Monday 9 January 2012

31 Days of Blogging - Day 9

Day 9 – Adam and the Ants - Ant Music

“So unplug the jukebox and do yourself a favour – that music’s lost its taste so try another flavour.”

Christmas 1980 and as an eighteen year old I had discovered beer. Of course, I had been partaking in the wicked substance at the tender age of sixteen but because I looked like a ten year old, I found it difficult to get served in pubs.

I ended up carrying my birth certificate around with me to prove my age – which was very embarrassing. S, my good looking mate, looked about thirty as did the other guys we used to hang round with.

Saturday night was pub night and now I had something else to spend my money on, other than music. I had once managed to get myself horribly drunk (read about it here) and I almost became teetotal. However, thankfully, I started to take it easy and by managed to venture to a couple of pubs in Walsall town centre and arrive home feeling the good effects of alcohol.

I also did something about my hair. It had been like a white afro – a huge amount of hair that added about six inches to my height and width. I decided to have it styled and after that major operation I actually looked normal. My hair was the shortest it had been since 1970.

Having a good looking mate like S was a bonus because he lost his shyness after a couple of beers and would randomly talk to women in the pubs. This was particularly good around Christmas because invariably he would ask them for a Christmas kiss – and usually get one. I was just a hanger on and I got the odd snog too – which was a massive bonus.

I discovered that drunk women wear beer goggles.

We also discovered clubs too. Walsall had one night club called “Max’s” and I ventured in there whenever I could afford it – which was tricky on the little money I earned working in a newsagent. Sometimes my dad would help me out by slipping me a few quid, with the words:

“Don’t tell your mum. She’ll go mad if she thinks I’m paying for you to have beer.”

New Years’ Eve 1980 was magnificent. My dad treated me to enough cash to “have a good time” and me S and the lads found ourselves a pub that stayed open into the wee small hours. The bonus was that it was full of young women and we had a great time. I distinctly recall wandering home through Walsall town centre at around half past one in the morning asking every good looking girl I passed for a New Year kiss – and actually getting lots.

Beer goggles again.

Getting a girlfriend was still impossible (they saw me in a different light when they were sober – no beer goggles you see) but to be honest with all the work I had to do for my A levels and exams, it was difficult to juggle everything; a girlfriend would have been impossible. I had to make do with the odd night down the pub.

Of course, S had a girlfriend to occupy his time and I used that time to work. When we did pop out to the pub, we used to always put Ant Music on the jukebox and sing the chorus out loud - until we were shushed by the regulars – who suggested that the landlord really did “unplug the jukebox”.

Looking back, it was a strange experience still being at school and finding ourselves old enough to go to the pub. Sometimes, we would risk popping to the pub on Friday lunchtimes during school, removing our blazers and ties because officially the local pub had a policy not to sell beer to sixth form students.

The landlord must have known though – as well as the teachers (who must surely have smelled alcohol).

Coincidentally the local newsagent did a roaring trade in chewing gum and extra strong mints.


Kath Lockett said...

Love your last line! Reminds me of how the local chemist in our town did a roaring trade in Impulse body spray for the chicks who smoked.

I have to ask you about S - surely he didn't end up with a woman as lovely as your Mrs PM?

Final issue re Adam and the Ants. When Sapphire and I were dealing with the rigmarole of hospital visits, endless testing and her being on an IV drip, she used to like to hear me reminisce about what it was like for me at that age.

I told her that in 1981 I bought the single for 'Stand and Deliver', mostly to 'fit in', not because it was my favourite, but that the end chorus always puzzled me. Were the Ants actually singing the nonsensical words "Nar Diddley Quah Quah" over and over....?

River said...

Adam and the Ants. I remember the name but not what they sang. So I'm guessing they weren't on my favourites list. I'll have to google and see what songs they had.

Red Nomad OZ said...

Downunder here in OZ the whole country is awash with beer goggles!! That's why you'll STILL see people who look like Adam Ant - as he was in the 80's!

Sad, but true.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

S - now there's a story. He had several lovely girlfriends and then got one of them pregnant - with twins.

I haven't seen him for years but I believe he is still happily married.

"Stand and Deliver" is a massive guilty pleasure of mine. It was a toss up between that and "Ant Music" to be honest.

And yes -I have sung those nonsensical words too (alongside the Ants).




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

They had lots of songs - some great others (like Ant Rap) not so great.

Check them out - you may like them.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Red Nomad,

Same here, really. Beer goggles are free in every pub.




drb said...

I was only drunk twice in my lives, both times were drinkig matches with guys. The first time, finished a bottle of southern comfort between 2 of us in 30 mins. I continued to throw up 2 days after the match and didn't get any sympathy from my housemate. I won the match because my then bf threw up first. Since then I couldn't eat liquorice. The second time was in New Orleans. My scottish coworker realized that I was an expensive date (he paid for all drinks and was as smashed as me to do anything) so stopped asking me out and went out with my sister instead. A pity he didn't become my bro-in-law - he drank too much for my sis's liking. ;-)

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I don't drink spirits as a rule - a whole bottle of Southern Comfort? I'm not surprised you were throwing up for so long.

Scots have a reputation for being big drinkers - I know; I've suffered at their hands a few times.