About last night….

Someone decided to make a highlights video of last night’s Mardi Gras from their TV screen while watching on NITV –that is, our Indigenous channel. The whole thing was livestreamed to the world in fact.

Convenient though, as I was looking for a short video to share. I have chosen one photo from the gazillions out there. I will leave you to guess why it appealed:

And an ex-student from Sydney High around 1989 just now in FB posted this reminder of where it all started:

I was following my friend Julie McCrossin’s posts from the SCG also last night. She is a 78-er — that is, one of those from the first Mardi Gras in 1978. So was a late friend, Ian Smith, aka The Dowager Empress of Hong Kong. In fact, here he is waving a flag on 24 June 1978! Ian used to get quite pissed off at some on the Left who he saw as hijacking the story to serve their own ends, as on some issues Ian was perhaps slightly to the right of Genghis Khan. And it’s a fact: the Left did not have a monopoly on skin in this game! And still do not.


So last night I found myself in an international group of people reminiscing and watching the 2021 Sydney Mardii Gras, including a clutch of classmates from Sydney High in 1986 when, believe it or not, I looked like this:

Back row, next to Tess Kenway….

I have several times mentioned the Class of 1986, who were indeed very memorable. After an end of the year visit to Beau’s Britannia Hotel in Chippendale of happy memory, they gave me a card thus inscribed:

“The Britannia Rules OK!”  “Best wishes for the future school — I hope you get as good a class as us! — Ben” “Oh for a draft of Vintage — Now you’ve got one! — Chris Jones” “Thanks for some of the funniest English periods we have ever had! — Sincerely, Martyn, Dean & Sam” “Thanks a lot for putting a bit of fun back into school. — Peter Schulze” “Dittoes — Geoff” “Don’t get pregnant!” “Somehow you even made Larkin seem exciting! Good luck for the future. — Craig” “I hope you die! Yours sincerely, Philip Larkin.” “Keep away from Colin the bartender (barmaid?) — Craig Bartlett” “Cribs Rule — The Phantom” “Good luck — Craig McLean (the quiet one)” “Like wow — wipeout. Danke Schon — Tim Knight”


But there was also the Year 10 class, and last night we had a bit of a reunion which began with something I found really heart-warming:

I won’t repeat all that was in the dialogue that ensued last night on Facebook, but here is some of it:

Me: I can’t deny this really makes me feel good, from a Sydney Boys High ex-student from long ago last century, and endorsed by another…. 1985 to 1987 — Year 10 1986? I was at Masada in 1988 and only returned to High in late 1989.The topic had been Chinese star signs.And I am only too well aware of the many many failures and times of inadequacy. But what a great thing for an old man to be told! Especially as I so often doubted myself. Even giving up teaching at one period around 1983…. PS: That period away from teaching 1983-1985 almost certainly made my teaching better. I have before today suggested that my “mid-life crisis” was something to be thankful for….

Year 10 1986 student 1: Teaching is such a difficult vocation and you provided us with not just education but friendship too. As teachers go, you were outstanding.

Year 10 1986 student now in California: What [he just] said! Aye, aye, K!

Year 10 1986 student 2: Your classes were the ones I still remember and that given a choice I would want to remember. It’s a cliche to talk about lifting the veil or turning on the light in the dark, but I think it was like that for a lot of us.

Me: We’ll have the whole bloody class here soon! Maybe I should call the roll… 😉

Year 10 1986 student 1: I agree with [Student 2]. But we are busy watching the Mardi Gras on SBS now…

I have to admit I went to bed before the Parade was over — but then I am old…..


Just thinking about Sydney High today in 2021. On their Facebook page on 3 March they posted:

All Year 8 students participated in the High Resolves Just Society global citizenship program this week. Students gain a deeper understanding of the unfair distribution of resources around the world and of what is meant by the term ‘Social Justice’ and how it is reflected in society.

I said in response: Makes me wish I was still there! But I have had my go, and was mighty privileged to have been able to do so. Also it is wonderful to see that old hall as the scene of such good educational and social practice! As an Old Boy as well as ex-staff it makes me feel good.

One thought on “About last night….

  1. Pingback: Last weekend, yesterday, and 21 years ago… | Neil's Commonplace Book

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