The vagaries of chance
December 24, 2009
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I am taking advantage of being at my parents' and reading Alan Bennett's Writing Home. In one of the early pieces I'm startled to see a reference to his older brother, Gordon, posing for a photograph in his Morley Grammar School blazer. Morley Grammar School being the forerunner of Morley High (or Fountain Street Comp, as it can unaffectionately be referred to). This photograph was taken shortly before the Bennetts had an ill-fated year living in Guildford; perhaps this is why, on their return, young Alan went to Leeds Modern rather than following on behind his brother in those cold and draughty tiled corridors (I don't know where Gordon went back to school).
Just think: if it weren't for the intervention of Guildford, Alan Bennett could have gone to my school. I can't help thinking that would have made for a much more interesting prize-giving (you can turn the school into a comprehensive, but you can't excise its grammatical pretensions entirely, no matter how ludicrous the passing years make them) than Brian Sodding Turner.
(Perhaps we should be grateful; while a spell at Morley would have added even more familiar dimensions to The History Boys – for me – I can't help suspecting that the more likely outcome would have been no writing at all. Morley tends to do that to people.)