Desert Island Discs: Kirsty Young interviews OW Jimmy Carr

Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the comedian and television presenter OW Jimmy Carr.

Despite being dyslexic, he got good enough A levels at RGS to study at Cambridge University. In his interview he mentions two inspirational teachers who taught him here at school, Mr Tim Claye and Mr Roger File.

After graduating with a degree in Political Science, and working for a major multinational company in London, Jimmy had what he calls an ‘early midlife crisis’, during which he lost his Catholic faith and was generally unhappy.

He attended lots of therapy courses in an attempt to find out what would make him happier and eventually set out on the road to becoming a comedian.

He quickly got a reputation for his fierce work ethic, heading up annually to the Edinburgh Fringe, touring with a new show virtually every year, and hosting many a Channel 4 panel show. Click here for his interview.


RGS Sportsman’s Dinner: 30 March 2017

Friends of Rugby are delighted to announce the details for the 2017 Sportsman’s Dinner which will be held on Thursday 30th March 2017 in the Queen’s Hall at RGS. Further details on the attached flyer.

 This year All Black legend, Sean Fitzpatrick will speak at the 2017 dinner. With The British & Irish Lions touring New Zealand next summer, nobody will be better placed to highlight the challenges the team will face on this most demanding of assignments. We are also delighted to welcome back the incomparable comedian and long standing friend of the school, Barry Williams, as Master of Ceremonies.

 Ticket prices remain at £75 per head, full tables of 10 or 12 may be booked for £750 or £900 respectively, and reserving a smaller number of places is absolutely fine as you can join another similar table. Demand is likely to be exceptionally strong, and therefore an early indication of interest would be much appreciated.  Once we have received your request we will send details of how to confirm your booking and send payment. To reserve your ticket please contact Mark Iliffe via e mail or call on 07740701606.

 Huge thanks on behalf of all at FRORGS for your continued support for rugby at RGS, and we look forward to welcoming you on March 30th.

OW Matthew Kaner is Radio 3’s new Composer in 3

The RGS musical community are very proud of their alumnus, Matthew Kaner, who left in the early 2000s, as he has been showcased by the BBC in their celebrations of Radio 3’s 70 years of existence. As part of the anniversary, the BBC decided to choose a young composer to be their “embedded composer” for 70 days, or 10 weeks, during which time the composer has to write a short piece each week, to be aired on Breakfast on 3 and In Tune, the early morning programme and the drive home programme.

Matthew already has several impressive composing credits to his name, including works written for the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Sinfonietta.

OW Ted Woodward: England rugby union great dies aged 85

OW Ted Woodward, who played 15 times for England on the wing between 1952-56 and scored 6 tries and a penalty goal, has died aged 85. Ted who was a Senior Prefect and Captain of the School XV in 1947 and 1948, represented the R.A.F., Middlesex, Barbarians, Wasps and England.

John Edward Woodward was born on 17 March 1931 in Lane End. His mother was a housewife and his father ran a butcher’s shop. He joined the RGS as a 13-year-old soccer fan and yet with no previous knowledge of rugby, Woodward found himself playing in the front row.

His athleticism and speed – he would go on to win the 100-yard sprint at the All-England Under-17s Schools Championship – saw him moved out of the front row and on to the wing, where he quickly developed into a promising young player.

At just 19 years old, Woodward’s talent was soon spotted by the England selectors. Yet like many young men of the time, Ted was called up for national service and so declined the opportunity. Whilst in the RAF Ted continued to impress at club and county level and so by the age of 20, Woodward would line up on the wing at Twickenham for his England debut. It was the beginning of a four-year England career.

As well as the glory of playing at Twickenham, becoming an England regular brought with it the practical concerns of the amateur era. Woodward worked as butcher, having taken over the family shop following the untimely death of his father. England’s blond barndoor winger would open up his shop that morning and serve a few customers before catching the train for Twickenham. He would always, apparently, parcel up a packet of pork chops as a gift for his opposing winger.

When his England career came to an end, Woodward continued to play for Wasps, eventually switching to play at number 8 due to a series of hamstring injuries. At the age of 29, he set up a successful sports shop with his great friend Louis Stalder, who also played for the Wasps. With ever greater commitments from the business and a young family to raise, Ted retired from the world of rugby at the age of 34 and remained a firm devotee of the game.

New Books from Old Boys: Paul Kingsnorth

Beast, which makes up the second part of the thematic trilogy which began with his highly acclaimed first novel The Wake, will be out in paperback on 6th July.

Published through the crowd-funding publisher Unbound, The Wake is the first in a trilogy set in 11th-century England and is a chronicle of the aftermath of the 1066 Battle of Hastings and the early days of the Norman occupation.

The novel has been a huge success and was longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize; shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and won the Gordon Burn Prize. The film rights have been sold to a consortium headed by the actor Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall). Rylance was one of the original 400 subscribers whose pledges enabled the novel to be published by Unbound after it was rejected by traditional publishers. He will play the central character, Buccmaster of Holland, in the film to be made by Shakespeare Road, the company he founded with his wife Claire van Campen.

Paul was born in 1972, and was educated at RGS. In the early 1990s, he went on to study history at St. Anne’s, Oxford. While he was there, he became involved in the road protest movement, and through that in green politics and activism, which determined the course of his life for many years afterwards.

After graduating, Paul worked for a year on the staff of the Independent newspaper, which he hated. Following a three year stint as a campaign writer for an environmental NGO, he was appointed deputy editor of The Ecologist.

He left the Ecologist in 2001 to write his first book One No, Many Yeses, a political travelogue which explored the growing anti-capitalist movement around the world. The book was published in 2003 by Simon and Schuster, in six languages across 13 countries.

In the early 2000s, having spent time with the tribal people of West Papua, who continue to be brutally colonised by the Indonesian government and military, he was one of the founders of the Free West Papua Campaign, which he also helped to run for a time. Paul was made an honorary member of the Lani tribe in Papua for his work there.

Paul’s second book, Real England, was published in 2008 by Portobello. An exploration of the changing face of his home country in an age of globalisation, the book was quoted in speeches by the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury and saw its author compared to Cobbett and Orwell by more than one newspaper, which he enjoyed.