After a particular shitty week I heard a record on Radio 2 today that took me back to a more innocent and happier time. A time when you paid the price on the ticket and nothing more and long before stress became the new bad back.
My day was in the army and we lived in Army Quarters just outside Bonnyrigg. If it was so far out of Bonnyrigg that it could've been in the Borders! And there was nothing bonnie about it. We didn't have the luxury of computers or iPods and we utilised the natural resources to have our fun. The pavements hosted running races, with long paths used as jumps on an imaginary steeplechase. The Harry the housing warden had also provided a pair of old rusty goalposts (no nets) in a local field but the grass was lumpier and bumpier than the school custard and the field sloped from wing to wing more than a drunk against a lamppost. We made do because that's what you had to do. I even made a showjumping course in our back garden until I "clipped a fence" and broke one of my mother's brush handles.
The highlight of the week was when the Harry would open up one of the empty quarters and allow us "young 'uns" to have a disco. To be honest, I only remember two records being played because the supply was somewhat limited. One of those was the so-bad-it's-bad novelty record by Joe Dolce. Nowadays, I pull anyone up for suggesting that "Shaddap Your Face" was by Joe Dolce, when any quizzer worth their salt knows it was the Joe Dolce Music Theatre who foisted such nonsense on an unfussy record-buying public. Of course, as kids we didn't know any better, and we enjoyed the pidgin Italian and joined in while telling each other to "Shaddap Your Face". I still have that song on a K-Tel album called "Chartblasters '81". I don't play it much, except for Susan Fassbender's "Twilight Cafe".
The other record, the one that always transports me back to 1981, was the velvety, lusciousness of Barbra Streisand's Bee Gees' written and produced "Woman in Love". Even for a 14-year old I was very tall. So much so that when I asked Teresa Black to dance she had to stand on one of the many plastic chairs hugging the wall of the tiny living room as we swayed, clenched, from side to side. This was somewhat awkward although with it being a "slow record" we wouldn't have done more than shuffle awkwardly anyway. These days mooning takes on rather different connotations but back in the day that's what we called slow dancing. The erection section would, ahem, come much later. From memory Teresa had dark, straight hair and a lazy eye and a brother who loved to wear Adam Ant's war paint on his face.
Even after our family moved away from the Army houses and closer to the centre of Bonnyrigg, my brother and I would walk the mile or so to the "disco". I even got a kiss one night, but not from Teresa; this Lothario was playing the field albeit one without a big slope and cow dung.