Saturday, 26 September 2015

Random access memory #3

The outer sleeve of the fourth (or was it fifth?) album I ever bought was the thickest and stiffest I'd seen. The card was really sort of heavy, and had a wider than normal spine. There was a particular texture to it that made it feel different too; perhaps because of its matt silver finish.

I bought it some time in 1978, can't recall exactly when, but I remember playing it a lot and for some reason I have a specific memory of putting it on just before heading out to a party. I was kneeling in front of our ancient portable electric heater, a cumbersome thing, which fizzed and popped and clicked in a rather ominous way while emitting an intense heat the smell of burnt dust, but it was the best way to dry my hair. I simply knelt in front of it with my head bent forward so that my hair hung upside down and then when I looked up again, it had dried at right angles to my scalp. A light application of egg-white then set it into spikes.  I was doing all this while listening to the two-minute genius of Love Battery and I Don't Mind, etc.

I loved every track on that silver-sleeved album, but Moving Away From The Pulsebeat was probably the biggest surprise to me on first hearing and seemed like a grand finale.


The party was at a village hall a few miles away, with 1960s curtains at the windows and a little kitchenette area. Apart from a few school-friends I didn't know many there - except for The Postman. There was this cheery young postman who we used to see in town all the time, he was sort of punky but not quite, I mean he knew the music but didn't sport the look. Really smiley and always had a quip or a cheeky greeting. I don't know if I ever even knew his name... I probably did... but it's gone now. However, I can see his face as if it was yesterday, a little bit rodent-like, with blonde hair and a few too many teeth. Knowing him was really nice because he was one of those people with whom you could flirt a little, even though he was some years older - old enough to be a postman! - yet at the same time you knew nothing would ever come of it. That made it comfortable and fun without any of the stress of wondering what might happen next.

The Postman was a bad influence on my friends and me that night, though. We were only 15 and drinking orange juice, but he took us aside and told us about the vodka – he'd hidden it in the kitchenette. I'd never had vodka before. I don't know how much of it I drank but of course it was too much, because he kept topping up my paper cup and the more I had the less I cared. Further memories are a bit sketchy, but I do know that I ended the night by getting off with a young long-haired bloke. It was so wrong. He was wearing a greatcoat too. So wrong. We went into a back room and snogged in the dark amid the stacked up wooden chairs, table tennis bats and god knows what else - things with corners and edges. He didn't even take his coat off. It's going to sound bad but I know that I got a peculiar kick out of our complete incompatibility. I certainly never wanted to see him again; I couldn't connect with him on any level but this brief physical fling with 'the enemy' felt strangely defiant – rebellious, I suppose. I was rebelling against my own rebellion. Weird. Well, I was young and drunk... he must've been too.

I was back at that particular village hall for another party a few years later. The friend whose birthday it was had booked the Waxwork Dummies to play there. I don't remember a thing about them, though. Instead, my abiding memory of that night is the attention paid to my boyfriend, the young Mr SDS, who was sporting a fairly spectacular black eye. Just a few evenings beforehand he'd been waiting alone for his bus home from my place when three blokes walked past and, completely unprovoked, one of them punched him in the face. Awful. But he got a lot of mileage out of that black eye that night and - isn't it odd? - it did rather suit him.

11 comments:

  1. Another lovely cascade of memories C, all started rolling by a simple LP sleeve. You started some memories rolling for me too, which I'll follow up in a post of my own.
    The Waxwork Dummies! I could write a post or two about certain members of that band too!

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    1. Thanks TS and I look forward to your memories in a future post - ooh, intrigued by the Waxwork Dummies band members too!

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  2. I bought this album on the day I went to see them at Retford Porterhouse. I listened to it five times back to back and then hopped on the bus to the gig. I remember they didn't come on till late and when they did we spent the whole gig down the front pogoing. At some point I must have been bouncing up and down on a piece of broken glass because back on the bus the sole of my right foot was bleeding like buggery and a great big slit in the bottom of my baseball boot. Good times.

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    1. I love that the album is so strongly linked to a vivid memory for you too. Must've been great to see them then. But aargh, the foot injury sounds yucky... good times, yeah!

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    2. The album had only come out that week so it was imperative to memorise every track ahead of the gig. It also came with its own matching Another Music..plastic record shop bag. It still bugs me to this day that I can't find it!

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    3. Oh you got the bag! But how long can you keep these things anyway?! I don't believe many of us thought for one minute, at the time, that we'd actually want to hang onto stuff for another 40 years!

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  3. Moving Away From The Pulsebeat is stunning. Great post too.

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    1. Yes,such a great song... and thanks.
      I'm boring myself with all this reminiscing. Just wanting to record it somewhere, though, in case it gets lost forever!

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  4. Bought ‘Another Music’ from Woolies, I remember the thick cover too – was amazed by its angularity, music and graphics and how it opened me up to a whole world beyond the strict ‘rules’ that had already enveloped punk. One of the albums I somehow somewhere lost and never replaced but one of the few I wish I hadn’t. Somehow a CD or download wasn’t going to cut it as a replacement.

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    1. Yes, I agree about the angularity of both the music and graphics that Buzzcocks offered us - it really was something different. I used to stick cuttings from the music papers all over my bedroom walls... one which sticks in my mind was the advert for Orgasm Addict with the Linder Sterling pic... so arty!
      Never replaced the album either, and I agree about a CD or download not cutting it - I'd need to touch that sleeve again!

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  5. http://www.mediafire.com/download/1o8k2kxznnjq8v7/Bongley_Dead_-_4_(2015).rar

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVv7EbQXlBA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNrLmuch_H8

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