Day 4 – The Electric Light Orchestra – Mr Blue Sky
The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) were my favourite pop band of the 1970s, the first band I was truly obsessed with.
Once I had bought an LP there was no holding me back. It was much more cost effective than buying singles as you got much more music for your money. So I bought Out of the Blue by ELO, a double album that was sheer genius.
It was a bargain and believe me, as a poor child with only paper round money to sustain my greed for music, I needed bargains.
I was addicted.
And thankfully I had a job.
But there was a cost. It’s a bit weird but most people want to read their newspapers first thing in the morning and unfortunately this meant that I used to have to get up at the crack of dawn. While most people were sleeping I was wandering around the house in a complete daze, fuelled by coffee.
The only other people active were milkmen, postmen and birds waiting to wake up the world with their dawn chorus.
Oh – and my dad.
He alternated with his shifts and when it was a 0600 till 1400 shift, he was up and about at 5 am. He was used to it. I wasn’t.
I used to ask him to wake me up and he did so with gusto. I am certain that he got a kick out of it. At 5am he would march into my room and switch on the light.
“Get up!” he would yell.
My reaction? Hide under the covers.
His answer? March back into the bedroom and rip the sheets off the bed and drag me out by my feet.
It was a ritual that worked with the added bonus that he had made me a strong cup of coffee to kick start my day.
I actually enjoyed delivering newspapers in the early hours of the morning. There was virtually no traffic, no people and utter peace. I was a fit young man in those days and jogged around the streets with my bag full of newspapers. It was really nice to see the sun coming up over the horizon and it gave me a sense of total solitude and blissful tranquillity.
And as the sun rose and the black sky gave way to reds, oranges and blues, I would be whistling Mr Blue Sky by ELO; it seemed apt really.
I was at peace.
By way of comparison, I also delivered the local newspaper in the evening and that was a different experience altogether. Rush hour traffic, school kids and others returning home created crowds in the streets and the noise was deafening.
It was a stark contrast to the calm of the morning as the sun rose. I know which I preferred and if it wasn’t for antisocial hours it would have been the perfect experience.
Sadly, I’ve only enjoyed such peaceful beauty once or twice in the intervening years. I enjoy my beauty sleep too much.
And boy do I need it.