School’s out

Times sure have changed. When I was a nipper, after a full day down t’pit, sent to bed without any supper, I’d listen to John Peel on a tiny radio into the wee small hours under the bed covers, lest my parents realise I wasn’t going to arrive refreshed at school next day.

Education in those days was taken pretty seriously by parents, while avoiding it was a full-time task for us kids. At times, it was almost as if mothers and fathers were in cahoots with the teachers to ensure our childhoods were as fun-free as possible. Indeed, many youngsters’ first steps towards a life in crime came from forging their parents’ signatures on suspiciously regular sicknotes.

Nowadays not only do children gallivant off on expensive foreign trips during term-time with their carefree guardians – often fined for the privilege – but the kids are even encouraged to rock and roll.

Now, I admit that my own folks would chauffeur me to our local music emporium, although perhaps this kind act was less about saving me the bus fare into the city centre, and more likely to prevent their precious first-born from falling in with the wrong crowd (or having too good a time, pretty much the same thing) and possibly being forced to drink a bottle of wine by The Stranglers.

But time off school for music was very much a no-no, so if concert tickets went on sale on a schoolday then it’d be down to a classmate with free time or a casual disregard for the truancy board to make the trip to the box office.

As I say, things are very different now, perhaps thanks to parents who like me missed the odd legendary gig thanks to school or exams.
So when Bruce Springsteen – an upstanding member of the community I’m sure – played in LA, he was complicit in a conspiracy against local education authorities.

The so-called Boss (he’s not technically in charge of any schools as far as I’m aware) signed an absence note: “Xabi has been out very late rocking and rolling. Please excuse him if he is tardy!” Knowing the predilection of Broooce for long shows, the kid was lucky to make it back in time to graduate, though I still maintain that exposure to workmanlike rock could be a case for social services.

Springsteen has form however, a previous miscreant parent “acknowledging [Bruce’s] culpability” when writing to his daughter’s teacher: “This may not seem like a good excuse, but have you ever wondered how many kids would be late or miss school outright if God were to suddenly appear? It’s something like that.”

On that Easter theme I note that the Stone Roses’ ‘I Am The Resurrection’ came fifth in a chart of the nation’s favourite UK hits at Radio X – for those unfamiliar, it’s home to Coldplay fan Chris Moyles and is the aural equivalent of a lads’ mag i.e. brash, male-oriented, and struggling for an audience.

These facts are probably borne out by the occupation of the rest of their top 4 by a man who merely thinks he’s Jesus (or Kanye), namely Liam Gallagher.

However, even with the egg wrappers barely binned, I suspect that God making an appearance on Earth nowadays would probably cause a collective shrug among the nation’s teens, before they went back to listening to Justin Bieber on their phones.

So perhaps the tough love shown in dragging your kids along to see a 65-year-old rock icon is an education of sorts after all.

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