Wednesday, June 8, 2011

1981: We were two souls torn apart with bitter ages

At least I think that's how it goes.

I couldn't bring myself to listen to Imagination's debut hit Body Talk for ages, as it always reminded me of doing my O levels. Yes, exam time, and because you're ensconced in your bedroom, ahem, "revising' you hear a LOT of radio.

This, Ai No Corrida by Quincy Jones and There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop by Kirsty MacColl are the three songs that most remind me of this dreadful time.

This was an unsettling period for me. Dad had gone to Bahrain in November 1980 to start work, with mum and my brother due to follow once my exams were out the way. I'd spend the summer there and then..?

As a 16-year-old, who would be too old for the school in Bahrain, what other options were there? Relatives were not an option, mum wasn't going to stay here just for me and I absolutely would not hear of boarding school. So a schoolfriend suggested I move in with them and after a few phonecalls it was all sorted out. But it was unsettling. What might the future be like in a post-parents world?

I'd only been away from home once, on a 10-day German exchange in 1980 (blog entry coming soon, BA Robertson fans), and although I'd loved every minute of it, there was an end in sight. Not so this time.

By the time May and June came around I was in full-on non-revising, badly prepared, head elsewhere mode, and exams were just an interruption and inconvenience to my day. We'd moved out of the catchment area which meant a really, really long walk from home to school and vice-versa, and my only thought during exams was to finish them as quickly as I could and get home sharpish. But it did take me past the record shop. However, as previously explained (see entries passim), I was not in a record buying frame of mind, the only one I ever bought was You Drive Me Crazy by Shaky for my brother's birthday. It had a yellow pop-out centre. (What do you call those middles of records?).

Consquently, results were not good. But that's another entry.

So this song, reminds me of waking up to the Simon Bates show, it was hot, this was always on and while it is to me now a rather languid, exotic-sounding Rnb slow burner that just oozes sex, to me back then it was the sound of uncertainty and worry.

Nothing like being a bit dramatic, is there?

Since then I've met Leee John, who shoved a signed photo of himself inside my shirt at the launch of Reborn In The USA, and then again at the birthday party of a friend who'd hired Imagination to do all their hits. I learned to love this song at last.

Everything turned out alright in the end, as it always does.


  1. Ooh, it all seems very dramatic and turbulent. (Your teenage life, I mean, not Body Talk.)

    Imagination turned out a load of brilliant dance-pop hits, but I fear all the glitter and bodysuits means they'll forever be regarded as a bit of a joke. Shame.

  2. My, you had to grow up fast. No wonder you resisted it. That song reminds me of a party in Essex, and avoiding a bloke called Glen who wanted to take me to see Grover Washington Junior. It was dawning on me that I would have to get away. And not just from Glen.

  3. Spindle Adaptors, Spindles for the fitting around, they are.

    Imagination and those other tracks you mention for me means 'A' Levels, and the last remnants of the wreckage of my home life, before I moved away to University. Not that I particularly wanted to go, but it was better than staying put.

    Ah, Unhappy Days!!!