Standing outside of High Brooms Boy school yesterday, I remembered one of the peculiarities of the school.
We still had those assemblies where the singing of hymn was mandatory unless you were Jewish, in which case you had to sit in silence with the school secretary in her office.
Anyway, the school wasn’t huge and didn’t have a piano. It used to have one, but being a Grand (I saw pictures) it took up too much space and was dispensed with. The only teacher who could play recorded all of the hymns onto reel to reel tape recorder and when the singing of hymns was required, someone would change the tape to the appropriate hymn, press play and we’d all sing along.
Except that the favourite hymn of the school – Onward Christian Soldiers – had been used so much the tape had become warn and had eventually broken. The thought of the school without Onward Christian Soldiers being belted out was simply not on, so they cut the broken bit out and taped what was left back together.
Chorus 3 now went “Onward Christian So-o-o-o-diers Waaaaaarrrr”. This was fine for those in the know, but each year there would be an entire first year of baffled pupils wondering what the hell happen to “Marching As To” from the third chorus.
The some bright spark yelled “Have a banana”, all hell broke loose and Onward Christian Soldiers was never sung again.