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Monday 20 May 2013, 09:20

Simon Mayo Simon Mayo Presenter

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The 7.23 from Euston is a sparkly affair and the (pre-bought) coffee is working its magic. I am en route to one of my many old schools and feeling rather strange about it. I was only there from 70-73 but it was the age child 3 is now and to say they are mixed memories would be an understatement. I do remember insisting that we listened to Tony Blackburn on the way in, the new chart recap on Wednesday the most important day (nowadays 'an appointment to listen').
Solihull School rescued me from the horror of the failed 11+ exam and I  always remember it as a salvation from the nightmare secondary modern I had landed in. Whenever I need to conjure a picture of misery for one of my fictional children, that secondary modern playground is where I go and it all comes flooding back.
This is also the time I developed the sherbet lemon addiction. The tuck shop served a mean quarter pound and, in my memory at least, far more astringent than the present-day offerings. To today's pupils I will be just another old-boy who rattles on about the old days and be a break from exam revision but I'll look at the (doubtless) motley array of youth and I expect to see something of the awkward specimen I was at 13 staring back.
So today it's book club time and it's John Boyne's This House Is Haunted. John you may remember from The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas but it's a ghostly hall in Victorian Norfolk that is the setting for this tale. It has already provided Rebecca with nightmares so be warned. The opening chapter is here for your enjoyment.
And shall we try HAUNTING/HAUNTED songs to add to the atmosphere? At least it'll be daylight...
Have a calm and entirely rational Monday, see you after 5

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