“Went up Nigs in evening. Mart P, Martin P & Mal came up. We all went down Fox & Hounds”
Ah, the good ol’ Fox & Hounds pub…
Actually, given the number of pubs that were within easy walking distance of all of us in Fair Oak, the Fox must have really had something special going for it? It was a good 1 to 2 mile walk up the Winchester Road to reach it … and then the same distance back under the afluence of inkahol!
The pub is – I believe – no longer in existence, the land being turned over to developers a couple of years back. This was after a remodelling job and a change of name to (just) “The Fox” in the late 90’s.
My last visit was perhaps the saddest time I have spent inside its walls, my late Mum’s funeral reception being held there in early 2006.
My photo album is packed with pics of me at the Fox in my teenage years… it really was -along with the Clock Inn – my ‘local’ of choice. No, I’m not sharing them, sorry.
Went to work hungover. Got Alice Cooper posters for Niles. In the evening “wrapped” Nobby’s ‘present’
There was DRINKING at the school party?
Where all the students would have been under the age of 18?
How could this happen? I blame the teachers! I blame the Coffee Club committee!
I blame the pub round the corner from the college and its lackadaisical attitude to underage drinking.
No wonder I ‘got off with Holly C’ yesterday?!! I was full of dutch courage!
In other news it looks like I was able to snaffle some promo Alice Cooper posters for my friend Niles. If I was a betting man I’d say they were promos for Alice’s then-just-released “Welcome to my Nightmare” LP, his contribution to the whole “concept album” genre that was rife at the time. It dealt with the nightmares of a child named Steven (no relation), a grim tale which later turned into a stage show that was ahead of its time in terms of theatrics, lighting and special effects.
I never really cared that much for the album. It didn’t seem to have the same catchy punches that Alice’s previous albums had and felt a little too ‘macabre’ for my personal tastes. Yes, I felt there were levels of ‘macabre’ in Alice Cooper’s music. I was evidently a deeply troubled child.
Only two tracks really stood out to me and they were the very two that stood the test of time.
The title track “Welcome to my Nightmare” is a brooding masterpiece, the slow start leading to a funky rhythm even Steely Dan would be proud of. In one of TV’s weirdest moments Alice would later perform the track with The Muppets.
The other ‘killer cut’ is “Only Women Bleed” a song which really only came into its own a few years later. Whilst Alice’s own version of this ballad (about a woman in an abusive relationship) was indeed admirable, it took actress Julie Covington to really set the song alight in 1978.
Julie Covington was a minor National Theatre and Opera performer before she got her big break as one of “The Little Ladies” in TV’s 1976 bizarre musical drama “Rock Follies“… about which I know I will write much more later.
That led to her being invited to sing the lead role in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber‘s extravagant musical “Evita“. She contributed to the soundtrack but refused to perform the role of Eva Perón on stage, leaving assured stardom to beckon for her replacement Elaine Page.
Her performance on “Evita” led to a proper recording contract with Virgin Records and her titular debut album came out in 1978, preceded by her stellar version of Alice’s “Only Women Bleed”. I don’t think she ever had a finer recorded moment?!
I have no memory of what the present was I seem to be preparing for Nobby’s imminent 18th birthday. As I know he is a regular reader of, and comment contributor to, EFA70sTRO I will leave him to reveal the secret… as I am sure his brain cells are somewhat less addled than mine?!
Once again I remain amused at the fact that (presumably) no-one batted an eyelid at the fact that this pair of 17-year-olds were in a pub and slowly getting hammered.
Nowadays, pubs can be fined as much as £20,000 for repeatedly selling alcohol to minors (Under 18s).
I can confirm that several pubs in the Winchester/Southampton more certainly – and repeatedly – sold me alcohol when I was supposedly underage, a few of them when it was very evident that I had ‘had enough’.
“Break-up for summer hols. went down Cricks during day then for dinner with Lorna”
The Cricketer’s Arms – or “the Cricks” for short – was the pub closest to Barton Peveril. Back in the days when a ‘minimum drinking age’ seemed to be more of a suggestion than a mandatory legal requirement it was not uncommon for the place to packed with school pupils and college students at lunchtime.
It was also not uncommon for students to rub shoulders with their teachers at the bar, either vying for the barmaids attention and quick service so they could get their ‘drink on’ during the hour-long break.
I’m not saying that the Cricks’ staff failed to upkeep their legal requirements from time to time – usually for a few days after they had been warned by police to stop serving underage drinkers – but most of the time the proverbial blind-eye was turned as long as none of the 16 or 17 year-olds got too out of hand.
We rarely did. I knew how to drink, as did a few others, but rarely did we topple over into incoherency and/or mouthy stumbling. For the most part lunchtime consisted of 2 or 3 beers (or, in my case, the spirit equivalent of Bacardi rum or Whisky) a bag of pork scratchings, vibrant chatter and money pumped into the jukebox. (Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover” was – for whatever reason – a particular favourite, and the song ALWAYS reminds me of The Cricks whenever I hear it these days)
The end of a school year was a particularly busy time for the pub and today in 1975 was doubtless no exception.
I don’t know if it was on this occasion or another but I do remember bumping into a friend of my Dad’s one time and having to ask him not to “tell on me” next time they met up. Mr. S did make – and stuck to – that promise, even taking it one stage further by buying me and all my schoolchums a round of drinks! I can’t help thinking that in this day and age he would have been arrested and sent to prison for “contributing to the delinquency of minors” or some such ludicrous politically correct nonsense.
In other news I also went out for a meal with Lorna. I wish I’d stated the place we’d gone to because I continue to remain clueless where people went on ‘dinner dates’ in 1975. I can’t remember any restaurants that would have fitted the bill for teenagers – maybe it was one of those crappy steakhouse places that were all the vogue for a while? (Surely though, they would be outside the limits of my meagre finances?). Drat my ever-forgetful memory!
This was a college trip to London’s West End and the Lyric Theatre. I was amongst a coachload of students, many drinking copiously on the way up, then – despite our age – hitting a pub or two before getting to the theatre. Those were the days my friend, sometimes they had to end!
“John, Paul, George, Ringo… and Bert” was Liverpudlian playwright Willy Russell’s first big ‘hit’. Russell would later gain fame and notoriety for penning such smash plays like “Educating Rita” which was turned into a movie starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine. Other stuff he is known for include “The Blood Brothers” and “Shirley Valentine”
JPGR & B’s story arc has been describe elsewhere as “an accurate and honest account of the Beatles’ rise and fall, culminating in an abortive attempt to stage a reunion concert. The show was notable for it’s ironic juxtaposition of songs against dialogue, and the author’s sparkling Liverpool humour“. I’ll have to take their word for it because not only are we dealing with my notoriously poor memory here, but we are also dealing with it whilst it was originally under the effects of a few pints of London’s finest! My review of the performance – “bloody good muzak all” – could just as easily have been based either alcohol consumption as much as fact, something I will leave you, dear reader, to decide.
Yes, for what ever reason, I have held on to the programme from this 1975 evening’s event, and yes I plan to share the contents of it. It’s a fascinating document of its era, not just for the adverts it contained but also when you realise who I saw perform in this play and who else was involved in it…
“Asked out Viv. Went to see Juggernaut. Crap Film“
Vivienne – or Viv – was a girl who lived a few streets away from me in Fair Oak. She also attended Barton Peveril and caught the same bus home as me from college every day… which was how I first got chatting to her, eventually building up enough courage to ask her out on a date.
Our first date was an inauspicious affair, the choice of film a dodgy ‘disaster’ movie, somewhat portending the future of our relationship.
“Juggernaut” is one of director Richard (“A Hard Day’s Night”) Lester’s least-know films. Least known for a reason I reckon? Irish firebrand actor Richard Harris hams things up as an explosives expert given the responsibility to diffuse a series of terrorist bombs planted on a transatlantic cruise liner. Omar Sharif plays the suave ship’s captain, Anthony Hopkins plays a Scotland Yard detective trying to locate the perpetrator, whilst light relief is provided by Roy Kinnear. As thrillers go, it was all very silly stuff indeed, my review succinct.
However, I doubt my mind was completely on the movie? First date and everything. Should I put my arm around Viv in the dark? Hold her hand during the scary bits? Will I get to snog her later? Cop a feel maybe? Too soon?
One thing that occurred to me after all these years is that dates back then were rarely – if ever – of a (nowadays more commonplace) “dinner and a movie” variety…mainly because in 1975 there were next to no places to go and eat. Not even fast food joints – they didn’t hit the UK until many years later. Eastleigh did sport a couple of dodgy cafés but I never took girls to either, and I doubt I would have (yet) had the confidence to take Viv into a pub for a drink, still being theoretically underage. (Pubs didn’t do food back then either). So the date was purely the trip to the cinema – maybe an ice lolly during intermission? – and then back on the bus to Fair Oak. Classy eh?
Remember too that were no such things as multiplexes back then either. The choice of viewing at the Eastleigh Regal would have been “Juggernaut” or… erm… “Juggernaut”. There may a new film next week, but this week it was 100% “Juggernaut”. What a depressing thought.
I am a fifty-something ex-pat Brit transplanted into America’s Mid-West. When I finally got around to unpacking all the boxes I shipped across the Atlantic, I found the “schoolboy diaries” I dutifully wrote in during the 1970’s.
I decided, as a fun endeavour, to document, share and comment upon many of the diary entries.
Posts will be in chronological order starting in 1972 and will gently travel from my 14-year old insecure geeky phase through to my involvement in the UK ‘punk movement’ at the end of the decade.
I hope other people find the project to be entertaining