19 May 2012

Village

Village? That was the name of the rock band I was in between 1970 and 1972. I was the lead singer. We played many gigs - mostly in East Yorkshire. Youth clubs, village dances, school dances, working men's clubs, back rooms of pubs. We were helped by the youth club leader in  my village - Tom Harrison. He became our manager and had great powers of persuasion.

In fact, the newspaper photograph above was taken at the village youth club where for promotion purposes we met the Scottish popstar Lulu. She's there in the middle between our drummer Colin Wood, and Alan Benson, our bassist. At the back you see our rhythm guitarist - John Brocklebank on the left, seventeen year old me in the middle and our wizard lead guitarist Jock Hornby on the right. I was the only one who had stayed on at school to do A levels. The others had all left Hornsea Secondary Modern at fifteen and had daytime jobs that involved working with their hands - proper jobs in other words.

Our sets consisted of a mixture of old favourites given the Village treatment - "Black Night", "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", "Summertime Blues", "All Along the Watchtower", "Alright Now" etc. and original numbers that Jock and I had worked on together before trying them out with the rest of the band. He brought the melody and I brought the words.

Back then, I just loved it up there on the stage. I never felt nervous - confident in my own ability as a rock singer and in the musicality of the other lads. Yes - there was an element of ego-tripping about it all but so what? Where ever we went we were appreciated. In the excitement at one particular village hall gig, a mass brawl erupted in front of us and we had to cower  backstage till the storm had died down and the main perpetrators had been ejected.

The others were keen to give up their jobs and go professional. There were plans for a record deal and for a summer residency in a Swedish holiday centre. It was all going swimmingly and then I dropped the bombshell  that I'd be leaving to become a volunteer teacher in Fiji. Tom Harrison was not a happy bunny. Maybe he saw himself as the new Brian Epstein.

Of course, I have often wondered what might have been if I'd stuck with the band and turned my back on the unique teaching opportunity I had been given. Like most ordinary young people in those far off days, I'd never been on an aeroplane before. I'll be fifty nine later this year but I'm only now starting to accept that the rock star career I once dreamt of will never happen. It's over, gone.

13 comments:

  1. Cute hairstyle, YP!! The further we travel through life, the more 'might have beens' there are but, had you continued on that road, maybe you wouldn't have married Shirley and had your lovely son and daughter. Wouldn't it be fascinating if there was a way of finding out how an alternative life choice would have worked out!

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  2. JENNY That would be fascinating for sure. I've always thought that the sentiment behind Edith Piaf's "No Regrets" is plain stupid. Having regrets is normal as long as we don't wallow in them at the expense of the here and now and what's going to happen tomorrow.

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  3. Goodness. What a fascinating insight into the blogger I've come to know. To extend Jenny's idea, wouldn't it be great if along the way(s) we could have split off from ourselves, and chosen other paths simultaneously. And then maybe joined back together at a certain prearranged date in the future. My brain would be bursting with all the different things I would have done!
    One lifetime is not enough!

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  4. Have you ever seen that film "Sliding Doors"? It explores that "what if" scenario very well.
    Do you just sing in the shower these days?
    Cheers

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  5. KATHERINE It's all so random. Sometimes you don't even know that the directions you picked at certain crossroads would alter the character and course of your life. Yes - one lifetime is not enough - sounds like the title of a new James Bond film!
    HELEN You're right to remind us of "Sliding Doors" - it does explore that tormenting "What if..." that is in all of us. Once in a while I might sing in the shower and perhaps soon "I'll pick up my guitar and play just like yesterday" though I haven't addressed it in months now.

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  6. and now you just sing for your supper! How the mighty have.... well, moved sideways (to put a modern spin on it) - music's loss was surely education's great gain mister pudding..... and if you were a Rick Wakemanesque rock star that made us all poo ourselves at your gigs by producing brown noise.... well that'd all be great but we wouldn't be able to read all these blogs without the teachers...... sounds like that pink floyd song where those unbearably chirpy children were harping on about "not needing no education" whereby they were clearly expressing double negatives.... most certainly implying that they did indeed need education!! You can rest easy in that knowledge... I think!

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  7. ARCTIC FUX Thanks for your unusual take on this post. I always detested the spirit of that Pink Floyd song. Teachers are generally "for" children - wanting to bring out the best in them.

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  8. In some alternate reality, another YP turned his back on Fiji and went off with the band to Sweden, released a single on an independent label that crashed the top ten for 26 weeks,had a few minor follow-up hits before being overtaken by shifting fashions and now scrapes a living by playing the northern working men's club circuit.

    So perhaps you're better off after all!

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  9. SHOOTING COMMON SENSE "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it."

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  10. Ahhh fascinating! I've always hated that Pink Floyd song which was haunting the charts just as I started teaching. Grrrrrr.

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  11. You're right, that is one Lulu of a photograph. Except for the moustache on that Brocklebank bloke, I thought at first that everyone in it was female.

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  12. RHYMES You need to visit your optician. Didn't Samson have long hair? And come to think of it - Jesus too!

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  13. Making the most of your mention of teaching abroad, I'll quickly grab the opportunity to put in a mild request - not like me to beg, but I would be forever grateful if the wifi connection in blogland holds up, if you'd chance to read or even comment on, my latest post, about where English learning is failing here, in Catalonia. Hopefully you might have another angle on it, from the oriental experience you have! Thanks!!

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