Video Saturday – 1969

Picked purely at random, the whole year of UK Popular Beat Combo Music Chart #1 records and there isn’t a bad one amongst them…

…including Lily the Pink,

…but excluding The Archies,

…and those of a sensitive disposition probably shouldn’t watch the last 30 seconds because it might be a bit too much for you to realise that the tune that brought the curtains down on the 1960s, a decade of sometimes wonderful music, was in fact sung by that bearded man who has been in all the news recently and who probably can’t go back to his native country anymore being as they seem to be of even more sensitive nature than us…

Anyway, apart from all that, 1969, a cracking year for popular beat combo music and not one large bottomed female shaking it in the camera to hide the fact that she can’t hold a note down without technical assistance – tunes you could whistle to, tunes that had proper words that your grandma could sing along to, lyrics that still crop up in pub quizzes forty years later such as “What affliction did Mr Freers have ?” – to sit and listen as a 12 year old kid to your grandma singing along to “Obla-dee, Obla-daaa, Lifes goes on,  Blaaaaa-ah” is one of lifes great pleasures especially when that grandma would have been born in the Victorian era and would have been carted off to an asylum if she had sung such a thing at 12 years of age, “She’s bloody possessed” they would have cried before locking her up for the rest of her life for “Speaking in tongues”.

The 12 year old JerryChicken would have been starting his second term at Leeds Modern School when this video begins, a first year pupil now indoctrinated into the ways of an old fashioned all boys Grammar School which was trying to come to terms with the fact that its pupils were growing their hair long, “Way, way over the top of their ears Mr Weber, its outrageous…” and wearing flared trousers and Chelsea Boots as part of the school uniform, “Well I’ve checked the rules Mr Holland and as long as they are black I can see nothing that dictates the actual width of the trouser, more is the pity I say, but still…”

The 12 year old JerryChicken would have spent his most of his weekdays ensconced in lessons designed to arm him with an education with which to tackle this brave modern world for we were the elite amongst pupils, not for us a life of hard manual work in a factory or on a building site, we were destined to become “professionals”, doctors, lawyers, accountants, we were to study hard and pass our O levels at 16, go on to take A levels at 18 and thence on to a free university education and a degree that meant something other than “I tossed off three years of my life and got this funny piece of paper”, we were to become white collar middle class executives, polite young men who called our seniors “Sir” and who would lead the United Kingdom to a new prosperity with the aid of technology and all that then, and I sit here now and look at what I made of my elite Grammar School education and can’t help but wonder if I missed out on a lot of it because the plan doesn’t seem to have worked for me – those comments on my end of year school reports that all went along the line of “Who is this boy, I can’t put a face to this name at all, is he really in my French/Geography/Maths class ?” seem to make a lot of sense now.

Three things to mention here – Jimmy McCulloch is a guitarist in that band soon to play with Paul McCartney’s “Wings”, Pete Townsend put the band together to give one of The Who’s drivers something to do (the one who sings),  and Jill, the wife of Geoff, a really nice guy who very sadly died recently, yes I know you don’t know who I’m talking about but nevertheless, Jill once spoke to an electrician who was rewiring their offices one day in the late 1970s and she mentioned that his face seemed familiar, “Well” he replied, “I’m Andy Newman” and she shook her head, “No” she said, “I’ve never heard of you but your face seems familiar”, then he went on to explain that several years ago he was the guy playing the piano in Thunderclap Newman – not all the popular beat combo number one hit stars actually made a living out of this music lark you know.

Anyway, where were we, ah yes, 1969 and the young JerryChicken is in the first year at Leeds Modern School and bloody enjoying the whole experience and THAT is a really weird thing about my five, nay six, years at the emporium of middle class educational empowerment – I REALLY enjoyed every bloody minute of it even though I gained very little in the way of education, maybe it was the camaraderie, maybe it was just the novelty of a strange Victorian ethic based establishment where rules and procedures were strictly enforced by Masters and Prefects but largely ignored by us pupils, maybe it was the red and black striped blazer or the fact that we were now teenagers and our mothers let us wear long trousers to school, all apart from three boys who all read this and so you know who you are and I won’t embarrass you any further, especially not you Rob Vasey.





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