“Feeling rather strange when you’re sixteen againP. Shelley / Buzzcocks
Things don’t seem the same the past is so plain
This future is our future this time’s not a game
This time you’re sixteen again”
“You know Bill, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years, sometimes you gotta say ‘What the fuck, make your move’”. Yes, it’s an average movie, but in 1983 when I heard that sentence uttered by 20-year-old Tom Cruise in Risky Business it became a life motto of mine. I like my life’s mottos. Another is “what goes around comes around”.
Forty years ago I was a 17-year-old specky fresh-faced youth, a punk with the attitude but without the haircut and, I admit, a collector. I had a big choice to make. It was May 1979 and having stayed on to the end of sixth year of school I’d run out of time and hurtled to a life crossroads. Some of my mates were going on to free university education (still free in Scotland to this day) but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.
All I knew was that I loved music and record collecting. So like any habit I needed money to feed it. My mum, who worked part-time in a post office, suggested I apply to join a bank – “it’s decent wages and a job for life“. Thatcher came to power on 3 May that year and hammered a nail in the coffin of careers for life, but nevertheless I was lucky enough to be one of the last school-leavers Bank of Scotland took on for many years. I joined their Bridgeton Cross branch in the shadow of Celtic Park and loyalist pubs. (As an aside, “decent wages” in a bank was minimum wage, just like it still is for anyone starting work in a bank on the bottom rung).
And so I fulfilled my goal of earning money to go to gigs, football matches and feeding my music consumption.
I’ll be hanging up my spreadsheet shortly and changing career direction. I’m still specky but not so fresh-faced. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve continued to love my music. One of my favourite bands was Buzzcocks, Another Music in a Different Kitchen being an all-time favourite LP and I loved their DIY punk ethic to release Spiral Scratch. But it’s the lyric from Sixteen Again on their second LP Love Bites that keeps nagging away at me this morning.
I’ll be posting blogs about lyrics, songs, albums and gigs that mean a lot to me. It would be fun if you’d like to follow them and share your thoughts, personal recollections and even disputes. Music tastes are not the same. Thank goodness.
So, “what goes around comes around“. Following a chance encounter (a story for another blog) I’ll be dipping a toe in the music business. Then I can keep having fun, keep buying records, and feeling sixteen again.