Ahhh, schooldays. The happiest days of your life.
Apart from the bullying, violence, constant fear, latent homosexuality, raging hormones and verbal and physical abuse, my teachers were all great. And I won’t even talk about my classmates.
I went to a well-respected secondary school. We had a world-renowned choir, a planetarium (Oooooh!), a swimming pool and yet we still had an ice-cream man threatening children with a hammer (Good lunchtime that one) and a CS gas cannister being let off in the Geography department. But I’m not going to talk about my secondary school. I’m going to talk about my primary school, and the most terrifying thing I encountered while I was there. Assembly. And, specifically the assemblies where we had to sing the hymn ‘Lord Of The Dance.’
That jolly lovely song with the diddly-dee tune, all nice and bouncy and upbeat and… well you know it. Sung with a lovely smile on your face ‘Dance dance wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the Dance said he…’
A friend of mine always thought it was ‘I am the Lord of the Dance settee’, but I digress…
You know. Settee? Like sofa? A song for the head mack daddy of DFS? But I digress…
I mean. What the fuck is a dance settee anyway? I mean. Surely. Work it out! Listen to the lyrics, it’s ‘SAID HE’, not ‘settee.’ But I digress…
The lovely hymn that my school used to roll out at Easter, sung as a joyous celebration of a special time… which USED TO SCARE THE CRAP OUT OF ME.
There was dissonance. A terrible conflict in my head between the lovely jaunty, dancey, jolly traditional tune and the lines;
I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame
The holy people said it was a shame
They ripped, they stripped, they hung me high
Left me there on the cross to die
Hang on a motherfunning minute. Jaunty tune. Sung gleefully and the words ‘ripped’ ‘stripped’ #Saucy ‘hung’ ‘TO DIE.’
Woah there. Yellow card.
I danced on a Friday when the world turned black
Yeah. Stop singing now. It’s getting grim.
It’s hard to dance with the DEVIL ON YOUR BACK
Right. That’s it. Red card offence. I’m not singing anymore. I’ll just la-la-la and see if I can get away with it? I can? Oh good. And I la-la-la’d for most of the time I was at that school when they rolled out this particular barrel of cheeky monkeys. No-one knew. I used to scrunch my eyes up so I didn’t have to read the lyrics on the acetate on the overhead projector as Miss Honey (True name, music teacher, gorgeous, my first crush, I was 8) banged away on the piano.
Wonder what happened to Miss Honey? Anyhow, I digress…
I hated this song. I hated Kumbayah too but at least it made sense. Kinda. Ish. It certainly didn’t bring to mind images of horrific torture, death, gloomy black clouds as God makes his judgment and Satan.
Silly really but I had a vivid imagination and some of my family were religious, my grandfather and my mother, but my gran wasn’t. My mum always got a banging donk on around Easter and used to love telling me the story of the crucifixion. The betrayals. The fact Jesus was abandoned by his crew. ‘Imagine it Spencer. Imagine having NAILS banged into your hands and feet and being HUNG on a CROSS.’
‘I’m going to bed mum.’
How proud she was when the school asked me to sing ‘Lord of The Dance’, solo, at our Easter Assembly accompanied by Miss Honey on the guitar (I wondered what happened to Miss Honey). There she was, smiling in the front row, while I sang a song that scared. Me. Shitless.
If I knew ‘FML’ when I was 9 I think that’s what I would have said. FML, sideways.
What scared you about school? I know mine’s a bit random but please share yours with the group. What did you love, hate, fear or loathe about your time at school. Slot one into my comments hole before the end of the day or it’ll be detention. And then, we’ll all look at your answers and LAUGH IN YOUR FACE. Just like the old days.
Oh, and thanks for reading.