Memories - Andrew McCourt



Submitted by Andrew McCourt
Location: Sydney, Australia
Date: 6th December 2002


This will be my last post to the website. We can't make this the Pugh & McCourt 60s show can we? Since first discovering this KNBS service, I have had the great pleasure of catching up with a few old mates and exploring further what went on (or wrong) with the old KNGS in the 60s.
History should always be read in perspective with the times. McMillan's 'winds of change' were blowing hard in the 60s. Bob Dylan's 'winds' were equally powerful.

Unions fought both employers and governments and vice-versa. The Cold War gave us the Cuban missile crisis and near oblivion. WWII bomb sites (and air raid shelters!) were finally being erased and
rebuilt but many still stood as a stark reminder of the 39-45 madness, and the bankrupt state of Britain after it fought off the agressors, to its great cost. Amidst this, young Britons had to gain some kind of an education. One phrase that is burned into my mind from KNGS, and was repeated to many a recalcitrant boy was "You're headed for the scrap heap boy!" Aged 11 or 12, I imagined there was a
physical scrap heap where failed KNGS pupils were deposited, probably somewhere the other side of Fort Dunlop! To my contemporaries, tutors, alma mater and the system, but most of all the Scrap Heap Boys, I dedicate the following poem: Kindest regards, Andrew.


 Beyond the outskirts of the city,
 Where the crow alone is heard
 And the seething mist clings groundward until noon;
 The corpses on the Scrap Heap
 Some still twitching, some unstirred
 Welcome another mate, as he is thrown
 Onto that bloody gory Dachau -pile
 Of fester puss and sinew,
 The boys who'd never make it, so they said;
 Their education futile,
 No point for them continue,
 These foolish youths are better left for dead.

 "The Scrap Heap's where you're heading boy,"
 The science teacher yells,
 The twelve-year mind is wondering "why so cruel?"
 "Why send me to the Scrap Heap,
 When I've only just begun
 To learn of love and life whilst here at school,"
 Where things are strange and eerie-like,
 With division, class and favour,
 Some boys are told they'll make it and succeed;
 Whilst Scrap Heap boys are urchins,
 Scallywags and tyke,
 No finer things of life shall e'er they savour.

 Some head directly to the Scrap Heap,
 On the outskirts of the city,
 Whilst for others it can take them quite a while;
 With disbelief and effort,
 They succour to God's pity,
 And strive hard to succeed whilst in denial
 Of the banshees and the demons
 That haunt them through their life,
 And were grafted to their psyches long ago
 By the venom an the vitriol,
 That cuts through like a knife,
 From the mentors thus entrusted to bestow.

 But there's movement on the Scrap Heap
 And a hand it reaches out,
 A-clutching at the mist which is his lever,
 A bloodied Scrap Heap boy emerges
 And wanders all about,
 And more mates join amidst this fever
 Of behaviour quite unusual
 And hardly quite the norm,
 "A Scrap Heap boy you are and there should stay!"
 But the clutching hand grows fist-like
 And the badge is rent and torn;
 A dismemberéd eagle all a-splay.

 On the outskirts of a consciousness,
 Where the silence rants and screeches,
 While the children of a Scrap Heap boy do play;
 A controlléd melancholy,
 Into the aether reaches
 And wonders of the men who in their day
 Raised the spectre of the Scrap Heap,
 Where boys they could be tossed,
 Without mercy there to rot and to decay;
 Teaching failing in its duty,
 Wasted minds and lost,
 No kind and guiding light to show the way.

 The architects of the Scrap Heap
 Were themselves so cruelly formed,
 From a Scrap Heap of their own in distant time,
 But they blindly failed to witness,
 That changing times were born
 And the Scrap Heap was a myth or just a mime
 Of a falsely held belief,
 That should have faded long ago,
 For the Scrap Heap men were tardy to evolve;
 They upheld a great lie,
 And storms they reap and sow
 But Scrap Heap boys go on to live and fight. and solve.