Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy 40th Birthday, Glam Rock! My 1972 Diary

Happy 40th, Glam Rock!  My 1972 Diary

I wrote my first diary in 1972.  Each day had four lines and I struggled to fill them all. Mostly I commented on whether or not I had homework or exams and how much I hated my teachers. (Still do. I'd cheerfully swing for three of four of them, to this day, forty years on.) I believe I was being terse in the diary as I knew my mother would find it and read it. In my other writing I was quite effusive. At the time I was inventing my own world, as kids do, and drawing the maps and inventing the languages to go with it.  But the diary doesn't exactly brand me as a budding Pepys.  I remember my rationale was to write just enough to remind me of the day's emotions. I wonder what I'd have done now with Facebook… instead of swearing at Dinner Ladies and getting detention I'd probably be fulminating against the entire lot of them in rich Yorkshire dialect.

That year saw some major power cuts due to miners' strikes, or at least due to the government response to them (i.e. make people suffer until they hate the miners and pressure them to come back to work). My parents were Tories and happily bigoted about all sorts of people and things, some of which rubbed off on me at that age and some of which luckily didn't.

I'll stick to the relevant things here.  Marc Bolan, Glam Rock and Marc-associated hippiephilia.  Oh, and homework and how much I hated my teachers.

Best of T. Rex, the second Flyback reissue, catalog # TON 2. Also, my diary, a Marc Bolan
special that I think I'll scan in as part of this series, and a scrapbook that is probably too
damaged to do anything with. The world was not overflowing with acid-free paper and archival
glues in 1972, particularly not for a fairly poor teenager.

So far in 1972 I've missed:

January 1st.
Still carrying on the great D. Went to Bradford and got Sleepy Shores finally. [Bruv] came.

[I can't remember what the Great Deception (of my parents) was but it wasn't drugs or sex. Most probably having a friend who was Catholic, Irish, or even gasp! an Irish Catholic. "Sleepy Shores" was a terrible piano tune by Johnny Pearson. My dad loved it. It was the soundtrack to Owen, M.D.]

January 4th.
Went to Heck[mondwike] looking for Lord of the Rings. Would have gone to Dews[bury] but it was closed.  Neither Ride A White Swan nor LOTR.

 [Towns used to close for half a day during the week. Dewsbury probably still does.]

January 15th.
Went to Leeds. Got Flyback 2. Tres good. Must remember to write letter to Marc at the address I know.

[That's the vinyl record pictured above and below, taken today.]

[Look, the writing in the diary matches my nitpicky corrections to the track listing on the
record. Is that 'provenance' and does it make this cheap reissue worth something? Alas I
rather doubt it.]

January 17th.
Told [redacted, a Dinner Lady] to fuck off. Fat [redacted, fellow student] told Nimmo [the headmistress]. Got bawled out.

January 18th.
Nimmo sent a letter [to my parents, about yesterday].

January 19th.
Got to stay on balcony [detention area] every dinner time [lunch time] for a month. Go to bus station after school now.

[Only the worst kids hung around the bus station. Detention made me a juvenile delinquent wannabe within one day.]

January 21st.
Finished art exam. [What the hell is an art exam?] Went on 3rd dinners [late lunch] so I didn't have to do too much work [detention work]. I hate fat [redacted, fellow student].

January 23rd.
Mum wouldn't let me go to Leeds cos of Monday and she thinks I want to run away to London.  Went to Dewsbury, bought Telegram Sam.

[I'm turning into Adrian Mole by this point. ]

January 26th.
Brought Telegram Sam to school.

January 28th
Giving up idea of seeing Marc Bolan. Anyway there's always ? (Added 18 months later: Robert Plant. Footnote Sept. 28 1973.)

January 30th.
Gran came after dinner. Rows etc. Listened to records all night.

January 31st.
Mum and Dad went to see Alley Orchestra so Gran stayed night.

February 5th.
Gran came. Stayed in. Filled in card for Lord of the Rings at the library.

February 6th.
Went to Cheshire, but raining.

February 8th.
Got Lord of the Rings part II out of the school library. Never thought of looking there.

[They didn't have the first book, so I read the second book first.]

February 9th.
Molly [sister] is going to get Gran's furniture.

February 10th.
Very little homework. Molly has got Gran's furniture.

February 14th.
Stayed in bed for ages. Did nothing muching the afternoon [sic]. I still have big D.

February 15th.
Went to Heckwike with Jacky. Saw Fragile [a Yes album] but didn't have enough money to buy it.

February 16th.
No power cuts but I've lost patience with the miners.

February 17th.
Norma came. Borrowed Tutankhamun's book. Went to Leeds, bought Fragile.

February 18th.
Listened to Fragile. We keep getting power cuts. Made a T. Rex scrapbook.

[If any of that book is salvageable, and it most likely isn't, I'll post it on the blog.]

February 19th.
Had chicken and chips at Hart's Head, Giggleswick.

[I was half starved as a kid, and chicken and chips was one of the biggest treats I could imagine.]

February 20th.
Walked halfway to Horton over top. Played in quarry. Very cold went home to a power cut.

[The quarries are a little bigger now than they were then, but you get the picture. Walking miles over
clints and bottomless peat bogs to run around in the blasting areas of the limestone quarries and
play in the blue chemical pools at their bottoms. Ah, seventies childhood. I gather it isn't like that

February 22nd.
Got TON 2 [Best of T. Rex, Flyback 2] back at last. [Where had it been? I forgot to write that down.]

February 23rd.
Vicky lent me 'Beard of Stars'. Great. I like Organ Blues.

[Budding rock critic here, I can tell. My favorite writers at the time were Charles Shaar Murray and Mick Farren. I think they did a better job than I did.]

February 25th.  [This was a Friday, the day the miners' strike ended. Not that I put that in my diary.]
Got SHE finally.  Lovely Marc writing and pictures.

 [That's the magazine I mention here.]

February 26th.
Went to library for Fellowship of the Ring.  [I get to read the first book at last!]

February 27th.
Read most of Lord of the Rings I.

[Read on for what happened to Gran, Mum, Molly and the cast of schoolkids]


Bruv said...

Hi Sis

There weren't any "chemical pools" at the quarries, it was just they were deep and the bottom of them was covered in limestone dust from the processing of the stone into aggregate.


Bruv said...

Hi Sis

Half day closing was Tuesdays for some reason.


Peromyscus said...

CaCO3 is a chemical. We wouldn't say that Cinnabar-roasters aren't using 'chemicals' just because they find a mineral in the ground and burn the rocks to get mercury.

Aggregate may not be quite as nasty to the environment, but those bright blue pools were sterile and dangerous. I don't recall them being deep - five or six feet, I'd say.

Bruv said...

Hi Sis

The rock they were processing in "our" quarry wasn't the limestone, that was up at Horton. Our Quarry was processing the rock underlying the limestone - remember the "unconformity" that was in the Observer book of Geology. It is a "phyllite" and is a type of slightly metamorphised shale or mudstone. I think it falls into the Aluminium Silicate family and due to its relative hardness it is used for the chippings that are rolled into the bitumen they spray on the roads when they can't afford to do a proper resurfacing job!!! It's marvellous what you can recall when you really try.


Peromyscus said...

Well, you learn something every day!

All the pools in all three quarries were the same blue though. I remember dad gaily calling "Blue Lagoon!" every time we passed one as though it was an exciting tropical Elvis movie or something, rather than a scene that might have featured as Mordor in Lord of the Rings.

Peromyscus said...

Also, I thought the Craven Unconformity was the layer of slate on top of the limestone, not what was under the limestone. But I'm not a geologist by any stretch of the imagination so I'm willing to be corrected.

Bruv said...

Hi Sis

Here is a link to a photo of the unconformity, hope it brings back good memories. Limestone above slate underneath.



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