Left school at Xmas 1970 after repeating both A levels and Oxford entrance with little improvement in
outcomes, and went to Sussex in September 1971 to do Maths. Started being known as Jay in my first term
in Brighton. Met my wife Bridget that year, she was doing Russian Studies. Began to realise I wasn’t a
serious mathematician, managed to transfer to an English degree, starting again at Sussex in 1972.
In 1975 started working as a volunteer adult literacy teacher in Brighton, and later as a paid teacher
and organiser at the Brighton Friends Centre Adult Literacy Scheme.
Between 1978 and 1981 I played a Vox Jaguar analogue organ in a
band - see www.punkbrighton.co.uk,
a terrific site with info about an incredible 64 bands playing in Brighton in the late 70s, where you
can read a somewhat embarrassing page about us – we were called the Parrots and later Vol Sec. Should
you so desire, you can even download some music! Our best gig was supporting the very wonderful Piranhas
at the Nashville in West London – Echo and the Bunnymen played there the following week. Bridget, my
partner, played percussion and sang in a band called Devil’s Dykes! She’s not listed as a member but is
in all the photos. Three sampler albums were produced of Brighton bands, called Vaultage 78, 79, and 80,
to which we contributed tracks, and we also released a 4 track EP, some of which was played on Peely.
Heady times, but as we said in one of our songs, Don’t give up your day job!
In 1981 I was offered a teaching job in the Seychelles – you don’t turn things like that down so off I
went. It was interesting and bizarre, but after six months I came back, then moved to London and worked
for the Inner London Education Authority in adult education, still teaching adult literacy.
In 1986 I finally settled down with Bridget and our son Reuben was born in 1987 and Charlie in 1991.
We’ve lived in Hackney since 1986.
In 1990 the ILEA was abolished and I was transferred with thousands of others to the relevant local
authority, in my case Islington, where I worked, now as a manager of adult education, until being
transferred again in 1993 to the newly incorporated City and Islington College, where I worked as
Head of School for English and Basic Skills, until 2001. Since 2003 I have worked for my own consultancy,
the BlueSky Learning Ltd.
I am now looking for respectable employment again, partly for a change, and partly because the recession
has hit my business - all offers considered...
One day in about 1990 I was in my local junk shop and a voice said "Are you Mont?" It was Percy
Aggett, who lived in the next road! Our kids went to the same primary school and his daughter Beth and my
son Charlie have both just finished A levels at the Camden 6th Form college. Percy is in a terrific band
called King Toadfish, in case he won’t tell you – they play regularly in Hackney and Islington pubs and
restaurants and you will be guaranteed a good night out!
Percy and I have also started playing together in another project called (his idea) the Dread Perriers,
a sort of klezmer-ska-film theme band. It’s going to be the big thing in 2010...well maybe.
Percy and I meet up now and again with Steve (Fred) Donnelly and Tony Luxford. In 1994 we went to Eugene
O’Reilly’s funeral at SGC, and saw Ashley Croft, Dave Crane, Liz Gill and Steve Fleming, as well as
I discovered recently that Bridget’s cousin’s husband is the present Head of the Woburn Hill School, now
based at the St Maur’s site. Isn’t that weird.
In the Falmer Bar at Sussex University circa 1972