I often have a look at the website of "The Hull Daily Mail" based in the city of my childhood - Kingston-upon-Hull in Yorkshire's East Riding. I never lived in Hull but it was my city. It was the commercial, cultural and sporting magnet for all outlying towns and villages. And of course it was the home of my beloved Hull City A.F.C..
At the age of eleven, I passed the critical Eleven Plus examination with flying colours. My score won me a free scholarship to a prestigious direct grant school in which 90% of the boys paid termly fees - well, their families did anyway.
That September I began travelling to and from Hull city centre by public bus. It was a journey of some forty minutes. Every morning I had to get from Paragon Station to the posh school which was a further mile. Along Ferensway and then all the way down Spring Bank, past "The Polar Bear" pub then over the railway crossing and left past the cemetery till Hymers Avenue came into view.
Many was the time I walked or jogged down Spring Bank. It was all low rise and flat and an inner city artery that had seen better days. In 1965 there was still evidence of World War II bomb damage. "The Polar Bear" was where I first bought a pint of bitter, dressed in school uniform. I must have been fifteen. Also on Spring Bank, in a seedy bookshop I bought my first soft porn magazine. It was second hand and called "Parade". I studied it with the kind of intense interest that I could never muster for Physics, Chemistry or Maths.
In "The Hull Daily Mail" today there was a special photo album showing old photos of Spring Bank. It brought back a number of memories but there was one particular photograph that caught my eye because it looked so odd. It was taken in 1982 in the "Gimmikz" hair salon. Hairdresser Simon is "beautifying" customer Andrea's hair but there's an optical illusion going on.
It is as if Simon has plunged his arm into the back of Andrea's head. The expression on his face is slightly menacing - like a magician who is about to saw a woman in half but Andrea seems perfectly happy with the arrangement:-
Funny how when we look back at things , it's hard to believe such things ever happened. You had a long journey to get to school.ReplyDelete
The journey there and back added two hours to my day. That is a lot for a young lad.Delete
Simon was a looker. I can imagine many young women appreciated his . . touch.ReplyDelete
Afterwards they would play chess on the floor.Delete
She seems rather content with his hand in her cranium!ReplyDelete
I am glad you see the illusion too Bob.Delete
I see the illusion, I also see the edge of the shaved section of Andrea's head :)ReplyDelete
The Polar Bear Pub looks a wonderful old building. It's a shame there wasn't a connecting bus to get you from stop A to stop B, (the school), I imagine one would have been welcome during the cold and snowy months. At least you got plenty of exercise!
Well, there was a connecting bus River but if you just missed one you would have another twenty minutes to wait.Delete
Some very dubious hairstyles. It is a strange photo indeed. Nice memories of yours. I remember that magazine.ReplyDelete
I remember Sharon Powers. She was in the magazine I bought. Lovely lass.Delete
I wonder what Simon and Andrea say if they open the paper and find their own youthful selves looking at them like that.ReplyDelete
Do you sometimes walk familiar routes in your head when you can't sleep, such as the way from the station to your school? I have a few such walks I sometimes repeat in my mind. It usually works very well.
Yes. I have done that. Better than counting sheep.Delete
Spring Bank must have been impressive in its heyday. It's a bit seedy now. Did you ever consider taking the Hornsea to Hull train, getting off at Botanic Gardens which was the station at the railway gates on Spring Bank?ReplyDelete
My late brother Paul sometimes used to do that from Skirlaugh but I am pretty sure that by the autumn of 1965 it was not possible. By the way, Hymers College occupies what was once the site of Hull's Botanic Gardens.Delete
For a moment, I thought you were showing us a photo of yourself in another of your holiday jobs!ReplyDelete
I have done many bad things but bad hairstyles is not one of them Carol!Delete
I wonder if children who have to make such an effort to get to school take their studies more seriously?ReplyDelete
I love that picture of Mr. Simon and Andrea! They both look well pleased!
I was very unhappy there. It was not the right learning environment for me.Delete
Weirdly, I had a friend in University in the 80's named Andrea with that exact same hair cut. She had the dark permed hair, cut short but fluffed up, with a skunk stripe down the middle. Her hair caused a stir wherever she went. I was more conservative with my hair back then. I wore killer vintage clothes though...ReplyDelete
Skunk style? I thought it was badger style. I bet you looked sooooooo cool Melinda!Delete
Ye strolled un-sheepishly into the Seedy Bookshop, reached for the Girly Magazine on the Top Shelf and paid One Shilling and Sixpence.ReplyDelete
A true Grammar Schoolboy looking for Vicarious Experience?
There was a great bookshop in Glasgow, John Smith and Sons in Saint Vincent Street, now a hamburger joint.
Long ago I strolled into John Smith's one Saturday morning in summer, wishing to purchase the new paperback novel by John Broderick, a serious Irish writer.
To my shock the novel's cover showed a bonny young women in her boudoir, wearing nothing on top but a lacy French brassiere, or brazier as we lads used to say.
The only shop assistant at the cash till was a gorgeous young lady who bore an uncanny resemblance to the model on the book's cover.
Everyone else must have been across the road, enjoying their morning coffee break in the Danish Food Centre.
My determination to pay the required 35 pence for this important Irish novel necessitated further trips to John Smith's, staffed mainly by attractive girls, until I noticed a cash till manned by a man.
He took one look at the paperback, grinned wolfishly and said: *Ye don't see many sexy covers like this these days, do you?*
The sad epilogue to this story is that John Broderick was a guilt-ridden alcoholic homosexual.
One would not have known it from the cover or content of his witty well-observed novel of Irish manners.
The moral of this story is that you liked mucky books too!Delete
That is some very '80s hair! He DOES look a bit evil, like the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. (Or Spring Bank!)ReplyDelete
I can't imagine being able to buy a pint at 15. I'm also cringing at the idea of a second-hand porn magazine (even softcore).
The magazine was a bit stained. Coffee drips I presume.Delete
Were you a Punk Rocker YP? I was mad on The Stranglers back then.ReplyDelete
I was always just me but others might have said that I was inclined to hippydom.Delete
Well done to get a scholarship to your school! I wonder if your life would have been different if you went to a local school instead.ReplyDelete
It is fun to hear of your "olden days"!
At sixteen I ended up going to the local grammar school I should have attended in the first place. I was much happier there.Delete
Now that the optical illusion has been pointed out, it's all I can see. My eyes were first drawn to that checkerboard floor. I bet the photo wouldn't have the same impact in color.ReplyDelete
You are right Kelly. The strange illusion requires black and white.Delete
I like retracing old steps. I suspect that is why some of my favorite pictorial books are ones showing photos taken at exact locations but many decades apart.ReplyDelete