Video Saturday – Bob Dylan
There was once a time, long, long ago when the younger me would celebrate christmas in such a style as we see in this video, a time, for instance, such as the christmas party at a random friend of a friend of a friend’s house (for you never went to your close friends houses, just distant ones) when I earned yet another of the scars of youth that adorn my face to this very day.
No, not the acid burn near the eye, and not the one on the chin from the bicycle accident, I’m speaking of the one near to the one on the chin, the motorcycle accident scar, yes, 1974 christmas party, lots of drink, motorcycle, bad accident, that one.
Its not all it seems though.
It all started so well, as all of these stories do, Boxing Day 1974, the 18 year old me has a new girlfriend, the posh girl around the corner and I have to impress her this Yuletide for I had not bought her a christmas present but she had bought me, a bottle of Brut if you must know, really, yes, Henry Cooper has a lot to answer for, men going out on the town stinking of cats piss right through the 70s, him and Barry Sheene, crime of the decade.
Anyway, so this friend of a friend of a friends knew someone who we vaguely also knew, who was having a party at his parents home, his parents having gone out for the night, and so suitably attired in hugely flared Yorkers hipster pants, a shirt with Harry Hill style collar (but not in a comedy way for this was 1974, this was trendy) and platform soled boots (note the platform soled boots, they will become important later) we hitched a lift in the new girlfriends fathers car to the party house, I won’t say much about her father other than he was and still is an important and well loved figurehead in this here local community and I’m not sure that he totally approved of me in 1974, think of the Keith Richards or Ron Wood look with a self-cut shaggy hair style all spiked up with my mums Sylvacrin hair spray, no I don’t think I’d approve of me either if I were him, anyway, I still see him around these parts now and he always says “Hello” and then stares very hard at my face as if trying to place me from somewhere and to date I have not yet summoned up the courage to say “Yes, its me, christmas 1974, motorcycle …”
So we arrive at the party and the house is booming, I mean everyone was there, everyone who I had ever known in my life was there, the house was heaving with 18 year olds and in the style of all 18 year olds everyone was several stops on the bus to the terminal of complete drunkeness, so I hopped on that bus dear reader, yes I did, I know its hard to believe as I type this a complete sober upstanding member of our community, a person who spurned the demon booze many years ago now, its tough to belive this but you must, and heres what happened…
I got very drunk, very quickly, with the aid of a half bottle of Bells Whisky I had found in a cupboard.
<Insert long period of lack of memory here>
Hours later, for I remember nothing from 7pm to, oooh, hours later, and by this time I hadn’t seen the new girlfriend at the party since I had found the half bottle of whisky, but hours later I needed to attend to a small matter of relief in a toilet style so staggering upstairs still clutching the by now mainly empty half bottle of Bells I joined the back of the queue for the toilet, half way up the stairs.
It being patently obvious that the queue for the toilet would involve a period of time not shorter than half an hour I turned and slide all the way back down the stairs and out into the garden and here ladies you must avert your eyes for you may be too delicate in your constitution to read the next bit – you see, us gentlemen, we are adequately equipped to take a piss out of doors, not for us the necessity of a toilet pan, oh no, all we need is a wall to aim against – ideally to lean against with one hand while relieving oneself, that would be the ideal situation.
I was of course by this time virtually incapable of rational thought and rational walk, this was not news, this was me on a normal Saturday night and I’ve walked home several miles in such a state on a frequent basis in the 1970s having spent every penny I owned in the world in a pub with no thought on how I was getting home without money.
They had a garage down at the bottom of the garden but this was already in use as a toilet by Steve Darwin, the museum of recollection has just flashed that image in my brain, one of only a few images left from that fateful night, I didn’t use the garage as my toilet wall because Steve Darwin was already using it, yes it was a long garage and there was plenty of room further down to bag a spot for myself but as every gentleman knows, there is an etiquette to gentlemens toilet and you don’t stand next to someone when expressing oneself, and you certainly wouldn’t want to upset Steve Darwin by standing too close to him, so I didn’t…
Instead I staggered further on down the garden and eventually, bladder bursting to capacity by now, I came across a patch of bare soil upon which lay and old motorbike – the host of the party and his father and his uncle were all keen motorcross competitors and this old bike was presumably one of theirs, well more fool them for leaving it in the garden, I was going to piss on it right now.
Taking up the spread=legged stance of a gentleman about to relieve his bursting bladder I looked for something to lean against, for ’tis written that a gentleman wishing to relieve himself out en pleine air always needs something to lean against with the left hand while using the right hand to target the outflow and maybe write your name with it, or something.
There was nothing to lean against of course, but while trying very hard to focus on something, anything, I spotted a washing line just above my head, excellent, that would do for leaning against then…
Look, I know it doesn’t make sense now, in 2012 this makes no sense at all mainly because we are all 38 years the wiser, but to a very drunk 18 year old in 1974 it all made perfect sense, in fact at that very moment in time this seemed like the most excellent toilet that I had ever found.
I reached for the washing line, grabbed it, leaned against it, leaned too far, platform boots sunk in the mud at an alarming angle, the washing line snapped …
<Insert long period of lack of memory here>
Many hours later I awoke covered in mud and laying on top of an old broken down motorbike with no idea of how I arrived at this place and time.
I lay there for a while, it wasn’t unpleasant and the sleep kept drifting over my eyelids in a most beckoning way, the chin was throbbing a bit and a tooth appeared to be slightly loosened, but it wasn’t that cold, although all around the frost lay deep and crisp and even, and I pondered while staring at a motorcycle handlebar whether or not this would make a suitable bed for the night.
In time though I realised that I still had not attended to the toilet duties and so pulling myself up from my comfortable new bed I staggered back into the house where the party was still going in all of its bedlam-like state but as soon as I walked in the door everyone turned to stare and gasp in horror.
I turned around to see who was stood behind me but there was no-one, it must be me they were staring at, clasping their hands to their mouths in shock and to be fair I did look a sight, covered in mud with a huge gaping wound underneath my mouth that slashed right across the chin and which had spilled a good quantity of blood all over my now filthy but still quite trendy apparel.
It was Steve Darwin who grabbed hold of me and insisted that I told him which set of gatecrashers had done this to me for apparently they had evicted several groups of unknown people during the evening soiree, I couldn’t speak as my jaw seemed to have swollen alarmingly so I just pointed out of the door and Steve Darwin assembled a hunting party of fellow drunks and off they ran down the street looking for someone to beat up.
That just left me, several girlfriends of the hunting party, and the girl that I had brought to the party who was now staring at me as though I was the swamp monster newly emerged from the swamp in order to kill, main, and debauch them all, that was the last time I ever saw her – LOL
I do recall later that night our hosts father and uncle washing my face in the bathroom sink and trying to make some sense out of what I was mumbling incoherently, “What was that” they said, “there were at least ten of them ?”, the news relayed downstairs to the hunting party who had returned without spotting my attackers, “Theres at least ten of them” they shouted “must be covered in this poor buggers blood, are you sure you can’t find them ?”
Look, I never said that I was attacked by a gang of lads did I, I just never said that I got so pissed up that I fell over a motorbike in the garden…