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Me and My 'Cardiff High School for Boys' site
Censored!
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As I mentioned on my homepage, FriendsReunited have censored my entries on their site a couple of times, so on this page I reprint what they cut, with comments. I will not be censored!!!
 
The first occasion was very strange - indeed, I'm not altogether sure they did censor it, but what happened was this. As I explained in an email sent earlier in the year to an old schoolmate of mine:-
                      " ...And what about that earlier deletion? What happened
                        was this. I'd already put that photo of me in shorts.....
[That's this photo below]

                        "....you know - every  paedophile's dream - for a couple
                        of weeks but then I saw David Grant had registered. He
                        was a prefect about four years ahead of us, but he played
                        the Voice of God in the production of Noyes Fludde, and
                        as I was in it, I remembered him well. So I put a little note
                        in my notes to him saying Hi and all that, and then the
                        little imp in me took over. You are aware, I suppose, of
                        Benjamin Britten's liking for little boys? Well, what I did
                        was this. Immediately before that photo I put "Here are
                        some photos of mine." And then I wrote (I took a hard
                        copy. Just as well):-
                            "Talking of Benjamin Britten (Noyes Fludde,
                              remember?) the sight of this first photo, or even me 
                              in the flesh on the bus to school, would, no doubt, 
                              have brightened up his day considerably!"
                        That went on about 5pm. And the following day, about
                        11am when I opened the site again, the whole lot had
                        gone! 4000+ words down the Swannee! Couldn't believe
                        it. Can't be just one of those things. Too much of a
                        coincidence. But as I say, it's all true. It all came out
                        in Carpenter's book. At one stage, he fell in love with the
                       (then) 11 year old David Hemmings. He invited him to his
                       house, he let him sleep in the same bed with him, kissed
                       and bathed him. (Or maybe it was another one of his
                       many ' boyfriends'. Carpenter mentions several!). You'd get
                       ten years for that, these days....."
 
 
Ivor Jones
 
This next example really was censored by FriendsReunited, and led to a somewhat heated exchange between myself and the complainant subsequently. It concerned a 'teacher memory' I put on about Mr Ivor Jones, the gym teacher at the school who also took me for geography in my first year. What I originally submitted to the site was this:-

Mr Ivor Jones in 1961, just before we first met

" 1965 - Ivor Jones
     
Does anyone in Form 2B of 64/65 (or was it Form 3B of the following
year?) remember that extraordinary gym lesson we had with him when, arriving late and finding us all engaging in a mini-riot in the
changing room, he decided to punish us all by making us each stand motionless in the gym with our arms outstretched for what remained of the lesson, while he berated us one by one, as our increasingly aching arms drooped and then fell to our sides with exhaustion? It's just as well the school inspectors didn't pay a sudden visit, or they would have wondered what on earth was going on! I don't think telling them we were pretending to be trees would have sufficed. We weren't in the infants anymore! Still, beats being whacked across the arse with a dap, something he appears to have done with an earlier class some years previously (see an earlier 'school memory'). Did he mellow in his old age, or was he warned off ? I suspect the latter.
 
I have fond memories of many of the teachers at the school, even of those that punished me on occasions. None, I'm afraid, of Ivor Jones. He gave 'short-arses' like me a bad name. A real nasty piece of work; a man whose blatant hostility to boys was genuine. Sorry, but that's the way I see it, and I bet I'm not alone. Had a look at his 1968 photo the other day - or what little of him could be seen behind the boy in front of him. I realised with horror that I now look more like him than the teenage boy I was then, sitting in the  front row, second from the right. Mother nature can be so cruel!    "
 
Anyway, I put that on mid February 2002. It stayed on for about three weeks then suddenly vanished. So I issued this challenge to whoever was responsible for its deletion, on the FriendsReunited 'Message Board':-
 
"  FROM RAYMOND ALDRIDGE (1968 listing)
 
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:-

Will the person who complained to FriendsReunited about the 'teacher memory' I recently put on about Ivor Jones (PE teacher) resulting in its removal, please have the common courtesy and decency to contact me and tell me exactly what your objection is, and the grounds for it. (And your identity, come to that. After all, I've been quite open. So should you, whoever you are.) I won't bite, honest! I am quite a nice person really, and I don't have a vindictive bone in my body, but I write (and speak) as I find, always have done, which does seem to put people off sometimes.
 
I'm not an unreasonable person either. I may be prepared to modify the text of what I originally wrote in the light of any objection(s) this person(s) unknown may have (but not the general tone, I'm afraid), but he/she/(it?) has got to be upfront first by supplying me with these details.
 
I don't hold a grudge against anyone, but let's not pretend every teacher was of the 'Goodbye Mr Chips' variety (only 'Ollie Goldthorpe' qualified there anyway!) Let's not cover these things up!
 
Thanks
 
Ray Aldridge  "
 
 
That brought an indignant response from Mr Bryn Richards, the art master at the school at the time, a few days later. I'd print it out, but unfortunately, he has now deleted it from the site, but my own response to it was:-
 
" To Mr Bryn Richards:
 
Thanks for your message. I'm sorry if I offended anyone, but as I said, I speak as I found. Sometimes in the real world, the truth hurts, as here.
 
The circumstances of my (and the rest of us boys come to that) relationship with Mr Jones were very different ones from yours and that of his immediate family, and it was in the pupil/teacher context that I spoke.
 
But then you weren't an 11-year-old boy pupil of his, were you, so you wouldn't know anything about what I spoke of. Ignorance is always a dangerous position to argue from.
 
'Disciplinarian'? Well, if it's spelt B-U-L-L-Y then certainly.
I could elaborate, and no doubt would be accused of causing further offence, but I don't think any purpose could now be served by so doing, ALTHOUGH I WILL IF I'M PUSHED.
 
So now we've both had our say, I propose, with everyone's agreement, to close this correspondence forthwith.
 
I have much more pleasant things to do with my time, like recording some very nice memories of 'Doug' Riddell. Now there was a master I have great affection for (despite the dictation speed!).
 
Ray Aldridge
 
P.S. Nice to see you're still around. May you continue to have a long and happy retirement. "

I think I'll take my own earlier advice, and let the matter rest now, as, indeed, is Ivor Jones - the eternal rest that comes to us all that is. Despite everything, I was genuinely saddened to hear he is no longer with us. It was a pity we didn't get a chance to meet again later in different, less hostile, circumstances (I had no further contact with him at the school after I had just turned fourteen, when he disappered for a year on a teachers' retraining course and came back to teach maths.) We might have been able to repair some broken fences so to speak.

 
Mr Price. History
 
The third example of 'FriendsReunited' censorship of my memories occurred in January 2003. I put the following memory of Mr Price on:
 
" 1967 - Mr Price. History.
 
One of the 'wallop across the face' brigade, as I can painfully recall. There was a lot of that sort of thing going on at Cardiff High School at the time - almost a daily occurrence. All against the rules and highly illegal.
 
Mr Price was apparently known as 'Spiv". I say 'apparently' as I never called him that, nor knew of anyone else calling him that while I was there. His idea of a 'history' lesson was to turn up fifteen minutes late, then say to us " Copy down what I'm writing on the board. " as he proceeded to chalk up on the blackboard some tome all in block capitals at a truly phenomenal rate (must have been the only person in the school who could have kept up with 'Doug' Riddell's dictation speed!) for about ten minutes, and then leaving us to copy it down in our notebooks while he went back to the staff room, presumably to resume his 'fag' (more likely a small cigar in his case, I think) and cup of tea.
 
Some years later, I underwent some training as a telegraphist. I ended up transcribing reams and reams of five letter code groups being sent at 20 'words' a minute in morse code, which is quite fast. I suddenly experienced a distinct case of 'deja vu' as I did so, as here I was, writing block capitals at a phenominal rate, just as Mr Price did! I found out later that he won a DFC in the war. I wonder if he was a radio operator on a bomber or similar at some stage? That might explain things! "
 
So the moral of all this is :
 
Don't try and censor me! It'll only make matters worse!
 
For the record:
 
I enjoyed my five years at Cardiff High School immensely. I was happy there, and I look back 'forty years on', misty eyed, with immense nostalgia. But there were some 'dark areas' there that should not be ignored.
 
 
Ray Aldridge
 
22nd January 2003