We already knew that Rupert attended Pangbourne College in Berkshire during the academic years 1991-96, with mentions of his skills in (field) hockey and acting. Delightfully, though, the College has now digitised its annual magazine, The Log, and made it publicly available online – and so we are gifted with some more lovely details about our favourite young man.
If these magazines only provided a few dry facts, I would probably not cross the line and share them here. However, there are a couple of absolutely adorable anecdotes included – and while Rupert earned himself a negative remark or two early on, the whole story ends very happily indeed.
So, in the hopes that no one will mind too much, I hereby present the relevant excerpts.
1991-92, age 13
[The following “Young” may or may not be our Rupert, but chances are that he would have been in the Chapel Choir, and it does feel rather irresistibly like him! There was another student as well as a teacher or housemaster named Young, hence the need for disambiguation.]
The Italian Jobby
What a wonderful idea; combine a choir and brass group tour with a little culture in the company of some Lower Sixth Art Historians. Seduced by thoughts of Vivaldi, Gabrielli and Purcell blending with Botticelli, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo, a troupe of some 47 musicians, culture vultures and camp followers set off for Dover and parts foreign. …
The electric keyboard sounded more like a harpsichord as the evening progressed with La P doing her stuff and McVittie, Young (the thin, beardless, musical variety) and Gummer were in equally fine voice. It was especially good to hear Simpson finally being supported by the tenors he had abused, cajoled and at last convinced to open their mouths when singing and not just when eating.
[That pseudonym is divine in this context. It’s a musical direction meaning “turn the page quickly”.]
The Rugby Club, U 14 ‘B’ XV
After such a successful and enjoyable season it would be more fitting to look back at the players involved with the glory of a happily balanced side than to reflect on the highlights of autumn. …
Now looking forward we see a pack seething with spirit, keen to block, keen to drive, and always keen for ball. In the front row we had a specialist hooker in C. Young (we will not mention fine-outs) who was propped up by two valiant players in R. Young, the captain, and Davidson, both of whom would have preferred to play in the back row. They were very obviously worried about looking like a familiar Scottish biologist but were reassured when told that it took years to end up like him and that one term would do them no harm. …
This [a miracle transformation] is actually true of the whole side. After they had got down to basics and learnt how good discipline can be effective they became a stylishly professional side which deserved the success it enjoyed.
T.J.C.R. / P.G.S.
Hockey Club, Under 14 B
If this enthusiastic side could have put in more goals, then it should have undoubtedly won the majority of its games instead of drawing as many as it won! Rupert Young proved an able captain and leading scorer with 12 goals … Adrian Rodgers was next with four …
The side was great fun to be with and to coach, showing a genuine willingness to learn and I am sure there will be a number who will go on improving, providing they practice their skills and remember to keep running!
I.H.G.B. [Ian Busby]
Cricket Club, Bantams A
This was an excellent summer of good positive cricket and some solid achievements. A record of 10 victories out of 15 games says volumes about the team, and is a fair reflection on their performance. …
Rupert Young has all the talents as a batsman, except the ability to concentrate. Once he learns to do this then he ought to score many more, as he plays all the shots. …
The fielding was adequate, but no more. Any fielding side will take its tone from the wicket keeper, and Rupert Young has very real potential. However, he is also lazy and needs to remember to move his feet to the ball rather than just flapping his hands at it. This results in bruised fingers, and a vast number of byes (122 in the whole season). The ground fielding needs to be more aware of the potential of stopping the single and attacking the ball, and the catching still had some holes in it. However, it must be said that our fielding was rarely worse than any of the opposition.
Overall this was a most enjoyable term. The team were prepared to listen. They were rarely down-hearted for long, and there was always a positive attitude.
[I should add that Rupert certainly wasn’t the only player to be criticised! Sounds like an example of “harsh but fair” coaching.]
1992-93, age 14
Solo Music Competition, Summer Term 1993
Junior Woodwind [category]
- Jonathan Robson (flute)
- Stephen Chudy (saxophone)
- Rupert Young (clarinet)
Junior Colts Cricket
The Junior Colts duly completed their second successive unbeaten season …
The batting was not so strong but then it didn’t need to be, chasing such small targets. … James Goldsmith, Rupert Young (a useful wicket-keeper) and Mark Ferris all chipped in with some useful runs when necessary. …
Above all else it was a great team effort. … A memorable season in every way.
1993-94, age 15
Colts ‘A’ Hockey
… In the ensuing selection ballot wholesale redundancies were announced. The luckless Langton was sidelined in favour of C.Young, Gilbert was kept off allowing the fast improving Spanton to show his class, and R. Young was appointed at centre forward to remain committed to the 22 meter line and to feed Ferris goal-scoring ball. It is worth mentioning that the player of this match … was Armstrong, who was ably supported by the three new comers.
The final selection committee of the term decided on: … R. Young …. They should all push for the top positions next year.
1994-95, age 16
[The following piece on a trip to the theatre appears to have been written by Rupert.]
On Wednesday 15th September, Opera-lovers, couples, dates, Pangbourne College A Level and GCSE candidates, Pangbourne College music staff and Bob Geldof all crowded into the London Coliseum to see the English National Opera production of ‘La Boheme’.
As the curtain went up, we were greeted with a set which was frustratingly imprecise. This, like Ingeborg Bernerth’s costumes, suggested anything from the forties to the eighties. Tobias Hoheisel’s sets centre on a ‘studio’ that could be the top floor of any office block. It is a bit of a mess. The director Steven Pimlott decided to play it without a pause, concertina-ing its four acts in one sweep.
There were so many loose ends. Why did the lights go out so conveniently when Mimi brought in her candle? Was it a power cut? Is it surprising Mimi is ailing when the poor thing stands outside in the winter winds dressed only in a cardigan and skirt?
Some of Pimlott’s ideas worked. Cheryl Barker’s Musetta, for example, was a sort of outrageous Zsa Zsa Gabor. She had an exuberant voice. Musetta gains Marcello’s attention by stripping on the bohemians’ dining table at the Cafe Momus. But this one big moment can’t carry the evening and the musical merits were as patchy as the production. John Hudson’s honeyed Rodolfo and Roberta Alexander’s rather bland Mimi seem essentially lightweight behind the loud orchestra. The other bohemians, Jason Howard, Andrew Slater and Christopher Booth-Jones, are all skilfully drawn but Miss Barker’s Musetta all but steals the show.
3rd XI Hockey
… The impression that all was not right was confirmed by the opening phase of play. Last year’s team conceded a goal within 30 seconds of the start of the first game. This year’s side had not let the opposition touch the ball in that time and appeared to have mastered the basic elements of the game, like stopping the ball and hitting it, which had so spectacularly eluded the previous year’s eleven.
It was therefore no surprise that Pangbourne took the lead. A wonderfully flowing move ended with Rupert Young, pausing just long enough to check that his hair was neatly combed, sweeping the ball past the outstretched boot of the Wellington keeper. In a worrying display of post-goal euphoria Young was seen chasing several of his team mates about the pitch and insisting that they kiss him. Only stern words from Captain Wafer Thynne prevented an ugly scene. …
The second half was much as the first, with countless Pangbourne attacks resulting in no net gain (apart from that dreadful pun). Just when it appeared that a draw was the inevitable result Rupert Young appeared in front of an empty goal. Such moments are rare in sport; a player, at the height of his powers, given the opportunity to gain the ultimate prize. With an aplomb seldom seen Young drew back his stick and shot wide. Fortunately the Wellington defence
was still laughing uncontrollably when Jenner flicked the ball into the net on the next drive.
1995-96, age 17
‘Guys and Dolls’ – December 1995
What a show! What a cast! and what a crew! …
The best moment in any show is the day in between rehearsal and performance that you meet and sing with the band. I didn’t know what to expect but I was not to be disappointed. The sound was magnificent and all cast members should account themselves remarkably lucky to have performed with such professionals. Okay, I’m gushing now and being just a tad theatrical, darling, but this really was an event in which so many talented people were able to function as a team to the best of their own ability, and, to use a naval metaphor, it is pretty easy to captain such a skilled and dedicated crew.
However, the pervading memory of the entire experience will be the quite magnificent performances of all the cast. Rupert Young’s suave, ultra-cool and silken-voiced ‘Sky’. All shows require leading performances of presence and charisma, and in Rupert we had that in spades, if you’ll pardon the pun. … Finally Polly Barsby, sweetness with the kick of a mule, as the innocent yet ultimately unfulfilled Sarah Brown, the girl from the mission. She bridged the age gap magnificently and certainly gave as good as she got from the slippery Sky Masterson. Her acting had remarkable honesty and her singing was a delight. However, did the slapping of Sky’s face demonstrate just a little more than pure acting technique? …
The details of that night when the lights went out and emergency generators crashed into trees on Bere Court Road are well documented, so I won’t go into the nitty gritty here. Suffice to say, in true Pangbourne tradition all the good things about the place were thrown startlingly into focus and the cheeriness and resilience of all those unfortunate to be caught up in the events of that night, audience and company alike, will be one of my fondest memories of both the production and of Pangbourne College. Cheers.
Headmaster’s Letter, Cricket
… in a relatively dry summer it is good to report that the 1st XI had 6 wins out of 11 which represents the most wins for the XI for some time. Certainly the team has become better at turning winning positions into victories and certainly the team has played some very positive cricket. It was cheerfully led by Rupert Young who scored a century against Douai and averaged over 45.
A B E Hudson
Founders’ Day, Prizegiving, Open Prizes
The Headmaster’s Prize: J A Davidson, R F Young (Awarded at his discretion for extraordinary contributions to College life)
Press Cuttings 1996
The climax to the performing arts, and indeed to the whole term, was the stupendous production of Guys and Dolls. Pangbourne’s excellent Music Department, under the guidance of Bob Barshy – whose orchestral and choral productions are well-known and much enjoyed by the community – joined forces with the Drama Department, ably directed by Paul Clarke, Head of Drama and theatre professional. …
The role of Sky Masterson, created so memorably on screen by Marlon Brando was ably played by Sixth Former Rupert Young, veteran of many Pangbourne productions.
After two (and a half) performances, the most repeated comment was “professional” and West End comparisons were inevitably made. There was no weak link. …
Degree Course Acceptances
Rupert Young: Acting; Queen Mary College, Edinburgh
[This must be the original placement, which he wasn’t in a position to take up. Rupert later studied acting at LAMDA. This is also listed in the 1997-98 magazine.]
1996 saw Rupert Young captain the XI. He had an excellent all round season scoring 351 runs and taking 12 wickets at an average of 16.91. He was an enthusiastic cricketer who always gave of his best. Our record read ‘played 10, won 6, lost 2, drawn 2’ and certainly in terms of games won was our best in these five seasons. The highlight of the season was a victory against the MCC by 2 wickets, engineered by an innings of 107 by Dean Page. Young also scored 101 against Douai. …
In conclusion …
Rupert’s career at Pangbourne College ended on a real high, with him starring as Sky Masterson in a magnificent production of Guys and Dolls, as well as captaining the cricket team through a winning season. To top it all off, he was awarded the Headmaster’s Prize “for extraordinary contributions to College life”.
That’s the man we know and love!