Another mindless new experience was the school assembly, which was held every morning in the main hall that passed also as a gymnasium. Mr Hall would address the pupils and then the music teacher, Mrs Hicks, would play some classical music on some beat-up old mono record player. I became very familiar with Ravel’s Bolero and Greig’s Peir Guint suite [sic] as a result. The most painful part of assembly though was the singing of hymns. We had all just been issued with new, plastic-covered hymn books, very tasty to nibble on, and it was from these that I’d learn the Christian hits of the day, such as ‘Morning Has Broken’ and ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’. It was all pretty painful stuff, not least because, before and after the hymns, we had to sit on the floor, crammed in like sardines. I would always suffer from pins and needles sat on that floor. Needless to say, it was actually a relief to stand up and complete the morning assembly by mumbling the Lord’s Prayer. Now that was a thing. The only part that ever made any sense to me was the bit about giving me my daily bread. Other than that I was lost. The bit about forgiving us our trespasses had me really confused — I had trespassed on other people’s property before, but I had never thought to ask for the Lord’s forgiveness. Was that what it meant?I made the mistake of getting this in the middle of my Double Deckers fixation a few years back, because Google indicated that it does have a couple of references to the show, and I thought it might be some kind of academic analysis of the pop culture of the day. No such luck; it’s the autobiography of a not very interesting chap, who has not done even the most basic research on the things he is writing about (“ Greig’s Peir Guint ” !!!!) and really would not even be much use as a primary source for what is anyway a well-researched and well-archived period. I read the first couple of chapters and gave up. You can get it here.
This was the non-fiction book that had lingered longest unread on my (virtual) shelf. Next on that list is The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence, 1918-1923, by Charles Townshend.