No. 86 July 1965
Editors: J. D. BEANSE, R. L. BIGOS, P. D. AVIS, P. J. THORNE
Assistant Editors: D. STEWART, O. SWAN
"Our Father by whose servant....."
Though in theory only a unit in the country's educational system, a school is much more than a building where young people of a certain age range are taught academic subjects with a view to obtaining examination successes, A grammar school, in particular, has its own history and traditions, and often its own character and atmosphere too. In the daily life of the school, this heritage may easily be overlooked or forgotten, but our own school is particularly well endowed in this respect. The badge and motto, the names of the houses give but an indication of the school's long history since its founding in 1527. Each year we commemorate the founding of the school on "Founder's Day", and every function within the school which has become a regular feature of school life, from the Allpass Verse-Speaking Festival to the Christmas Rag Concert is an example of the traditions at Monoux. The implications of the heritage of a school extend much further. We speak of "the good name of the school" and of "the Monoux family". On our first day at the school we were charged with the personal responsibility of upholding the school's good name; and we are urged to consider ourselves members of the Monoux family, a much larger community which includes old boys, staff past and present, and all intimately connected with the school in any way. Yet the centre and the most important part of the family is the present school, of which we are privileged to be members. I used above the word "community", and our school might well be described as a community to which we belong, and to which we owe therefore duty and allegiance. It is a pity that in a school of our kind, duty and allegiance have to be preached to us so often, instead of their being our natural response as members. The article, "Apathy at Monoux?', published in the last edition of the magazine, provided a most needed exposure of the sad effects of a malady which too often appears to take a hold on us. It is not very easy to trace the root of this malady, for, in spite of the assertions to the contrary of some, I do not find that enthusiasm, co-operation and cheerfulness are lacking in our school. I feel bound to remark, however, that a healthy spirit can frequently be observed more readily in the lower school, and that if the upper school were to awake to its responsibility in setting a stirring example, there would be no place for even accusations of a spirit of apathy, let alone its presence. It is as well to remind ourselves of the heritage and traditions we have inherited as members of the school, and of the name we have to uphold. If the Monoux of today appears to us to fall short of the standards these imply, it is perhaps because we are not prepared to give as much as we have been ready to take. Perhaps too often we underestimate our privilege in being members of the family of Monoux.
No. 87 December 1965
Editors: J. D. BEANSE, P. J. THORNE. G. SWAN
A national daily newspaper recently carried a quiz designed to test the degree to which its readers were "with-it" (or whatever is the current phrase used to describe a state of being in the forefront of fashion), and it appeared. from the quiz, that nowadays those people who go for the "conventional" things in life are thought of, not as narrow-minded traditionalists, but as individualists.. The argument here, presumably, is that so many people are now influenced by the desire to be in fashion that those people who ignore fashion are the odd ones out. Apparently, so many parents now burden their children with exotic names that to christen one's child "John" is a very offbeat thing to do. The father who spends his off duty hours attired in ancient shirt and flannel bags is becoming a rarer animal: parents, egged on by their fashion conscious children, are smartening-up. The situation has thus completely reversed from that of, say, ten years ago, when only a minority of the population could afford to follow fashion. Now, the tremendous increase in the general level of wages has made it possible for almost everyone to wear the latest clothes, and do the latest things. and it is only a minority (commonly called "rebels") who have the strength of character to act and dress, not as someone else wants them to. but as they themselves want to. Incidentally, I am using the word "fashion" in its broadest sense: my dictionary defines fashion as 'a prevailing custom, manner, or appearance'. Fashionable may therefore be taken as being roughly synonymous with "conventional", which is defined as "customary, not spontaneous". Now it is obvious that everyone has a right to do those things which give him most pleasure, provided that no one else is harmed in the process. And if girls obtain pleasure from wearing anoraks and carrying transistor radios wherever they go. then they are quite entitled to go on doing so. But surely there is more pleasure to be obtained from following one's own desires than from following those of other people. It is certainly true that many conventions are extremely sound: thc nonconformist would not he advised to drive on the right-hand side of the road in Britain. But it is ridiculous that no candidate has a chance of gaining admission to a university unless lie attends his interview wearing a suit and tie, and with his hair cut short. In any case, his appearance after the interview is not likely to bear much resemblance to his appearance at the interview, hut quite apart from that the best candidates are not neces~ari1y those who wear the smartest suits and the shortest hair. What it boils down to is that the interview board are rejecting all those who have different tastes in dress and hairstyles to their own, and this is surely wrong, for who is to say which school of thought has the correct view ? The trouble is that it is largely the conventionalists who have the power to sack or expel: it is consequently those who reject conformity who suffer the most. Fortunately for the world as a whole, the attempts of society to crush every individual into "glorious conformity" are not always successful. History books are littered with the names of men and women who thought things out for themselves in such fields as science and philosophy, rather than blindly accepting the prevailing ideas of their times. Sometimes, of course, conventions are ignored. not necessarily because they are disliked in themselves, but as a protest against existing standards. The result, however, is still the same-progress. rather than stagnation, which is the inevitable result of general conformity.
P.J. Thorne, VI 3M.