Sbohem, školní bráno…

…or ‘Farewell, School Gate’, as one of Valérie Čižmárová’s songs was entitled.

Thanks to Aleš Korábek’s V.Č. site’s record of recording dates and to an idea that occurred to me a couple of days ago to see where I would have been at school/college, or otherwise, at various stages of her recording career I have coincidentally ended up sorting that career into four stages, based on my ‘School Days’. If I were to sum up those stages in one word I think it would be…(Stage One) Experimentation, (Stage Two) Culmination, (Stage Three) Re-Invention and (Stage Four) Reflection. Here is my relating of Valérie’s recording career and my school days and it works amazingly perfectly as a way of analysis of that career.

The Long Row Days

Sunny

26th May 1969 (14th March 1974 on LP)

Čekám (I Am Waiting)

26th May 1969

Když mě chceš (When You Want Me)

31st December 1969

Proč se ti zdá (Why Do You Appear)

31st December 1969

Léta letí (Time Flies)

5th December 1970 (14th March 1974 on LP)

Dávno nejsem hloupá (I’ve Not Been Crazy For A Long Time)

5th December 1970

Za sluncem, za vodou (In Sunshine, In Water)

5th April 1971

Pán s loutnou (The Man With The Lute)

20th September 1971

Koko

22nd September 1971 (14th March 1974 on LP)

To je léto (It’s Summer)

25th May 1972

Synu můj (Son Of Mine)

25th May 1972

The Herbert Strutt Days

Oči nelžou (Eyes Don’t Lie)

28th August 1972

Řikaš pořád, jak ti na mně záleží (You Always Say How Much You Depend On Me)

28th August 1972

Tak měj mě rád (So Just Love Me)

9th January 1973

Mít aero a létat (To Have A Plane And To Fly)

9th January 1973

Pojď jen dál (Just Come On)

8th February 1973

Sbohem, školní bráno (Farewell, School Gate)

8th February 1973

Důkaz mi dej (Prove It To Me)

4th May 1973

Huascarán

4th May 1973

V poschodí pátém (On The Fifth Floor)

9th July 1973

Malý princ (Little Prince)

9th July 1973

Žar léta (The Glow Of The Years)

24th July 1973

Láska na dlani (Love On The Palm Of Your Hand)

24th September 1973

Náhodou (By Chance)

24th September 1973

Spousta příběhu (Lots Of Stories)

27th December 1973

Zrzek (Redhead)

27th December 1973

Dál než nejdál (Further Than The Furthest)

1st February 1974

Padal déšť (The Rain Was Falling)

1st February 1974

Píseň o kraji (Song About The Country)

1st February 1974

Koňskou dráhou (On The Horse Tram)

6th March 1974

Žokej (Jockey)

6th March 1974

Námořník šel cik cak (The Sailor Went Zig-Zag)

7th March 1974

Šer-chan

7th March 1974

Byl’s má bój (It Was A Fight)

13th March 1974

Démantová zem

13th March 1974

Proč si to brát (Why Get Married To That)

13th March 1974

Koukej, se mnou si piseň broukej (Look, Hum The Song With Me)

14th March 1974

Slova kolem nás (Words About Us)

10th April 1974

Je mu pět (He’s Five)

1st May 1974

Pokloň se, lásko (Love, Take A Bow)

3rd May 1974

Dvě řeky – Dve rieky (Two Rivers – in Czech and Slovak)

15th May 1974

The Belper High School Days

Sněhová vločka (Snowflake)

24th January 1975

Jeho laskominy (His Treats)

8th September 1975

Střapatá chryzantéma

8th September 1975

Správnej hoch (Good Boy)

10th February 1976

Mám už toho dost (I’ve Already Had Enough Of That)

10th February 1976

Tikot všech hodin (Every Clock Is Going Tick-Tock)

3rd January 1977

To je zvyk (It’s Habit)

7th March 1977

Návrat uvítám (I Welcome The Return)

7th March 1977

Čas má rychlý krok (Time Has A Quick Step)

18th June 1977

On se ti vráti (He’s Coming Back To You)

18th June 1977

Lásko má kéž je vítr příznivy (Love, If Only The Wind Were Favourable)

19th July 1977

Ten pravý, ten první, ten můj (Right, First, Mine)

19th July 1977

Belfast

2nd January 1978

Tak se pozná dáma (So You Know I’m A Lady)

10th January 1978

Kdekdo tě pomlouvá (Everyone Is Talking About You)

25th January 1978

Žádný ptáčník nemá křídla (No Birdwatcher Has No Wings)

3rd May 1979

Minigolf

5th May 1979

Když ještě letěl Rokenrol (When Rock ‘n’ Roll Flew)

23rd May 1979

Chvíli se smát (Moments To Laugh)

23rd May 1979

The Post-School and Wilmorton Days

Můj chlap (My Guy)

17th December 1979

Ten první rok (That First Year)

22nd April 1980

Rokenrol si mě získal (Rock ‘n’ Roll Got Me)

17th February 1981

Zůstaneš tu sám (You’re Staying Here Alone)

17th February 1981

‘The Long Row Days’ of Valérie’s career were all about experimenting with various musical influences, be that Jazz, Soul, Bubblegum Pop or even something closer to home, if one considers the quite Eastern European Folk Dance-influenced ‘Pán s loutnou’, for example, ‘Synu můj’, based on Paul McCartney’s tune, ‘Give Ireland Back To The Irish’ ending that period showing how ‘grown up’ Valérie could be already.

‘The Herbert Strutt Days’ were all about a culmination of the process of taking all the aforementioned influences and mixing them together to make a sound which composers, arrangers and producers thought would suit Valérie and making such genre-bending material as ‘V poschodí pátém’ (Is it Soul? Is it Rock, even?..or is it simply good music?) recorded at the height of Valérie’s ‘Classic (singles) Year’ of 1973, in which no fewer than half-a-dozen singles were recorded…followed by the year of the recording of (regrettably) Valérie’s one and only LP, to be released the following year.

‘The Belper High School Days’ were all about taking a deep breath, recording-wise, for about two years and emerging, re-invented, as substantially a Disco artist in 1977, then ending those years in a Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘Nostalgia’ vein, finishing off with ‘Chvíli se smát’, which I happen to think wouldn’t have been out-of-place at the slower end of Darts’ repertoire at that time – a very Doo-Wop-like feel – Darts being another possibly ‘strange’ favourite for the Nouveau Mod that I was at the time.

Finally, ‘The Post-School and Wilmorton Days’ were a sort of ‘coda’ to Valérie’s recording career, perhaps reflecting on the past, if one translates one of the titles, since ‘Ten první rok’ means ‘That First Year’. At this time, apparently, there should have been a second LP, consisting of largely Rock ‘n’ Roll and (so it would appear) composed entirely by Hungarian composers, reflecting again on Valérie’s mixed heritage, but that never came to fruition, which is a great shame, since her recording career could have lasted further into the 1980s than it did…and maybe even beyond that, otherwise.

To go with Valérie’s class photo that has already been featured in the GOTGE Blog here are my own, taken from my four years at Long Row School, so one can easily tell by cross-referencing the years – which would have run from September to July of the succeeding year – with the ‘The Long Row Days’ section above to see what Valérie would have recorded during each one of those school years. I have very helpfully circled myself!

First Year (1968-1969) (Miss Barlow’s Class)

long_row_1968_to_1969

Second Year (1969-1970) (Mr. Martin’s Class)

long_row_1969_to_1970

Third Year (1970-1971) (Mr. Griffiths’ Class)

long_row_1970_to_1971

Fourth Year (1971-1972) (Miss Cook’s Class)

long_row_1971_to_1972

Here is perhaps one of the first colour photographs taken of me – aged seven, so sometime between 19th July 1968 and 18th July 1969 – in the playground at Long Row School, with part of the Gymnasium/Dining Hall in the background.

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Here are some photos I took earlier today of those three schools. Herbert Strutt School is no longer a school. It has become a Community Centre.

Long Row School (the first of these shows my classroom – on the top floor – during Fourth Year and one may recognise the Gymnasium/Dining Hall in front of which the Second Year photo was taken and in which the Fourth Year photo was taken -the final image is a more distant view of my Fourth Year classroom)

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Herbert Strutt School (the first of these shows where my First Year classroom of 1972-1973 was – towards the right-hand side of the ground floor).

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Belper High School (as ‘my generation’ insist on still calling it, even though it is officially just ‘Belper School’!) (the second, third, fourth and fifth images all show the former ‘Foley Block’ on the top floor, where my form classroom was and the fifth also shows, at right, on the ground floor, the Sixth Form Common Room where I’d have sat playing records – not Valérie Čižmárová ones, sadly! –  during the lunch break sometime between September 1977 and June 1979)

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By way of a further modification to this post, since I have not hitherto embedded Valérie’s ‘Sbohem, školní bráno’ and it is, indeed, ’embed-able’, here it is. In case anybody recognises the tune it is to the tune of Melanie’s ‘Stop! I Don’t Wanna Hear It Anymore’ – music by Botkin, with Czech-language lyrics by Petr Markov, with accompaniment from Orchestr Karla Vlacha. This was almost inevitably in my head as I was going around taking the aforementioned photos…and a quite haunting melody it is.

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