Tag Archives: atlantic

January 20th 1972

“Man City picture arrived”

I suspect this ‘City’ embarrassment will live with for some time during these early diary entries. The fact that I have dutifully written in EVERY match result on the day it took place some kind of peculiar testament to how much I ‘loved’ them.

It’s somewhat weird to consider that for most of the 80’s and early 90’s football fell RIGHT off my personal radar – indeed, if truth be told, I couldn’t care any less about it! – but back in the seventies I was evidently obsessed by ‘the beautiful game’.

I remember having notebook after notebook chocked full of imaginary “full season football leagues” I would set up. I would start by working out all the home & away schedules for each of the four divisions (1, 2, 3 & 4 – none of your nonsensical “premiership” or “championship” bollocks back then), then wrote them week by week on alternate pages. In between I would hand-draw 4 league tables to then work out and fill in as they would be after those games.

It took me about a week or so to play a full season, all done by the simple act of throwing a pair of dice, two colours – one for the home team, one for the away.

Needless to say method this resulted in a certain “randomness”, many HUGE goalscoring games (“and today Huddersfield Town beat Liverpool 6-5 at Anfield“) and massive fluctuations in league positions from week to week (back then it was only 2 points for win).

Now, I can’t remember specifically manipulating the die to *ahem* ‘assist’ Manchester City further up Division 1, but my conscience can’t tell me I never did!

For the record, I also included both the League and FA Cup runs, going so far as to writing all the teams on pieces of paper and pulling the match-ups from a hat (or maybe my schoolboy cap?). Replays? Yep did those too.

If the words “sad” and “tosser” haven’t quite crossed your lips yet, then now is the time to mumble it.

Soccerama Board GameOf course if I’d had my later “entrepreneurial’ head on back then, I would’ve turned my own little game into a successful money-making business, printing up the books ready for eager schoolchildren to fill in/play with during their lessons.

It kept me busy and “out of trouble” I guess? If I’d still kept just one of those notebooks, I suspect it would amuse me for quite the while, as both naive and unnecessarily complicated it must seem in comparison to today’s computer generated games and sports software.

I’m sure that my then-fascination for notebooks was born out of my repeated (sadly, solo) play of the late 60’s board-game Soccerama (seen right).

In Soccerama – endorsed by no less a top-notch sporting celebrity than 1966 World Cup winner Alan Ball (R.I.P.) – you managed your own imaginery team through all the domestic divisions, played them in Cup games, even the (as it was then) European Cup competition – if you were good enough. (I played this game so much, I was!).

It was hideously addictive to me back then. So much so that that I held onto it for years and years afterwards.

I know what you are all thinking…. did he go so far as to ship it across the Atlantic and stores it downstairs in the household games cupboard? I’ll *ahem* “take the fifth” on that utterly disgraceful accusation!

As for the “Man City picture arrived” diary entry, I’m afraid that – as important and life-changing as it may have been 36 years ago – in 2008 I have NO CLUE as to what I was referring.

Another “memory dark hole” moment I’m afraid.


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January 14th 1972

“In the evening recorded ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ by Emerson, Lake & Palmer”

Proof, if it were needed, that musical piracy was rife even in the Seventies.

However, this was not your perfect “digital copy” of the 21st Century, but something FAR more rudimentary indeed.

The only record player I had was my parents Dansette, a cream flip-lidded box similar to the kind of thing shown here….

Back in the day, this Dansette felt like one of the very best things on the planet.

That was until one Christmas – probably Xmas Day 1971? – when I was given my Sanyo Solid State M-48M Cassette Tape Recorder.

Precursing the whole “walkman” phenomenon by several years, this tape player was an utter revelation to me, given the fact that I could “move my music around” instead of being glued to my bedroom floor, limited by the length of the power cord on the Dansette. I could sit in the garden in the summer listening to my “sounds” (man), and even take the player to friends homes and subject them to my dubious musical tastes.

Perhaps it is makes me something of a “muppet” to admit I still have that cassette player?! I have hung on to so very little of my “youth” – certainly in terms of possessions – but for whatever reason this little Sanyo has remained with me all these years, even making it across the Atlantic…. in the same tiny leather suitcase as all these diaries!

There it is, in all its groovy REAL leather-cased glory!! In a wonderful nod to minimalism, a single lever on one side of the player controls all the mechanics. Slide up to play, pushing in to fast-forward, slide back to stop and push in for rewind. None of those ‘ugly’ piano keys later cassette recorders used. (Uh-oh, have I become a 70’s tape player snob??)

Recording anything involved plugging in the VERY cool-looking microphone…

… which looks like a perfectly-modelled little speaker stack doesn’t it?

I would place the microphone in front of the integral speaker on the Dansette, set the LP to play, hit the Sanyo’s record button and then….

Sit VERY VERY quietly whilst the record was being recorded, pausing only to hit pause when the vinyl needed to be flipped over.

This form of musical piracy DID have its drawbacks however. There are albums I listen to now – on CD or on my i-Pod – where I STILL expect to hear the faint rustlings of me moving about “quietly” during my original recordings. Or in two notable cases (Family’s “It’s Only a Movie” and Roxy Music’s debut) where I always anticipate hearing the distant “bark” of my mother shouting upstairs ordering me to come down for tea!

It wasn’t therefore the perfect set-up, but it kept me so incredibly involved (and, it has to be said, busy) in recording both albums I owned (as in this case) or borrowing LP’s off of friends – or friends older brothers – to open up my ears to what was available out there.

Yes, even back then I was willing to listen to everything and anything – as I’m sure this blog will testify given a few more entries. There were other drawbacks however….

This tape player came minus a power supply, so I would have to buy batteries. I was so terribly ‘anal’ and meticulous back then, that my dairies (god, this feels so very sad to admit) actually document when I bought batteries, how much they cost me and, importantly, how long each set of four “fatty” batteries lasted!

I’m sure I will further reference this “attention to detail” later on, likewise the true cost of buying the blank cassettes themselves!


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