Video Saturday – August 1972

This is a strange one, I can pinpoint my first migraine issue down to a month and a year simply because Roxy Music caused it, strange but true, picture this…

Its one of those hot August school summer holiday days down at the cricket field and there we all are, the Cookridge boys, doing what we always did on every day of those long school summer holidays, play football at the cricket pitch while all the blokes who ran the cricket club were at work and not around to chase you off it.

I really don’t know why I hate football or why I never became a professional football player because we played the bloody game every waking minute of the day in our school holidays, I hated it then and I hate the game now but at least it never came as a surprise to my team mates when, halfway through the first half I’d drop out and tell them “I’, bored” and I’d go and sit in the long grass somewhere around the cricket field perimeter and day dream for England.

And it was while laying there gazing up at a perfect blue summer sky with a hot ball of fire bearing down its oppressive heat on our 15 year old heads that I became aware of some other dimension of time, light and sound for something very strange was happening, things weren’t in perfect focus anymore, things weren’t the same colours anymore, there was a prism effect around the little shapes running around on the cricket pitch, the little shapes that had once been my mates playing football now just looked like bursts of radiant colour moving around a cloth of the most vivid green ever known to man, and the sound had changed too, no longer were their voices in perfect clarity but they were echoing into my ear’oles in the way that you’d expect if you were sat at the far end of a very large tin jug and someone was shouting at you from the entrance, a tinny sound of a cheap radio echoing so badly that you could hardly understand it.

And there was nothing you could do about it and most weird of all, through all of this came to mind the sound of the synthesizer bit in the middle of “Virgina Plain” and I lay there for some time while all of this weirdness buzzed around inside my head and in front of my very eyes, and wondered what the hell my mother had fed me for dinner, what really was the secret ingredient of her chocolate and fudge shortcake that was our staple diet that summer ?

You know, I’d wear one of those jackets and waistcoats today if I could, if I thought that my children wouldn’t have me sectioned, in fact when I’m a really old git and living n a nursing home thats what I’m going to spend their inheritance on – a tailor who’ll come in and make jackets and suits for me out of deckchair material.

It passed of course, the strange vision thing at the cricket field and I didn’t think of it any more until it happened again a few months later but that time I’d just fallen off my bike and so it may have had something to do with falling on my head, anyway, fast forward about thirty years and I’m in all sorts of trouble with incredible hangovers even after drinking just a few drinks of an evening and I’m starting to think that maybe its the drink that doing it, after blaming the crisps, pork scratchings, peanuts, anything that I’d eaten the previous 48 hours etc etc, I began to realise that maybe I was allergic to something in beer, or in fact anything with alcohol, even on one bizarre occasion one of Mildreds-next-door’s trifles when she was a bit heavy handed with the sherry – these were not normal hangovers, these were humongous hangovers that would last a couple of days unless I dosed up with paracetamol, over-dosed with paracetamol to make them go away and I was always left exhausted by them.

Then came our Neds stag do day-out to Haydock racecourse and through the day me and the rest of the jolly-boys outing managed a couple of pints before the first race and then a pint inbetween every race and one more at the end, so about ten pints then, this was enough to test the “I’m allergic to alcohol” theory once and for all and just to cap it all I bought several chocolate bars to munch on in the bus on the way back to Leeds.

As soon as we got off the bus on The Headrow and made across the road to The Town Hall Tavern to start the evenings refreshments I knew I had a problem, the prisms had started again especially inside the pub, tunnel vision kicked in and then the head caved in – imagine a particularly sadistic person trapping your head in a very big vice and tightening it to the very point where your skull is just about to crack and splinter into a thousand parts, and then they hold it at that point, imagine how much pain that would be, well thats probably about ten percent of the pain you feel in a “proper” migraine but its not really the pain that hurts the most, its the thought that no matter how many paracetamol you take you will not shift this for at least 24 hours.

I, supposed to be the best man at this stag do, told our Ned I was dying, in fact I think I told him to shoot me now because a bullet in the head would be preferable, he rang for a taxi for me when he saw me stood in front of the phone booth in the pub not able to read the business cards of the taxi firms stuck around the edge of it and unable to bring to mind how it was that you used these telephone things.

There is no respite from it, you can’t see anything properly, you can see things but they make no sense, your hearing is distorted and the pain is a constant, I took four paracetamol as soon as I got home, then a short while later two more, then went to bed and took two more, this is not bog or clever and is not a cure for migraine and will probably kill you one day so don’t read this and think “Ah, the next time I have a bad headache thats what I’ll do, I’ll just take eight paracetamol…” for you probably won’t wake up if you do, or if you do wake up it will be without the use of your liver and kidneys – but it gave a temporary respite and I was able to find sleep – awoke the next morning for a paracetamol breakfast and total, absolute exhaustion, having a bad migraine is like removing your brain from your skull, tying a string to it and whizzing it around your head for hours and hours, then putting it back and expecting it not to be a bit dizzy, it took two more days before I felt “normal” again after that attack, and it was THEN that I decided that me and alcohol and chocolate were not best friends anymore and never would be again, not in any sort of quantity anyway – I do still push my luck sometimes though.

So there you have it – Roxy Music gave me The Migraines, August 1972.


PS – I’ve just realised – 1972, the year that never happened, the year with no records whatsoever in the Museum of Recollections – THIS IS WHY, Roxy Music and The Migraines wiped out the whole of that year, the bastards.






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