Monday, July 17, 2006

Summer 76

Simon started it, Reidski joined in and Lisacontributed too so that has left me feeling left out and with a burning desire to drone on about the summer of '76 that I remember.

It was my third summer living in Skegness. I was going out with an idiot but I was too softhearted to finish with him so much of the summer, which in my memory went on for ever, was spent trying to avoid him, and in a small town like Skeg that took a bit of doing. Also, he had a car and I realised that if I finshed with him I would have to go back to walking to school rather than have him picking me up and taking me.

I was out late every night in the summer, usually at the truly dreadful Sands Showbar. We always moaned about the place but when there was no option - and there was no option - that was where we went. Hits that summer included 'Don't go Breaking My Heart' and 'Dancing Queen'. They were played endlessly by a D.J with an afro haircut (think Scouser style), a hairy chest, a medallion, and no musical taste. My endless pleas for David Bowie would have been a total waste of breath except that I knew how much me asking for Bowie wound him up. The holiday makers would chat us up. They either supported Wednesday, United (Sheffield variety), or Forest. They wore trousers and jackets usually worn for Northern Soul nights as illustrated :

We thought they looked like knob heads which was the insult of the times.

Shawaddy-waddy played live one night at the Sands Showbar. That counted as a highlight.

I didn't have to get to my summer job till about 11 which was just as well given all those late nights. I worked in a garden shed constructed at minimal expense in Winthorpe, just up the coast from Skegness and right opposite Derbyshire Miners Holiday Home.

I sold seaside snaps of holiday makers. I had actually started that summer taking the snaps but the uniform was bad for my image. It was a jacket of red, green, blue and yellow stripes. It was the summer before contact lenses which was why I took the photo of the rather portly lady in her bikini. It wasn't until I handed her her ticket with which to collect her lovely picture that I realised her right nipple had slipped out from under her bikini. I heard later she bought the thing...hopefully to destroy it for ever. Anyway, I went into 'management' which meant the shed and pissing around all day with mates who popped over to see me and chat. My friend Janice took pictures. We had 'props' to encourage people to have their photo taken. One was a bright pink four foot high octopus and another was a giant Wrigley Spearmint pack. They got the punters flocking as you can imagine. I sat on a chair out the back most of the days and got the best suntan of my life that year. The only aggravation I had to face was the ladybird plague. For a few weeks my shed walls were red with black spots, not wooden at all. We made sod all money for the company but we still got paid.

Janice told me all about Kings College Uni in London and how brilliant it was. She made my future clear to me. I was going to go to Kings College Uni, London to study history. I was sorted. Well, how was I to know at that time that to do that course at that university required a Latin A Level?

And then it was over and I was back in my bottle green school uniform for my last year. But the weather was still good and I worked out walking to school was a better option than going out with the idiot so I used the 'I have so much school work to do' excuse and he was so much history. As was my ambition to go to Kings five minutes after my careers teacher fished out the University Entrance Requirement book.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Nicely told Jane. I was in the USA throughout the summer of 76 and I hardly saw any telly there till sometime in early July I was at somebody's house party and I saw images of Wimbledon on the screen. The grass was scorched and the commentator spoke of the "sweltering" summer England was enjoying.
And Skeggie. It always makes me smirk snobbishly when Sheffield schoolkids tell me they are going to stay in their auntie's caravan in Skeggie. Far out! Such culture! Such pristine clear seas! Such delightful cuisine! Sheffield-By-The-Sea. No thanks! I'm off to Turkey at the end of this month and then Berlin at the end of August. You can keep your bracing Skeggie with its jolly ruddy fisherman!

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Awh that's a really sweet tale well told JJ. Really evocative.

Reidski said...

Nice one, JJ. And that picture of you in the uniform ... any pics?

Moo said...

I cant say anything about '76, I wasnt born until 9 yrs later!!

Nat said...

I was born in '76. Right in the middle of the heatwave (next month is my thirtieth....yipppeee)

My poor mum!

ps I'm back...

Elle said...

Lovely told. I don't think I would be able to remember that time in my life in so much detail. It must have been quite a year.

J.J said...

But YP, Skegness is SO bracing doncha know?

Lisa, it was the best of times, it, actually it really was the best of times (until very recently;-) ).

Reidski, remember your blood pressure! Oh but of course, it is perfect according to your recent medical so I might risk showing you my school photos. Scary though they may be.

Moo, I am now trying to remember what I was doing in 1985.

Nat! You are back - hooray! And yes, POOR Sparkle being pregnant then.

Laura, thank you.Funny how that particular summer does stand out in my memory.

George Walks said...

I was born in the summer of 76 and all I really know about it was that carrying the yet-to-be-born me made things a little uncomfy for me mam. Nice blog J.J, could I put your good self on my blog-roll?


J.J said...

George, I would be honoured...thank you.
And I am still smiling at your stroy about that strange foreign object in the skies over East Coast Scotland!