22 years of age and a rather confused period, confused in the music scene, confused in my choice of music, the time when I finally eschewed the popular music charts and realised it was all a pile of donkey droppings, a time when my working life was extremely complicated, complicated by the fact that the company I worked for had closed the office that was handily located just two miles from the house where I had lived and I now appeared to be working for another branch of their 100 miles away, although no-one at head office realised I was still on their payroll, and I wasn’t going to make them any the wiser.
Its been told somewhere else on this here blog thing but basically I was asked one day if I’d like to go to the Newcastle office and help them out with some QS work as they were currently recruiting for their own QS but had had no luck so far, I accepted an all-expenses paid two week trip to Newcastle but while I was there our head office decided to close the Leeds branch and make all 70 of us redundant, I say “us” whereas I actually mean “them” for the accountants seemed to have forgotten about me what with me not being in the Leeds office when they arrived to tell everyone to clear their desks.
This had all happened the year before and I found myself in 1978 traveling to Newcastle every Monday morning, staying in cheap contractors digs all week and returning home on a Friday night, a simple enough routine only complicated by bad weather and car crashes on the A1 none of which fortunately involved myself but there were a few close scrapes – like the time approaching a roundabout on the A1 (yes, THAT long ago) in the pitch dark on a foggy night at 70mph when a vision of a car with no lights appeared in my lane less than 100 yards away, it was stationary and was the back of a line of cars that were all impacted into each other, at that speed you have only one or two seconds to say “oh fuck” before you are also impacted into that line of wrecks but then something else took over and I found the van braking hard on the hard shoulder and finding it empty then moving safely away from the accident scene, I still haven’t a clue how that happened but I didn’t stop to find out and in that fatalistic way of all 20-something year olds wrote it off in my mind and had a few more beers that night.
Joe Walsh, aided and abetted by copious amounts of booze and perhaps some other “medication too”. I had loaned a copy of the album “Rocky Mountain High” from the Leeds Record Library (what a quaint idea that seems now) four years earlier, taped it (of course, how innocent those times), and enjoyed it since, so it seemed only natural to purchase with my own money a copy of 1978’s album “But Seriously Folks” upon which a glorious seven or eight minute version of this here tune resides, I taped it (of course, how innocent those times) and it played constantly in my trusty Ford Escort Van on those long dark nights scooting back down the A1, a two hour sing-alongs-your-choice-of-tapes session so that you had no voice left when you got home and your mother would say “Oooh have you still got that nasty sore throat love ?”
Gerry Rafferty was another tunesmith discovered that year, “City to City” another album purchased with my own money, taped it ( of course, how innocent those times), and played to death until the tape wore out on those long drives back to Leeds, me and that van put some miles in during that period for not only did I have the commute but then every day of the week was spent driving to one or another building site too, living with the aid of an AA road map and dozens of A-Z Streetguides or someone elses scribbled directions on the back of a fag packet was a way of life, we have it too easy today with SatNavs – nothing quite like driving through a town with the A-Z balanced on your steering wheel, turning it upside down and trying to cross reference the tightly printed map with the street names that you can see out of the windscreen until eventually you stop and look up the street you’re parked on in the index only to find you’re at the wrong end of town.
And then, complete with Sir James The Kiddy-Fiddler, came an all time classic…