Wednesday, August 10, 2011

1979: It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind

One of my best pals for a few years a boy called Richard. He lived in a modest house but with one exception: he had a swimming pool.

As you came down the hill to his house you could just catch a glimpse, and what a thrill it gave you. We didn't have a swimming pool and none of our neighbours did. My aunt did, but she lived in another town, and the only other one I knew of was an indoor one where my brother learned to swim. So to have a friend with a pool was a prize indeed.

Not that I ever remember going in it more than once. But what I do remember is how much money I was told they had. Despite the small house it was new clothes and cars all round, all the time. Stepfather was a car dealer and seemed to be doing alright. Richard always had the latest leather jackets or Farah slacks, and would chide you if you were wearing a home knit, nasty flares or non-mod parka that dad got in bulk from a sub-Millets warehouse near Shepton Mallet. Nothing like that for him.

I remember his tale of trailing round town buying new clothes after being given (something like) £50 for his birthday. Whatever the sum was, it was a dream to me. I still got 70p pocket money and did three paper rounds.

So on his 14th birthday party I had to buy him something good, and I bought this. It had a blue removable middle and I was so pleased with myself for buying it I threw the bag away and held it, A-side out, for all to see as I walked along the street. I thought it was terribly trendy and therefore so was I for even thinking of buying it. And of course Debbie Harry was the fox du jour.

Anyway, he was thrilled, and we all went to a roller disco. Later in the year we'd go our separate ways as she moved on with the bad crowd and had no time for me. Shame, cos he was always a good laugh. I think he's a car dealer himself now. I bet he's got a swmimming pool. Maybe two.


  1. I hate him.

    The bit about throwing the bag away made me laugh. I like to imagine it was a WH Smith Record and Tape Department paper bag. With jagged edge at the top.

  2. He was called Richard, and he lived in a big house with a pool? Was he 'Pool Hall Richard', then?*

    *only works if you remember obscure Faces singles from the early 70s.