Yesterday we took the train to the coast. I used to drive to the coast but I get too tired nowadays on longer journeys than a few miles.
The train to Hastings was air conditioned. The air conditioning smelt of sweat but what do you expect in standard class?
Our nostrils were not given a rest all day. Toilets, fish, chips, fish 'n' chips, fish 'n' piss, barbecued meat, the wonderful smells of our seaside resorts.
As usual in Hastings, I decided to head for the cliffs. Except this time I couldn't find the way up. My memory's not what it was. So we turned back from the full car park and headed for St Leonards.
Past the burnt down pier, the people's pier, we walked along the prom prom prom, past sunbathers, lone young men with guitars, a group of people singing Tainted Love, big men cooking meat on barbecues and many lager drinkers. It was St George's Day and your racist little Englander would have been disgusted by the ethnic diversity on show, families from differing backgrounds brazenly enjoying themselves on a beautiful day on a relaxed not-too-crowded beach. Of course the pictures in the papers always show young blondes on Brighton or Bournemouth beaches on work days with unseasonally hot weather or a sea of bodies on the same two beaches on weekends or bank holidays.
Brighton and Bournemouth, young blondes splashing with joy.
What's wrong with a tattooed drunk with 9% lager and a pitbull snarling at the camera, UK Subs and The Vibrators at the local pub and chips gorged in their thousands?
1976 was a pivotal year in the history of pop music. Top of the Pops didn't speak to the kids, it was full of acts yer gran liked. Our Kid! The Old Grey Whistle Test was all West Coast hippy nonsense. Noodle noodle noodle. The kids' older brothers' music. There was nothing for the kids. Nothing I tell you.
Britain was ready for an explosion, a revolution, a movement the kids could really get excited by. It was about getting back to basics, the roots of rock 'n' roll, "here's a chord, here's another chord, now go and form a band."
Punk took the nation by storm. The kids were united and they would never be divided. They spat, they pogoed, they took drugs that made them spit and pogo, they called Bill Grundy a dirty old man, the kids were public enemy numbers one to a million and adults didn't know what to do, they were running scared, they were holed up with their James Last and Judge Dread albums, throwing their car keys into the middle of the room, hoping to God for some middle aged thrills with Brenda from number 7 as Brenda's children played their Damned single and threw up out of their bedroom window.
So a time of adult promiscuity and teenage anarchy was raging as Brotherhood of Man took the number one spot with a song about snogging a three year old and God you felt your whole world was on a knife edge as you taped Yes off the radio and snuggled in the corner of the room, big headphones hiding your waxy ears and your dad said "Have you heard about this thing called Punk? Apparently they can't play their instruments."
And you thought what a big deal it all wasn't and 35 years later you can't believe just what a load of shit the media comes out with about nineteen bloody seventy-six.