Culture Club

Culture Club | an exploratory weekly podcast.

Interviewing members of school staff to uncover the cultural touchstones that have ignited their passions, etched themselves through sheer tedium and monotony into the tablets of their minds, or provided invaluable fodder for the living of that complicated business called life. Recorded remotely, the podcast goes out to students and staff each Wednesday lunchtime. Students might listen one week and discover a band from the early 1990s, and close the following week’s episode with a newfound determination to stick with that particularly labyrinthine George Eliot novel, but at the heart of it all lies people: each episode is redolent with the warmth and personality of the teachers who in normal times make school awash with character, charisma, and the empowering educative opportunities these create.

  • Pilot Episode

    To kick things off, Mr May and Ms Miller experimented with some of the questions that might form the staple roster of Culture Club. Mr May shared his love of Mika, Ravel, and 1960s Gothic fiction, Ms Miller explored contemporary fiction, the comfort of Louis de Bernieres (not just on the beach, too) and they both struggled to reach through the seeds of time and remember what on earth they had studied for GCSE English Literature.
  • Episode 1

    If you’re in the business of interviewing teachers, it makes sense to start with the Headteacher. Mr Hall spoke to Culture Club about the poignancy of musical moments in the 1996 film ‘Brassed Off’, the strenuous demands of A Level English Literature as it once was, and the cynical wisdom of Miss Marple.
  • Episode 2

    A veritable panopticon of literary insight, Mr Arnold’s appearance on Culture Club spanned the the Old English verse of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the lesser-known corners of William Golding, and a newfound interest in Cape Verdean singing.
  • Episode 3

    By way of departure from the roster of English teachers, Ms Manolopoulos offered a physicist’s perspective on that strange word ‘culture’. This transpired to span the profound (‘The Smurfs Go Pop Again’), the satirical (‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’) and the informative (‘The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory’).
  • Episode 4

    With music at the heart of Culture Club’s interpretation of ‘culture’ it made sense to talk to school’s chief musical guru Ms Chapman featuring insights into the troubled life of Janis Joplin and consideration of sampling and songwriting through Curtis Mayfield and Kanye West.
  • Episode 5

    Famed in the staffroom as a voracious reader and intellectual enquirer, Mr Farrell’s appearance on Culture Club spanned evolutionary psychiatry, Eminem, Hamilton (the musical rather than the Federalist Papers themselves) and Albert Camus.
  • Episode 6

    From one history teacher to the next, Culture Club then moved to Mr Holloway, Deputy Head. With typical deftness, he spun a web connecting Nile Rodgers, George Orwell, Mikhail Bulgakov and 101 Dalmatians – with a playout of The Rolling Stones to boot.
  • Episode 7

    “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” So ran the wisdom Ms Pugh’s father gave her at the end of her first year of university, from ‘David Copperfield’. Enigmatic as ever, such telling insights came alongside snippets from Britney Spears, Jilly Cooper and Nigella Lawson - with ‘Amami, Alfredo’ from Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’ offering a glimmer of the highfalutin in amongst the more heartily quotidian.
  • Episode 8

    “My great success in life has come from pretending to be cultured.” By this point, Associate Head Mr Robson had listened to enough episodes of Culture Club to know the name of the game. In his appearance on the podcast, Britney Spears made a reappearance alongside the recently published autobiography of former House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, the poems of Philip Larkin, and the surprising populism of cricket.