths!!), and I started to recognise how the Haydns and Beethovens contributed to the development of western music. Again, the Beeb can't be blamed for omitting Duke Ellington from his attempts to educate me - I'm just weird! Fascinating to know that he took a school party to a Jazz and Poetry event - I would never have associated him with such things - maybe I underestimated him!! RIP Beeb indeed!
True Blue Coventry Kid

King Henry VIII Grammar School
Earlsdon Kid
Argyll & Bute, Scotland
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1392 of 1396  Tue 26th Dec 2017 6:13pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2017  Total posts:23

The changes in technology have really had a great impact on music as you say, JW. The electronic era certainly has allowed a more intimate interaction with the 'breathy' performances of some vocalists to the vocal colourations achieved by singers 'working' the microphone between lip contact and arms length distances. Most entertainment venues can, indeed, no longer work at all in a purely acoustic mode and require intricate control of signal delays and reverberation to allow acceptable sound to be heard by the audience. Regarding Beeb, a couple of instances spring to mind. Firstly, how a dynamic orchestral and conductor combination brought the music of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet to life, evoking the relevant emotions throughout the performance. Secondly, discovering how Vaughan Williams' Sinfonia Antarctica used female voices to impart the impression of howling winds during Scott's ill-fated expedition. Having said that, I admit that much of classical music went over my head at the time due to my rising interest in the Stones, Beatles and a multitude of one hit wonders until contemporary folk caught my attention and gave me the urge to strum a guitar. Interesting about the dulcimer, I'd never thought about that! Returning to contemporary folk music, the Corries caught my attention when they played their own design of instruments called "Combolins", which produce a particularly distinctive sound. Here's a couple of links which explains much better than I can: Combolin in action The Corries, Combolin
King Henry VIII Grammar School
forgotten most of this
sutton coldfield
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1393 of 1396  Sun 21st Jan 2018 9:34pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2015  Total posts:12

Surely the most famous thing about Be Bop was his legendary temper - when he blew he really blew volcanic ash and lava. I remember when he once caught a lad messing with a drum kit in the back room I think - we were shaking in our seats at the violence that ensued. That and his comb over, which was continually flicked back into place when energetically conducting the choir. And his pathological defence of that huge wood cabinet (mono) record player, taking the plug in stylus out and hiding it away in his pocket like gold. Did we once either find it and play records when he wasn't there? Or did someone bring in a compatible one to achieve success?
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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1394 of 1396  Tue 23rd Jan 2018 10:02am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:400

Sounds like one of our classes. Beeb went ballistic as one of the lads, whose hobby was drumming, was beating hell out the drums, and Beeb yanked him out by the ear, then whacked him so hard he ended up on the floor. He was a big lad too - one of the roughy-toughy rugger players. I remember the tannoy. In later years music lessons consisted of listening to some classical record, followed by a discussion. One of the cheekier lads opined: "Well, I mean, it don't stick in yer 'ed like good music, does it?" Beeb was speechless, but his face went red with anger. Successfully wound up.
King Henry VIII Grammar School
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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1395 of 1396  Wed 24th Jan 2018 9:35am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:400

On 21st Jan 2018 9:34pm, forgotten most of this said: And his pathological defence of that huge wood cabinet (mono) record player, taking the plug in stylus out and hiding it away in his pocket like gold. Did we once either find it and play records when he wasn't there? Or did someone bring in a compatible one to achieve success?
Just remembered: in the fifth year, I think, our form room was the music room. Jack Wrench was our form master, and on Friday morning, we would all be in the music room early for form assembly, and Jack was inevitably late. The doors to the rooms and blocks were unlocked 24/7. Someone would keep watch by the window, as it was a long trek from the main block, so advance warning could be given of a teacher approaching. Some of the lads would bring their LPs in and play them on the Tannoy first thing in the morning. I don't recall the pick-up ever being missing though. I don't think Beeb would have approved of unauthorised use of the Tannoy.
King Henry VIII Grammar School

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