Ah the olden days, the spirit of youth, long hair, flared jeans and a James Taylor song on the radio…
“Sweet Baby James” was one of the albums that did the rounds amongst all the forms in all the years at Leeds Modern School, you brought an album in to lend to a friend and because you weren’t allowed to carry around any personal possessions during the day (ah for the old ways again), you gave it to your Form Master to look after, he in turn took it to the staff room and the more trendy of the Masters (the English and Sports Masters usually) played it to death on a small record player over the dinner break, if you stood outside the staff room door (always a risky business) you’d hear your album being played in there.
If it was your album you probably wouldn’t see it again for several months as it was lent from one mate to another and then onwards outside your circle of mates into another nearby circle of mates until it eventually left your year group and started circulating amongst older boys and hence onto the sixth form block, you soon learned to write your name and your form number inside the cover to give yourself a sporting chance of getting it back at the end of summer term.
It wasn’t all bad though because dozens of albums were doing the rounds at the same time, the whole school was one big record lending library and most weeks the whisper would go around the classroom “Clarkey’s got In The Court Of The Crimson King” followed by “Oy Clarkey, after you with that King Crimson album” and henceforth onto a C60 cassette tape when you got it home.
I built up an impressive collection of C60 and C90 cassette tapes during that period, it was the equivalent of downloading MP3’s from some dodgy site that doesn’t charge you for them but might send you some other software that empties your bank account at the same time except that in those far distant and halcyon days there was no risk of your bank account being raided, only the risk of being beaten up if you forgot to bring the album back the next day.