The catholic high school I went to had a building they called the Good Samaritan Centre (GSC) which was basically a very large room they used when they had to congregate an entire grade together indoors. We would do PE self defense lessons or sex ed in front of Jesus on the cross.

By the time I’d reached grade 11 there were no nuns or priests at the school so all religion classes were taken by lay teachers. Since they wanted to make religion relevant to us they’d do things like show us movies like Roses in December, Beaches or Mississippi Burning. Not strictly religious but hey, they were moral. Those movies taught me not to kill nuns, blacks or white women with very black hair who had friends with very red hair.

One of the teachers called Miss Box was the kind of teacher who was young, full of inspiration and “with it man”. To make one of our religion lessons more interesting she arranged for her friend to come and talk to us about religion. Over the years this guy has morphed in my mind to someone similar to the jewish cowboy teacher Lisa fell in love with in the Simpsons. You could see through his trying to be your friend routine but forgave him because at least he was a grown adult who still didn’t wear socks up to his knees like every other teacher we had. Plus he played guitar. We all suspected that he was Miss Box’s boyfriend but of course had no proof. It didn’t really matter that much anyway as we suspected every teacher was sleeping with every other teacher. Gossiping about teachers was always a favourite pastime at my school.

The guy only came to the school a few times while I was there but he rocked my world in a way that it still has repercussions to this day. In this religion class in the religious centre he played a song on his guitar that dove right in to the heart of my alienated pimpled teenage being. It started like this…

A winters day, in a deep and dark december.
I am alone.
Gazing from my window, to the streets below
on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow
I am a rock
I am an island

This song was just amazing. This described everything I was feeling and more. Did the guy write it? What was going on? Where did it come from? Why wasn’t everyone else stunned and speechless like me?

Thankfully the guy must have understood it’s impact because the next thing you know they were handing out photocopies of the words informing me that the song was by some guys called “Simon and Garfunkel“. Who was this Simon and what the hell is a Garfunkel? This was the age before the internet (well in homes anyway) so I couldn’t just google it to find out who or what they were. I’ve been waiting my whole life to write the next sentence…

Thankfully K-mart helped me. I was browsing their cheap tape section (this was before cds were mainstream – god I’m dating myself) a month or so later and discovered a two for the price of one set of “Simon and Garfunkel” albums for the el cheapo price of $11. I couldn’t wait to get home to play I am a rock over and over again from the Sounds of Silence album. Once home the revelations continued as I discovered other songs they had written that I recognised. Hey these guys wrote that Bangles song “Hazy Shade of Winter”. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme …. wow.

In the humid wet heat of an Australian summer in 1991 I imagined myself in England freezing to death and feeling homesick or reading my Emily Dickenson and you your Robert Frost. I was hearing poetry set to music from some guy from New Jersey who lived in a country halfway across the world and he was describing my teenage angst like he was looking over my shoulder.

Thanks to that guy who wasn’t a jewish cowboy cartoon I now have a penchant for the music genre twee. My definition of twee is wordy music that tells a story with harmonies and acoustic guitars. If you think you might like twee, you should investigate the following artists:

They are perfect for moments when you want to reflect or hear a story with resonance and as you can see from my history twee music is a religious experience.



9 thoughts on “Gee that’s twee

  1. dbee says:

    ‘Ghandi’ was another movie that I saw 10 times in Religion class. Mr Kriz at the time was not religious at all and he would put the movie on, play it to the end and then put it on again hehe…

    and our own version of the jewish cowboy teacher..well his name was Michael and yes he was Ms Box’s boyfriend, coz one time we went over to her house and he was there!!! ooohhhwaaahooooo 😉

  2. Kel says:

    And I question why you were at her house? And dbee – I didn’t know that you went to St John’s really! Mr Kriz is still there, muscular as ever, and really only enjoying teaching Phys Ed and Outdoor Ed. He was (and still is) a legend of a teacher.

    My jewish cowboy teacher in high school was a female, forget her name, big poofy yellow hair big nose, and just generally scary. She taught us religion, and attempted to tell us not to have sex. She told us she was 45 and still a virgin.

    Let me here you say, ewwwwwwwwww.


  3. Amyo says:

    She doesn’t sound like a jewish cowboy teacher. The jewish cowboy teacher is the one who inspired you to actually learn and made it fun. Plus you have to have a little bit of a crush on them.

    Geez Kelly, how could you not know that Danielle went to school with me??

  4. dbee says:

    Goodness me Kelly!! How do you think I know all there IS ABSOLUTELY to know about Amy 😉 Of course I went to St Johns. Don’t you remember me and Amy trying to set you up with my little brother hehe… We were at Ms Box’s house to help write a school musical – Dejavu and also to eat the lollies that she promised us good little children. Arrgghhh!!!!

  5. Kel says:

    No!! Who was your little brother? What is it with my sisters setting me up with their brothers? Katie also made me go out with her friends brother!

  6. Kel says:

    OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH – i didn’t know that dbee and danielle were the same person! the one and only! 🙂 Okay, so I’m awake now.

    But I still don’t remember being set up with your brother.

    I do remember claiming to everyone that my sister helped write De ja vu, but then I think I got shut down – cause didn’t the whole class help or something?

    I’m going back to sleep.

  7. dbee says:

    oh’ve revealed my secret identity. Yes, Kelly it is me 😉 I’ve just realised that it was actually ‘Katie’ that we were discussing a set up with my brother, Justin…hehe (oops!) As for the writing of Dejavu, here’s the scoop. Amy, myself, Anthony Connelly and a couple of others plus a couple of teachers, were responsible for the concept of the musical. Bascially, we brainstormed the major scenes/themes and characters and then I think it was Mrs Anning etc that went away and wrote it.

  8. Amyo says:

    Although I don’t ever remember going to Miss Box’s house, I only went to the one on the weekend that was done at school.

    Yeah Kelly would have still been in primary school when we were trying to setup Justin and Katie. She would have been running around with Nikita across the road and playing dollys instead of worrying about boys. 🙂

  9. Kel says:

    Ha, that’s what you think! Nakita and I were actually driving the boys wild! Mum once got up me for it too, told me to get some more female friends 🙂

    And I claim that I was able to make Mrs Anning cry in one of my presentations – a good cry! We had to be one of the characters from one of the books we were reading, and attempt to show “discourse” or something, and I was the little boy from “Empire of the Sun”. That book ruled!! Anyway, I was carrying on about how he was in the war, and pretended to get really emotional (I fake cried!!).

    When I was finished, she came up and told me it was wonderful, and had tears in her eyes! WOOHOO. Got an A for that assignment.

    And I also claim getting an A+ by Mr. Boyle the hippy, and his comments were “if I could give you a higher mark I would”. That was my article criticising society’s obsession with sex 🙂 I’m going to have a hunt around at home and see if I can find that assignment and post it – I love it!

    *sings* I’M SO VAIN!


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