Scenes From a Misunderstood Life (Part 1)

Scene: A 3-storey Victorian terraced house in Lancaster, in the North West of England, looking towards Lancaster Castle and with the hills of the Lake District visible in the distance to the North.


Lancaster Castle with the Lake District behind

Our hero (why not?), balding, slim, spectacled (Aldi £2.49) sits at a pineish dining table in the living room, fingers poised over a tiny netbook. Sitting on an old Ikea bentwood chair to the side of him is the interviewer. Taking a notebook and pen from a large and serious-looking leather bag the interviewer turns towards our hero and says:

Interviewer: So, tell me Kevin, what are you reading at the moment?

Our Hero: (turning and removing spectacles) Well, Michael, I’ve just finished reading …..

Interviewer: Let me stop you there, Kevin. You just called me Michael.

OH: That’s right, Michael.

I: But my name isn’t Michael.

OH: (Puzzled) Sorry. I thought all interviewers were called Michael.

I: Not this one.

OH: So what is your name? Continue reading

1972 – Lou Reed, Lou Reed

Lancaster in the 70s was very different from how it is now – less alternative, fewer students, more traditional. But it had one thing we don’t have now, a really good indoor market. And in the market was the best record shop around, Ear Ere. 4426480

That’s where I bought my copy of Lou Reed. As far as I can remember Ear Ere was originally up on the balcony overlooking the market. You could go in and browse the albums, listen on headphones, and buy whatever you wanted – and I wanted all of them!


This is when Christine and I lived on Havelock Street, before we moved to Golgotha Village. I can’t remember if it was before or after Matthew was born, but it was definitely around the time. So I took it home and listened to it…….. and I didn’t like it. It wasn’t like the Velvet Underground stuff and felt as though he didn’t really know where he was going without the band. And he had a strange assortment of backing musicians (Steve Howe! Rick Wakeman!). Not exactly cutting edge rock musicians. So I took it back, told them I didn’t like it, and they let me take something else. They were great like that at Ear Ere. I can’t remember what I swapped it for. Continue reading

1983 – Cattle and Cane, The Go-Betweens

You might recognise the title of this blog, it’s a song by The Go-Betweens from the album ’16 Lovers Lane’ from 1988. I love the Go-Betweens and wish I’d come across them years earlier than I did. The first time I heard them (and heard of them), was when my sister’s Australian penfriend sent her a compilation tape of Australian bands some time in the mid to late eighties which contained the glorious ‘Cattle and Cane’ as well as songs by Gondwanaland Project and The Birthday Party. Hearing ‘Cattle and Cane’ gave me that feeling, the emotional hit you get occasionally (sadly all too occasionally nowadays) when you first hear a song that you know is going to become part of your life.

Anyway, that ‘s what this blog is going to be about, the songs that, over the years, have become part of my life. I need to make it clear at the beginning that this won’t be a series of reviews of songs looking at such things as chord structures, lyrics and arrangements. Instead I intend to write about the memories associated with particular songs; where I was, what I was doing, who I was with etc. It will be songs as memories, focusing on individual songs (and sometimes albums) from my first memories up to today and, as I’m in my sixties, that means going right back to the 1950s. I don’t intend to make it chronological; I’ll talk about whichever song grabs me when I sit down to write.
I’ve never done anything like this before so, at worst, it will be a short-lived experiment. But, and I hope this is the case, it might be a lot of fun and point people towards songs and artists that they may never have heard of. I also hope that anyone out there reading this will get in touch to share their favourite music ‘dives’.
And, by the way, the doll in the photo isn’t mine in case you were wondering. I was looking after it for my daughter while she did something important.