Moving up

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We finally have our digitization set up! Soon we will be able to digitize not only document, books and such but also transfer DVD and VHS to files. We’re certainly moving up:-)

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Guy Fawkes’ Day Commotion

The best stories in the archives, in my opinion, are the stories of the old days of the school(s). And the best of those again are the stories you come up while looking for something completely different. During one of ‘manhunts’ i.e looking for a past student of ours, I came across this memory from the very early days in St Mark’s Magazine(1894). The article was titled ‘Odd Moments 66-7’. One of those ‘moments’ goes like this:

‘The Vice-Principal in those days dear Freddy, objected to a bon-fire on Guy Faux(sic) Day- the Dad didn’t. Roughs came in from Fulham Road, kicked the fire about, and did other damage. Not content with that, they came in every night for a wee after and were objectionable. The First Room, baing select and god-like, wouldn’t do anything, the Green Room said ‘’shut the door’’, and were empathetic, while the Math was in those early days Radical and encouraged the people to kick up any row they like.’

It ended with the ‘Patriotic Second Room’  waiting in ambush for the roughs with ‘Two fencing sticks, an Indian club or two and other weapons.’

Well, let nobody tell you that today’s students are rowdy while the students of the past would be involved into all sorts of trouble, and very nearly started a gang war.

 

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Good intentions are tough to execute pt.2

Pictures-everybody love them. We do too, but we love the ones that are annotated even more because it is better to know who is on them. It’s not only because you can put a name to a face, so you don’t just stare on bunch of unknown people. It’s because when a request for information comes, we can send over a picture alongside our findings. But, have you ever tried to find that one picture of your friend Andy from that time you went to a party dressed like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum from 2001? Imagine just that, but with a stack of really old photos of people you’ve never met. So, the next project is listing the photos with the names attached to them so you can find that one guy you’re looking for. Except it’s another good intention that is tough to execute. Mostly because for some reason the names on the pictures are often tiny. Which leaves you squinting through the magnifier for an hour, hoping you’re getting it right. I don’t even know what kind of writing implement they have used, unicorn hair maybe? Here is the picture I took with the magnifier:

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The Actor’s Wheel

When you live off campus, there is a chance that some things will pass you by. One of those things that passed me by was theatre. Marjon has its own  actor training company called  The Actor’s Wheel. They put up productions in Marjon’s own theatre in Desmond Tutu Building and then go on tour.  I have found posters and flyers of their past productions in our archives.

And if you feel like some theatre and want to support young thespians, here is the link to their website. Check out their new productions starting in may.

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Leavers’ Dinner

Leavers’ Dinner. Funny time to write about it. Usually held at the end of third’s year second semester. But this would be time for people to start thinking if they should like to go or not. (I didn’t go to mine if you’re wondering.)
As the Leavers’ Dinners are a long and well-established tradition, so are the menu retained in the archives. Here are some examples from the years passed.

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Here we have the menus from 1947, 1985 and 1992.
A few fun facts pulled out of those:

  •  Ok, so I can’t read the menu from 1982 as it is completely in French, so if I had been there I would have not known what would come from the kitchen next. And ‘Carottes a la Vichy’ sounds kind of…political:-)
  •  The vegetarian option is absent from all of these except the 1992’s one, I guess before that you’d have to stuff yourself with potatoes and peas before that.
  • All of them state that the smoking at the table is permitted after the loyal toast or after the coffee had been served. Um…not that I’m vehemently anti-smoking but…
  •  Some copies of the menus are signed by the people attending, just a personal touch to the memento from that day.

So, here they are- just menus, but still quite fun.

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‘The Atmosphere Man’

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You know who I’d love to meet? Andrew Salkey. I already mentioned him way back when I wrote about Black History Month way back when. Salkey was our student in the 50’s and then went on to be a novelist, poet, journalist, broadcaster; a significant figure in Jamaican literature; it probably be easier to say what he wasn’t. And I also can say that he would be a great person to know. Sometimes I come across things he wrote for different Marjon’s publications where his wry humour was often employed to make excellent observations about contemporary life. I would say even more: I maintain that Andrew Salkey was an early post-colonial writer. Case and point: ‘The Atmosphere Man’- a story published in College magazine in 1957. It was no doubt inspired by his own experiences. The story shows a moment in a day of an employee of a coffee bar, that we assume is Salkey himself. This bar was set-up to create an ‘exotic’ atmosphere and Salkey was expected to be, in a way, a part of the furnishing. As a black man, he was to make his white clients as if they were visiting some distant part of British Empire, where a ‘local’ black man would serve them coffee. He is told by his employer not to be caught with The Times by the patrons because a black man pursuing intellectual endeavours would ruin the illusion. The story itself is a short but brilliant insight into the mindset of colonialism, a time capsule for outlook that is absurd for the modern sensibilities, yet it held on for so long nonetheless.
Well, I’m too late. Andrew Salkey died in1995. I’ll never have the pleasure of meeting him which is a great shame as he must have been a fascinating person to talk to.

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Early Christmas Wishes

Because of other commitments I am posting the last post of the year today. Please enjoy this vintage Christmas card, have great Christmas and Happy New Year. I shall return in January with more stories. See you then!

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