My first day at school is still vivid in a misty sort of way. We were all given a little child-sized blackboard, with a tiny blackboard eraser and some chalk. So far so good. Unfortunately I thought it was mine and when they wanted it back they had to take it by brute force. The blackboard was easy but to get the chalk they had to hold me down and force open my fingers one by one.
Somebody told my mother that I was the naughtiest boy she had encountered in thirty years experience. My Mam didn't see the funny side so I copped it from her as well. I must have learned the rules fairly quickly because I can't remember any more drama at Newbridge Road at this time.
Newbridge Road was the typical city school built and staffed to fill a need for factory fodder, with windows set high in the walls so that the clients were not distracted by the world outside. Our rulers had belatedly noticed this need when it became obvious that Britain, who had led the Industrial Revolution, was now trailing .
The Great Exhibition set up to showcase Britain's industrial strength revealed that France, America and Germany could all produce railway locomotives and etc. more cheaply and of better quality. It turned out that all these countries had well established education systems and employers had ample workers who could read, write and reckon up a bit.
The British government set up schools for the poor whether they wanted them or not. Other countries had schools built to satisfy the demands and needs of their peoples: Britain got a system imposed by an authoritarian elite. This fact was recognised and resented by parents who, for the most part, had looked forward to sending their offspring to work and bringing home money.
The initial resentment of school among the less aspiring element of working people probably lives on to this day.
Travel further out along Holderness Road past East Park, and the streets are more open and airy. Some of them are tree lined and the houses are built in pairs or sixes, with gardens. When you come to the tram sheds and Rovers New ground you will be near 710 Holderness Road.
Number 710 was a bike shop where we lived and my parents minded the shop, selling puncture outfits, mending punctures, and straightening buckled wheels. They also charged batteries up for people who lived in houses without electricity to power their wireless sets.
On Saturdays people left their bikes in the yard behind our house to watch the rugby at Craven Park. This cost them twopence, or threepence for a motor bike.
One day a dashing young man parked his B.S.A. and headed off for the game. The exhaust pipe of his bike was shiny new but the heat had turned the pipe where it joined the cylinder to a rich deep cobalt blue shading into lighter blues to a soft golden gleam. It was beautiful and I put out my five year old hand to touch it - once.
They opened the gates at half-time and kids would go in and watch the play and collect abandoned beer bottles which could be returned for the deposits. This was well worth the trouble as bottles fetched a penny each at the beer-off.
Over the road from the shop was an empty corner block of land often used for bonfires on guy Fawkes' day.
In the early thirties Armies of men came and built big cinema. I crept out of bed when night fell to see the neon lights which decorated the fašade. Inside all was new and luxurious - including the cinema organ made of various glasses and lit from within. It was played by Ronald Adcock and rose from the basement and sank again after he played it in the interval.
Baby sitters were not invented then and children were often left home by themselves
when parents went out. Often they were taken with them.
The only restriction
on children's film-viewing were when films were graded A for adult.
If you were under sixteen you were not allowed in without an adult.
My parents took me to anything and I watched, mostly unmoved, films
like The Bride of Frankenstein and Dracula's Daughter.
I remember Mrs Thompson's sweetshop and Taylor's fried fish shop where you bought
two and one (a twopenny piece of fish and a pennyworth of chips) or three and one,
for the more affluent. Down Arundel Street you could get a pennorth of each, but not at this end of Holderness Rooad.
Kids were often left pretty much to get on with life in those days. I was allowed to ride my tricycle to school along the comparatively traffic free roads and leave it in the bicycle shed.
I was one up from the baby's class, run by a Miss Baiser, so I was about six. I would pedal along past the church, past Aberdeen Street and turn right down Maybury Road to where the new school stood, single story and surrounded by green lawns and playing fields.
So I agree to go and watch my mate play a set at the Welly club.
I've stopped clubbing, but I go anyway, because he's my mate and I said I would.
When I say clubbing, I mean the whole go out take drugs and dance thing.
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