Singles of the Year – 31st December 1980

Dead Kennedys – Holiday in Cambodia
The Fall – How I Wrote ‘Elastic Man’

17th July 2021 – Holiday in Cambodia still sends chills down my spine. I would have first heard this on John Peel’s radio show I’m sure, as well as all the Fall singles. I listen to the Fall quite regularly still (still discovering parts of their huge back catalog), more so than the DK’s.

I’d scour the NME and Sounds ‘indie’ charts and marvel at all the weird names of bands and song titles, curious about everything. The genre ‘punk’ still encompassed so many different sounds around this time and even crappy little bands from places like Nowhere, Cornwall could sell 10,000 or more copies of their DIY 7″. I feel lucky to have been at just the right age to get caught up in it all.

At the time I wished I was older and could have gotten caught in the first punk wave but in retrospect that explosion seemed to alienate many after a year or two and it’s legacy, whilst worthy, perhaps wouldn’t have inspired such a life long dedication to these oddball sounds that I still hanker to find in new bands today.

Albums of the Year – 30th December 1980

Damned – Machine Gun Etiquette
Damned – Black Album
Cockney Rejects – Vol II
Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables

13th July 2021 – I can’t imagine how I had these records at aged 13! I know I used to steal money from my mum’s stash of savings hidden in the bureau (sorry mum!) so maybe that was it. I do remember a year or two later I would never eat lunch and just saved the money my mum gave me to buy records on the weekend. I was skinny and starving.

Lookin’ For Clues – 29th December 1980

Record of the Week: Lookin’ For Clues – Robert Palmer

Expecting Graeme 10am – he didn’t come – should come tomorrow
Dentist 3.20pm

11th July 2021 – Graeme Gray – it was all his fault. Somewhere in 1979 or 1980 he told me about this outrageously named band the Sex Pistols and their song Friggin’ in the Riggin’, the lyrics of which excited these typically dumb 13-year-old boys. For some reason I feel that it was later that I saw the Sex Pistols video for ‘Pretty Vacant’ on Top of the Pops – but looking back it seems that that was in 1977, so I had already come across them, perhaps not knowing who they were. I do remember though their bass player, whom I commented to my mother, looked like Frankenstein. My mother and I would always watch the horror double bill on Saturday nights, after Match of the Day, so Frankenstein and Dracula were always a clear black and white image in my mind.

Frankenstein on Top of the Pops

These were the clear seeds of my interest in punk rock and it didn’t take long for me to immerse myself in it.

It seems weird to me now that I would invite a friend over on the same day I had to go to the dentist. Time has a different meaning to pre-teens though.

Anyway, later in 1979, Graeme’s parents moved out to the New Forest, to manage the Red Shoot Inn, yet somehow we managed to stay in touch. I felt it was fairly unusual for kids our age to stay in touch by old style phone in those days – if you weren’t within biking distance and attending the same school then it was practically impossible to be friends.

Graeme and I had a few adventures here before I was forbidden by his parents to visit again.

Each week I would write down whatever song/s stuck in my mind from listening to the radio. I’m just reminding myself about this Robert Palmer song as I have no memory of it now. An appealing upbeat jaunty pop number with a bit of a quirky middle section. Goes well along with XTC and Squeeze tunes that would have been popular around this time.

Music was becoming a bigger part of my interest, though as it had been an interest for most people generally as there weren’t really many other options, it was always around and I often looked through my mother’s collection of June Tabor, James Last and Martin Carthy records and fantasising about these people and their lives. I couldn’t stop playing her Lonnie Donegan album and the Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood album, often sitting in my window singing along, hoping that my Nancy Sinatra may hear. I had a fabulous fantasy world in my head, stuck out in the Dorset countryside.

I spent many hours looking into these eyes…