Thursday, April 30, 2015

I remember Comerfords. But I don’t remember why.

I remember having a very brief temporary job at a hi-fi store. It was the Richmond branch of a well-known chain but I’m not sure if it was a true memory or not. I’m sure that was where I was advised not to bullshit, because the customer would invariably know more than you.

I remember being spotted by a customer at the petrol station where I worked filling a bottle with tap water with which I was intending to top up his battery. Oops! A Jaguar too. But I worked there for quite a while, only leaving because I’d been offered something more ‘worthwhile’. The bank had begged me to return.

I remember Anne Briggs’ comeback appearance. It was at a folk festival and she was due to appear there over the weekend but lost her nerve during her first performance and as far as I know has not sung in public since. Which was a shame.

I remember bumping into Sara Grey in a supermarket (Tesco?) in St Helens (or somewhere beginning with O?), to which I had travelled to visit my cousin after seeing Sara at Cleethorpes Folk Festival. It turned out she also lived that way. Unfortunately she’s gone back to the States. Excellent singer and banjo frailer.

I remember being scared of Sara Nelson.

I remember being afraid of Alex Millson, and he’s just gone all soft and given up work to become a house-husband and look after his little girl.

I remember the man next door to us had an Alsatian that he used to train in his garden. He would stand there and shout ‘kerplootz’ at the top of his voice. which we thought was hilarious. He might have been shouting ‘come close’ but we never found out because they moved away.

I remember driving up the ramp to pick up Charlie from her Saturday job at Ratners, in Sutton. The other day I drove past and the ramp was in the middle of being demolished. Ratners is long gone, and I presume the building in which it was is also now no more.

I remember – because it was only a few hours ago – knocking my bottle of beer over in a nightclub. I was there for a sales launch, you understand - I don’t do nightclubs. It was only Heineken. But it was free. I stood the bottle up, upon which it fizzed and frothed up over the top. I picked it up and tried to stop it but it fizzed and frothed even more, making a dreadful racket on the floor. Out of nowhere two guys turned up in black, one with a small torch, the other with a roll of paper towel, which he proceeded to unspin, and together they cleared the mess in double-quick time and disappeared. I need them round here, following me round the house.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

I remember thinking I’d rather stay a carpenter than rise to the position of manager of a furniture factory.

I remember seeing Tom Paxton at (I think) the Royal Albert Hall in the late Sixties. He looked up from his fingerpicking during an instrumental break and said ‘magic fingers’ (with a wry smile, of course).

I remember Emperor Rosko, a radio DJ.

I remember owning – and wearing – an orange and green paisley kipper tie. Now I only wear ties at weddings and funerals. Never for fun.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I remember discussing the song Mairsie doats and dosie doats and little lambsie divey (though obviously not the spelling) but I can’t remember the name of the woman I was discussing it with. Except she had a slightly high (croaky) voice. I presume it was an old music hall song, rendering in gibberish the words ‘mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy’.

I remember being taken to see the film The Abominable Snowman, and being very scared by it – to the extent of hiding behind the seat in front. Whether this is a true or false memory I do not know, because I managed to watch it the other day, the first time since I started looking for it, which was when video tapes were introduced. To my knowledge it hasn’t been on TV since then. It’s a Hammer film, starring Peter Cushing and Forrest Tucker, and isn’t that scary although it would be to a five year old, which is how old I would have been when it was released. My mum can’t remember taking me and I wouldn’t have thought it was a U certificate, but my dad thinks he might have taken me to a preview.

I remember watching them film a scene from the series Harbour Lights – in fact I am sure I have some photos somewhere. Again this might be a false memory, because I might just be remembering the scene as it appears on TV – with the red-haired girl being fished out of the Brit behind the restaurant.

I remember taking some really good pictures of revellers silhouetted against the bonfire at West Bay after the torchlight procession and then finding out I didn’t have any film in the camera.

I remember bumping into Lesley at the Tiffin Fair – this was when it was held at Whitsun and I always used to go – all dressed up for a TMDS show. She introduced me to Roger Charles, who introduced me to Chris Alderton. And that’s how I rejoined the stage gang.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I remember when I used to edit out all extraneous matter before and after my recorded radio programmes. Initially on tape, and then digitally. Now I tend not to bother. Reel to reels were straightforward, cassettes I’d have to do in real time, but digital is easy-peasy. I just can’t be bothered any more.

I remember Eliot picking up an application form to be an extra on Harbour Lights. We decided that it would be too complicated to get back down for filming. But he filled it in and I stuck it up on the wall of the caravan for a few years.

I remember being introduced to Nigel Molesworth on a coach trip to somewhere or other from school. I think it was Andrew Mackie who had a compendium in hardback. I thought it was so hilarious I went out and bought How To Be Topp in paperback. And in time the others. I think you had to go to a school like mine to appreciate it.

I remember George Butler’s son. I think he used to hang around with us for a while.

I remember a boy in my primary school who might have been called Howard but the reason I can remember him is that he could wink.

I remember the Edmunds twins, Susan and Jacqueline. I remember Jane Shingles, Barbara Purslove, Rosemary Mills, Lesley Hawke (or was it Hawkes?), and the face but not the surname of a girl called Catherine. These were all from my year at Green Lane. I remember Paul Inkpen, of course, and Barry Hodgkinson, Paul Hutchinson, Graham Johnston and David Jenkins. And Barry Payne, who smoked cigarettes he had soaked in orange juice.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I remember Larry George, our old Chemistry master. Saw him at Polesden Lacey a year or two ago. He always said hello whenever I bumped into him way back, and I wish I’d said hello then, because I’ve just found out that he died recently.

I remember Michael Bentine’s ‘flea circus’. I found it fascinating. It was only recently, thanks to a BBC Radio 4 documentary, that I discovered it was constructed by Bruce Lacey.

I remember thinking Stephen Belafonte (aka Mr Scary Spice) was the son of Harry Belafonte and also thinking when all the domestic abuse stories came out how disappointing it must have been for the Sixties peace and love icon to have created such a hell-hound. Imagine my surprise when Margaret told me it was a bit of an urban myth. He had changed his name to Belafonte (presumably to get a leg up in showbiz). Hurrah! (Must do a bit of fact-checking there, in case HB has merely disowned SB.)

I remember ladies only compartments in trains. I remember compartments in trains.

I remember a story in the papers about a vicar who had told children that Father Christmas didn't exist but then apologised when their parents complained. I also remember feeling that they had missed the point. Surely the parents - or maybe even the press - should have pointed out that God doesn’t exist, not in the way the reverend believes it. God and Santa are surely constructs that help us get through life. If we do good, then good will come to us. If we are naughty, we won't get any toys. It’s all the same thing. We get to 11 and stop believing in Father Christmas. The we get to 21 and stop believing in God. All we have left is hope, hope that Father Christmas and God exist. But being good and doing good are still the better option, even if they don’t.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I remember luggage racks on trains being made of netting strung across steel frames.

I remember lots of things about Maggie Boyle, her voice, her flute and bodhran playing, her kindness (she introduced me to loads of people when I was starting out in journalism), but my favourite is when Eliot saw one of her publicity shots – with Maggie looking at her most stunningly gorgeous - propped up on a shelf and asked me if that was my new girlfriend. I wish!

I remember a quote from Henry James - ‘the imagination of disaster’ - that Rupert Christiansen uses in his memoire I Know You’re Going To Be Happy. He uses it to explain the way his mother had ‘an intense superstitious fear of imminent catastrophe’. Around about the same time I came across the phrase, we had to take Padstow to the vet. The vet, taking the cat’s temperature, mentioned that she didn’t like it very much. That night, Margaret said: ‘Do you think she has a tumour?’ ‘No – she just doesn’t like having a thermometer shoved up her bum!’

I remember beating my then girlfriend’s little brother at Monopoly. He screamed the house down. I think I was supposed to let him win.

I remember the bar of Turkish Delight my sister gave me for father’s day this year.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I remember singing The Lincolnshire Poacher in a choir. Cubs, maybe? That long ago, certainly, and we used to do concerts. So I think it was in Cubs.

I remember John Peel playing the whole of one side of Marvin Gaye’s album, ‘What’s going on?’. I was in the bathroom. Possibly having a bath. I don’t remember.

I remember Surbiton Lagoon. We didn’t go that often.

I remember standing in a doorway at a party and shielding Barbara from the unwanted attentions of Steve Holness. She thus became my first girlfriend. I can’t remember how she spelled her last name. But her nickname was Bra.

I remember a great line from last Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who. I will check but it went something like this: ‘Forgetting. The human superpower. If you didn’t have it there’d be no more wars. No more babies.’

I remember reading Mad magazine on the bus home from school.