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Midnight Rave Up

November 7, 2014

Nice Twitter conversation this morning about pasting song lyrics from Smash Hits into a notebook. I used to do that and it’s sent me off down memory lane.

Woolworths used to sell a pack of 4 rough exercise books for half a crown. The one with a red cover, I used to use for my own song lyrics. When we clearing my Dad’s stuff out after he died, I found one of the red lyric rough books in his bedside drawer. He never showed much interest in my musical interests when I was growing up, so it was a shock and very moving to find he’d held on to this. The book was from around 1973, when I was convinced me and Marc Bolan were seperated at birth. For about a year, I dropped the “k” from my name and inserted a “c”. Some of the song titles are heavily influenced – ” I’m A Groovy Cat”, “The Brazen Serpent”. One title, has the rather hopeful title, coming from my 13 year old perspective, ” The Girl In My Bed Is Magnificent”. Trouble with that one was I struggled to find words to rhyme with magnificient and in one verse, twinned it with “pants”.

My favourite, and the only one I can still remember the tune to is, ” Midnight Rave Up At The Ritz”. The chorus, with blinding bewilderment goes:

“Princess Anne sure did get her kicks
” At the midnight rave up at the Ritz”.

Goodness knows where that one came from! Even in 1973, Princess Anne could never have been classified as a groovy chick.

The green rough book was the one I used to paste in song lyrics, cut lovingly from Disco 45. I found one of them when Julie died this year and we were clearing out the loft of our old family home. This one was from 1974 and by now, not only was I pasting in the lyrics but also a review of the song from Record Mirror. I also wrote my own notes, including rather obssessively, where I’d brought the record. The marvellous, long gone, Memory Discs in Hounslow showed up most regularly. I used to think it was the hippest hanging out place on earth. I was a bit thrown to find I had brought Amateur Hour by Sparks from Mr Singh’s Electrical Bazaar”. I have no recall of that place at all.

Next to Teenage Rampage by The Sweet, I’ve written in purple felt pen – “Going to ask Mum on Friday if I can have a haircut like Brian”. I like the ” on Friday” bit. This must have involved a lot of tactical planning and building up of courage. I never got a Brian Connolly haircut, so either I chickened out or Mum put her foot down.

Steven’s memories, his past, isn’t in the loft. They are all still very much part of his present. He likes his stuff around him. In the living room, we have 3 stacking boxes of his old model figures – everything from Gladiators, Toy Story, My old Camberwick Green figures, Star Wars. Everyday, when I get home from work, he has taken one figure from the box and placed it on the dining table. It’s my return home question each day. Yesterday, was one of the Star Wars figures – “Dad – who does Obi Wan Knobi look like at Mencap Pool?” I answer, (Chris) and the figure is returned to the box.

I worry for the future about the importance of Steven’s belongings to him. I can’t see anyone respecting that importance. When he was in the Unit, Steven quickly wised up to the fact that his things of value were in danger. CDs went missing from their cases. We never ever found the brown Fawlty Towers video. By his birthday, in the March, Steven opened his presents in the Unit and then made me bring them all home with me.

One final entry from the green rough book. Next to “Rock Your Baby” by George McCrae, I wrote – “This song is so flavoursome, I want to jump into Southall swimming pool with no trunks on”.

  1. Yes, our son also has a lot of figures, crocodiles by the sink and shower, they are an important part of the morning/evening routine. Eddie Stobbart lorries lined up on the dining room table and Batman figures staring at you from a vantage point in every room and he notices if one has been moved and is looking a different way! The autistic mind is amazing isn’t it!!

    • Pauline Thomas permalink

      Mark as you are the same age as my eldest son, I can vividly remember all the music that meant so much to him in his teens. The punk era was what I remember the most, and my constant nagging to turn the music down. Not so much Johny Rotten, more the Clash and Suzie and the Banshees. University was the Leonard Cohen days.

      My disabled son loved Top of the Pops and still does. He is in a time warp with Kylie, Jason and Alison Moyet. I can recall that when he was once in respite, the staff taped the film Tootsie over his Top of the Pops video. Purely accidently I’m sure, but he never took any videos there again Me? My youth was Elvis, The Beatles and The Stones

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