I had a happy childhood, I really didn’t want to grow up, many will say that I still haven’t really. After listening to Barbara’s records I drifted into an obsession with football and supporting Ipswich Town Football Club. The first game I went to was in 1967, Ipswich v Middlesbrough, Middlesbrough won 2-1. Mr Green, who was the Dad of my Sister’s friend Gillian took me. I stood on an upturned milk crate and waved a rattle, both of these items are no longer allowed in grounds I believe, but back then it was standing only, and without the crate I would have seen very little.
There was music there too. Ipswich used to run on to the pitch to Entry Of The Gladiators, a military march normally associated with the clowns at the circus, but nevertheless I thought it was so dramatic and added to the whole wonderful atmosphere of the occasion.
My then brother-in-law John, who was married to my older sister Janet, had a season ticket (a seat!) and very occasionally, when his Dad couldn’t make it, he would take me. On one occasion, in the early seventies the ground’s tannoy system was playing pre match pop music and I clearly remember them playing something by Slade, it could have been Coz I Luv You - (Slade always deliberately misspelt their titles) and I commented to my Brother-in-law that I really liked this song. He sagely replied that in a few years time I wouldn’t like it anymore.
I am not sure whether I took this to be a challenge, but I really couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t still like it. Anyway, that was over forty five years ago, and I still like it. So there!
I was ten years old when I went to my first football match with Mr.Green but later when I was about twelve I started going to football with my buddy Robert. We used to go round each other’s houses and play Subbuteo which was a football game which you played by flicking little plastic figures around on a green baize cloth; we would spend hours doing this. I wasn’t listening to much music then. One day that all changed.
Robert had an older Sister called Sandy and she had records, A box of LP’s that all seemed to have scary covers and weird and wonderful names. Blodwyn Pig, Jethro Tull, The Nice etc. When Robert showed me the Black Sabbath album with its weird pattern in the middle that made your eyes go crazy when you stared at it going round and round on the turntable,and then heard those opening of ‘War Pigs’ with its air raid sirens and those dark crashing chords I was hooked.
After getting roughed up by football hooligans a few times at Portman Road I decided I didn’t want to go to football anymore, I wanted to listed to this music. It was known as Progressive Music back then, the terms Prog Rock and Heavy Metall hadn’t really been invented, another reason why I hate the term ‘genre’. The word Genre is simply French for the word Type. It’s just pretentious and pointless.
These were the beginning of my formative years, puberty, acne, greasy hair, I hated it, but I loved the music, it was 1970-ish and I was about to start buying records. The slippery slope I have been sliding gleefully down ever since.