Random Opportunities

‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’.

Tuberculosis delayed the start of my education, but on the bright side it also got me out of a smoggy Soho slum and into the fresh clean (this was a long time ago) Canterbury air. The school wasn’t up to much and all of us apart from Steven Bloody Smart-Arse failed our eleven plus. However, Holy Cross primary school had a strong link with the local church of the same name and we were encouraged to sing. Spending months in hospital will have an impact on a four-year-old and probably accounted for my stammer; a stammer that was so bad that I could barely communicate. However, I could sing.

My mum referred to herself as ‘agnostic’ which coupled with our itinerant lifestyle meant that I didn’t get baptised. One day the vicar-came-a-calling. The conversation went along the lines of…

“If you agree to Graham singing in my church choirs, I’ll get him into Archbishops school”

“But we don’t go to church”

“That’s not a problem”

“But he hasn’t been Christened”

“I’ll do it this weekend”

“He’ll need a godfather”

“I’ll be his godfather”

“But he has to be confirmed”

“The Archbishop of Canterbury will do it the weekend after”

Thus I was admitted into a half decent secondary school and spent my spare time dodging around various Canterbury churches singing my little heart out. I loved the singing but fairly soon morphed into a respectful atheist, left school and abandoned the choirs. Years later though, thanks a to a lovely neighbour, I joined a community choir, then a shanty group and reacquainted myself with the joy of singing.

I recently heard Sting’s version of the ‘Coventry Carol’. It’s probably the saddest Christmas song ever written, but I loved singing it as a choirboy and it moves me today in much the same way as it did 60 years ago. Not ideal material for my solo voice, but plucking the tune on a classical guitar has been an enjoyable challenge and if Sting can get away with singing it, then yo-ho-ho, let’s give-it-a-go…

3 thoughts on “Random Opportunities

    1. From my research 😇it originated in Coventry…
      ‘From as early as 1392 to 1579, merchant guilds in Coventry, England, would produce annual plays for the feast of Corpus Christi, which occurred in midsummer. The plays would dramatize various biblical stories, and starting in the late 15th century, local shearmen (who would shear wool from sheep) and tailors’ guilds were responsible for putting on the nativity.’
      And, if we’re going to request it at the carol service, then maybe we ought to get the Jurassix to sing it! Malcolm didn’t buy my assertion that a camel is a ‘ship of the desert’ though, so no boats, no Jurassix 😦


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