Video Saturday – Ronnie Lane and 1974, ah yes my friends, it was a very good year…

Ah 1974, why do I love thee so ?

Flares, patterned shirts, cuban heel and platform shoes, hair, anyone remember hair, Ronnie Lane and his band Slim Chance on the road with Gallagher & Lyle, inviting ourselves to the bands after show party at Leeds Poly…

Me in what might be called a “gap year” these days, technically still at Leeds Modern School in the first year sixth, technically studying for A levels in Art and Geography…

“What are you going to achieve with those A levels boy” asked Gus Scales of me,
“I’ll be a landscape painter sir” I replied,
“You’re an idiot boy”

…technically I was doing all of that, the actuality being that I turned up when I cared to, I did no work when I did turn up, I failed every exam they placed in front of me and I was asked politely to leave the school in the summer of ’74, so I did, and started work the following Monday as a workshy feckless scruffy bugger, words that my dad spoke lovingly of me.

Discovering the world of “The Pub”, The Woodman in Headingley became a youth club of a weekend, sold dark mild at a few pence a pint, awful black beer with bits of yeast and scum still floating around in it but it got you drunk and left and awful metallic after taste when you hockled it all back up again in the car park later, all your mates would be in The Woodman on a Saturday, it would be heaving with bodies, beer on the floor, a cacophany of noise, sometimes a fight, the Gents toilet would be ankle deep in beer, puke and piss, Norman the old and senile barman who could only serve bitter, whatever you asked for you’d get a pint of bitter and no change whatever coinage you gave him – and then walking back home because you’d spent your last coins on a bag of chips at Bryans fish shop around the corner.

Days without a care in the world, I was working for a stipend of £960…

…a year.

But it was all mine, I didn’t even give my mother any board and every penny went over the bar in The Woodman, we were always so busy getting marvellously drunk that we didn’t even have time for girlfriends, sure there were girls there but they just got in the way of the bar and wanted you to buy them fancy drinks that would have cost you two pints of dark mild less that night, so they were brushed aside as unwanted fripperies, who needs a bird on your arm with one hand on yoru wallet when you’re 17, have no ties, nothing at all to think about but getting marvellously drunk and then going to see a Ronnie Lane gig…

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