Dulwich College c. 1973
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Dulwich College, early 1970s...

Dulwich College is a large public school in South East London. It's big - about 1,400 boys go there - and it sprawls across many acres of prime suburban turf, surrounded by its own grounds and those of the nearby golf course. It's one of the wealthiest schools in the country. It owns Dulwich Village. It controls the look and the feel of the area surrounding. Nearby are two other schools from the same foundation: James Allens Girls School and Alleyns.

Founded in the early 1600s by Edward Alleyn, one of Shakespeare's best buddies, the school is renowned for its academic excellence, it's sport... and, for a period of about six years either side of 1970, for producing a rash of rock and roll musicians (but they don't like to talk about that).

First up came three young gentlemen, resplendent in their school blazers and caps. Their names: Philip Targett-Adams, Charles Hayward and William MacCormick. Philip was a boarder in Blew House, was in the school swimming and water polo teams and played Number 8 for the Second XV rugby team. At the same time, Bill was carving out a name for himself as a part-time 'school rebel'. Also a member of the 2nd XV, he was in the school First XI at cricket where he and a colleague caused consternation by refusing to have their hair cut the regulation length above the ears. Dangerous! Then came Charlie. He didn't play sport unless absolutely forced. He got his exercise smashing the living daylights out of a large, red glitter, double bass drum, Premier drum kit.

This bunch were to become the core of the justly well-renowned school psychedelic rock band Pooh and the Ostrich Feather.

Unknown to them, several youngsters of varying ages would attend their regular performances in the School's Bath Hall. Each of them harboured some as yet unformed desire to be up there performing, posing and generally larking about. They were, in age order, David Ferguson, Simon Ainley and David Rhodes.

DF was serious, non-sporty, heavily into Labour Party politics and interested in the theatre and drinking large quantities of Holsten Pils (or whatever its equivalent was in those days.

Simon was not so serious, a bit sporty in a light-hearted fashion and interested in ladies, rock 'n' roll, ladies, beer and ladies (or whatever their equivalent was in those days).

DR was VERY serious for one so young, played guitar, spent his time intimidating his opposite number in school rugby matches (he would later play hooker for the school 1st XV - and for our American cousins that's a position not a profession) and was planning to become very interested in Courage Special Bitter when he could convince the barman at 'The Dog', the local pub in Dulwich Village, he was old enough.

Little did they know that, several years later, they would all become professional rock musicians (with varying degrees of success) and that four of them would, in 1978, become part of the same eccentric and hugely unsuccessful rock combo: Random Hold.

But then, that's not their fault. Dulwich didn't teach Precognition at A-Level in those days.

Listen to Random Hold:
  • Meat - from the double album 'The View From Here' (1980) featuring: David Rhodes, David Ferguson, Pete Phipps and Bill MacCormick
  • Second Nature - 1979 demo for Polydor Records featuring David Rhodes, David Ferguson, Bill MacCormick, Simon Ainley and David Leach
  • Passive Camera - 1980 demo featuring: David Rhodes, David Ferguson, Pete Phipps and Bill MacCormick

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