Poorboy Shuffle

(Willie and the Poorboys post, part 2)

I promised in an earlier blog that I would finish the story of my first band – since then I’ve got back in touch with the drummer from that band, who has a treasure trove (well, in my eyes at least – you may well think, in the wonderfully descriptive words that I recall my dear dad frequently using about my musical enthusiasms, that ‘bag o’ shite’ is more appropriate) of photos of us live on stage and rehearsing which I’ve been posting on Facebook. These have certainly triggered the memory banks, and aside from incredulity at hair (like, long), trousers (flaaaaared) and just how ‘early 70’s’ it all looks (and I suppose should, as yes, it actually was the early 70’s…) it’s astonishing me just how warm and pleasing those memories are.

We’ve also exchanged e-mails about the songs we used to perform which has prompted me to revisit some of my own favourites from the era. Last night was a Badfinger night (criminally under-rated, blah blah blah etc), tonight I am indulging in a little bit of Cream. Yes, I know they broke up in 1968, which of course is the 60’s, but in the days before the internet news took a very long time to reach the far north of Scotland. For example, I didn’t realise Buddy Holly had died until 1975, during a visit to Inverness. Hearing the news in a pub conversation there, that is, not that he had died whilst in Inverness (…or did he? They have an airport and an ice rink, which are two vital parts of the tragic story… and they often have blizzards there…). Back then, carrier pigeon was the usual method that we received urgent news by, with the added bonus that you could not only shoot the messenger if the news was bad, but also enjoy them in a pie afterward. Try doing that with an e-mail. Actually don’t, please. You may well electrocute yourself, or indeed take your eye out.

Did your mum ever seek to curtail your fun with that one?

‘Don’t run with those garden shears, you might fall and take your eye out…’
‘Careful with that can opener, you’ll take your eye out if you’re no’ canny…’*
‘Michty, watch that stick of rhubarb, it’ll have your eye out if you’re no’ careful…’
‘Put that hand held rocket launcher down please young man, or you’ll have all our eyes out…’
Other potential eye removers were –
Corners of tables. Pencils, pens, knitting needles and fenceposts. Spoons. Doorknobs. Comics (rolled up). Toothbrushes. Barrett’s Sherbet Dips (two hazards here – the lollipop-type dip, with a thin and lethal stick that could not only blind, but penetrate the brain, and the thick liquorice tube in a sherbet fizz which could cause untold ophthalmic damage). Lemonade bottles. Jigsaw puzzle pieces. Actually I’m not sure about the last one. Maybe not your eye, but definitely a tooth. I know, I can prove it. I practiced dental surgery on my younger sister with just such an implement when I was around 10 and she about 8, and removed (without pain relief) a perfectly healthy back tooth. Boy did she bleed.

Sorry, I have gone completely off the subject. What was it again?

Ah yes, the 70’s.

I think I’ll come back when I have my sensible head on, if that’s ok with you….

*Scottish humour