MJ kindly requested an excerpt from my ongoing autobiography which I am currently doing instead of getting off my arse and finding a job like the benefit scrounger I am. So here is a bit I wrote yesterday, a taster for the best-seller it is sure to be, giving a glimpse of the tragedy to come which would divide our happy nuclear family forever, oh spare me the violins!
80s pop was beginning to break out of its gloomy shell and bright young things were getting more and more outlandishly dressed and fresh-faced. At about the same time in the NME there were articles on two new bands, ABC and Haircut 100. I thought ABC’s cycling outfits were ridiculous and the Haircuts had nice jumpers and sensibly high-slung guitars and were more becoming of the modern pop star. Michael was of the opposite opinion. So I chose Haircut 100 as my prediction to be the next big thing and he chose ABC. This was before either of us had heard a note of their music.
If we’d been kids, ten years younger and more boisterous, maybe we’d have had a fight to decide it like the Gary Glitter boy and the Marc Bolan boy. But we didn’t even have a bet as we knew pop music was to be enjoyed, not to get into arguments about. I have never judged someone by their musical tastes, maybe some light teasing about Cliff Richard or Wet Wet Wet, but as with your football team, I don’t mind who you support as long as you don’t force me to experience them.
So who won between the two bands? ABC were the more popular, I’d say, and made more money. But Martin Fry is still doing those chicken-in-a-basket 80s nostalgia tours whereas Nick Heyward is known as one of the greatest thinkers of his generation and is always being asked for quotes on a whole myriad of subjects.
I was totally bored with my course by now. I’d chosen the wrong subject for the second year in Econometrics with its particularly pointless equations. But I was still there, hanging on, not wanting a job. I needed something to tip me over the edge and make me give up.
It was the day I bought the 12 inch single of ABC’s Poison Arrow. I’d cycled to Cloud 9, all the way to heaven, and back and played it and added it to my growing collection of pretentious early 80s 12 inchers. It was a Saturday evening. I’d had my chips and was settled down in front of Match of the Day. My mum and sister were in bed and me and my dad were watching the football, him shouting out the usual ‘It’s “one-all”, not “one-one!”’ at the blasphemous commentators and ‘Don’t tickle it, it won’t laugh!’ at the hapless “fanny” players. My dad was quite sober that night. A usual night would involve me leaving him downstairs at 11 p.m. so he could eat his one meal of the day in peace, his boiled hearts or kidneys or other muck straight out of the saucepan he’d cooked them in. I’d wake up a couple of hours later to the sound of the television’s high pitched tone, I’d come downstairs, see the red dot in the middle of the screen and turn off the TV. He’d be slumped in his armchair, mouth open, snoring like a good’un and I’d shake him awake with difficulty and coax him to go to bed. Once I came downstairs after being woken up by the TV and found him drowsily pissing into the kitchen sink. When I told him he was disgusting he said his dad used to regularly spit in the sink and spitting in the sink was much more unhygienic than pissing in the sink. I begged to differ but I wasn’t going to make a scene.
His pissing wasn’t confined to the toilet and the sink, however. Once he had a slash out of the bedroom window and woke my mum up. I don’t know if he told her that his dad used to spit out of the bedroom window and pissing out of it was more hygienic, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
So, there we were, father and son watching the football, a happy picture of family male bonding. And the phone rang. He got up so quickly I guessed he had been expecting the call. And he was sober. I heard the mufflings of a short conversation coming from the hallway and he came back in and told me he had to go out.