Firstly, apologies to the gentlemen of Led Zeppelin for borrowing one of their songs for the first half of the title of this piece! It is getting VERY difficult now to think of appropriate “headlines”.
Secondly, advance apologies to my reader(s) for the fact that this is ANOTHER of those items that begins “Way back in 1976” or something similar! Get used to it though – I had a lot of fun in that year and occasionally I remember bits of it and want to write it all down. Anyway……
Way back in 1976 my lodger, Andy, and I did NOT (as you might have imagined from my earlier post on those days entitled “Saturday!” and posted 5th October 2009) go out drinking every night.
For one thing neither of us could afford it and for another I was, for part of that year anyway, usually quite shattered from my train journey from the office in Chelmsford back to Ipswich. It was only about 40 miles but involved a change of train at Colchester and a journey time of about 1 hour “station to station”. It wasn’t just the journey either; Colchester station didn’t half sap one’s energy too! It stands in an elevated position above the town and seems to have an ambient temperature at least 10 Degrees C. below its surroundings.
To make matters worse I would, in an effort to warm up, partake of a cup of particularly nasty British Rail coffee between Colchester and Ipswich even though I well knew of its laxative effects!!
Timing was everything – if I started drinking the coffee as we went through Manningtree station I would be OK! However, I still had to leave Ipswich station at high speed, recover my bike from the cycle sheds and pedal like the clappers along the riverbank path for about a mile to get home. I always made it – although if the toilet was occupied when I got into the house there would be anxious moments!
It did keep me fit and comparatively skinny though!
Back to the point!
So, both too skint and/or too tired to leave the house, what DID we do?
Well, perhaps surprisingly, we didn’t watch much TV – I think we both recognised that there was too much scope for conflict if we both accumulated too many different favourite programmes. When I arrived home Andy would usually be watching “Crossroads” (he was quite an intelligent guy normally but had the “I like soap operas” character flaw that afflicts some poor souls) and we would try to catch Messrs Thaw and Waterman in “The Sweeney” when we could.
Apart from those regular shows and the occasional film we mostly spent the time listening to music – Andy had brought his record collection up from his home in Kent and soon after moving in purchased the latest Amstrad music centre (complete with BIG speakers and amplifier) to play them on. During that period of my life I caught up with some of the stuff I had missed out on during my disastrous first marriage. Basically, if SHE didn’t like it we didn’t listen to it – that’s how it was I’m ashamed to say!
I was reintroduced to Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and The Moody Blues and much of the music I got to know, belatedly, in that time remains in my “favourites” to this day.
The other thing we did was to listen to the radio and a favourite sport of the two of us and any other visitors about the place was changing the lyrics of current hits. Usually, it must be said, to something rather disgusting and unromantic! We got quite good at it and regrettably my failing memory can only retrieve a few examples.
To give you just a flavour, one of Abba’s hits became “Are you still on the game?” and a little Bee Gees number from the disco era became, somewhat cryptically, “How deep is yours, Love?” Not what you’d call the best chat up line in the world! Slightly more blatant than those was the changing of the opening line of Chicago’s “If you leave me now” to “If you castrate me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me”!
Try it for yourself with more up to date stuff – it gets to be a habit after a while. (Hint – that Christmas one from The Darkness a few years ago is a good place to start, although to be fair they’ve almost done all the smutty innuendoes for you. “Don’t let the bells end” – way too easy! )
Now I’m sure you all know that all this IS going somewhere and I’m getting to the reason soon. Just be a bit patient – although you’re probably not going to like it when we DO finally get there!
Last week I was mooching about in one of those enormous Sport shops while Faith and her Mum did some Christmas shopping in Boots and Sainsburys’ and they were playing THAT Christmas album – the one that every shop in the UK has been playing since about 1994 except for the year when they called it in and reissued it without Gary Glitter.
A particular track was playing and I went immediately into “rearrange the lyrics” mode. Why, I asked myself is this woman obsessed with a lack of roof storage and with stockpiling adhesives?
Got it yet?
Try Mariah Carey – “I don’t want a loft for Christmas…….All I want for Christmas is glue!”
I TOLD you that you wouldn’t like it!