School’s out for sum­mer

La Montagne (Brive) - - Corrèze Actualité -

Bri­tan­nique ins­tal­lé en Cor­rèze de­puis de nom­breuses an­nées, Mark Preece pro­pose cette chro­nique heb­do­ma­daire à tous les amou­reux de la langue de Sha­kes­peare. Au­jourd’hui la fin de l’école.

To­day is the end of my or­deal. No, it’s not the day when people stop tal­king to me about “Brexit” (I wish) ; or mo­reo­ver that they make du­bious spor­ting jokes about En­gland lea­ving Eu­rope twice af­ter Mon­day’s de­feat ; but the day my daugh­ter has her last exam for the French part of her Bac­ca­lau­réat. The oral exam which lasts 20 mi­nutes and for which she has been pre­pa­ring for the past two weeks com­plete with sha­ring her stress with us, her pa­rents. That’s OK, af­ter all. That’s what we’re here for. She has in­vi­ted friends over for the night to ce­le­brate the end of the school year and this re­min­ded me of what is pro­ba­bly one of my fa­vou­rite rock songs ever, by Alice Coo­per. It came out in 1972. I was 11 and it was the year I left ju­nior school and went on to the Judd Gram­mar School for boys, in Ton­bridge, Kent, af­ter suc­cess­ful­ly pas­sing my 11 plus exam. I was proud be­cause I had my first new uni­form : bla­zer with breast badge, white shirt and tie and I wore long trou­sers ! The song was from the al­bum School’s Out, was re­lea­sed as a single in April’ 72 and went to the top of the UK charts in the same year. Alice Coo­per, in cer­tain of his in­ter­views, said he was ins­pi­red to write the song af­ter being as­ked : « What’s the grea­test three mi­nutes of your life ? ». He re­plied that there were two times in a year, one was Ch­rist­mas mor­ning and the other was the in­ter­mi­nable count­down to the end of the last day of school : « You’re sit­ting there and it’s like a slow fuse bur­ning, if we can catch those three mi­nutes in a song… ». It’s been co­ve­red over twen­ty times and used in half a do­zen films, in par­ti­cu­lar by Al­vin and the Chip­munk ; and even fi­gures in the vi­deo game Gui­tar He­roes. Cu­rious­ly, the image of the clock ti­cking on to the end of school was ful­ly ex­ploi­ted at the start of the film High School Mu­si­cal 2, a teen mo­vie, with the ope­ning se­quence song as­king the ques­tion “What time is it ?” and the ans­wer re­soun­ding out “Sum­mer­time… School’s out, scream and shout”. The sum­mer ho­li­days are sy­no­ny­mous to win­ding down and ha­ving fun, the ma­king and brea­king of sea­so­nal couples and the ac­ti­vi­ty camps that are po­pu­lar here in France and in Ame­ri­ca. From here, I wind down by wi­shing our friend’s from over the pond a great Independence Day (iro­nic) to come, my fa­ther a hap­py 80th bir­th­day for Sun­day and my Ne­phews cou­rage, be­cause they aren’t re­lea­sed un­til the 19 of Ju­ly !

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