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11:11am on Friday, 3rd April, 2009:

Old School Tie


Here's my old school tie:

It really is my old school tie, too (or possibly my brother's): my mother has inexplicably kept it. This is the design of tie we wore at Hornsea School for the first 5 years we were there — for ages 17/18, we switched to a special "prefect tie" for being in the sixth form. If this particular tie is mine, that means it must be from 1976 or before (add 2 years if it's my brother's).

All the kids in the school had to wear this design of tie, girls and boys the same. We didn't have any rules about "you must show at least 7 diagonal lines" like they have at my daughters' school, and as a consequence everyone wore it to a reasonable length (no rules means nothing to buck against — a 7-line rule means everyone has 6.05 lines showing).

The tie that we wore in the sixth form was maroon and had the school crest on it. There was some serious unfairness going on with that one. Firstly, only boys got to wear it, not girls. Girls could wear the old tie if they liked or no tie at all. This brings us to the second point: boys had to wear it (except for PE lessons), but girls didn't have to wear any tie at all if they didn't want to. The third point is that, because they didn't have to wear a tie, the girls all got given prefect badges; the boys didn't get prefect badges because their ties counted as symbols of prefectual authority. The final injustice was that prefect badges were provided free by the school, but the boys had to pay for their ties. I still seethe over that even today....

Anyway, returning to the tie design I wore from 1971 to 1976: I actually like it. Most school ties are ghastly affairs, but this one is actually pretty good. The stripes are good widths, the yellow is sandwiched between two reds, and they go well together against the black. This is a tie that conforms to the dictates of heraldry.

Compare it to my daughters' tie:

This is an unappealing bottle-green base with strips of equal width in red and off-yellow that induce feelings nausea; it's at times like this that I feel envious of colour-blind people, who don't have to see the tie as it really is. Bleah. This is not a tie anyone is going to look back on with affection, except perhaps in the sense of "wearing it made me a stronger person". My tie, on the other hand, is a lot classier, apart from the fact it's too small for a grown man to wear and it smells musty.

They've changed the design of the tie at Hornsea School now, perhaps because it's now Hornsea School and Language College. They've messed around with the logo, too, which is now all black and red (it used to have yellow in it). The new tie is a black base patterned with single red stripes, as you can see from this image I snipped from the school newsletter:

Not as good as in the old days... In fact, not actually good at all. What happened, guys?

Oh, and for the Americans among you, yes: our ties do slant like a slash rather than a backslash.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).