© Steve Neil 2017
Dural HiFi and Home Theatre
StoryTime

Steve’s Story (an ongoing saga) - a cathartic trip down memory lane.

The Beginning You know, sometimes it takes a momentous occasion to jog ones memory of the early times (in ones life that is). Mine happened when I was around three years old. My Mother and Father were having an argument in the kitchen of our semi-detached, very modest home in Manchester, England when, out of the blue, my dad asked “who do you like best son, your mother or your father”. I don’t recall my answer but I do recall the trauma that question initiated. Even at that tender age, I felt the pressure of being used as a pawn in the game of married life and to some extent, it has defined who I was to become. I was born in 1949 in Wythenshaw, Manchester at a very early age. My parents, Georgina and Harold, already had two children aged 10 and 12 so I was obviously an unplanned event. Contraception was a little known or used concept back in those days although, if you had seen my mother go to bed with her curlers in her hair, leaving the light on would have worked a treat. Me on the back lawn of our house in 1959 I recall nothing prior to the “who do you like best” event and very little after until my first day at Northenden Primary School in 1954. That first day was clearly etched in my mind when our teacher (her name was Miss Prime - I shit you not!) told us that the most important rule of the school is that you should only have to be told ONCE!!!!! by any parent or teacher and you will obey. This was etched so firmly in my psyche that from that day on, I became a model student who rarely, if ever, strayed beyond the boundaries of what was considered “good behavior”. This led me to become somewhat of a “goodie, goodie” and was to some extent ostracised by my fellow students as I refused to smoke behind the school hall or play doctors and nurses with some of the more adventurous girls (I made up for that later in life in my Band era but more of that later). The rest of my Primary School education was a bit of a blur as my concentration level hovered between zero and not giving a rats arse. The next major event was my 11+ exam. In England back then, all children, as they reached the end of Primary School, had to sit this exam to enable the school board to direct the pupils to what they deemed the “appropriate” type of Secondary School. Depending on the results, you were sent off to a Secondary Modern School which taught trade skills, Technical School (self explanatory) and Grammar School from which one was expected to graduate to University and head into the land of academia. Fortunately, I had an eidetic memory (since decimated by alcohol), and easily fell into the top15 percentile so was hustled off to Chorlton-cum-Hardy Grammar School. Not Good! Back then, the class system was dominant in England and most pupils at Grammar School were middle to upper class. I came from a distinctly working class family and was looked down upon by my peers. The first day I was initiated by having my head held in a toilet bowl and flushed. Fun times indeed as I was the only new pupil to receive such treatment. Educators today would be horrified at the Grammar School model of that time The 6th Formers (last year of school) had their own smoking room which also had the obligatory alcoholic beverages. All condoned by the teaching staff. Imagine that happening in the modern era? The teachers (Masters) all wore the Cap and Gown and carried a cane which was used liberally (I know from personal experience). In retrospect, it wasn’t a bad idea as it instilled the concept of actions = consequences (something lacking in todays youth). My parents must have sensed my discomfort and displacement in that academic environment as they decided to emigrate to Australia at the end of my first year. More fun and games. I was put into 1st year High School (North Ryde High) and, due to the difference in ages and school terms between England and Australia, I was a year ahead of the class. That didn’t go over well with the other students and I was looked upon as a smartarse Pommie Bastard. If you think racism is rife now, just go back to that period and see how any minority was treated. Until I lost my English accent and mannerisms, a Leper would have been more socially accepted. Pommie bastards (English), Wogs (Italians) Poofters (anyone even slightly effeminate), Bungs (Aboriginals) - any minority group was pigeonholed, marginalised and treated with contempt until they proved to be better than average at fighting, music, art or “manly” sports. School was a mean, acerbic place to be if you weren’t one of the peer group. I hated it and only when I left did I find, what I thought, was my place in the world. Me with my first ever girlfriend (I don’t think we even kissed). I was 15 at the time. Her name was Dianne and her dad was a Real Estate Agent. I don’t think he liked me. My eidetic memory served me well academically however (I never studied even once for any exam in my life) and for the School Certificate (Year 4) I passed with six “A” levels - the maximum back then - and had thoughts of progressing to university and becoming involved with physics or some other scientific calling. That all fell apart however when my mother and father told me they couldn’t afford to keep me at school for the final two years of secondary education. Hey ho, hey ho, it’s off to work I go. Unlike today, where unemployment is seen as a badge of honour amongst some sub cultures, in the 60’s to be unemployed was almost unheard of and nobody wanted to fall into that unseemly category. There were plenty of jobs and one took what one could get (no picking and choosing). Looking through the Positions Vacant in the Sydney Morning Herald - no SEEK in those days - I saw a trainee-ship as a technician-in-training with the ABC (yes, folks, I was a tit) and lined up for an examination for acceptance. Passed and was sent off to the PMG (now Telstra) training school in North Strathfield. It was back to school for two years followed by another two years of practical apprenticeship working both in the ABC TV Studio’s at Artarmon or the ABC Radio Station in Forbes Street, Kings Cross. The first two years were fine as I was learning interesting stuff about Valves and the transition from those glowing globes of electron management to Transistors. All cutting edge technology at that time. The TV Station however was full of pompous, self righteous arseholes who thought less of trainees than they did of dog droppings. I never thought adults (remember I was still only 17 at this time) could be so crass and cruel. This was a time when one had to become a technician to operate a camera or work in the production booth - and show me a technician with any artistic bent! Thank God the people doing the actual camera’s, production and the like are now chosen on their artistic ability. So after two years, I left. Click here to go to the next page 
You really don’t have to read this tripe as I’m writing it for my own amusement. I’ll add to it slowly until I catch up to my current situation - or die trying. WARNING-OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE
© Steve Neil 2017
Dural HiFi and Home Theatre

Steve’s Story (an ongoing saga) - a cathartic trip

down memory lane.

The Beginning You know, sometimes it takes a momentous occasion to jog ones memory of the early times (in ones life that is). Mine happened when I was around three years old. My Mother and Father were having an argument in the kitchen of our semi-detached, very modest home in Manchester, England when, out of the blue, my dad asked “who do you like best son, your mother or your father”. I don’t recall my answer but I do recall the trauma that question initiated. Even at that tender age, I felt the pressure of being used as a pawn in the game of married life and to some extent, it has defined who I was to become. I was born in 1949 in Wythenshaw, Manchester at a very early age. My parents, Georgina and Harold, already had two children aged 10 and 12 so I was obviously an unplanned event. Contraception was a little known or used concept back in those days although, if you had seen my mother go to bed with her curlers in her hair, leaving the light on would have worked a treat. Me on the back lawn of our house in 1959 I recall nothing prior to the “who do you like best” event and very little after until my first day at Northenden Primary School in 1954. That first day was clearly etched in my mind when our teacher (her name was Miss Prime - I shit you not!) told us that the most important rule of the school is that you should only have to be told ONCE!!!!! by any parent or teacher and you will obey. This was etched so firmly in my psyche that from that day on, I became a model student who rarely, if ever, strayed beyond the boundaries of what was considered “good behavior”. This led me to become somewhat of a “goodie, goodie” and was to some extent ostracised by my fellow students as I refused to smoke behind the school hall or play doctors and nurses with some of the more adventurous girls (I made up for that later in life in my Band era but more of that later). The rest of my Primary School education was a bit of a blur as my concentration level hovered between zero and not giving a rats arse. The next major event was my 11+ exam. In England back then, all children, as they reached the end of Primary School, had to sit this exam to enable the school board to direct the pupils to what they deemed the “appropriate” type of Secondary School. Depending on the results, you were sent off to a Secondary Modern School which taught trade skills, Technical School (self explanatory) and Grammar School from which one was expected to graduate to University and head into the land of academia. Fortunately, I had an eidetic memory (since decimated by alcohol), and easily fell into the top15 percentile so was hustled off to Chorlton-cum-Hardy Grammar School. Not Good! Back then, the class system was dominant in England and most pupils at Grammar School were middle to upper class. I came from a distinctly working class family and was looked down upon by my peers. The first day I was initiated by having my head held in a toilet bowl and flushed. Fun times indeed as I was the only new pupil to receive such treatment. Educators today would be horrified at the Grammar School model of that time The 6th Formers (last year of school) had their own smoking room which also had the obligatory alcoholic beverages. All condoned by the teaching staff. Imagine that happening in the modern era? The teachers (Masters) all wore the Cap and Gown and carried a cane which was used liberally (I know from personal experience). In retrospect, it wasn’t a bad idea as it instilled the concept of actions = consequences (something lacking in todays youth). My parents must have sensed my discomfort and displacement in that academic environment as they decided to emigrate to Australia at the end of my first year. More fun and games. I was put into 1st year High School (North Ryde High) and, due to the difference in ages and school terms between England and Australia, I was a year ahead of the class. That didn’t go over well with the other students and I was looked upon as a smartarse Pommie Bastard. If you think racism is rife now, just go back to that period and see how any minority was treated. Until I lost my English accent and mannerisms, a Leper would have been more socially accepted. Pommie bastards (English), Wogs (Italians) Poofters (anyone even slightly effeminate), Bungs (Aboriginals) - any minority group was pigeonholed, marginalised and treated with contempt until they proved to be better than average at fighting, music, art or “manly” sports. School was a mean, acerbic place to be if you weren’t one of the peer group. I hated it and only when I left did I find, what I thought, was my place in the world. Me with my first ever girlfriend (I don’t think we even kissed). I was 15 at the time. Her name was Dianne and her dad was a Real Estate Agent. I don’t think he liked me. My eidetic memory served me well academically however (I never studied even once for any exam in my life) and for the School Certificate (Year 4) I passed with six “A” levels - the maximum back then - and had thoughts of progressing to university and becoming involved with physics or some other scientific calling. That all fell apart however when my mother and father told me they couldn’t afford to keep me at school for the final two years of secondary education. Hey ho, hey ho, it’s off to work I go. Unlike today, where unemployment is seen as a badge of honour amongst some sub cultures, in the 60’s to be unemployed was almost unheard of and nobody wanted to fall into that unseemly category. There were plenty of jobs and one took what one could get (no picking and choosing). Looking through the Positions Vacant in the Sydney Morning Herald - no SEEK in those days - I saw a trainee-ship as a technician-in-training with the ABC (yes, folks, I was a tit) and lined up for an examination for acceptance. Passed and was sent off to the PMG (now Telstra) training school in North Strathfield. It was back to school for two years followed by another two years of practical apprenticeship working both in the ABC TV Studio’s at Artarmon or the ABC Radio Station in Forbes Street, Kings Cross. The first two years were fine as I was learning interesting stuff about Valves and the transition from those glowing globes of electron management to Transistors. All cutting edge technology at that time. The TV Station however was full of pompous, self righteous arseholes who thought less of trainees than they did of dog droppings. I never thought adults (remember I was still only 17 at this time) could be so crass and cruel. This was a time when one had to become a technician to operate a camera or work in the production booth - and show me a technician with any artistic bent! Thank God the people doing the actual camera’s, production and the like are now chosen on their artistic ability. So after two years, I left. Click here to go to the next page 
You really don’t have to read this tripe as I’m writing it for my own amusement. I’ll add to it slowly until I catch up to my current situation - or die trying. WARNING-OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE