Video Saturday – October 1971

In October 2011 I had one of those moments where things just seem to click into place and some order is made of your life, almost as if someone is controlling you like one of those robots we used to see on the telly back in the 1960s, you know, those robots that should be running our houses by now…anyway, here is that post, with added music.

PS, I was later corrected by my other cousin, the famous photographer of bars, nightlife and fires, that the album in question did not belong to the famous guitarist cousin but in fact belonged to him, so the record is now set straight, anyway…

25th October 1971, my maternal grandmother dies, a few days later we all go to the funeral and we end up back at the house of our cousin’s and the cousin who is now famous and appears regularly in those “celebrity” wimmins magazines just because he plays the guitar and still has all of his own hair (how did that happen in our family), that cousin, well we all go up to their bedroom and he plays a brand new LP that he has just purchased.

NOTE: the term LP ?
Unknown to younger readers the term “LP” relates to the thing that you will now know as a “vinyl” record, its how we used to buy music , you’d have to save up your pocket money (no credit cards), and get on a bus into town where you’d go to this thing called a “record shop” to spend all afternoon idly flipping through stacks and stacks of what you now call “vinyl” but we called “LP’s”, it stands for “Long Player” in that it plays for a long time, or at least longer than the vinyl single, “single” being a word that you will be familiar with.

Anyway, the now famous cousin puts on his record deck “Every Picture Tells A Story”, the new LP by the newly emerging talent known as Rod Stewart, its #1 in the LP charts at that time and the single “Maggie May” is also #1 in the singles charts, which was a big deal in 1971 as you had to sell about half a billion records to get to #1 rather than just three as you do now.

So I like the LP, I like the artist, I go and buy the LP and I buy his back catalogue and I continue buying his output until he buggers off to America circa 1980 and joins the LA disco crowd and becomes a shite singer, but it all started there, my liking of Mr Stewarts recorded output, it all started there in my now famous cousin’s bedroom, on the day of our grandmothers funeral.

So yesterday I’m out in the car and on the radio appears the song “Maggie May” sung by Mr Stewart and I turn the volume up and enjoy for its a song that doesn’t get played on the radio at all these days unless you count those awful “Lets play the whole chart from a random year in history” shows usually presented by a long dead DJ who you never liked anyway, not even in the random year of choice.

And I’m humming along to the radio and I’m thinking of that day when I first heard the album “Every Picture Tells A Story”, sitting on the edge of the bed in my cousins bedroom after our grandma’s funeral, not really that interested in the funeral proceedings downstairs but enthralled by the LP despite everyone from downstairs shouting up the stairs to “turn that bloody music off”.

And then I suddenly realise that the funeral was around this time of year and I do some more hard thinking from the museum of recollections and I recall that somewhere on this blog a few years ago I made a trip to the cemetery to where my grandmother is buried and using the brain satnav feature in the museum of recollections I actually recounted our steps to the very graveside, and then in a blinding flash the date of my grandmothers death came to me as I was driving along the lonely M18 yesterday morning, 25th October 1971.

And even spookier, when the record came on the radio it would be around the time of her funeral, about 10am, 25th October 1971, exactly 40 years to almost the exact minute.

Coincidence or not ?

I have no recollection of my paternal grandparents for they were both cold and dead in the ground long before I was born although of course I did purchase the business that my paternal grandfather had started in the 1920’s, I say “purchase” for that business never got handed down from father to son, oh no, each generation had to BUY it from the previous one, in my case it cost me a quarter of a million pounds and then I sold it decades later for one of those pounds, you could say that I have little interest in finance and I would not disagree with you.

However my maternal grandparents were well known to me, my brother and my cousins although our grandfather died when we were all quite young our grandmother saw us through until the cusp of our teenage years and for the stipend of sixpence each me and our Ned would allow our mother to drag us on the bus to our grandmothers bungalow every Friday during school holidays where we would say hello then run off down the street to play in Burley Park while our mother made tea for all the old ladies who lived in the row, we’d return sometime later for our sixpence each and then have to wait while our mother and grandmother went through the same routine every week of “No put your purse away mother they don’t need the money” and we’d stand there thinking “Shut up mother, sixpence will do nicely thank you” and our grandmother would insist “No our Joyce its my treat, here boys” and my mother would snatch her hand away and put the money back in her purse at which point the whole process would start all over again.

She was Irish, or so she let you know many times during any conversation, in fact according to the cousin who’s done all the family research it wasn’t actually her who was Irish but family further up the tree, but she liked to tell you she was Irish, an Irish Catholic actually from County Mayo who, every Friday would insist on walking back to the bus stop with us as she “was going to pop into our Lady of Lourdes anyway to light a candle for your grandfather” and every Friday she’d ask our mother if we would like to come into the church with her to light a candle and every Friday our mother would make up some excuse about us being late for the bus for the truth was that she didn’t want us inveigled in that religion stuff and all that lighting of candles for the dead and suchlike and who knows if it weren’t for being late for the bus every week I might even now be lighting candles for dead people, saying Hail Mary’s and only eating fish on a Friday, just like my grandmother.


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