Echo and The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes were undoubtedly cut from the same cloth but the Bunnymen were harder. Julian Cope appeared to have the kind of shaky self-belief that posh kids seem to have because they know their parents can bail them out of trouble if they need to. He always seemed to be trying just a little bit too hard to convince everyone that he could mix it with the big boys – the Liverpool lads. Ian McCulloch was a Liverpool lad.
The first time I played “Heaven Up Here” I put side two on by mistake and was immediately struck by the power of Pete de Freitas’ drumming on the title track, driving the song along like a thunder roll. That was followed by the pretty strange “The Disease” before the thunderous drums kicked in again on “All My Colours”. McCulloch’s voice growls, soars and swoops with a swaggering strength throughout the album, but never more so than on “A Promise”. And “Zimbo” became the word I would sing over and over again as I put the finishing touches to my art exhibition in my last few days at college.
My first teaching post at Laughton Junior and Infant School in Rotherham started before I officially left college but I wasn’t going to miss out on the general mayhem at the end of college life. I had a couple of weeks bombing around everywhere in mum and dad’s VW Caravette – over to Laughton for work at 8.30 a.m. then, two or three times a week, straight from there up to Ripon for a party or a Short Supply gig or just a general get together in someone’s room. I would then drive back in the wee-small hours of the morning and grab a couple of hours sleep before doing it all again. I still had my room in Owen House, so would drive up on a Friday and stay over for the weekend before driving home late on Sunday night, ready for work on the Monday. A cassette tape of “Heaven Up a Here” played very loudly and the window wound down were often the only things that kept me from falling asleep at the wheel! I loved every minute of it: grown up working man in the day time, rowdy student at night!
Then it was time to leave for the last time. Dad came and helped me pack everything into the van and in his car and that was it, back to Sheffield. Four years of basically care-free, fun filled growing up was finished. I guess it could have been sad but, as mum always said, I didn’t have time to be depressed, I had a job to do and another four weeks before I could have a holiday. The week after college finished, I went to Filey for a week on a school residential visit to Habershon House, somewhere I’ve been almost every single year since. I’d hated every teaching practice I’d ever done at college but somehow just naturally fell into the rhythm of school life, feeling immediately at home and comfortable in my role. Whilst I was at Laughton, I heard about a permanent post coming up at Thorpe Hesley Junior School, again in Rotherham. The head teacher at my current place asked if I was interested, made a phone call and fixed up a time for me to go and visit. Within a couple of days, with no formal interviews, I was lined up for my second teaching job to start in September.
Real life, with a vengeance! Zimbo!