Michael Simpson, in Bielefeld, Germany,
recalls his piece for the Lion magazine in 1955...

Hallo Michael,

I mentioned recently that I had been persuaded by Thacker, my English teacher, to write an article for the Lion. Against my better judgement I agreed, and the attached copy of the artiucle was the result.

I blush when reading it now and wonder why he selected me for the honour üf appearing in print in that august pubication. It was published in the Jan 1955 edition. I was 15 at the time.

It does however bring back strong memories of the building of the stage in the hall on two occasions during my time at Prices. I can still almost smell the odour of fresh paint and I well remember the fascinating piece of equipment for fading the lighting.

This consisted of a bucket full of some liquid in which were submerged two paddle like things which could be moved closer together or further apart. To these paddles were attached the electricity suppy for the lighting. When the paddles were close together the lighting shone brightly and as they were moved apart I suppose the liquid increased the resistance and the lighting faded out.

I thought at the time this was an extremely dangerous thing to operate and wonder what a present day Health and Safety Officer would think of it. It can only have been invented by Royds-Jones – he who delighted in looking for leaks in the gas supply to the bunsen burners in the old Physics hut by making a sort of giant taper by rolling up a sheet of newspaper, lighting it and crawling around under the work benches waving his taper. I was not particularly interested in Physics, but his lessons were seldom boring.


Mike Simpson Gesendet von Mail für Windows

The Preparation of a School Play

  In most schools there ts a Dramatic Society which in most years presents a school play. This school play is the object of much interested discussion by the School as soon as the rumour has spread round that Smith minor is going to be a woman. After a few days Smith minor is beginning to wonder what stupid impulse made him accept the part. He realises, however, that it is too late to back out and decides that, after all, he may turn out to be another Laurence Olivier and so puts all his spare energy into learning his lines. It is to be hoped that all the other members of the cast are being equally conscientious, but is also extremely doubtful.

Then of course comes the artists’ paradise, that of painting the scenery. But of course, the first necessity is a stage, so along come the wood workers with their implements of destruction and build the stage. While this is going on, the odd curse echoing round the Theatre (Hall has given way to a more prepossessing term), as the boy in the roof hits his thumb with the hammer, the Dramatic Society secretary stands in the background, rubbing his hands gleefully as he thinks of the money rolling in, and then he thinks of last vear and the rubbing of hands abruptly stops. Now, it is the artists’ turn. They arrive with barrels of distemper, brushes and old clothes. They paint pink trees on the walls, blue grass outside and then the art master arrives and work begins in earnest.

When the stage is complete and looking very nice, a small boy creeps in and paints in red the name of his girl friend in a position on the wall where it can be most clearly seen by the audience. After he and the red paint have been dealt with it is realized the dress rehearsal is dangerously near. Immediately all the slackers rush off to learn their lines and cues. Then the costumes arrive with the wigs closely following and are promptly sent back because they are the wrong ones. However, through all the chaos, the Dramatic Society struggle triumphantly through and the dress rehearsal (apart from a few minor upheavals) goes pretty much according to plan.

Then comes the Big Night. The audience file in in their ones and twos with their sons In close attendance, proudly pointing out that their house won the hopscotch cup last year and have a reasonably decent chance this year. As the minutes tick by the audience becomes more and more impatient. At last there is a movement of the curtains but is is only Smith minor peeping out to see where his mother and father are sitting. Then there is another movement of the curtains and the audience hush expectantly, but the strings controlling the curtains break and they have to be opened by hand. However, the audience cheer like mad, and to an accompaniment of crackling toffee papers, and with a strong smell of oranges pervading the air the actors warm to their theme and everything goes pretty much according to plan.

At last, however, like all good things, the play has to come to an end and the audience wend their way home, and after the actors have gone the great hall adds something more to its long list of memories, and the shining silver cups look at the honours boards and remember the boys who once fought for the honour of holding them.


From The Lion , January 1955