Randomly and for no specific reason whatsoever we set the dial on the Delorean to this week, June 10th 1972 to discover what the teenage JerryChicken was doing in his 15th year on Planet Earth.
Well, as we all are fully aware, he was firmly ensconced by now in class 4S at Leeds Modern School, this was the year before our O level exams and we would be in the process known to all as “the bloody end of year exams”, those internal tests in every subject that would decide what each Master wrote on your end of year report with the added scathing comment (the comments were always scathing) that “He’d better pull his socks up next year or he’ll be leaving here with no O levels and a life of digging ditches”, or at least thats how they wrote about me, for boys like Vaz and David England it would be “I can’t teach him any more now but he is helping me out with my Teachers Masters Degree”
Don McLean was the #1 single in the UK popular music charts for the first two weeks of June and those of us who had an acoustic guitar just like his tried to play the song “Vincent” just like him, shortly afterwards some of us threw the acoustic guitar away in disgust and banished any thoughts of a music career to the dustbin, of course these days you wouldn’t need the guitar at all, just stand in line all day for an X Factor audition and be either extremely good at doing an impersonation of Beyonce or be extremely bad at doing an impersonation of Beyonce – and you’ll be a star.
And yes, I had an acoustic guitar in that summer of ’72, and no, I couldn’t play anything on it and it eventually went in the dustbin and to my everlasting annoyance my younger brother then took up the acoustic guitar and found that he COULD play it, whilst just half a mile away my cousin Alan was finding exactly the same thing happening to him too – and look how that turned out.
My mother had purloined the acoustic guitar via her job as a cleaner at a Teacher Training College where, when the female students in the dormitory that she cleaned had all gone home for the summer, the cleaners got the pick of whatever junk they had left behind and so during that summer one girl left behind her acoustic guitar and rather than wait to see if she’d accidentally forgotten it or had genuinely thrown it in the dustbin, my mother decided to liberate it and bring it home for me and our Ned. Of course it didn’t have a case or a bag or anything and so she brought it home on the bus just as it was and I can’t help but think what the hell the other passengers must have thought to have seen this cleaner woman sitting downstairs on the bus (she never went upstairs on the bus) with a guitar on her knees looking for all the world like an auditionee on Opportunity Knocks, “Yes Hughie, I’d like to present the singing cleaner with her rendition of “This Womans Work” ”
Also in the charts of this week in 1972, The Move, a collection of musicians who we didn’t think looked ridiculous at all but who you could only really like if you admitted to being “a greaser” which, in our class, meant that you had to be Ian Lees friend, so none of us actually said the words out loud although we could often be found to be humming the refrain and air-playing the piano when Roy Wood said “Take it Geoffrey”
And now fellow classmates of ’72, sit back, force back the tears of nostalgia and wallow in the museum of recollections in the filing cabinet drawer named “Leeds United, when we had a football team”, for yes my friends, you may, like me, have forgotten the fact that the song “Leeds United” actually made it into the top twenty of the national and official UK Music Charts in June 1972 (and not just Kennedys Record Shop chart) after the FA Cup Final against Arsenal in which Mick Jones dislocated his elbow in the final minutes of the game, its still fresh in the memory of videos isn’t it, ah yes the days when the city of Leeds had a football team, whatever happened to that football team and when will we ever have another, I may cry…