Wednesday, November 7, 2012

1980: He finds it hard existing

It had been a tough couple of years, but at last there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel.

Having been made redundant in early '79, Dad - in a John's with me, Ian's with me, and we've got the backing sort of way, only solo - had decided to go it alone. He doesn't even like it to be mentioned now, but he did his best. However, it wasn't easy, it was a lot of work for one man and despite us all leafleting the whole town and surrounding towns, work wasn't exactly flooding in. And when it did come everything else had to be put on hold.

Our holiday to the Isle of Wight in the summer of '79 (see - oh, I've not written that yet, but it'll be Money by the Flying Lizards when it comes), saw just me, my brother and my mum renting Nob and Bob's cottage for a week and dad back on the mainland working.

So he'd given it his best shot. But now it was time to go back to doing what he did best. He landed a job on a magazine with Middle Eastern connections, but it wasn't to last and redundancy was beckoning again.

Meeting up with some friends one evening who worked in Abu Dhabi, and hearing about their very different and exotic lifestyle, the seed was sown. And soon enough a job was landed in Bahrain.

So by the autumn of 1980 it was all systems go. We moved house to a nasty turn of the Eighties new build that could be easily let out, with its bare wood window frames and split level garage. Dad would go out there in December, then mum would stay here with me while I finished off my last year at school and did my O levels and then would follow the next year.

The day he left I caught my granny lifting up her glasses and wiping tears from her eyes. Though it was but a seven-hour flight, at her age it was unlikely she'd see very much of him in the future. (Though they came home often she only ever visited once, at Christmas '82). And what about us? Though he travelled for work and was away quite a bit, it had only ever been for a few days at a time.

He came home for Christmas that year and then I didn't see him again for four months. When we met him at the airport I suddenly felt rather shy of him, and I could see by the look on his face he was horrified. In the interim he called a lot, but there was that awful delay thing, and we wrote him lots of letters. It was exciting and distressing at the same time. This was my first big life change.

Anyway, this song startled me. It was so avant garde, I'd never seen or heard anything like it before. I remember early into our tenure at this new house a piece on Newsnight about the Blitz kids (yes, you). The whole word was changing. Music was changing. My world was changing.

In retrospect, not before time. Well, give it a few years maybe.


  1. Who, me?

    I'd have passed it all up for a chance of some exotica like you describe. What excitement, despite all the upheaval.

  2. And I'd so happily have swapped places with you. Ironic, isn't it?