30 September, 2006


A melancholy thing is an image, unexpected, of one's youth. Yet here, on Wikipedia, was discovered such an image—while browsing idly its content on the Westminster Greaze, a Shrove Tuesday ritual in which the school cook tosses a pancake over a high bar, and a hero from each house wrestles the others for the biggest piece—what should I find but a snapshot of the year that my own form competed:

Of course, I was not among the scufflers, not a wrestler by nature, and in any event being nigh-universally disprized by my peers. My memory may be playing tricks on me, but I discern among these blurred pancratists and spectators the faces of young men I once feared: look, there's Levine, budding playwright and Russianist! And is that Jarman, African traveller and history buff? And facing away in the white and green t-shirt, Rajiv Somethingorother, whom one could never quite trust? Obscured is that year's winner, the impossibly wonderful Ell, the straight-A proto-engineer fencer and yachter who was dating the girl I wanted. Sitting down I think I see Pimlott, son of famed late historian Ben Pimlott and wearer of natty black suede boots. Behind him Mr. Hargreaves the history-teacher; Jonquieres, son of Guy de Jonquieres at the Financial Times; and McGregor, world rowing champion. There are some familiar faces at the back, too. What shits we all were! No doubt charmers all, now.


Andrew W. said...

It seems it was an astounding place to grow up.

I would love to hear more about the school life there - it seems the opposite of my own schooling in Alberta, where high school English comprised of one Shakespeare play, a novel, and maybe a couple of poems. Oh, and we read A Modest Proposal one year.

Given the pancake tossed (during? at? Is there a special proposition to be used here, sactioned by an Act of Parliament?)the Greaze lacks one of the essential qualities of a true pancake, edibility, perhaps your current tussle has more reality to it that one would be inclined to assume!

Conrad H. Roth said...

Astounding, yes, I suppose so, looking back on it. Perhaps I shall write more as the mood takes me, upon return to London. (You read A Modest Proposal? That's pretty adventurous for high school!)

In the Greaze, maybe? I'm not sure: the school had its own grammar, wonderfully. We would not go "to assembly", we would go "up School".

Andrew W. said...

It was adventurous, although immediately before it we read Shirley Valentine and we chased it with Lawrence of Arabia, as in the film.

There wasn't much literature, to put it mildly.

Anonymous said...

I'm doing that tomorrow, I expect to be mullered.

Conrad H. Roth said...

Ah, I remember 'mullered'. Good luck with it, anyway.

Anonymous said...