Wednesday, August 01, 2007


"Shades" often posts about music and I have nothing like his knowledge of bands or stage experience. I am, as this post shows, of an earlier era but he asked me to guest-blog and this is my first idea for subject matter that is vaguely in keeping with his own:

One dull, grey day in the late 1950s I was sitting in the living room behind our shop in Stapleton Road, Bristol and I was sulking over something. Probably I had had an argument with Auntie Mabel [Dad’s aunt who lived with us]; she was always telling me to be quiet while she had her nap and I just wouldn’t!

It was about 6pm on a Saturday and Dad came in. He was trying to cheer me up [he was always on my side] and it wasn’t working: “Come and see what’s in the shop”. “Don’t wanna come in the shop!” “Come for a walk with daddy.” “Don’t wanna come for a walk!” “Let’s play with your dolls”. “Don’t wanna play!” Finally, in a last-ditch attempt to establish peace, he said, “Well, let’s watch teley then”. “Don’t wanna watch teley!” “Yes, you do; Tommy Steele will be on in a moment.” [You guessed it]: “Don’t wanna watch Tommy Steele!” [though I had no idea who he was.]

But Dad had had enough and he switched the TV on anyway: It was the first time I watched Six-Five Special , presented by Pete Murray and Josephine Douglas and something about the music and the banter got me interested. Then all of a sudden, this young man with a shock of blond hair and a guitar bounded onto the stage and I was really excited! He exuded energy and, I suppose, an innocent kind of sex-appeal. I had got over my mood all right - I was hooked on Tommy and rock ‘n’ roll!

At around the same time, the streets started to look brighter; girls a few years older than me began to wear pretty, very full skirts, people were talking about “teenagers” and a new colour, called “shocking pink” was everywhere. I loved it!

The living room was redecorated in a style that was called “contemporary”: I remember we had plain, light wallpaper on three walls and the other had paper with a bamboo pattern. This was thought to be very daring. Pictures and knick-knacks were banished [I think Dad’s generation had at last started to rebel against the clutter and heavy furniture left over from their own parents' era]; the dark banisters [which we would now die for!] were boarded over and all the woodwork was painted white.

The drab old draper’s shop down the road closed and reopened as a department store in the centre of Bristol; a jeweller’s where you could buy cheap costume jewellery opened a few doors down, and then two record shops appeared in Stapleton Road.

The sixties had not yet arrived, but the war was finally over!

You know, I blame all my troubles with men on Tommy Steele!
I should say it's Welshcakes posting as I can't get the "posted by" thing on at the end.


Daimyo Higham-Baka-Ohta said...

Tommy Steele! Shhhh, Welshcakes - don't tell anyone.

Shades said...

I've turned on the Author setting so that my guests will be identified for future posts.

Ian, doing a Gary Glitter
(Forgotten, but not gone)

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I suppose the first female popstar I had a crush on was Neneh Cherry. I was about eleven I think.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I just have, though, James! You won't be forgotten, Shades. Crushed, how sweet!

jmb said...

I followed the teaser from Pageflakes and didn't know it was you until the very end WCLC. Musically speaking I was asleep during the fifties because I thought the music was uninspiring or worse. I had forgotten about Tommy Steele. Thanks for reminding me.

Liz said...

I never watched Six-Five Special; it was TOTP for me. Discs-a-go-go? Did I just make that name up or was there a programme called that?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jmb. I still love 50s music! Liz, yes! Discs-a-gogo - I loved it! Was it Kent Walton who introduced it?

Colin Campbell said...

I missed out on that decade. The first song I really engaged with was the Beatles Yellow Submarine, which we sang on the way to school in the minibus. We had to wait out the versus, so that we could sing along to the chorus.