Wake up. It's 1974. The Hot Rod Gang motorvate along the Felling Bypass, heading for the Locarno Ballroom in Sunderland. Dance hall gig: big sound, polished sprung dancefloor, wide stage, spotlights, swirling mirror ball. Let's go! Because EVERYTHING happens on the Felling Bypass. Housing estates and industry, open country and farms; all on the road to Sunderland. At the Conservative Club, we're told to play the National Anthem after our false tab. 'False tab' is clubspeak for encore. We ask if they have a…Read more
SHARP SHOES: PRE-GIG, WINTER 1976
Wake up. It's Saturday. Cold snap. I'm under attack in bed. One deadly assailant is Superman, the other El Zorro. Drawn-out battle. I become Blofeld. "Zo, Meesterr Bornd..." I begin. THUD! A four year-old fist lands on my stomach, while a seven year-old arm gets me in a headlock. Blofeld always comes in for extra punishment. At this rate I won't make it to my escape pod.
Into chilly town. Rock City music shop. Ask about the keyboard I'm getting repaired. "It'll be ready…Read more
THE SKIFFLE GROUP, 1957
Wake up. It's 1957. I'm ten. My pal Robert has a proper guitar, with six strings and 'F' shaped holes for the sound to get out. It belonged to his uncle. My Elvis Presley guitar is plastic and it has four strings, but it also has a box which fits over the strings with elastic bands. It has buttons to press for chords. After you've learned how to play the chords with your fingers, you can take the box off. We decide to start a Skiffle Group.
I get a tea chest out of the cellar and…Read more
The Bowling Alley, November 1963
Wake up. My friend Ken arrives. He has a newspaper clipping about a new bowling alley. It's up Westgate Road, past the motorbike shops. I love Westgate Road. A new bowling alley at the top, bike shops in the middle and the Majestic Ballroom at the bottom of the hill.
Ken is modern. He wears a dark blue satin zipper jacket with a bowling badge on the back and he's carrying a bag with a bowling ball in it. I wonder how and why? Until today, there have been no bowling alleys…Read more
Saturday Mornings, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, 1961:
Wake up. I'm 15. Leave house in smart clothing. Duck into cellar & change into hidden drainpipe trousers, leopard-skin mohair sweater & hand painted winklepickers. Bus to Marlborough Crescent. Run to Finlay's tobacconists at the top of Pink Lane/Clayton St. Load up on bizarre foreign tabs (Sobranie Cocktail, Black Russian, Passing Clouds, Balkan, Gitanes).
Straight to JG Windows in the Central Arcade. Lust after Burns Black Bison & Watkins Rapier…Read more