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A Spiritual Narrative - Part Two


Carl Halling

My father, born in Australia on 28 August 1924 to a Danish father (or so I believe; that's a separate story), and an English mother, had a successful career as a classical violinist, despite considerable childhood hardship, and so was in a position to ensure that his own children had comfortable and privileged lives. I was articulate and sociable from the outset, if markedly agitated, what they might call hyperactive today. And at some stage in the early to mid sixties I became a problem both at school and home: a disruptive influence in the class, and a trouble-maker in the streets.

But things did improve. By the time I quit the school in 1968 in order to prepare for my common entrance exam (necessary for entrance into a public, or English private school), I had calmed down a little, that is for the time being...

Like many English kids around 1968, indeed countless young people across a world in the grip of a social revolution, I was deeply in thrall to Rock'n'Roll, a music that had been inaccurately known as Pop for a time, and had been since 1963.  I can remember my brother and I driving my poor dad half mad in that year by endlessly intoning "yeah, yeah, yeah" in the back of  the car.  Relatively innocuous in '63, the music had yet very much outgrown its roots in the southern US by then.

I became Cadet RNR 173, possibly the youngest serving member of the Royal Navy, at the Nautical College Pangbourne on the ninth of September 1968. I was pretty plucky for a skinny tyke and a character as they used to say in those days, an eccentric loon full of madcap fun and half-deranged imaginativeness.

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