“Got all TD & Art stuff together for tomorrow. Godfrey getting right up my nose! Felt really fed-up all day. Went up Nigs in evening”
For the life of me I can’t remember being at all nervous about my scheduled interview at Southampton Art College.
To be honest, apart from dates and the arguing that went on between my folks I can’t remember getting nervous about anything else significant that went on in my teenage years.
The fact that I had to scramble together the kind of portfolio that was expected of me at the interview doesn’t seem to have phased me very much. I suspect though that my remarks about “Godfrey” – my art and form tutor – were as much about him getting more nervous about my ‘date with destiny’ than I was!
It has to be said though that ‘getting fed up’ is something that came quite naturally to me back then. Just as it does now.
David Essex. Didn’t get up until 12 o/c. Did TD all afternoon. Watched superb “East of Eden” in the evening”
For all my prog rock / psychedelic / jam band / art rock leanings as a 17-year-old boy I will admit to having a soft spot for the more ‘poppy’ offerings of teen hearthrob David Essex.
“He’s quite a nice boy really” was the refrain from many a mother in the mid-70’s. My mother amongst them.
Until he got into the utterly disgraceful awfulness of his early eighties hit “A Winter’s Tale” and that acting hiccup starring in the derisible “Silver Dream Racer” he appeared to make fine (and non conventional) career choices whichever way he turned.
Not for him the simplistic pappy pop his fellow teen idols (Osmonds, David Cassidy etc) were churning out, but preferring to write songs which enhanced his credibility beyond that of mere hormonal girls.
His first hit “Rock On” was a slice of superb musical minimalism leaning far closer to originality than many could admit at the time.
He followed that with a succession of other finely crafted pop songs such as “Lamplight“, “America“, and “Hold me Close“. He starred in – and was GREAT in – a pair of old fashioned ‘rock & roll” movies – “That’ll be the Day” and “Stardust” – infusing his acting performance with a sense of ‘been there, done that’, bafore taking a leading voice-over and singing role on Jeff Wayne’s 1978 magnum opus “War of the Worlds”
Until he became – as I have said – a little too much of a ‘housewives choice’ (and I’m sure there are many housewives who would have taken that choice and grabbed it with both hands) I always liked the guy and appreciated what he brought to rock & roll’s little table.
So much so in fact that I evidently planned to see him live in concert this night in 1975. For whatever reason I nixed the idea – perhaps I sold the ticket or perhaps I never bought a ticket in the first place, who knows? – and thus never had the opportunity to spend time in a theatre squeezed into the middle of a gaggle of screaming teenage girls any of whom could have drunkenly mistaken me for the aforementioned Mr Essex and taken me back to their place for a good seeing to (as it was sometimes described back then) after the encore.
Instead – and after a (half) day of toiling over a hot Technical Drawing board – I sat and watched Elia Kazan’s movie “East of Eden” starring one of my new idols, James Dean. I may have described this film as ‘superb’ in 1975, but years later I realise it is instead a somewhat gloomy and embittered tale packed with lots of conflict and little joy. It certainly looks good – Kazan made full use of the then-new technology of ‘Cinemascope’ – but in terms of telling a story (this one based on the bible fable about Cain & Abel) I now think it falls flat.
“Quite a good speech in assembly. Did extra TD again. Fire Drill = grin!. Nothing special in evening, bath etc.”
What? A bath was not special???
When I say “quite a good speech” what I probably mean was “it got quite a few laughs”. I never got up there on stage with any serious intent whatosever, as long as I was rewarded with a few chuckles and guffaws for my efforts I walked off a happy little teenager. I have often harboured a secret desire to be a stand-up comedian, but would never have the required ‘cojones’ to actually ever attempt it. My weekly little speeches in assembly back in 1975 and 1976 will just have to suffice!
No idea why a “Fire Drill” could be considered a ‘grin’, other than it got us into practise for the repeated fake ‘bomb threats’ that were called through to the college office every so often. If only we knew who was responsible *cough*Pete*cough* for phoning them *cough*Rick*cough* in? Now of course, with an increased threat from terrorist attack and the public on higher alert then they ever seemed to be in 1975, this pair of teenage perps would be remanded in custody and had the proverbial book thrown at them. Part of me thinks it was a shame they were never properly caught and charged as I now have it good authority that one of them was a complete asshole to one of my very closest – and lifelong – friends.
In other news, my TD ‘fraud’ continues unabated.
“Did TD all afternoon at college – got to take some work to interview next Wednesday. Watched telly all evening”
Nothing like leaving stuff until the last minute is there?
Sheesh… I have my Art College interview less than a week away and yet… I appear to have no portfolio to show them?!
In a remarkable twist of fate, on February 18th 2011 I also watched telly all evening! *smirk*
In other news I apologise for the lack of postings lately. Life events have somewhat ‘got in the way’. It may take a little while for normal service to be resumed, but please continue to check back on EFA70sTRO as regularly as you can.
“M+D arguing all day, as usual. Didn’t get up until 11am. In the afternoon, took Mum’s bike apart for TD. Did some of it in the evening. Holly was due to come up but couldn’t”
On a recent return visit to England I asked my Dad about the arguments he and Mum used to get into when I was a teenager.
He responded by saying the rows were never about anything that was important. It seems they were always about the ‘trivial things of life’ (his words) rather than relationship matters.
I suppose to the teenage me they always seemed more virulent and poison-fuelled that they often were? As I have stated here before I never really knew what they were arguing about, but I suppose in retrospect they were probably the same silly little things my wife and I argue about all these years later?!
I really did take my Mum’s bicycle completely apart, measuring and drawing each piece (every nut, bolt, washer along with the saddle, frame and brakepad) as part of my Technical Drawing project.
I hope she didn’t want to ride it in a hurry?
Are you getting the same vibe from the whole ‘Holly’ thing as I am 35 years later? Naturally, I couldn’t see it back then.
“Had a great drama lesson – a real good laugh. Brought home TD folder. Not much done in the evening – bath, records”
Yes, I did drama classes … what of it? (Adopts “West Side Story” fisticuffs pose)… and it seemed today’s was something of a grin and a giggle.
This is going to sound incredibly ‘pompous’ but there was a girl in my drama class – we’ll call her ‘Karen’, mainly because I think that was her name?! – who made little secret of the fact that she was somewhat infatuated with me. She wasn’t my ‘type’ at all (I was seventeen years old, did I yet have a ‘type’?) so I had to resist her advances as best as I could gentlemanly manage, but whenever there was a man/woman or boy/girl scene being acted out she would always be on the look-out to rehearse it with… me… somewhat eagerly whenever ‘kissing’ might be involved)
I eventually ‘escaped’ the problem by dumping Drama from my curriculum. Hollywood has been in mourning ever since.
“Came 3rd in TD with 56%. Started reading Spy Story – not bad”
Len Deighton may have been one of the first spy fiction writers to have come up with what we now refer to as a ‘police procedural’ style, one which hones in – with exacting detail – on every aspect of a crime.
Deighton’s first four novels revolved around a popular anti-hero named Harry Palmer, later brought to life by actor Michael Caine in film adaptations such as “The Ipcress File”
His 1972 novel “Spy Story” did feature some of the minor characters from his earlier works but had a new protagonist, Pat Armstrong, who also works in British intelligence, investigating Soviet warfare risks.
Needless to say I had to look that up as I can’t remember a thing about this book other than, for whatever reason, I held onto it for years (and years) afterwards, only getting rid of it when I was ready to ship my belongings to the USA in 2005. Maybe I thought it was a ‘belter’ or maybe I just thought it was cool to have it on my bookshelves. Who knows why we hang on to books?
In other news, a mere 56% was good enough to place me third in my Technical Drawing class. I’m not sure if that says more about me or my fellow students?