It’s 11pm, “Beck” (my Saturday night BBC4 Scandi fix) is finished and I’m being transported back to September 1986 with TOTP. I’ve been singing at the top of my voice to The Communards and “Don’t leave me this way”. (Who knew that Richard Coles would end up as a Rev and be so funny?) So the 80s weren’t all bad!
Elton John has always been a favourite of mine and, watching the EltonJohnLewis advert has given me the feeling of watching my own life unroll backwards. I picture myself at the same age as Elton when he recorded “Your Song” in 1970; the same year as the first of his albums that I bought, “Tumbleweed Connection”.
I’m rushing ahead. It’s 1962, I’d passed some GCE’s, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and, at 15, I wasn’t old enough to leave school. So I was heading for 6th form.
But this was the holidays. I’m trying to remember where Mum and I went. I know that there were only a couple of Bridlington holidays. In 1961 we went to Ireland. We flew!! It was a short hop from Yeadon Airport (now Leeds Bradford) to Dublin to stay with mum and dad’s friends – and my godparents – who had returned to live there a few years earlier. The had a printing business near Dun Laoghaire. Their son had a motorbike and he took me for a ride on it. I thought he was cool. On the way back, we had to circle the airport several times because the landing gear was stuck!!
A bit of research about the airport tells me that it first opened in 1931, with scheduled internal flights starting up as the 30s progressed. Having been a military aerodrome during WW2, civil flights began again in 1947. The Dublin route had not long been established when we took our first ever flight.
We had two holidays, I think, in London and Southsea with Susan and her grandma. These seemed terribly sophisticated, compared to the Bridlington B&B, as we travelled to London by train, then on to Southsea where we stayed in a hotel. After a week or so of sea air, fancy bathing costumes and sunburn, we spent a few days sightseeing in London before returning home by Pullman!
Before I go (TOTP has been replaced by something called “Guitar Heroes Part IV” and I have to say that few of them were heroes of mine! Well, some of the clips are from “The Old Grey Whistle Test” and I haven’t changed my opinion that some of the performances were somewhat self-indulgent) I can’t talk about EltonJohnLewis without also mentioning Iceland’s Christmas advert. I am proud that I am among the many people who shared it across social media so that it has got the publicity it deserves. It’s a fact that palm oil is responsible for the destruction of so much of the orang-outan’s habitat and I’m sad that it was felt that the message of the advert was “too political” for viewing on TV.