My Favourite Record, aged 7

My mum bought this single in 1969 and it soon became known as “my” record because I played it all the time and would dance around the living room to it, singing the words. I think it’s the first pop record that I had some personal attachment to. I know there were lots more musically-interesting things going on in 1969 but I was only 7 so this kind of catchy Bubblegum Pop was right up my alley. Sadly my first pop music obsession came to an end one terrible day when I left the single on our armchair and accidentally sat on it, breaking it in half. I still remember how upset I was about that.

Because I have such warm memories of “Dizzy” I was a bit peeved by Vic Reeves’ 1991 cover version. As novelty records go it’s not terrible, but it reduces the original to a jokey bit of kitsch which feels to me like he’s taking the piss out of my childhood. The original probably is kitsch to modern ears, but even the cheesiest art can have significance to someone.

Download: Dizzy – Tommy Roe (mp3)

Picture Post

The whiff of nostalgia coming off this photo is as strong as the smell of grease and vinegar probably was in the air.

That lovely little chip shop is glowing with fuggy, frying-tonight warmth, and the kids are a perfect lost-childhood vision of anoraks, jumpers, and bikes, looking so happy with what is probably their Friday night treat. Then there’s the boy sitting on the wall wearing on his feet what we called “basketball boots” that you used to get in Woolworth’s. They were like cheap, generic Converse hi-tops in an era when we didn’t know what Converse were. I spent a large part of my childhood in those so seeing them is really the icing on the memory cake — or the batter on the sausage.

This record makes me glow almost as much as that photo does, some sublime Latin Soul from 1972.

Download: Under The Street Lamp – Joe Bataan (mp3)

Junior Choice

Oof. This one’s a bit heavy.

Download: The Chase – Propaganda (mp3)

Cat People

What is it with the internet and kittens? More of these at The Kitten Covers.

Download: Animal Crazy – Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls (mp3)

Junior Choice

Been a long time since we had any Pauline Murray here so I was very happy when he pulled this one out.

Download: Life’s A Gamble – Penetration (mp3)

Junior Choice

What with Bowie, The Associates and now Robert Fripp he does seem to have a taste for my more avant garde records.

I was never all that keen on Fripp’s Exposure album which I think I only bought (and kept) because I liked the cover. But it does have some nice moments on it like this which I think is better than the version on Gabriel’s first solo album (and has Brian Eno playing synth on it to boot).

Download: Here Comes The Flood – Robert Fripp and Peter Gabriel (mp3)

Junior Choice

He got the hang of this pretty quick, I actually had to stop him pulling too many albums out.

That’s my boy.

Download: What In The World – David Bowie (mp3)

The Tale of Little Ted & Doggie

My mother either threw or gave away nearly every toy I ever owned. All my games, piles of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, my (talking!) Action Man and his extensive wardrobe of uniforms, plus all my Thunderbirds rockets and Captain Scarlet vehicles, my Batmobile, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, and Yellow Submarine, all of which would probably make me enough money to retire on if I still had them.

The only survivors of this ruthless cull are my teddy bear Little Ted and a dog called Doggie (no points for originality there). Little Ted got his name because my sister had a larger teddy bear called Big Ted, though I assume they were both named around the same time because neither of their names would make much sense without the other one, would they? Little Ted is a polar bear and I got him because of Pipaluk, the baby polar bear born at London Zoo in 1967 who caused a bit of a craze among kids at the time and joined the ranks of other celebrity animals at the zoo like Guy The Gorilla and Chi Chi the Panda. Apart from Little Ted I distinctly remember having a Pipaluk badge which I got at the zoo when we went to see him.

40 years later the two of them are sitting on the bookshelf in my living room, a bit ragged and beaten-up (all those fights with Big Ted probably) and probably worth less than one wheel off an old Batmobile, but I obviously didn’t keep hold of them for investment purposes. They’ve survived all this time and escaped my mother’s chucking-out purges because like most little kids I was attached to them in a way that I never was with a toy car — you can’t cuddle up and go to sleep with a Hot Wheels can you? They’re major characters in my childhood and I bet I’m not the only grown man who still has his teddy bear. Not that I still sleep with him or anything.

Download: I’m Your Toy (live) – Elvis Costello (mp3)

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com





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