Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Father Lodge by Bob Geldof

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Father Lodge by Bob Geldof

Article excerpt

The singer-songwriter and campaigner had a troubled education. But when a priest introduced him to Milton, breathing life into those magical words, he was bewitched - and a musical career followed

I didn't get anything out of school. I got no qualifications. I didn't pass the Irish version of the 11-plus and got nothing in the O-level or A-level equivalents. I don't say that with any pride or shame; it just didn't interest me.

I was a pain in the arse, but I was a low-grade pain in the arse, you know? I did irritating things, things to amuse myself. Blackrock College existed largely to feed the Irish rugby team, and I refused to play. "Fuck off, I'm not cooperating" was my attitude. That annoyed them. But when I was busy not playing rugby, I borrowed another kid's guitar. So, by default, I learned guitar through school.

The dean would regularly beat us, but I think the teachers saw it was pointless because the students refused to let beatings change their behaviour. That wasn't a macho thing - beatings were just a given, part of school life. They didn't feel odd.

The teachers were nearly always clerics and the one thing, perhaps the only thing that I got from school was poetry. I had three teachers in a row, three teachers over three years who could read poetry brilliantly. We had to learn poems by rote, which I'm so glad about now. The lines we memorised pop into my head throughout my life: " 'Tis now the very witching time of night/When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out/Contagion to this world."

Hamlet, but I didn't know that back then. I just listened and enjoyed listening. It was all about the way it was read - it struck me. So, yes, there were three priests all with this ability to read to us wonderfully well and the best, perhaps, was a guy named Father Lodge.

I remember the moment I realised Father Lodge was a great teacher of poetry. …

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