Tag Archives: David Bowie

September 27th 1975

“Good Day at work. Bought a load of singles. Went up Holly’s in the evening (awutrws)”

How many people can say they’ve had a “good day at work”?

I wonder if my “good day” was the result of a fun time behind the counter or that I spent my hard-earned wages on a handful of singles?

Naturally I can remember each and every one of 45s I bought that day.

No I can’t. Of course I can’t.

However, let us browse the singles I own that were released in 1975 and indulge in a little bit of wild speculation shall we?…

10cc – “I’m Not in Love”
To say that this song catapulted 10cc’s career into the stratosphere is something of an understatement. It was one of THE massive hit singles of 1975, ubiquitous on every radio station and at every party you ever went to. DJs would use it as a cornerstone of their slow dance ‘erection section’ where the lights dimmed and hormonal teen couples would clutch onto one another on the dancefloor and gently rock from side to side whilst simultaneously trying to ‘cop a feel’ of…, well, whatever they could cop a feel of.

Oh, was that just me?

The Stylistics – “Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love)”
Just one of the soul bands which emerged from Philadelphia in the 1970’s, The Stylistics enjoyed a somewhat lopsided career path. Whilst they were working with famed Philly Sound producer Thom Bell they enjoyed several huge transatlantic hits (including “Betcha by Golly, Wow” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New“) Then, in 1974, Bell stopped working with the group, a move which almost completely devastated their US career. The group decided to instead play to their European strengths, teamed up with Van (“The Hustle”) McCoy and started releasing ‘poppier’ dance tracks, the first of which was this engaging classic which reached #1 on the UK singles chart.

The Sound of Philadelphia along with various borrowed Motown Chartbusters compilations became solely responsible for opening my musical ears to a whole slew of music which I had previously – and, I admit, somewhat snobbishly – ignored.

Elton John – “Philadelphia Freedom”
…. and we’re back to Philadelphia once again!

Legend has it that this track was written specifically as an homage to female tennis player Billie Jean King and that Elton asked his lyricist, Bernie Taupin, to scribble something about her hometown.

What started off as a tribute to his favourite tennis player ended up as another #1 hit single in Elton’s vast canon whilst also managing to honour Philadelphia in its production, owing much to the sound and soulful arrangements of Gamble/Huff and/or the aforementioned Thom Bell.

Supertramp – “Dreamer”
Supertramp’s wonderful album “Crime of the Century” had emerged in 1974 and although I already had a copy of it committed to tape I must have thought I could not live without this single release, containing a pair of the cuts.

“Dreamer” is as classic a pop song now as it was back in the mid-70’s, that electric piano hook relentlessly catchy.

The b-side “Bloody Well Right” is almost as good, Roger Hodgson & Co coming up with another slice of perfect pop. Infectious enough to have been a hit single in its own right… or, if you will, bloody well right.

Jasper Carrott – “Funky Moped”
Jasper was a folk singer turned stand-up comedian from Birmingham who hit the peak of his popularity in the middle-to-late 70’s, helped along by the success of this hit single, wherein he sings the praises of the low-rent pedal motorcycle. (For the record I owned one a few years later, a lovely little black Raleigh Runabout, similar to the one in the photo on right).

However, no-one was buying the single for that appalling A-side. It was being bought in its thousands for the comedy sketch Jasper offered up on the B-side, a rib-tickling behind the scenes ‘adult’ story featuring the cast of children’s TV favourite “The Magic Roundabout“, wherein not only is the sexuality of Florence brought into question but Zebedee’s trademark “Boinngggg” is used to evil effect.

Like all other tracks listed here, click on the links to hear/see the videos on You Tube.

Jasper’s ‘claim to fame’ continued well into his 50’s. Not only was he one of the founding investors in the concept of hit TV quiz show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” (later selling his shares for a reputed £10m) but he is also the father of popular actress Lucy Davis, most recognised for playing ‘Dawn’ in the original UK version of Ricky Gervais’ “The Office”

Ace – “How Long?”
Formed in Sheffield in 1972 “Ace Flash & the Dynamos” shortened their name to just Ace, and enjoyed moderate success in the seventies which culminated in this superb slice of pop history, as perfect an example of ‘hit single’ as there’s ever been.

Ace frontman Paul Carrack went on to find success with a solo career and is a sought-after session musician, playing keyboards with such artists as Eric Clapton, Roxy Music and Squeeze.

I LOVE the sound of this single, that slightly funked up R&B/Soul influence never failing to help me get my own little personal groove on over the years.

Ian Hunter – “Once Bitten Twice Shy”
“ULLO!!”

Mott the Hoople’s frontman has had quite the successful solo career since he quit the band back in the late 70’s. He learned a lot from David Bowie’s writing style, conjuring up a handful of infectious singles as well as employing David sidekick, Mick Ronson, as his producer of choice.

The “Ian Hunter” solo album – which includes this cut – remains one of rock music’s unsung little masterpieces. I always have a hard time comprehending just why it is not better recognised by either critics or rock fans.

“Once Bitten, Twice Shy” was also a US #5 hit single for the rock band Great White. However, the less said about that, the better, eh?

I wonder how many of these singles I played to Holly in the evening? I do know that my own diary slang, “awutrws” – later crossed out to protect me from potential prying parental eyes – suggested I was something of a privileged and lucky young chap that night. Yes, of course I remember what it relates to, but I am far too much of a gentleman to share the acronym’s meaning with you. Some things have to be kept private, y’know?!!

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Album: Cockney Rebel – The Psychomodo

Produced by Alan Parsons – of Project fame – and with orchestral arrangements by Andrew Powell – later producer for the likes of Kate Bush, Al Stewart and The Hollies – “The Psychomodo” was Cockney Rebel’s (as they say in America) sophomore album. (“Sophomore album” representing a phrase I have always hated)

Although it never threatened the USA charts it rode the wave of Harley’s hit single “Mr Soft” all the way to #8 on the UK album charts

Sweet Dreams” kick starts the album in a jaunty – but angry – manner, Harley immediately going for music journalists’ collective jugular with the caustic
Pop paper people printing Rebel Insane
They in my head and digging into my brain
“,
a verbal smack-down for the many who had dismissed his talents following the release of the debut album

This then morphs into the title track, “The Psychomodo“, another angry tirade where Harley seems very disconsolate indeed..
“I been losing my head
I been losing my way
Been losing my brain cells
At a million a day
I’m so disillusioned
I’m on Suicide Street”

Mr.Soft” was the massive hit single, a fairground ride rebuilt as a pop song. It includes the engaging couplet
Mr Soft, put your feet upon the water
and play jesus for the day

and a little nod to David Bowie with the telling
Spot the starman, rough and tumble
which some have suggested is Harley comparing his ‘critical lot’ with that of the Thin White Duke. I tend to look on it a little more objectively, thinking that Harley is merely accepting the bad that comes with the good of fame.

36 years after its release “Singular Band” still sounds – to me anyway – the big hit that was never released as a single. From beginning to end it oozes radio-friendly Top 20 fayre. Quirky & different, driven by snare drums, a finger-plucked violin and Harley’s voice I reckon it would have taken the charts apart back in 1974. It has the perfect dead-stop ending for DJ’s too!

The lyrics to “Ritz” – which closes down Side 1 – are as convoluted (and now, sadly dated) as they come. If I have a complaint about this cut – immense sonically – it’s basically that Harley tried just too damned hard on the lyrical content, sadly coming across as a Dylan-Lite.

That said it contains one of my favourite pair of rhyming lines of all time…
Couch my disease in chintz-covered kisses
Glazed calico cloth, my costume this is

… both utterly beautiful and cheesy in the same breath

Side 2 of “The Psychomodo” feels like a different beast to me. I’ve always felt these 4 cuts were a little concept project all by themselves

Cavaliers” feels like a lengthy outtake from Harley’s debut album, Steve once again using the lyrics as another musical element. He adds brass instruments and a harmonica almost as a ‘test’ of the listener… ‘do they work?”… for me, no sorry they don’t

Despite finding it sonically average, it contains some of his most captivating lyrics…
Long-tailed coat, a silly joke; they drink
like men then see them choke on coca-cola
Morgue-like lips and waitress tips and you
Shuffle around on your Sabrina hips

If I was disappointed in “Cavaliers” (for me always the weakest song on the album) then the last three cuts more than make up for it, representing Steve Harley at his very best.

Bed in the Corner” is another carnival ride, an oblique (vanquished) love song that highlights Harley habit of using the violin as a lead instrument and then lushing everything up under an orchestral arrangement.

It morphs seamlessly into “Sling It!” a song where Harley seems to accept his own ‘anger’ and starts to laugh about it warning that we should all
Be careful, this is only a game
just prior to the song breaking down into a fragmented wall of noise

Tumbling Down” is album’s tour de force and a cut which provided the  fitting finale for every single 70’s Cockney Rebel gig I ever went to. Harley is still sounding off and being bitter about his detractors…
Gee, but it’s hard when one lowers one’s guard to the vultures
Me, I regard it a tortuous hardship that smoulders
like a peppermint eaten away
will I fight, will I swagger or sway?
Hee, hee, M’Lady, she cries like a baby to scold us
see her tumbling down, tumbling down

but by the end he seems to accept his lot, blaming it on the media interest in music in general, berating the press for undermining it value.

It’s all summed up in the one-line refrain
Oh dear, look what they’ve done to the blues, blues, blues
a simple (but telling) lyric I sung so hard and so loud at CR concerts that I regularly came away with a sore throat

Looks like it was still a crowd-pleaser in 1984?…

“The Psychomodo” is another of the mere handful of albums I know inside out, back to front and about as intimately as is decently possible. In itself it briefly taught me to learn a little more about the writers and musicians I knew influenced Harley’s songs (Baudelaire, Dylan, Rousseau, Dylan Thomas), some of which has stayed with me all my life. 

It also inspired me (like many ‘tortured’ teenagers of my ilk) to start *gasp* writing my own dodgy poetry. Yes its an ugly thought. Yes, I still have some of it. No, I probably won’t inflict it on you. I may comment on it, but I’m unlikely to share it. Some things are best left unpublished, if you get my drift?

In pure commercial terms “The Psychomodo” was very much the career-maker for Steve Harley. He did have one more ‘perfect moment’ to come however, and it features as a cut on my next Cockney Rebel album review… for “Best Years of our Lives”.

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March 11th 1975

“Got elected onto committee. Passed Economics O-Level. packed up Vivienne”

What a day……..

Barton Peveril had a Sixth Form society – colloquially known as the “Coffee Club” – responsible for arranging the entertainment aspects of the students.

With the year-end exams looming – well 3 months distant – I suppose it felt prudent for the college to induct the new organising committee in advance of the 2nd year 6th students hunkering down to their (supposedly more important) educational matters?

I originally ran for President of the society, drawing up ‘vote for me’ posters based on famous album sleeves (one was based on David Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane” cover, with the tagline “A Lad Insane Enough to be running for President“) and gave a speech on stage during which time I tried to bribe the audience (voters) by tossing blackjacks and fruit salads (popular 4-for-a-penny sweets of the time made by Bassetts) into the crowd.

My competitor was a certain John Sweeney, a name who media fanatics may recognise as someone who worked for the Guardian newspaper before becoming one of the BBC’s top investigative journalists.

Other people may recognise him as the unfortunate reporter who – somewhat fired up – went apeshit ballistic on Tommy Davis, a representative of the Church of Scientology during a BBC “Panorama” documentary about the odious religious cult.

A piece of television history that went ‘viral’ (as they say in internet speak) attracting squillions of online hits.

John Sweeney, trying to look happier

Anyway, back to the election…. John was blessed with an ‘actor’s voice’ and thus gave a pleasing oratory to the hundreds of students hanging on his every word. I then followed him in my ‘Ampshire ‘Og accent with a speech packed with jokes rather than any substance. (I was, if you like, the Palin to his Obama)

Votes were duly cast…. and as I state somewhere else on the internet, “John Sweeney prevailed. He went on to present programmes for the BBC, and I went on to watch them

By way of a runners-up prize I was offered a place on the organising committee. My good friends Nobby, Neville, Tony & Nigel all ended up with representative nods too, so it looked like a fun time was ahead…

However, it appears it’s all over for me and the illustrious Vivienne? I have “packed her up” apparently. Maybe it became the case that I got glandular fever from her, but precious little else? Ouch!!

Oh, and there’s confirmation that I nabbed another GCE O-Level.

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February 25th 1975

BE-BOP DELUXE – CANCELLED”

OK, here’s where I KNOW I saw Cockney Rebel play live somewhen in 1974.

I’m sure of this because I saw Be-Bop Deluxe as a support band to Cockney Rebel long before I saw them headline… plus I spent more than two weeks after the show trying to hunt down a copy of their debut album, “Axe Victim”

As excited as I must have been to see Cockney Rebel in concert – presumably for the first time? – I can still remember how Bill Nelson’s tight little band completely blew me away that night. It’s certainly embedded in my memory how, on their final number (no encores for a support band), Bill created some screaming feedback on his guitar, coolly unstrapped it and laid it on the stage to continue screeching whilst the band walked off to tumultuous applause.

I’m not kidding when I say I really hunted for “Axe Victim”. None of my regular haunts seemed to have it in stock and no-one seemed to be able to obtain copies of it from EMI, Harvest Records’ distributor. I was phoning shops on a regular basis, all to no avail. None of the mail-order companies stocked it. No-one I knew owned the album either so I couldn’t settle for a taped recording of it to tide me over. Then my Mum took a phone message one day to inform me that Whitwams had received stock and they had popped a copy aside for me. I rushed in to Winchester and was probably never as eager to pass over my £2.99 or so.

In retrospect I know exactly why Be-Bop Deluxe appealed to me back then. Guitarist and founder Bill Nelson successfully merged prog rock sensibilities with a glam rock sound and image which, when totaled, was almost impossible for me to resist. “Axe Victim” is a perfect merger of snappy pop songs and extended proggy guitar-solo-ridden pieces that go off several tangents. I’d go so far as to say everyone will find a little something they would like about Be-Bop Deluxe.

(links to You Tube videos except where stated)

• “Axe Victim” (@last.fm)
sets out Nelson’s stall perfectly, telling a kind of Ziggy Stardust-lite tale about a post-glam band apparently disintegrating…

You came to watch the band, to see us play our parts
We hoped you’d lend an ear, you hope we dress like tarts
But back stage we stand naked, all the make-up cleaned away,
My poet sheds his pretty skin, and turns to face the day

And there’s nothing to be done, no nothing to be said,
Last night I felt immortal, this morning I feel dead

And the love that gave its blaze to my heart,
Now brings a haze,
Be careful…I’m an axe victim

Hung up on these silver strings,
Like wings,
Like time machines…
Like voices on the wind

We hit the road to Hull, sad amps and smashed guitars,
Played badly at ‘The Duke’ to almost no applause…
But someone made it worthwhile, when smiling with bright eyes,
They gave me full attention and took me by surprise…

But today the feeling’s gone.. no, faded like a ghost,
Last night I saw the future.. this morning there’s no hope

And the words that I sung so clear
Are now clouded by my tears
Please be careful…’cos I’m an axe victim

Hung up on these silver strings,
Like sails,
Like seagulls cries…
Like church bells in the night…

The final 90 seconds of the song is, essentially, an instrumental, Nelson showing off his not-inconsiderable guitar skills.

Someone once remarked something along the lines of that whilst Nelson had the intellectual ability write about ‘other wordly’ things in his compositions, he often threw in down-to-earth remarks about his own upbringing, preferring here to mention an unfashionable Northern city, Hull, rather than any number of ‘romantic’ American cities he could have chosen to accentuate the story.

• “Love Is Swift Arrows” (@last.fm)
Again shows off Nelson’s slick guitar work, this time overlaying a drumbeat that, for some reason, always reminds me of The Kinks. I always liked the lyric “Echoed words spoken by token romantics” and how easily it trips off the tongue.

• “Jet Silver And The Dolls Of Venus
If the Bowie influence is not immediately apparent then this cut is the giveaway, just managing to fall short of being an out-and-out parody. Once again it is the guitar work that separates it from the ‘ordinary’ here, and I’ve always thought that – for whatever reason – Nelson sings this weaker than he’s otherwise capable of. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a fantastic track – the chorus again reminding me of the Kinks – just that it feels ‘undersung’, if that makes any sense? The ending is about as prog rock as you can get!

• “Third Floor Heaven” ( @last.fm)
feels a weak cut to me nowadays. It didn’t feel weak back then. It’s based around a ‘Stones’ riff that Nelson pulls off to perfection – which, yes, I tried to emulate on my own guitar… with predictably terrible results – but the lyrics, seemingly about an S&M hooker, fail to move as much as they did when I was an impressionable 17-year-old.

• “Night Creatures
This is where Nelson listened to Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” or “Sweet Jane” and created his own take on ‘people of the night’. I love the laid back acoustic feel of this cut, Nelson’s voice matching the mood perfectly. It feels like the ‘calm before the storm’ of the next track…

• “Rocket Cathedrals
Opening with what sounds like a garbled ‘public warning’ message, this quickly turns into an almost ‘pub rock’ anthem, worthy of someone like Ducks Deluxe. It just ROCKS. I never had it pegged as a song that was worthy of covering in any way shape or form, so imagine my utter surprise when, whilst researching a few things for this post, I stumbled across an awesome Brian Setzer Orchestra version of it!

• “Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape
This is the ‘tour de force’ cut of the album, almost single-handedly summing up what BeBop Deluxe are/were about. Romantic words (here, Nelson waxes lyrically about Northern England, poets, churches and more) highlighted with crafty guitar work and alternate bursts of energy and quiet. It’s one of Nelson’s songs that could have equally slotted onto any of the follow-up Be-Bop albums or the guitar-centric solo work later on in his career

Poster from a later tour

• “Jets At Dawn” (@last.fm)
is magnificently languid in its lyrics and presentation, Nelson’s guitar chops again coming to the fore. I’ve commented on this before, but it remains amazing to me that guitarists (who I consider third-rate hacks) such as Eric Clapton get all the ‘fame’ and attention for their (apparent) tricky guitar skills when they couldn’t/wouldn’t hold a candle to the likes of Bill Nelson in his prime.

• “No Trains To Heaven
has always disappointed me. Did then, does now. Seems to go nowhere and has always felt like a ‘filler’

• “Darkness (L’Immoraliste)” ( @last.fm)
returns Nelson to Bowie/Ziggy territory, having a “Five Years” feel to its composition. It’s grand, orchestral and theatrically pompous in a manner that Nelson would repeat on later Be-Bop albums. You can imagine it performed by a huge chorus on a West End stage. (The only other artists I have ever known to have pulled this sound off successfully are Simon Warner and The Divine Comedy)

“Axe Victim” is, by far, the Be-Bop Deluxe album I know the best, but its far from their finest work. I think Nelson was still finding his artistic feet and whilst its a very admirable debut, his latter fascination for all things ‘sci-fi’ would prove to the making of him and the band.

Maybe the gig was cancelled because their tour bus burned out?

Tonight though, in 1975, the anticipated return of Be-Bop Deluxe onto the live stage was cancelled. Of course, in true EFA70sTRO fashion I have not gone into any detail as to why the gig was called off, nor given any indication that it was going to be rescheduled in the future.

However, by way of a little trivia I can impart that this new tour would have featured two members who I saw perform with Cockney Rebel the previous year. Bill stole Rebel bass guitarist Paul Jeffreys and keyboard player Milton Reame-James from under the nose of Steve Harley. Bit naughty, but this kind of thing happened a lot with bands back then.

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Cockney Rebel

One of the huge drawbacks of EFA70sTRO 1974’s diary being ‘light’ on entries – particularly in the latter half of that year – is that we’ve missed out on several of my musical discoveries during that time.

I therefore feel it necessary to offer an ‘aside’ post about Cockney Rebel, one of the very few acts in my lifetime with whom I have shared a relationship bordering on ‘fandom’.

There have been many other acts I have abjectly raved about over the years – Bill Nelson, Captain Beefheart, Bowie, Ian Dury, ELP and more – but only a tiny handful where I have been drawn in a little bit further. Prince is one such act, Eno is another. But if I LOVED an act as an impressionable teenager it would have been Cockney Rebel. Or more correctly, Steve Harley.. because when all’s said and done he really was Cockney Rebel.

My first exposure to Cockney Rebel was back in February 1974 when I saw them on BBC’s “Old Grey Whistle Test“. I think they performed the track “Hideaway“? If memory serves me correctly, Harley sported heavily applied dark eyeshadow, slightly rouged cheeks and an ugly velvet suit. (VERY glam in other words!) Then, in May 1974,  their hit single “Judy Teen” was all over the radio. The band appeared many times on Top of the Pops and I always found Harley to be something of of engaging character.

I bought “Judy Teen” and the accompanying album, “The Psychomodo”. Not longer afterwards I tracked down the band’s 1973 debut album, “The Human Menagerie” (which – over the years – has proved itself to be my out-and-out fave) as well as shelling out for the band’s next hit single”Mr Soft” (a marvellous carnival piece of earworm-worthy pop fluffiness) and the follow-up flop, “Big Big Deal” (So much of a flop it was actually withdrawn from sale after just a few weeks!)

(It would feel criminal if I didn’t do EFA70sTRO reviews of the bands first two albums… so expect them soon!)

 The weekly music press I was reading back then seemed to have a love/hate relationship with Harley, his own journalistic background evidently giving him a keen eye for what would represent a good ‘quote’. The statements he made seemed to purposefully wind people up, and whilst the press seemed to find favour with his music they treated him personally with a certain disdain. I can’t explain why, but this dichotomy appealed to me somehow, so I then wanted to find out more about the band.

Steve Harley started life as Steven Nice, born in Deptford, London in 1951. He attended Hatcham’s College in the 1960’s, lucky to be attending an establishment where music was a speciality. He started writing songs and began performing them as a busker on the London Underground, often accompanied by his friend, violinist John Crocker.

He got the aforementioned job as a music journalist, simultaneously forming a touring band with Crocker (now known as “Jean-Paul Crocker”), drummer Stuart Elliott, bassist Paul Jeffreys (who would later be one of the victims of the Lockerbie Air Disaster) and keyboard player Milton Reame-James. Harley named the band Cockney Rebel, doubtless a cheeky nod to his own disruptive nature. They played just FIVE gigs before they were spotted by EMI Records and signed to a multi-album deal.

They toured on the back of “Human Menagerie” and (even after 35 years) I remain disappointed that I never caught them at Southampton University in early 1974 whilst Harley was just starting his career. (If that OGWT performance had been a month or two earlier I think I would definitely have trekked to the gig)

My 1974 diary didn’t mention it – hell, it didn’t mention much at all – but I seem to remember Cockney Rebel played either the University or Southampton’s Top Rank later on in the year too. Maybe I have that wrong? I can’t find reference to it anywhere online, so there’s every possibility I am just imagining it.

At the end of 1974 Harley broke up the original band, egotistically renamed it “Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel” and started recording a new album with, again, Alan Parsons (of Pink Floyd, Beatles and…erm… Alan Parsons Project fame) on production duties. This album – and one of its cuts in particular – would prove to both make and break Harley’s career. EFA70sTRO will be covering it at a later date.

My utter fandom for Steve Harley has not remained in place into my middle-aged life. I still adore all those early albums but it turns out his ego eventually got the better of him and his output started to drift downhill fast thereafter.

However, the phrase “Cockney Rebel” stuck with me and has become something of a personal legacy. After moving to the USA in the late 90’s I joined an online message board affiliated with a radio station my wife worked for. I was invited to chose a user name and “Cockney Rebel” popped into my head. From then until now I am known by many people more as “Cockney Rebel” or “CR” than I am my real name!

1975 and beyond will doubtless refer to Steve Harley and/or Cockney Rebel many times. I can only apologise in advance.

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February 18th 1975

“Viv came round in evening + listened to some records. Was at work all day”

Yes really.

We spent the evening sat on my bed listening to records.

I probably wanted to ‘mess about’ a bit but was reserved due to a) nerves and/or b) the possibility that either of my parents could barge into the room at any time.

I wonder if, whenever she heard “…Ziggy Stardust…” (likely) or “Brain Salad Surgery” (unlikely) later in her life, Viv’s mind goes back to this uneventful night in 1975?

Hearing this reminds me… there was this speccy twat I dated for a while – always talking about music – never even tried to make a move on me… what an idiot

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January 25th 1975

“Work!” / “Nig got his Cassette Deck – Goodmans SCD100” / “bought Ziggy Stardust” / “Got letter from Global – gonna replace speakers with Amstrad 1500, Wharfedale Denton or Dallas”

Nig’s Goodmans cassette deck was SUCH a good-looking piece of equipment. Real wood sides, top-loading pop-open lid, faders, bouncing needles and the all-important Dolby-B noise-reduction system.

Yes, I may have been jealous.

As for buying Ziggy Stardust today, I am amazed.

My comments as far back as my November 21st 1973 diary entry (which was all about the album and its contents) had already expressed surprise that I didn’t already own it on anything but a copied cassette. 

But here we are 13 months later and I’ve only just sprung for the proper vinyl!  If I was a betting man I would say it was because Mrs Francis – at my new fabby place of employment (notice that gleeful exclamation mark after “work” again?) – gave me a staff discount of some kind.

35 years after the event I was likewise surprised by the comment about my speakers, but it did remind me a little about what happened.

Despite what I thought, I obviously did NOT buy Wharfedale Dentons back in October 1973. Instead I must have bought something else – something inferior – only to have experienced some kind of problem with them. I remember now that my Dad wrote letters on my behalf to Global – the retailer – complaining and asking for them to be replaced. Seems as though Global agreed? (Maybe I learned everything I know about writing forceful letter of complaint from my Dad?)

The Dentons are the speakers I chose as I clearly remember owning them at some point. It’s merely that my timelines are all messed up!

Man, this hi-fi stuff was complicated.

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