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NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 07 September 2006

CONNECTION WITH QE: 'Former inmate'

Who remembers music lessons with Dickie Whittington?  I'm talking about the late fifties of course.  We were subjected to hideous classical 78s, all carefully placed on the turntable by Jackson, his favourite - until one day he put on Rock Around the Clock instead!!!  Dickie went absolutely crazy.  He always called me a thundering (possibly fundering) nuisance.


NAME: Vic Coughtrey  Vic CoughtreyThen & Now

DATE: 07 September 2006


Ung-oo, ung-oo, ung-oo, ung-oo.  Full fathom five, full fathom five, full fathom five, full fathom five.


NAME: Ian Sadler  Ian Sadler

DATE: 12 September 2006

CONNECTION WITH QE: Former pupil 1951-58

Oh yes indeed.  Another phrase was DISH IS FOOD.  Apart from this I remember: (a) while the 78 rpm discs were spinning he would yell "Trombone!" "Flute!" etc at appropriate places.  One day the telephone further down the corridor rang in the middle of a piano concerto and he shouted out "Triangle!"   We insisted it was the telephone so we had to hear that side (4 minutes) again - no triangle although he still insisted one should be there.  (b) We usually had him immediately after lunch - in those days there was no school refectory - lunch was in the school hall and beacause it wasn't big enough to hold the whole school at once, years 1 and 2 had lunch between periods 3 and 4 in the morning - and the class started at 12.30 - he usually told us to get on with "something" for the first 20 minutes before we sang the scales or listened to the records.  'Tiger' Timpson must have got wind of this because in one Latin lesson he suddenly asked "Do you have music today?" and promptly set us extra homework.


NAME: Mike Carter

DATE: 14 September 2006

CONNECTION WITH QE: Former inmate is correct 1957-63

How on earth do you remember these names after all these years?  Admittedly some teachers were more memorable than others but until seeing some of the names appear in the various threads I couldn't have come up with more than three or four.

The music room, if memory serves me right, was at the end of a particularly gloomy corridor on the wing closest to Queen's Road.  I think you had to turn right just before the master's day room.  It doubled as an art room I believe and we always had to queue outside no doubt making as much noise as we dared at the time.  I remember the class being split into groups of four with all of us having to sing something or other to see if we could sing in tune, something I still cannot do.

Derek Fry, whose name appears in one of the other threads, was the teacher who drew the short straw and accompanied us anoraks interested in (if I dare say it) TRAIN SPOTTING!


NAME: Nigel Wood  Nigel Wood

DATE: 13 December 2006


We had 'Dickie' Whittington on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  'Full fathom five', 'Dish is food' etc. occupied Tuesday's lesson; Thursday's was spent listening to Mendelssohn's Hebridean overture (Fingal's Cave), or the Storm Movement from Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony.  It was rarely anything else, though I do seem to remember something about a pump-room.  Like Stephen Giles (even though we weren't in the same form) I can remembering a particularly naughty boy being told he was "a thundering great nuisance to the whole form".  Most memorable, though, was the inevitable "Hands up who hopes it's sausages!", which came during Tuesday's (pre-lunch) lesson.

Nasty schoolboys though we were, I think we saw the sadness of Dickie Whittington's plight, especially when we learned that he was staying on beyond retirement age because by some misfortune he had just missed a pension entitlement. When he did retire, obviously a sick man, he survived only a few months.


NAME: Paul Buckland

DATE: 28 December 2006


I would imagine that the job of teaching teenage boys music must be the most unrewarding of all.  I do not remember 'Dickie' Whittington, but his successor 'Bill' Biggs who tried to teach us music in the school hall met with equal lack of success.  I can still remember the jeers when he talked of homophonic sounds, and made us sing the most weird folk songs (although I still remember the words).  His great redeeming feature in the eyes of all the boys was that his teenage daughter was deemed 'a cracker'.  A colleague whose nephew is now at QE tells me that the standard of music is now extremely high with an excellent orchestra.  The downside, apparently, boys cannot get into the orchestra without passing the relevant Royal College exam grades.


NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 08 January 2007

CONNECTION WITH QE: Former nuisance 1957-64

During my time at QE, I greatly resented how classical music was rammed down our throats and I wonder how much that has changed since.  I am not aware of any famous rock musicians who went to QE, and I can remember Dilly blaming my guitar playing for failing O Levels!  How many rock musicians apart from myself have performed in the school hall I wonder??


NAME: Martyn Day  Martyn DayThen & Now

DATE: 24 January 2007

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1956 - 1963

I remember playing with some other guitar players in the School Hall on Open Night - or whatever it was called - in 1961.  The highlight of the evening was a heated discussion about who had the most 'twang', Hank Marvin or the 'Twangmeister' himself Duane Eddy?  The Shadows had just released FBI which, according to one of my fellow guitar nerds, featured Hank using an ultra-twangy bass pick-up on his Fender Stratocaster.  Wow!

I also remember that Tony Lyon persuaded Guy Hewlett and myself to play a one-off gig in Cuffley with some local musicians, Tommy Moueller, Buster Meikle and the wonderously named Johnny Macbeth on bass.  Although we were absolute rubbish three of the band went on to form Unit 4 + 2 and had a world wide hit with Concrete and Clay and two of them didn't. Can you guess which two didn't make it?


NAME: Phil Ward

DATE: 24 January 2007

CONNECTION WITH QE: Inmate 1935-44

I have never been able to sing in tune and 'Dickie' Whittington didn't help.  One day he had us singing something when he got up from the piano and walked round the class like someone trying to find the source of a bad smell.  When he reached me, he slapped me across the back of the head and hissed "Sit down, shut up, and don't let me hear you singing again!".  From then on, I used music lessons to get a start on my homework.
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