UKArchive ID: 35688Bop Shoo Waddy by micawber
Originally published on October 26, 2015 in Fiction

Long ago in a grammar school far away...

Dark. After eight. Like the mints. We had to be inside the school gates by that time. We weren't. Not that particular night, anyway. School play. G I R L S! Joint production on in the Girls' Grammar School that year. No-one ever mentioned that the number of boys at auditions trebled in alternate years, at least from 3 Alpha and above. They were my first auditions.

G I R L S! They smelled different. At least the day-boys saw girls when the bell rang for the end of school, even if they were only sisters. For we boarders they might as well have been from another country. One on the other side of the world.

I tell you, when Clare kissed me…

When I reached the Fourth Form, change was coming. We had a Christmas Disco with the Fourth year girls from the Grammar. They arrived on a bus at 7 o'clock outside the school gates. You can imagine how it was. Nobody danced with anyone of the opposite sex. Wilson kept asking Wizzard (he looked like Roy Wood), the music master to play Black Sabbath's Paranoid. We got Bowie's Jean Genie and then it was back to David Essex and the floor was full of girls dancing with themselves, while the day-boys took the fire exit outside to the kitchens and smoked No.6.

We inmates looked at the girls, whilst trying not to look like it. I caught someone's eye and Spider laughed until he coughed when I blushed. Julian actually went up to a girl and asked her to dance. It was the Rubettes. He was an expressive dancer, but the girl he was dancing with didn't roll her eyes once. They were in perfect time as all the girls, dancing or no, joined in singing 'Bop Shoo Waddy'.

Clare was there, surrounded by a few girl-friends. People said she was fast. I didn't even know what that meant. I hadn't seen her since she'd kissed me on the way back from the auditions for those previous year's school play.

I'd thought about her a lot.

The disco was due to finish at 9.30, so Wizzard started the slow down to the smoochers with Leo Sayer's Moonlighting at about five past. There were only the girls on the dance floor, but Miss Law asked Braggart the Games Master for a dance and Hastings (Geography) dragged Mrs Willcox up so they felt less conspicuous. They moved well, the women. I looked around at the boys' faces and checked to make sure my own mouth was closed.

Minnie Riperton followed and some of the day boys shuffled their feet in front of girls without exactly asking them for a dance. Clare wasn't dancing with anyone yet. I looked over at Miss Law. Her head was very close to Braggart's over by the “drinks” bar. Braggart walked off and out of the fire exit. He was the only master we knew smoked. The day-boy tabbers came back in. Miss Law was staring out over the dance floor.

Wizzard announced the last song. I started walking towards Clare. Someone tapped me on the shoulder. I got to dance with Miss Law. I saw Clare over her shoulder and Miss Law rested her head on mine when the breathy girl's voice started saying 'big boys don't cry' over the electric piano and bass.

© micawber (nomenklatura on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 35688
Archived comments for Bop Shoo Waddy
Nemo on 26-10-2015
Bop Shoo Waddy
A good read, Ewan. It brings back memories, though my boys' grammar school didn't arrange any such fraternising. We had to go the local church hall Saturday night dance.

Regards, Gerald.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, Gerald.
I think some of the younger masters and mistresses (how archaic/risque that sounds nowadays!) felt sorry for us boarders.

Mikeverdi on 01-11-2015
Bop Shoo Waddy
So sorry I missed this one. I never made it to Grammar School, sounds like prison 🙂 I left, sorry was asked to leave just after fourteen, I knew all about girls by then.
Love the memory lane bit, the reference to NO.6 dates it well. Its great that you are posting again. The site needs you, and some of the others, to step up at the moment. Thanks for this one, I loved it.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, Mike. In some ways it was worse than some prisons. No TV in the rooms... dormitory sleeping, farts and snoring. No buggery as far as I know, some low-level bullying. By the time I'd sat my 'o' levels the wall was falling down and the writing had long been on it. I had a much better experience of state-education than many, yourself, for example, so I don't complain.
In retrospect it just seems so very odd.

And I still don't understand women.

Thanks for reading, Mike!