Friday, February 06, 2009



What were we talking about? What was it now? - I can't remember...

Me and this bloke I know called Richard were talking this morning about being dumbstruck as teenagers where girls were concerned, our mouths packed with cottonwool and solidified spittle - you're 16 and a girl tries to talk to you and suddenly you can't speak. Hrrrmp...frrf...mrrgl...

This was the 70s, of course - I'm sure that teenagers don't have social-awkwardness problems now - I mean that's just not possible, is it? Not with all those different games-consoles and internet service-providers to talk about. And wasn't that what Emo was invented for? - so you could show your rough-but-sensitive side when you invite Indie-Gurl Lucy or Jenny or Penny or whatever up to your bedroom to drink coffee (mum and dad are downstairs playing on the Wii): music to fill that awkward inter-gender communication gulf, to spark that kinetic arc, the lunge that bridges slow-boiling desire and End-Point A: gullet-wrestling...

There was no courtship music when I was young. There was Prog and 'Eavy and then - suddenly! - there was Punk. Eeek! Just one excuse after another to hang in the corner w/ with the lads. Safety in numbers. School and college discos weren't no help neither - it was all Bachman-Turner-Overdrive, Jeff Beck's "Hi Ho Silver Lining", "Jet" by Wings, Genesis' "I Know What I Like" (yeah, just rub it in, Gabriel, whydontcha?), Bowie's "Jean Genie", Sabbaff's "Paranoid"...I mean, I'd kill to go to a disco like that now - but it just didn't...ah, shucks, you know...Disco was strictly for poofs, so it didn't get played and we all stuck to one side of the wall, chugging on our dad's hip-flasks and smoking Peter Stuyvesants, while the gurls stayed over on their side giggling and flicking their hair and pretending to be in Pan's People...a few brave strutting manchiks would brave no-man's land, but quickly return looking perplexed...

(Would-be lothario shouts in girl's ear over booming Uriah Heep track): "You wanna dance, then?"

Girl (pulling pained expression): "No."

Occasionally, Nektar would come to Yeovil and we'd all stand and watch the light-show, seething with sexual frustration. Only our Secret Philly-Loving pal would ever pull...

We had this mate, see, who was incredibly successful with the girls - we were in awe of him: after a string of laydees, he had a steady g/friend at 16 and they were sleeping together...her mum knew and put her on the Pill. It was all just, it completely blew our minds. Getting a girl: that was Rock Star stuff, a BBC drama presentation...Play For Today, you know?

"How did that happen?" we all wondered, scratching our feather-cuts (a perm in my case).

Well, later on I discovered that, in amongst all the 10cc and the Todd Rungren albums, he'd stashed "3+3" by The Isley Brothers...records by The Blackbyrds, The Stylistics, assorted Philly albums...

Smart lad.

He's dead now, tho. I haven't seen him for ages, but I miss him like fuck.

Still, it's a wonder the human-race didn't die out sometime around 1975, leaving only our pal and his girlfriend left as the new post-apocalyptic Adam and Eve, but unable to reproduce 'cos she was still, you know, on The Pill. (I saw her recently in WH Smiths, actually, but didn't say hello - 'cos I was too shy. She hasn't aged well. Actually, when he dumped her I managed to snog her at a friend's party - a quiet passage on a Vangelis album ("Heaven and Hell") was my entry-point - that, and a half-bottle of Dubonet - but she spent the entire, er, interaction looking over my shoulder to see if he was looking at her kissing me. He wasn't. (He was probably already off somewhere telling some other girl about the virtues of The Detroit Emeralds).

God, our generation was so bloody inept. Actually, I think it was probably just me.

And when I was 17 there was this hippyish chick who had the biggest round wire-frame glasses you've ever seen, and Wrangler denim loons that were that wide...she was like a really pretty version of Janis Joplin. I thought she was really sussed and cool as fuck.

I never, ever spoke to her - I was too scared - but one night she came up to me at the college disco (years later, I sussed that my friend Garry, bless him, must've gone up to her and did a "my friend kinda likes you" type thing, which took a lot of guts on his part, let me tell you...) and she said, looking like some sort of insanely sexy feminist, or a member of the Baader-Meinhoff Gang (an equally sexy concept in my teenage mind): "So, are you gonna buy me a drink, then, or what?"

I looked at her in mute astonishment. And said: "Hrrrmp...frrf...mrrgl..."

After about two minutes of me making hacking-up-furball type noises, she wondered off in those awesome, tight-fitting widescreen jeans of hers and never spoke to me again.


Not even an Isley Brothers album would've helped. I was pretty much beyond help.

I told Richard this story and he said " ships in the night, eh?"

We talked about loads of other stuff - some of it pretty interesting and funny - but darned if I can remember what it was now.