Same Old Song – 12th July 2021

You were a Frankenstein
When I saw you on the screen
I was scared and curious
At the weirdness I had seen
What drew me to it
I don’t really understand
But the thing I knew is
That I wanted to start a band
Your face inspired my generation
Though now you’ll never know
You burned and crashed out
While others took the chance to grow
Ten years or so, later
And others inspired the same
They too destroyed themselves
Cos they couldn’t handle the fame
Exploited to make a buck
It happened again and again
Working hard to get where you were
But it will never be the same
Now little girls chase this dream
To get famous for a minute
As if life was a competition
And everyone has to win it

Please don’t be waiting for me – 18th April 1989

21st Feb 2022 – How exciting. To be in a band.

A week or two after playing shows around the UK with our new pals from Holland, The Vernon Walters, we were off to Europe somehow, to play there with our local buddies, Corporate Grave. Our drivers, two Welsh hippie punk miscreants who kept us entertained with stories as they figured out which direction we should be headed. I don’t know how any of this happened. I was just the vocalist in the band. Before I knew it as a phrase, I would ‘get in the van.’

I don’t recall where we were picked up from, or any of the journey across the South of England to Dover where we would await the ferry to Calais. We would have picked up Rich and Corporate Grave along the way in Southampton.

We arrived in Dover in the late evening and beer seemed to be an important requirement so we bought a case of 24 cans of Stella. We had probably already spent all the spare money we had. Beer and cigarettes came before food.

We left in darkness, with a bunch of paperwork cleared, the details of which I’m vague on now, but it would have been related to earning money, carrying expensive equipment and those sorts of things. As we were accepted we assumed everything would be in order for the rest of the trip, particularly as Europe had just opened up without much in the way of cross border checking once on the mainland.

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…

The Week That Was – 26th August 1979

Record of the week: ELO – Don’t Bring Me Down
Highest entry: Buzzcocks – Spiral Scratch

27th Sept 2021 – Double checking this, I don’t believe the Buzzcocks were the highest entry but I was developing early signs of favouritism and believing what I wanted to believe.

13th June 2022 – It’s also odd now to me as Spiral Scratch originally came out in 1977. I see it was re-issued in 1979, perhaps because so few of the original were pressed at the time but that was quite an achievement to chart on the repress.

26th August 1979
Pistols Split
2p 2p 149p*

13th June 2022 – In hindsight, the Pistols had obviously split long before now but perhaps this was the end of the ongoing Great Rock N Roll Swindle and the flogging of the dead horse. The timing seems to coincide roughly with the reformation of the Professionals so this kinda makes sense.

27th August 1979
Gonna watch My Way Manhattan Murdered
2p 147p*

13th June 2022 – Can’t find anything about this now but guess it was some TV doco about Sid and Nancy. I was going all-in with this punk rock thing though still not really understanding what it was.

28th August 1979
Went to Beaulieu
Saw an Aston Martin Lagonda
2p 221p*

13th June 2022 – Not quite finished with the childhood fascination with cars, Beaulieu was always an exciting visit for a pre-teen boy. Though, funnily enough, I mostly remember the monorail and the palace house as well as the surrounding forest and gardens.

29th August 1979
Gotta old Sex Pistols posters
League Cup 1st Leg 2nd Rd
Ipswich 0-1 Coventry
2p 2p 219p*

30th August 1979
1. Cliff Richard
2. Boomtown Rats
3. B.A. Robertson
4. Roxy Music
5. EWF
6. Specials AKA
7. Darts
8. Flying Lizards
9. Ian Dury
10. Gibson Bros
2p 2p 215p*

31st August 1979
Notta lot
2p 213p*

1st September 1979
Ipswich 2-1 Stoke
2p 211p*

The Week That Was – 15th July 1979

Record of the week: Sham 69 – Hersham Boys, The Members – End of Term
Highest entry: Boomtown Rats – I Don’t Like Mondays – 15

17th May 2022 – Had to go back and check out the Members tune again. A great bopping number with particularly relevant lyrics for a schoolkid. Very much of its time and not as classic as some of their other singles, I love the sound of it though. I guess I do have a nostalgia through music. Hersham Boys was a classic at the time though hasn’t really stood the test of time for me. I had the 12″ single with the extended mix and live tracks (with the swear words beeped out – which made me feel a little naughty).

As for the Boomtown Rats, I kinda like this song but when it got to number one and could be heard everywhere all the time I soon got sick of it. Gone was the upbeat tempo, great songwriting and dizziness of their first two albums and earlier singles. The end of my love affair with the Rats.

15th July 1979
Finished poster to go up on me wall
2p
28p^

17th May 2022 – Like most teenagers and pre-teens I was ripping out pictures from magazines and putting them up on the wall of my bedroom and this developed into making my own which often featured titillating images such as page 3 topless pictures with Princess Diana’s head on top. Decorating my room soon became graffiti over the following 5 years.

16th July 1979
Hopefully I’m going to get the Dickies LP this week
4
2p 30p^

17th May 2022 – I was pumped up waiting for this.

17th July 1979
Didn’t get it today
Hope Sex Pistols are number one
2p 2p 32p^

18th July 1979
Highest entry – Boomtown Rats – I Don’t Like Mondays – 15
It’s great

17th May 2022 – Finding out this was about a school shooting was weird. It seemed unthinkable and didn’t really seem to be a common thing back then, at least not reported on the shores of Blighty. On the one hand, I found it fantastic that someone was so pissed off with school that they went there and killed people! On the other hand, what had anyone really done to deserve that fate?

With the situation becoming more common in the US over time I still can’t believe the situation there. It makes me feel like the place is dangerous, just in general.

19th July 1979
1. Tubeway Army
2. Janet Kay
3. Sex Pistols
4. Dave Edmunds
5. Chic
6. Beach Boys
7. Gerry Rafferty
8. Amii Stewart
9. Squeeze
10. Dooleys
38p^

20th July 1979
Break up for holidays
Skill
I didn’t get Dickies this week
Part 5
Next
40p^

17th May 2022 – Skill! I had forgotten we used to say that. Ace! too. Every kid enjoys the end of term, right!?

21st July 1979
I don’t think there’s been any big move to do with Ipswich
Got 2 cars. Notes
42p^

17th May 2022 – Transfer news wasn’t such a big deal back at this time, or so I imagined. Nowadays, it’s like every little piece of everyone’s business is dissected and analysed to death. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. Really just gossip and out of one’s control.

The Week That Was – 1st July 1979

Record of the week: C’mon Everybody – Sex Pistols
Highest entry: Chic – Good Times – 22 (What crap!)

7th May 2022 – Well, I’m going to take my word for it and not even going to bother checking out the Chic song again. Could C’mon Everybody really be by the Sex Pistols? Were the Pistols the Pistols without John Lydon? Obviously, moneymakers thought they could use the name but when it comes to the actual ‘real’ band, they only really had about 18 songs in their catalogue. For a band that had such a great impact on musical culture (culture in general, really) it seems an incredibly small recorded legacy. Are there other bands with such a minuscule recorded output that was such a huge influence?

The video has Sid riding his motorbike without a helmet, which was SO punk rock to 11 year old me. I couldn’t understand how he was allowed to do that, to get away with it! I’m going to watch it again in a minute but the footage I remember is of him riding through English country lanes and that takes me back to the time of doing the same, pushbikes and then motorbikes (with helmet, of course!), about 5 or 6 years later.

I went on a bike ride this morning, around a lot of country lanes here in Chiang Rai and despite the different types of foliage, it’s quite a similar experience. As I was riding I was thinking about going back to the UK and hitting up Rupert and Jeremy, hiring some 50cc mopeds and hooning around our old haunts.

1st July 1979
Yesterday I was in bed all the time because of me leg (see Friday 24th June)
2p

2nd July 1979
POP DAY
Making out my pop records that I’m playing
2p

3rd July 1979
Used a spud to make C L A S H, you know, cut-outs.
2p
2p^ not in debt

7th July 2022 – My love of the Clash was getting creative. I also made some tiny bread buns of those letters and at school made them out of wood whenever there was free bits leftover from making….whatever we were supposed to be making. I was never handy with tools and soon gave up on woodwork and metalwork classes.

4th July 1979
I’m actually saving money
If you look back to Feb 9, the middle statement has become false
2p
4p^

7th May 2022 – This situation wouldn’t last!

5th July 1979
1. Tubeway Army – Are Friends Electric?
2. Squeeze – Up The Junction
3. Janet Kay – Silly Games (what crap!)
4. Anita Ward – Ring My Bell
5. Gerry Rafferty – Night Owl
9. Sex Pistols – C’mon Everybody
2p
6p^

6th July 1979
Sports Day This year Last year
Long Jump 1 1
75m 1 1
150m 1 1
Cricket Ball 1 1
Relay 1 2
2p 8p^

7th May 2022 – I could’ve been a contender, I suppose. There wasn’t much support for a dumb kid from the backwaters of England and there wasn’t enough internal motivation. I didn’t believe in myself, no one else believed in me and so it goes.

7th July 1979
Borg vs Tanner
6-7 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-4
Ipswich’s last 3 seasons places
6.3.6
2p 10p^

7th May 2022 – I liked Bjorn Borg for some reason. He seemed humble.

The Week That Was – 24th June 1979

Record of the week: The Clash – Cost of Living EP
Highest entry: Sex Pistols – C’mon Everybody

6th May 2022 – The cashing in on the Sex Pistols and punk. I didn’t know it at the time, I was just thrilled with it all. Promoting songs like C’mon Everybody really just shows that punk was founded in the roots of rock, which was founded on….etc etc… All those people outraged by this ugly phenomenon – do they think they won a battle for decency or realise that the rebellion was not that dangerous after all.

24th June 1979
Them lot’s coming
2 Dunnos, 1 Forgottens, 1 Not much happened
2p 2p

25th June 1979
Middle of the year
2 Don’t know, 2 Boring days, 2 Same as yesterday, 1 Not much happened, 1 Nothing much
Won the relay. Came fourth in 75m and 150m heats at District Sport
2p

6th May 2022 – This would have been a good lesson to show that teamwork beats individualism. To someone who thought about it more at the time!

26th June 1979
I’m in the cricket ball bungin’. Chucked 42 metres.
By the way, Clash are great.

6th May 2022 – 42 metres seems a fair distance. I should be proud. I guess I was. Yesterday I played football with a couple of students in the school playground. I prefer goalkeeping these days as it’s less running around. But when the ball goes past me, then I have to chase around for it and I was doing well for a little while. I think I ended up playing for about twenty minutes, enjoying the exercise and camaraderie with these kids, before starting to feel dizzy and sweating too much. I’m quite proud these days of my stamina, even though I feel sad that I can no longer just keep going and going. Could I? If I really wanted to?

27th June 1979
Dunno
2p

28th June 1979
1. Tubeway Army – Are Friends Electric?
2. Anita Ward – Ring My Bell
3. Squeeze – Up The Junction
4. Earth Wind and Fire – Boogie Wonderland
5. Quantum Jump – The Lone Ranger
2p

6th May 2022 – Reminding myself of the Lone Ranger – that’s a fun song. And who knew it was banned by the BBC initially due to its drug and homosexual references!? Really? I’ll have to give it a closer listen but I think sometimes people just seek to be offended!

29th June 1979
Done me leg in, on the knee
Matthew’s coming down
Leg’s KILLING ME
2p

6th May 2022 – Days when injuries couldn’t stop you from still doing things. My leg, obviously, didn’t kill me!

30th June 1979
Mick Mills appears on the same page as my birthday (27th Oct)
2p 10p
14p 4p

170

6th May 2022 – 170? What the hell is that?

The Week That Was – 1st April 1979

Record of the week: Generation X – Valley of the Dolls
Highest Entry: Sex Pistols – Silly Thing – 24

28th Feb 2022 – This guitar-based noisy music was grabbing me more fully. The Billy Idol’s on TV intrigued and as kids still do today, were something to aspire to. The dross of mainstream music was made bearable and in hindsight seems far better than today. I don’t know what kids today are rebelling against. It’s all very serious now. Demonstrations and riots are common and no one is shocked. Why don’t you rebel against me? I am the old fogey, the establishment. Fight me!

1st April 1979
Them lot came round
UGH!
2p

2nd April 1979
It’s alright today I suppose
2p 1p

3rd April 1979
Went down to Matthew’s today. You should see his place, it’s brilliant with a tennis court
Today got English Civil War
2p

28th Feb 2022 – Matthew’s house was huge, maybe three stories high. His dad drove a Mercedes and they had a tennis court. In comparison to our humble place I felt I was in the company of a rich family. They were down to earth and friendly though. I got on well with his Mum and Dad and over the next couple of years, Matthew and I would play many long five-set matches of tennis. His brother Toby was a year or two older than us and had bought the Dexy’s Midnight Runners album which we enjoyed listening to.

That English Civil War 7″ by the Clash! The cover was taken from the cartoon version of Animal Farm which I hadn’t read or was even able to comprehend but I knew it was a statement. I was still early in my vinyl buying days, begging mum to pick up things for me if she could and I had been a good boy. I wonder what would have happened if I’d been a better boy?

4th April 1979
Got mag called Smash Hits today
2p

28th Feb 2021 – Smash Hits, I think, was the magazine that had some light articles about pop music but its main attraction was the printed lyrics to the songs of the time. This was revelatory for me and besides being able to understand the words to the songs and sing-a-long, it wouldn’t be long before I would be trying to imitate writing them, inspired further by the crude and rude lyrics of the punk songs I heard or heard about. Fuck was becoming more common in my vocabulary. I wanted to become a singer and a lyricist, a punk and a poet. But I was only 11 years old.

5th April 1979
1. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
2. Village People – In The Navy
3. Art Garfunkel – Bright Eyes
4. Chic – I Want Your Love
5. Sex Pistols – Something Else
2p

28th Feb 2022 – There it is – 80% dross and 20% intrigue.

6th April 1979
Yesterday I got a Fiat X1/9 and Prototypes Trumps but I swapped them
TCH!
2p

28th Feb 2022 – Still hanging on to my Matchbox car fixation and my competitive nature of Trumps. I loved playing that game.

7th April 1979
Went to Matthew for 4 hours
Leeds 1-1 Ipswich
2p 2p

28th Feb 2022 – Matthew did come to my house sometimes, or we would mess around in the woods and on the common but I was more enamoured with this new mansion to explore.