To repeat (ad nauseum!) the basic premise of this series – if I ever suffer profound amnesia, playing these pieces of music and reading my notes on the associated memory MAY help to restore me. The event described always reminds me of the music and vice versa.
This particular music\memory combination is one that I had forgotten about until late summer 2013 when I went out for a drink or several with some old colleagues but that’s often how these things strike me – and once I’ve written them down I will always have that long –forgotten memory box appropriately labelled. There will be more about the exact circumstances of that recollection later.
Let’s go a long way back in time, as we so often have to with these items, to the tail end of my schooldays – when I looked pretty much as I do in the “About Me” link on this page.
This puts us in the brief period from somewhere in 1967 to 1970 when the nature of my social life changed rather drastically.
The earlier of those dates marks the time when, at the suggestion of the older brother of my sister’s then best friend, I joined the 3rd Ipswich Boys Brigade. This was, and as far as I know still is, based at St. Johns United Reform (formerly Congregational) Church at Cowper Street in Ipswich roughly one and a half miles from my home – about half a mile further on from Copleston School.
Boys Brigade evening was normally Friday each week and this was extended at some point just before I started to include a “club night” on Tuesdays when various games such as Table Tennis and Darts were available.
This was only for BB members and took place in the large metal-framed hall at the back of the site, down a long drive between the vicarage and the church itself – the hall we used for drill, band practice and the like. This, incidentally is the hall that gets a brief mention here, https://littlealfie.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/ in a post that will probably get rewritten at some point to fit it into this series.
It was the building on the site that was furthest from the houses in Cowper Street and therefore the one where the noisiest activities took place. It was, however, rather Spartan and cold and when the senior Boys Brigade members got together with the senior Girl Guides and younger members of the Church who did not belong to either to suggest a regular Youth Club, this was not the hall we suggested.
The original hall was brick built, like the church of which it was a physical part and did actually have an indoors connection to the main building. It also, unlike the external building, had a kitchen, a number of coffee tables and chairs as well as a dartboard and a handy corner where the BB’s table tennis table could be set up.
There were “political” difficulties with the influential old farts of the Men’s Fellowship who tended to be “anti” anything that the youth groups wanted to do on principle! They did not want it at all on a Sunday night and when they had to accept that (after we promised not to start until after the evening service had ended) they then insisted that there be no “pop music” played!
I don’t think I would have bothered going at all if THAT restriction had stuck but fortunately the Minister’s daughter persuaded her father to veto the objection and we were allowed to use the portable record player belonging to one of the boys who lived just around the corner.
Others brought in their record collections and while I am sure there must have been more lively Youth Clubs in the UK during the late 1960s it was a good place to relax with a few games of darts, some Table Tennis and a few soft drinks before getting back to the grind of GCE “O” Level examination courses at school.
And underlying all of that, with its little speaker at full volume to try to fill the room, was Chris Baxter’s record player kicking out a wide variety of late 1960s singles and albums.
There are, now that I have been reminded of them, quite a number of tracks that clearly call up my memories of those Sunday evenings but the key to the “memory box” containing them was discovered during that night out that I mentioned at the start.
My former colleagues Joe, Dave, Stuart and Andy (the latter two were with me on my memorable fortnight working at the Italian Yeast Factory in July 2012 – which I may have mentioned here on occasion) were having a “reunion” Thursday night out at “The Bell” in Sawtry, just down the A1 from Peterborough, and as there weren’t many others out that night we had the Games area to ourselves with Pool and Darts available.
Once the landlord realised that we were there for the evening he switched on the computer based music system with its extensive touch screen menu for us.
Once the others got fed up with Joe and I picking nothing but our favourite tracks by “The Who” they started choosing things themselves at random and at one point someone called out to me “You’ll be the only one here who can remember this!”
Before I could phrase any response of the “Cheeky young sods!” variety the song named in the title of this piece blasted out and I was instantly transported back to any given Sunday in 1969 and St. Johns Congregational Church Hall.
As usual here is a YouTube link to “The Liquidator” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEt7PtNz6_o
…and to another of the songs of the same era and same genre – “Double Barrel” by Dave & Ansell Collins – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_7Kx2FlFQY