Monday, 2 January 2012

31 Days of Blogging - Day 2


Day 2 – The Sweet - Blockbuster


Blockbuster was my first real favourite song. I begged my dad to buy the single and when I looked into his eyes all I saw was despair, not only at the state of modern music but also at the fact that his eldest son, the boy who would carry on the family name, had succumbed to the death of music (in his eyes).

He wouldn’t buy it for me so I had to make do with snatches from the radio and the rare opportunities we had to watch Top of the Pops.

My mum was beginning to fall in line with my dad’s opinions too. Both of them hated the fact that the band had long hair and wore make-up – something that was wholly unacceptable in my dad’s eyes.

I distinctly remember him referring to them as a bunch of “men dressed as women”, which I found a little hypocritical because he loved the old form of musical entertainment where men like Danny La Rue really DID dress up as women.

The dawning of this song was the first time my dad realised that he was getting out of touch with the youth of the day and his own youth too.

When the song was released in 1973, he was only 26 years old but life was different then; he had three young children and a full time factory job. My mum didn’t work and money was scarce.

My pleas for music fell on deaf ears and not just because of his hatred of the song.

We didn’t have a car or a telephone and any holidays were limited to day trips to Rhyl or Blackpool on a coach, although later we would actually start going on holiday for a week or two to places like Brighton.

My dad’s only luxury was a tiny Honda 50, a little motorbike that got him to work more quickly and conveniently than the buses. We had to travel everywhere else by bus, which was irritating, particularly in winter.

Other kids I knew seemed to be better off. I went to a Catholic junior school in Walsall and since it was one of only a couple, the other kids who attended came from all walks of life. It was during this time that I began to realise exactly what money could buy. Some kids in my school were as badly off as we were but others were spoilt rotten. You could tell at Christmas when the income gap was at its most noticeable. The last week before the Christmas holiday was always spent playing games brought in by the kids. The richer kids had a massive number of games – they were spoilt for choice. Thankfully they were multiplayer and we could all join in.

Around that time we had a school disco. The teachers told us that we could bring in our own records and we would be allowed to dance to them. I had no records. The rich kids seemed to have loads; Slade, T Rex; even the dreaded Osmonds.

I felt a little hurt and several seeds were sown around this time. I would be able to have enough money to buy what I wanted and, perhaps more importantly, I would not look down on others who didn’t have as much as I did. These seeds would grow in the coming years, particularly when I encountered even bigger income gaps when I went to secondary school.

I look back on Blockbuster with a fair bit of nostalgia. I loved the Glam Rock scene; and another seed was sewn, one that wouldn’t germinate for a few years – a love of rock music.

Not something my dad would look forward to at all.

17 comments:

Pandora Behr said...

I have to admit to being a Ballroom Blitz girl. It's one song that never fails to get me singing - as work has found out since it comes on the oldies station over the loudspeaker regularly. Lovely post.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I love Ballroom Blitz - and Hellraiser. Bizarrely I alos like Love Is Like Oxygen too.

:0)

Cheers

PM

River said...

I don't recall either Blockbuster or The Sweet, I'll have a listen to your clip, but I don't think it will bring forth memories. I was pretty busy in 1973 with a brand new baby...not much time for radio.

River said...

Okay, I've listened and I absolutely cannot see the attraction. Just not my thing. Like Pandora I did love Ballroom Blitz though.

Jackie K said...

Cool song - I didn't recognise the title but vaguely remember the band and knew the song when I heard it. Reminds me of watching Life on Mars!

Anji said...

Not so sure about this one.

We were poorer too. Our records came from my aunt and uncle's old collection - no record player to pley them on till my sister got one for her birthday one year - that was a present and a half!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

That's fine - I don't expect everybody to like it. It is a bit rocky for some people's taste (which is why I like it).

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

It's perfect for Life on Mars.

And what a great show that was.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anji,

What a birthday present! I would have loved one at that age.

:0)

Cheers

PM

drb said...

Sorry Mr PM, I loved Donny Osmond, the first crush of my infant years, closely followed by Bob McGrath from Sesame Street...
I agree with you though that Life on Mars (both seasons) was a great series.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

You and the elder of my two sisters! I don't see what the attraction was with Donny Osmond - his songs were just awful (with the exception of Crazy Horses - which was fabulous - and included his brothers).

:0)

Cheers

PM

Jane Lancaster said...

Hi PM,

well as a Mancunian I love your name. and this song..my era too.

just thought you might like to know that me and five girls sang puppy love at the school talent show and started too high so by the end we were screaming the song out on a note that was too high for anyone to sing.. we didn't win that year :)

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jane,

Welcome. "Plastic" because I have lived in Manchester since 1984 but am not actually a true Mancunian.

Ah - Puppy Love. My sister used to do an awful impression of Donny Osmond - but she thought she was brilliant.

For me it was difficult to work out who was better.

;0)

Cheers

PM

Kath Lockett said...

I'm with Pandora - 'Ballroom Blitz' beats Blockbuster hands down but I also remember my father (a highschool teacher) calling them 'long-haired layabouts' or, in fact, any bloke with long hair.

A year or two later however, he was about the only male teacher who *didn't* have hair below his shoulders and that was only because his hair had already gone :)

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kath,

As I said to Pand - Ballroom Blitz is also a classic. But Blockbuster holds a bit of a special place because it was the first record I was addicted to.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Mrs PM said...

love the pic! I can see that it influenced your choice of hairstyles in your teen years (that were unfortunately a catastrophic failure). My parents were equally traumatized when I started liking Madness then the Smiths. thank god I grew out of that! -- your beloved Mrs PM xx

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi my sweet,

Yes - I would love to have hair that long again (hint hint!!).

Dave xxx