Thursday, May 31, 2007

They want to steal my brain...

The BBC want to syphon off some of my memory for a new project inconjunction with a new TV series that has just started (I've missed the first episode - bugger) which examines the five decades in Britain since the second world war.

Full story here

My 1960's memories ?

Well for starters I'm currently hanging on a mobile phone line waiting to speak to the fekkin Carphone fekkin Warehouse about a £10 charge they made to me last week and their "on hold" music is Thunderclap Newmans "Something in the air" so thats not a bad 1960's track to start with, in fact when the fekkin Carphone fekkin Warehouse answer this fekkin phone I'll ask the child in the call centre why they've sullied such a great 1960's tune with their corporate association.

I was born in September 1956 and so was 3 and a bit years old when the 1960's started and freely admit to not having much memory left of the early 60's years apart from Telstar - the tune and the orbiting tin can. The launch of the first satellite brought a fantastic wave of optimism and a fantastic wave of space inspired childrens programmes on our small black and white tv and its two (count them) two channels - I was convinced as a very young child that by the time I was at big school then we'd be living on the moon, dressing in silver clothes and riding scooters that hovvered in the air, its been to my eternal disappointment that that sort of thing only ever happened after one evening sat next to someone who was smoking something that didn't smell very much like tobacco.

Music defines the 1960's to me, more than any other decade a tune can drag a memory from the vaults and I can see and smell occasions again - Procul Harem's "Whiter Shade of Pale" has me sat in the back of my dads Vauxhall Viva queueing to get into the Church Fenton Air Show on an august bank holiday, Peter Sarsted's "Where do you go to my lovely" has me waking up in the middle of the night and puking up a whole can of baked beans all over my bed and all over the toy car road network that I'd drawn on a huge piece of brown parcel paper, Peter Sellars rendition of "Hard Days Night" has me sitting in the front of my dads Austin A40 on the way to the library on a saturday morning.

Hundreds of songs have individual slivers of my history attached to them, some of them I don't even know about yet, I can still hear an old song on the radio and a previously unrecalled ten seconds of my life flashes in front of my eyes and its as fresh as the day it was put into the memory banks.

The Beatles played a massive part in my childhood, its impossible for anyone now to comprehend how big the Beatles were for six years in the 60's but anyone who was aged from eight to fourteen like I was will understand what I mean by the words "huge influence", there wasn't anything that you did from one day to the next that didn't have a Beatles tune wrapped up in it and the release of a new album could easily eclipse any other news item, anything at all.

Buying ex-jukebox records from a second hand shop
Using the phone next door because we didn't have one
Feeding next doors dog when they were away so we could watch their colour TV
Spending your school summer holidays locked out of your house during the day
Tree houses
Stealing birds eggs
Riding bikes for miles and miles
Sharing one bottle of pop between six of you
Buying sweets with one farthing (approx one eigth of one new penny)
New decimal money
Bus conductors and open platforms on buses
Seeing the first jet land at Yeadon Airport
The cowboy in Headingley who was "damaged in the war" according to our mum
My catholic grandma trying to drag me to church every week, she never succeeded
My catholic grandma taking us all to the cinema to watch the two Beatles films
My catholic grandma taking us all to the pantomime at the Grand Theatre every year
Stealing American Cream Soda from my catholic grandma's drinks cupboard
Accidently locking myself in my Great-Aunts outside toilet for three hours
Ranger magazine
Crap free gifts in comics
The first Austin Mini with a cord door unlocker and hollow doors
Never mix cross plys and radials on the same axel
Reginald Molehusband's parking
The Petunia advert for the coastguard
The Childrens Film Foundation
Free school milk and being a milk monitor
Mouldy Moulton, I hope that bitch perished in quicksand like I prayed every night
Mini skirts on fat girls, what was Mary Quant thinking ?
Fighting constantly with Ned
Having a fascination with fire, setting fire to our kitchen one evening
Setting fire to our Action Men in a terrible war accident
Action Man being killed in a tragic parachute accident in our back garden
Johnny Seven gun and how I was not allowed one, bastard.
Secret Spy breifcase with hidden gun and camera, why was I allowed one then ?
"How to Draw" books
Enid fuckin Blyton
Buying things in Comet without being able to see them first
BBC2 starting and the three year time lag before our TV could recieve it
Trixie our mad collie dog who hated us all
The weekly drive into the Dales to collect Trixie from where she'd run away to
The weekend we didn't bother going to pick her up anymore.
Sets of tiny plastic soldiers, setting fire to the Japanese ones, accidently
Being dragged down Kirkstall Road shopping every Saturday when very young
Being dragged into Leeds shopiing every Saturday when older
The Merrion Centre opening, a brave new tower block world
The International Swimming Pool opening, a brave new, erm, swimming pool

I could go on, and probably will.

These are all snapshots, flashbacks when the phrase "1960's" is fed into my brain and feedback requested, and nearly all of those memories have music associated with them, its a very evocative medium and it was a very inventive decade, unlike the recycled and lazy garbage that passes for most "popular" music today, but you knew I was going to say that...

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