July 1974, specifically the first week of July 1974 and The Rubettes are playing in Germany to a largely unappreciative audience of German teenagers who always seem to display the angst of a generation who were born to late to be Nazi’s but are yet still unsure of what their purpose in the world is to be, who knows, maybe Angela Merkel is one of those teenagers in this video, chomping on Hubba-Bubba Gum and staring into a camera with a bored expression thinking “I can’t believe that men in white suits and red berets are the best that they can send to entertain us”
It was late June in 1974 that I sat on the settee in our house, 17 years old, one year into a two year A level course completely by accident and for having nothing else worthy to do with myself, it was my gap year although as gap years hadn’t been invented then no-one knew that it was my gap year, to all intents and purposes I was supposed to be one of the few selected to further my education in Geography and Art and to fill in some more gaps in my timetable, some filler O levels in History of Art, Human Biology and a re-take of the Maths that I had so hopelessly failed the year before – no-one knew it was my gap year but the truth is that I barely turned up and barely did any work, the highlight of that year being the week-long Geography field trip to Falmouth.
“I’m going to leave school” I announced to an indifferent family, our mother was watching Coronation Street on TV, our Ned was picking his nose and getting his black tie and solemn expression ready for the morrow and another walk in front of the horses with heads bowed on another funeral run, and my father was hidden behind that nights copy of the Yorkshire Evening Post.
No-one had seemed to hear me and I was just about to repeat my news with a little added drama when my father re-shuffled his newspaper, withdrew the four page pull-out “Job Vacancies” section, threw it across the room at me and from behind the rest of the YEP told me “Get your self a job picked out then and don’t think you’re going to sit on your arse in this house for the rest of the summer”.
And so it came to pass that I chose my destiny, my apprenticeship as a trainee estimator with F.I. Rice (Leeds) Ltd, electrical contractors of the parish of Horsforth, stipend of £960 a year, A YEAR, yes you read that correctly my daughters, A YEAR, they paid me £80 a month, A MONTH, and then they had the bloody nerve to take income tax off it, still, with beer at 10p a pint and a night out to be had with a £1 note in your pocket I suppose you couldn’t grumble.
In that first week of my working life in July 1974 The Rubettes were in the popular music charts with their rendition of “Sugar Baby Love” and they thought they were the dogs bollacks in their tight white suits and red berets, as a “look” it was a “look” that never really took off among the general population and for that we can be very thankful
Now normally at this juncture I would choose another video from that very same chart of July 1974 but to be honest I am appalled at the utter shiteworthyness of it all, what on earth were we thinking and why had us teenagers handed over control of the UK popular music chart to our parents, and how the hell did Charles Aznavour get to #1 in that chart and stay there for the whole of the month ?
The Wombles, Ray Stevens, Gary Glitter, another song by The Rubettes they had two songs at the same time in the same chart for fooks sake – there MUST have been something better than this being played on Radio One in the month that I started my unbroken run of almost forty years employment, but no, Showaddywaddy, Stephanie de Sykes, and this one …