Paying tribute to The Thin White Duke

The sad news of the seminal David Bowie’s death earlier this week from cancer could not go unnoticed by Lit Soc. A last-minute change of plans resulted in Mrs Madeleine King leading a wonderful session on all things Ziggy.

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Clad in her souvenir T-shirt and lightning flash earrings, Mrs King treated us to a journey through her musical memories. Interspersing her anecdotes with tracks that spanned the entirety of his forty-plus year career, Mrs King shared her enthusiasm for the music, the lyrics and the five performances she was very fortunate to attend.

With staff choir in attendance as well, a party atmosphere – complete with ‘Let’s Party’ (sadly not ‘Let’s Dance’) cake – celebrated the Goblin King in fine style. And for those who think there was no literary input, see this list for Bowie’s top 100 must-read books.

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From Troy to Ithaka

Lit Soc began its New Year journey with a fascinating session led by Ms Deekes on Homer’s epic The Odyssey. We had a bumper turnout of curious staff and students, including members of the SHS Classics Department.

Focusing on the women in the story, as inspired by a chance viewing of Love Actually over the Christmas break, we heard about Penelope (translation “face of threads”), Calypso (“she that conceals”…keeping Odysseus in hiding for seven years!), Nausicca (“burner of ships”), grey-eyed Athena and her opposite Circe, and Eurycleia (“broad fame”). Ms Deekes explained how powerful these women are in a society which literally hid women from view. For example, only Hermes could defeat Calypso and Circe, whilst Penelope was strong enough to fend off her would-be suitors for the best part of ten years. Girl Power Rules!

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As the Baklava was heartily consumed along with the usual tea, the discussion turned to texts inspired by The Odyssey, such as Joyce’s arguably even-more-epic Ulysses, Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Eva Ibbotson’s Journey to the River Sea and the Booker Prize winning Life of Pi, all with the journey motif and the bildungsroman genre.

Thanks to Ms Deekes for a great start to the year and setting the bar high for the rest of the Lit Soc year, which will be as diverse as ever.