What gets your motor running?

17th April 2009 at 01:00

The talk one lunchtime turned to the best concerts people had ever been to.

This was both easy and difficult for me to answer. Easy, because Status Quo live at the Caird Hall, Dundee in the early eighties was by far and away the best. Difficult, because there were not many others.

By the time I was old enough to go to concerts, I had acquired a serious motorbike habit which took up most of my free cash. Difficult also because, if I was absolutely truthful, I'd have felt obliged to mention The Singing Kettle World Tour of Scotland at Motherwell Civic Centre, to which I took my daughter when she was much younger than today.

Most parents learn to loathe The Singing Kettle through chronic over- exposure to their songs. I never quite got to that stage with the Fife duo the way I did with Barney. Perhaps it was because Cilla Fisher had charms noticeably lacking in a purple dinosaur. Great gig anyway.

And we can learn from their music. Take the Wee Kirkcudbright Centipede. The eponymous invertebrate does a wonderful dance. Jenny Longlegs is a little envious and makes a careful note of every move. However, when the centipede tries to do her dance again, following her fellow beastie's instructions, she ends up in a fankle.

I have taught alongside many "Wee Kirkcudbright Centipedes". They have techniques to motivate and manage that are quite wonderful. Naturally, people feel these should be shared and this can be highly effective.

Sadly, sometimes a centipede's informal chat after a unit test gets turned into a gargantuan, paper-heavy, whole-school initiative on feedback - which is probably better than no initiative on feedback at all, except for those that were doing it anyway.

They are lying with legs numbers one and two tangled with three and four, fourteen fractured kneecaps, seven shinbones (complete the metaphor yourself by Googling the lyrics).

And while we're at it, how come primary teachers can do group work naturally, while secondary teachers need rituals that only just stop short of rolling up trouser legs? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.

I've never seen Dylan live. I'm sure he'd be almost as good as the Quo.

Gregor Steele was quite impressed by some of his older colleagues' musical histories.

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