Given so many Stereo Stories (or stories in general ) are about rites of passage, and formative years, it’s no surprise we have a collection of short music-memoirs about schooldays. Just over 20 stories, including contributions from noted authors Tony Birch and Melanie Cheng, and our RocKwiz colleague Brian Nankervis.

While I loved music and sat in class day-dreaming that the girl sitting in front of me in class was the girl Marc Bolan swooned over in Hot Love, I hated school, a situation reflected in my term reports. Tony Birch and El Condor Pasa.

Mrs Hart taught me many things. She taught me how to play Bright Eyes on the recorder. She taught me to have faith in myself.  Sadly, and perhaps most importantly, she taught me about the cruel and random nature of life, and death. Melanie Cheng and Bright Eyes.

We’re running late for school. Again. Rosie, eight, and Lily, four, are arguing about what tape to play in the car. Again. Rosie wants Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Murder on the Dancefloor . Lily wants to hear the end of the Dumbo story from yesterday. Brian Nankervis and We Can Work It Out.

High-school infatuations are a common theme amongst our schoolday stories.

He was short and stocky and sexy. He had a killer smile and his dark almond eyes had eyelashes way longer than any boy should have. I liked him and he liked me. Sue Dann and Last Dance.

As the circular crowd of angular, awkward teenagers missed the timing, we spotted Harriet and Mr Reynolds in the middle of the throng. Victoria Wells and Now That We’ve Found Love.

I was dressed in my rust-colored corduroy 3-piece suit, and she in a conservative, Catholic school girl skirt and blouse. Jim Landwehr and the Steely Dan song FM.

The opening bars of Tucker’s Daughter will forever be associated with the interminable wait during school dancing lessons of holding the clammy hands of a socially inept male counterpart. Jo Hocking on, yes, Tucker’s Daughter.

Deirdre quoted from a hit song of the period in a letter the four girls wrote to me, passed on by Joan on one of those afternoons walking home from school. Kevin Densley on Words Are Not Enough.

There are also stories, of course, about teachers.

She had a frightfully cool and unflappable demeanour. She had a death stare that could weld cold metal. She rarely smiled, never laughed and stayed on message in a way that meant that Maths with Miss McLain was a quiet, serious, quadratically-equational affair. Stephen Andrew on Can The Can.

He tried his best to explain the finer parts of Spanish grammar, all of which I have forgotten.  Such an unrewarding task. Even at 15 I could recognise this. But unlike other teachers he never raised his voice, or said threatening things, and he never gave any detentions. Victoria Wells on Love & Affection.

My high school was not a bastion of the arts. My teacher, Ms C., once described it as being “behind the door when the culture was handed out”. Felicity Sandral on O Lovely Peace

And about teaching.

One day a student of mine used the phrase “never let me go” and I absently started singing “Say you’ll never let me go…” I stopped short. Whether or not they knew the song, mentioning it in class was a violation of the school’s very strict code. Alison Ungar-Sargon on Roses.

“My big sister learnt this song!” “My cousin can play this!” The excitement in the room was palpable. The look on the faces of the Grade One/Two students was a sight to behold. This is what bliss looks like. David Oke on Riptide.

Of course my class didn’t know about David Bowie. They were more interested in One Direction and Five Seconds of Summer. One student claimed that his dad liked Bowie. David Oke on Space Oddity.

Plus stories by Maria Majsa, Alison Kinghorn, Gemma Keating, Damian Balassone, Jim Roberts, and Virginia Muzik.


Visit the Stereo Stories classroom for our schooldays stories. No homework. No detention.

Photo courtesy of New Zealand writer Maria Majsa.

Editor: Vin Maskell Assistant editor: Louise Maskell Web legend: James Demetrie, of DISKMANdotNET