At the chalkface: Awopbopaloobopawopbamboom!

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We didn’t “do” the Beatles. They were banned. Too much fun. We tried to grow mop tops to drive the High School girls mad with desire. To very little avail. This was also banned. We were carted off to matron, who came down on our trespassing tresses like D

Dear me. What worthy, turgid stuff!

I’m reminded of the music classes at my 50s grammar school. We also “did” Haydn. To extinction. The aesthete Mr Eaton put a nail on some erratic 78s. This caused a lurching seasick noise with the ambient sound of a frying egg. Poor Mr Eaton was on a Haydn to nothing, as we fell off our chairs laughing. 

We didn’t “do” the Beatles. They were banned. Too much fun. We tried to grow mop tops to drive the High School girls mad with desire. To very little avail. This was also banned. We were carted off to matron, who came down on our trespassing tresses like Delilah on Samson’s. 

As for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, any fule know that its faux poetics are a paean to Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. Drug-crazed delirium. Are AQA cognisant of this? As for Santana’s 17th, you’re better off with the Shadows 1st – Apache – or root canal surgery.

The best pop isn’t worthy, it’s a fabulous noise – nursery rhymes made mostly by the mentally fragile. It’s about bliss, pleasure or “jouisance”, as we sophisticated Roland Barthes acolytes have it.

So AQA, let me furnish you with an action plan – with brief subtexts and pedagogical apologias, should the killjoy Ofsted lurk. All items are on YouTube and should be played at a bone-conducting volume 11.

  1. Tutti Frutti – Little Richard, the quasar of rock ‘n’ roll. “Awopbopaloobopawopbamboom!” bellows the diminutive Mr Richard. Note the internal rhyme, sprung rhythm and vigorous, nay, rigorous exploration of subterranean delights of 50s, gay New Orleans.

  2. Yackety Yak – The Coasters. A sublime reinforcement of patriarchal authority and, hopefully, the teacher’s.

  3. Fujiyama Mama – Wanda Jackson. Indefensible imagery, but Wanda rocks like the clappers in a compelling celebration of pagan sexuality. Check out Professor Camille Paglia’s terrifically tedious Sexual Personae for a post feminist exegesis.

  4. Bebopalula – Gene Vincent. Mr Vincent could also be mentally ill. He’s certainly on heat. This ditty delineates Neanderthal desire with unhinged enthusiasm.

So there we have it. 

Awopbopaloobopalopbamboomyacketyyakfujiyamamamabebopalula!! Ofsted awed. Pupils delirious. You can’t go wrong.

  • Ian Whitwham is a former inner city London teacher.


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