It had been the first term of teacher training – through the help of Colin I was still on the course – his cash injection had not gone up my nose – I had spent wisely and paid the rent. Bought sausages – frozen – they go further and had somehow managed to turn into Top Valley each day with a smile. To be honest I was quite enjoying the change from the drudgery of the post office.
In some ways Scunthorpe was out of my system – I’d had my friendly visit from the girl in the office. But it had been fumbles and disinterest that had put a stop to that. I couldn’t quite muster the enthusiasm as we had sat in a small local public house as men played darts and the jukebox played Foreigner.
And over those weeks – she had came into my senses – a glance at a table – a face in the crowd – a stomp up the hill. All green coat, cigarette and boots. I was still living the modernist dream – on the cheap – clean living in dirty times – well cleanish living. When I arrived in the midlands mayhem I wasn’t necessarily looking to fall in L.O.V.E...love. I thought I was going to hang around a little – get the script on the teaching lark and run to the warm embrace of Leeds or Sheffield. Back to the panic on the streets and [yeah, yeah] industrial estates. What little did I know. So with borrowed lighters and nods and small talk about this and that I realised I was smitten – bitten. No real conversation had passed our lips. But we had bonded over awkward moments in public forums– and that sort of ‘ting.
And the cold dark nights came rushing in. I had spent that first term in the company of LTJ Bukem, Andrew Weatherall, The Charlatans, Elvis Presley and The Small Faces. I would spend many a night with the company of her and The Small Faces. It was a Friday – dogtooth check flat fronted trousers, a red check button down shirt – it was a late 1970s one – could possibly have been the start of the eighties – purchased in the RSPCA charity shop on Ashby High Street. The scene of numerous special finds – through book, shirts, jackets, vinyl and cassettes. And a denim jacket – press stud fastening – deep blue and fitted.
I’m the face if you want it – a fat face .
So with some trepidation I rocked up from the Rylands to the campus block – past Ula’s – the site of white cider purchases and 10 silk cut/ number 1s – depended upon who was smoking the most to Helen and that northern lass’s birthday/ Christmas bash. Not hoping – just partaking. She was there – I was pointed out. Promptly felt and fell into broken conversations. Harvey was there too – what sort of a bloody girl’s name is Harvey – Hello I’m Harvey and I’ve come to give you gip – I’ve got one of these for you sonny Jim – I’ve got one of those for you – my name is Harvey.
All the while the disco rattled the bass cones – these fragile bones - as I tried to engage in serious conversation with a frivolous edge. So well and truly picked up on this Friday night I walked her home – with the northern cuddle – and tales of crisps and brothers.
And every time I hear that guitar – not distorted but ringing with its opening to love and adventure and Marriot rasping those lyrics I get carried back to those times and i know everything is gonna be alright. And that’s what music can do – the power to transport and move. It’s just a swirling mass of energy – the rush of new love and it catching fire right down to where the story ends – when we invited just a few close friends. Simplicity. You see this is the real r ‘n’ b wrapped up in style – with content – there’s a difference see [which clearly wasn’t noted during the Britpop era – menswear anyone?] These are genuine soul artists – veering on the heavy. The stomp of the tiny feet that create a much larger sound – much like my two boys in the morning as they find ever more elaborate things to throw onto the floor as they charge around the upper deck.
This is a gang – man.
It might not be my favourite faces tune – I think You Better Believe It could be the one – but it chimes with the times and it chimes with us. Sha la la la lee. It’s all those Carisbrooke times and Peveril Road walks rolled into three minutes or so. It’s a taking back and looking forward feeling – it’s walking up to meet her by the Beeston Man [I think they’re wasps] – and feeling on top of the world [if attired in the get up of a Likely Lad]
It’s feeling like there’s some kind of possible.
It where modernism takes you.