My Rats – 7th August 2022

My rats, my rats, my little gutter rats
We ran together, we released the bats
Our bondage brigade marched ever on
We instinctively knew who was the clever one
With cider right beside her bag of glue
Hellzapoppin as all the young savages dü
On mattress castles, the princess and the pee
And stinking dogs shit wherever they be
No glamour in this clamour drenched in sweat
We know we grow to be the best ones yet
D. cried about courage, and soon he was dead
If the man doesn’t get you, he’s always in your head
Nuclear ghosts haunted all our youth
Marching in millions seeking some truth
The sham in 69 was still in 79 too
We loved in vain but knew that love was true
And so those glories now dare not be repeated
Angry eyes glared, “ever feel like you’ve been cheated?”
That revolution sparked is now a faded glory
Who now to stop the world with their own story?


People’s opinions are mainly designed to make them feel comfortable; truth, for most people is a secondary consideration.

Bertrand Russell

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 Diary That Was – 31st December 1979

29th Sep 2022 – And so we are here, at the mysterious back pages of the diary.

Record of the week: The Greedies – Merry Jingle

29th Sep 2022 – Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy and Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols were the Greedies and this song is a fun, romping Christmas song but as with most Christmas songs, won’t hold up at any other time of year. I wonder what it is that makes people think to write a Christmas song? If it’s your last resort maybe it’s time to give up?

29th Sept 2022 – Paul Mariner, Mick Mills, Mick(?) Lambert, Bobby Robson, Trevor Whymark, Roger Osbourne, John Wark, George Burley, Paul Cooper, Kevin Beattie…the other faces are familiar but names stuck somewhere deep in the noggin. I’m going to go search the rest of the names as a reminder.

Frm Fidy tety sx nw cod i sudrtkn

29th Sept 2022 – Any codebreakers got this one? I reckon ‘From Friday Twenty Six…….” – any significance to the missing letters? Children and their warped minds.

Andrew said “I don’t think the FONZ is very interesting.”

29th Sep 2022 – It was all downhill from here.

Lief
Leif

29th Sept 2022 – Me trying to work out how to spell Leif Garrett, and yes, I had to look it up again just now.

Me —— Them
Golf
-8 —— -2
-2 —— -2
-3 —— -6
-4 —— -10

29th Sep 2022 – In my childlike imagination my bedroom was a golf course. Using one of our eating knives as a club and a marble as a ball, I devised a course around the bed, chair, floor, drawers etc.

I remember the knife well, it was one that was least favoured to be used at the table, it was the odd one out in the cutlery drawer. It had a cream handle, some kind of imitation ivory, bakelite maybe? Where the blade joined the handle had a small piece missing that added to its devious charm. The tip of the knife was an industrial semi-circle shape, with no pointed end as with our other knives. It was ugly. So it became my mini golf club and I loved it for that.

Of course, I just played against myself, labelling the scores Me and Them and generally always favouring Me, naturally.

When you chatted up the girl with the great big boobs
I don’t make a fuss, I just kept me cool

29th Sept 2022 – The genesis of getting into writing lyrics and trying to make them outrageous as per my idols. I didn’t yet have the vocabulary and ability but genius (haha!) must start somewhere!

Bed (curtains) 2p
Bricks 102p
Make own tea 2p
Make both teas 5p
Make tea to drink 1p
Collect coal 1p
Collect wood 1p
Extra jobs… 1p
Depending how hard… 2p
It is 3p and so on

29th Sep 2022 – Keeping track of potential earnings. No matter, I would always spend more than I earned, well into my late 20s. Some lessons take a long time.

Racing
Kempton 1.30pm 10p stake
1. Be Better 8-1 80p
Kempton 2.00pm
Catechism 7-1

29th Sep 2022 – A minor interest in Maths, betting and odds developing. I soon realised what a con gambling is, though when I say soon, it probably took another ten years as I did usually put some money through the fruit machines of pubs I attended for a while.

29th Sep 2022 – Artistic skills don’t look particularly promising but that never stopped me from trying.

I want Sex Pistols book, LPs and Clash ‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’, dartboard

29th Sep 2022 – I ended up with all these except the Clash album which I curiously never owned on vinyl and even now when I listen to it it still sounds fresh and new as many of those songs are not so familiar to me. Weirdly, I think I only ever owned the first album and Sandanista on vinyl and I’m not sure why I missed out on London Calling, which is also a little less familiar to these ears.

Friggin’ in the Riggin’
Ch.
Friggin’ in the riggin’
(repeat two more times)
Cos there’s fuck all else to do
Stick glass up your arse
(repeat thrice)
Cos there’s fuck all else to do

The captain’s wife is Mable
And when she’s fully able
She’ll give the crew the daily screw
Upon the mess room table
The captain’s name is Dodo
And he’s a lazy bugger
He isn’t fit to shovel shit
From one place to another

29th Sep 2022 – As Graeme Gray introduced me to the Sex Pistols through this song I would ask him to repeat these lyrics for me until I could remember them and write them down. Not accurate as expected but filthy enough to warp the precious minds of eleven and twelve-year-old potential brat-punks.

75m – 11.2

29th Sep 2022 – I was obviously pleased with myself for being a fast runner.

Chorus to Pretty Vacant
We’re so pretty, oh so pretty -ow
– Vacant
(repeat)
And now, we don’t careeeee!

Second verse and chorus to Silly Thing
People here, people there
People around you everywhere
What you gonna say
What you gonna do
Now you’ve missed out once again
But I thought you knew
Ch.
Oh, you silly thing
You’ve really gone and done it now
(repeat)

More songs
Bodies
There’s a girl from Birmingham
She’s had an aboushtion
She looks a screaming mess
Screaming mess
Fuck this, fuck that
Fuck that fucking little brat
She don’t want a baby like that
I don’t want a baby like that
She looks a screaming mess
Screaming mess

29th Sep 2022 – More outrageous Sex Pistols lyrics. It’s really hard to comprehend what an impact this band had at the time. For folks like me, it has been a lifelong inspiration and influence that I am proud to be a part of. It all looks old-fashioned and pointless now so I’m forgiving of anything that kids are into these days and forgiving of those who were consumed within their own subcultures that were at pinnacles in the past. We don’t have to understand what they like but we can understand the feelings that it gives them.

RAD DID IT
GRANDAD DID IT

29th Sep 2022 – I had an irrational dislike for my grandparents. Being a snotty kid around Victorian/Edwardian grandparents was never going to be easy. I did like them when I was smaller but perhaps they were more forgiving then too. I would soon be driving them crazy with super loud music and friends visiting for drinking parties. I never really reconciled with my granny (as I called her and my mum wished to be called by Hayden) before she passed but I was more sympathetic to my grandad as I got to my late teenage years. I was surprised to find out at one point that they were actually quite liberal and were members of CND. They weren’t quite so impressed when I showed them the lyrics to Crass’s What The Fuck but they did seem to get the sentiment.

This fucking’ little bastard
Was a fuckin’ little burk
He didn’t know what to do
When he went to work

29th Sep 2022 – Prophetic!

The Week That Was – 23rd December 1979

Record of the week: Beat – Tears of a Clown

23rd Sep 2022 – The Beat were tied in with the Two Tone movement but were more traditional in their songs than the almost straight-up ska of the Specials and early Madness. The Beat trod a more poppy path than the Ruts and I’d argue even some Haircut 100 went down that path too and later this sound was brilliantly utilised by one of the best bands no one has ever heard of, Crane, who covered both The Beat and The Ruts at different times.

23rd December 1979
Wonder what I’ll get
see 26 Dec
2p 2p 94p*

24th December 1979
Can’t wait
2p 4p 92p*

25th December 1979
WOO!!
2p 2p 88p*

23rd Sep 2022 – I believe in the afternoon of this Christmas, mum and I went to my Auntie Lorna’s house and it looks like my Auntie Shirley stayed at my house with my grandparents.

I thought my Auntie Lorna was quite sophisticated as her house had a lounge that went around the corner and the corner part had a lamp, table and cup holders. At this time my cousin Elise would have been about 10 I guess and she and I never got on, possibly because we just had different lives and the only thing that connected us was this odd tie of family.

Lorna was still married to Jim though that would fall apart over the next couple of years, I believe because of his infidelity but that is only what I heard. I liked him because he would play with me. Children make interesting judgements on adult’s characters. I would make fun of him because I discovered his middle name was Aloysius, which was (and is) an unusual name, so much so that I just had to look up how it was spelt. When I knew how much he hurt my auntie though I didn’t have such a great opinion of him and he disappeared from all our lives once they got divorced.

26th December 1979
Got Never Mind The Bollocks
This pen, desk diary
Book – I Like This Poem
2p 2p 84p*

23rd Sep 2022 – Boxing Day and the shops were open again. I’m not sure why but we made a special shopping trip to Bournemouth which was just amazing to me.

We parked at the Triangle which I would become more familiar with over time as it was the bus stop for buses from Wimborne and also you could usually find a parking spot here. It’s usually a nice walk down to the Gardens and to the record stores on the other side and up the hill. I have a clear memory of it being gloomy and cloudy when we arrived and then dark and rainy when we left, this was so magical to my little mind. I was in the big city at night time!

Bournemouth Gardens, down to the beach.

Bournemouth was so high class compared with sleepy Wimborne and the, as then, still unexplored Poole. At the record store, which may even have been a chain store such as Our Price, I convinced my mum to buy me the picture disc version of the Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks album. I was so proud, and, not being able to play it until getting home a few days later I stared at the live shot for hours.

27th December 1979
Don’t think there is any charts today
Shirley sleeps in my bed Ha Hee
Not charts
2p 2p

23rd Sep 2022 – Knowing that my Aunt Shirley would sleep in my bed whilst I was away I filled it with itching powder that I’d either received for my birthday or that Christmas morning!

28th December 1979
Get the car re-serviced
Flooding
Got a taxi home only to Horseshoes, had to walk through the water.
2p 78p*

23rd Sep 2022 – This was the year of the big flood and on the way from Ferndown to Holtwood, which isn’t too far, we had to slow down many times after hitting water that just looked like the road in the early dark of the evening.

I’ve seen images from the floods in 1979 but can’t find them now. This one is from around 2014 and shows what it was like driving through the waters. Imagine that at night time and not even being able to tell where to road turns to water.

We couldn’t even get directly home and had to go around through Gaunts Common and even then the depth of water was too intimidating for the taxi driver at Horseshoes. I couldn’t believe it. Mum said, Come on, we’ve got to get out and walk through the water!

The top of the hill, coming from Gaunts Common down to Horseshoes. It looks beautiful here and makes me want to go and visit again.

And me with my brand new unplayed copy of the greatest album in my world, that I hadn’t even listened to yet! The water came up to our waists and we held our bags as high as we could and at least it had stopped raining.

29th December 1979
Norwich 3-3 Ipswich
2p

The Week That Was – 25th November 1979

Record of the week: Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant

6th Sep 2022 – I can’t find any information about Pretty Vacant being re-released around this time so not sure why it was in my mind as my record of the week. I had taped it off Top of the Pops earlier in the year (and again, not even sure why it was on Top of the Pops this year) and I smashed that tape a lot. I think it also included some Damned John Peel Session, I still have the tape here somewhere. I have the means to transfer my old tapes to digital but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

25th November 1979
Graeme’s a Christian
2p

6th Sep 2022 – This was a big deal for me at the time despite not really comprehending anything about what it might mean. Hmm – I wonder if he didn’t come to my place on Saturday because his parents wanted him at home on Sunday so that he could go to church, or if that was even just some kind of excuse.

Never having had any real intimacy with faith I’d gone along with what I was being told at school but there was none of that at home. Having been exposed to ‘Anarchy in the UK’, I was of course, immediately curious about what anarchy meant and the simple definition was lack of government and religion, so that seemed a good idea to me! As I later became exposed to Crass my feelings would become even more vehement.

26th November 1979
Make the tea
6p 2p

27th November 1979
Dunno > Naturally
2p

28th November 1979
Replacement watch comes
4 stopwatches
Luminous
41p 2p

6th Sep 2022 – Pre-hi-tech, watches were a kid’s way of showing off. I think it was Danny Dowling who had the first digital watch in school. It was LED. Everyone wanted to see it. So, I wanted to one-up him of course and managed to convince my mum to get me an LCD watch, which I duly showed off to everyone to gasps of awe. However, I was learning my first lessons in modern tech and the thing broke pretty quickly and there were no jewellers doing repairs on such modern watches yet. In the bin.

29th November 1979
1. Dr Hook
2. Queen
3. DS & BS (Donna Summer and Barbra Streisend)
4.
5.
7. Madness
2p

30th November 1979

2p

1st December 1979
Get the Sex Pistols File.
Got it
Coventry 4-1 Ipswich
2p

6th Sept 2022 – The Sex Pistols File became my bible. I would stare at the pictures every day and wonder about the lives of these crazy people. I wanted to be crazy too. I started experimenting with my hair, got my ear pierced after a while and ripped up my clothes. It was so inspiring and out of this world yet it wasn’t out of reach like David Bowie or Queen or similar. The attitude really struck me and has stuck with me to this day. As a little scruffy kid out in the sticks of Dorset, I would start to annoy everyone, without even having to do anything. It led to tough times, struggles and eventually growth.

The Week That Was – 28th October 1979

Record of the week: BA Robertson – Knocked It Off

17th Aug 2022 – BA Robertson, not often remembered in the annals of rock ‘n’ roll but the chorus in this is still in my brain, at the back somewhere. A quick internet search shows he was releasing music as early as 1973 and after fading out of the limelight by 1982 was writing more for other people, including Cliff Richard. Recently reading Beatles, Stones and other rock biographies I hadn’t really considered how a lot of popular artists had hits written by others and often ended up making more money out of them too. Teen idols across the years have been and remain a facade. Truths are always hidden.

28th October 1979
For birthday I got the Great Rock N Roll Swindle
2p 146p*

17th Aug 2022 – I was so into this album because I could finally hear Friggin’ In The Riggin’ at my leisure, the tune, or lyrics really, that Graeme had told me about that originally got me interested in this punk thing that was happening. It is such a strange album and cannot really be called Sex Pistols canon but that is kind of interesting in a way. The movie is an arty oddity too. I might give it a watch again soon.

29th October 1979
(tick)
We’re in the fuckin’ holiday
2p 150p*

23rd Aug 2022 – Well, I certainly seem excited about this fact. Like most schoolkids.

30th October 1979
Bought 30 packs of football cards
2p 2p 146p*

23rd Aug 2022 – I was big on collecting cards. Football cards, Top Trumps, playing cards. We had devised all sorts of games to play with them when I was younger. By this point, I think I was just trying to track down all the Ipswich players and perhaps some other top players of the period. I don’t recall many other kids being as fanatic about football card collecting but I guess there must have been. I think there’s a reasonable market for baseball cards in the US (maybe American Football too?) and I’m wondering now if there are still people out there collecting old football cards.

31st October 1979
(tick)
Nothing much
2p 144p*

1st November 1979
1. Lena Martell
2. Dr Hook
3. Sad Cafe
4. Abba
5. Buggles
2p 142p*

2nd November 1979
(tick)
Hey it’s you again
Nothing
2p 185p*

23rd Aug 2022 – Who was ‘you’, I wonder?

3rd November 1979
Nottingham 2-0 Ipswich
1p 2p 182p*