Spring, 1972, it was probably Patricks idea for most things which were borderline-not-allowed came from his brain, Sam Kirkbride was not totally innocent in the matter either but it became a regular thing to do, until Sam’s neighbours complained.
Sam’s music tastes were always verging on the “Hmmmmm, strange” side of things, always looking outside of the popular music charts to satisfy his musical curiosity – he was a big fan of Jethro Tull and after that I surely need not explain further ?
Having said that even Jethro Tull appeared on Top of the Pops although it was in the slot between Donny Osmond and The Bay City Rollers, the slot reserved for the weekly “look at these fookin weirdos”.
So when Sam told us that he had purchased a new album by a new unheard of band with the rather crap name of Derek and the Dominoes, and told us it was rather good and had a track called “Leyla” that was eight minute long with two distinctly different musical refrains, then we had to borrow it.
There was always a regular lending library going on in the classroom, some kid would buy album, another kid would covet it, both kids would bring an album to school the next day and do a loan swap handing them to the form master to look after in the staff room untilt he end of the day during which time all the masters in the staff room at break time would play said albums to death.
If the album was any good then the first kid would not see it again for months for as soon as the second kid came to school the next day and declared it a masterpiece then someone else would want to borrow it and before you knew where you were there would be a list of borrowers as long as your arm and three months later no-one knew who had it now – I’m not sure if Dave Hay ever got his copy of “Quadrophenia” back.
And of course you’d tape them, everyone had a cassette tape machine and everyone in our class had taped everyone else’s albums, and then my dad would tape Frank Sinatra tracks all over every tape I owned so that he could play them in his car, my dad never bought a cassette tape in his life but he had hundreds in the dashboard of his Austin Princess, all of them formally owned by me.
Sam Kirkbride had obviously learned his lesson with previous albums though, “I’m not lending it out” he declared, “but you can come around to my house at dinnertime and listen to it”, it was a daring plan for although he only lived two streets away from the school we were not allowed out of the premises during the dinner break, that is you were not allowed out unless you went home for dinner, which hardly anyone did.
“Going home for dinner” we all told the prefect on the school gates, one at a time, in single file, one minute apart, “I’ve never known so many kids go home for dinner” the sixth form prefect must have thought, “School dinners must be getting really shit these days”.
Sam had a record deck in his bedroom and we all sat on the edge of his bed, illicitly at his home during dinner break, unheard of misbehaviour, we’d sneaked up the road, around the corner and up his street, partly because we shouldn’t be there and partly because he lived right opposite Moor Grange School for the Terminally Thick Kids and they’d give us a good hiding if they saw us, a good hiding being the only language those terminally thick kids understood – our Ned went to Moor Grange incidentally.
So having quietly snook up his street and ever-so-quietly lifted the brick at his back door to retrieve the key, slowly turned it in the lock of the back door, almost imperceptibly pushed the back door open so that it wouldn’t squeak and alert the neighbour, tip-toed upstairs and sat on the very edge of the bed so that it wouldn’t creak, Sam then turned on his record deck, placed “Leyla and Other Assorted Love Songs” on the platen, turned the volume knob beyond “10” and blasted our ear lobes with the famous opening riff.
He was right, it was a wonder to behold, probably the best album I had ever heard up to that point in my life although for the life of me I cannot remember any other track on that album other than Leyla for it was Layla that we would play on repeat ten or twelve times each lunchtime that we snuck back to Sam Kirkbrides house – that was until his next door neighbour complained to his mother that some kids were sneaking into her house every dinner time and playing her Christophers record player, very loud.
Do kids get the same kick from listening to new music these days ?
I hope they do, I somehow think they don’t.