Glast-no-bury And The Musicography Of One Man #memories

A few days ago we handed our garden to the Vet to have her girlfriends round for a Glast-no-bury get together, the real festival having fallen foul of Covid.

We made a teepee and a rustic bar from some old pallets and a broken gate and the girls decorated the whole shebang. We even made some bunting out of the toilet roll wrappers from our collection of Who Gives A Crap boxes.

As I watched on, socially distanced and some as they danced along to some of the music they might have heard if they’d gone, my mind wandered back to the music, or the lack of it, from my own childhood.

These days, of an evening you might find me dancing around the kitchen to something poppy or rocky that Spotify has thrown out on some playlist or compilation. While I’d be the first to admit to not being completely a la mode with the latest in hippest and hoppest of music, it’s easy to absorb new talent of which there remains as much now as ever. Though let’s be frank here and in the spirit of full disclosure, rap music isn’t… music that is.

But back in the 1960s music barely featured at home. We had neither a record payer, radiogram or any similar type of machine for playing music. We had no records. Until the Archaeologist, a few months older and infinitely more advanced than me as a child, persuaded a parent to buy him a broken 78 HMV record player so he could try and fix it – he’d have been 7 or 8 at the time and I was still struggling with the concept of Lego. He got it going though it lacked any sort of horn to amplify the music. No worries. He made one out of paper. It had to be manually held in place as it had nothing to support it – muggins got that job – but it worked and we could listen to a few grim old 78 records bought from a jumble sale for a few pence. The 1930s was not a great period for music, at least if the crap we acquired was anything to go by.

Obviously some sort of stylus was needed and, innovative as ever, the Archaeologist used a pin from mum’s vast selection, inserting it into his paper horn.

Naturally that eventually led to disaster – I trod on it, the pin broke off in my heel and imbedded itself so deeply that I needed an operation to have it removed. Of course the Archaeologist was upset – I’d broken his delicate construction and he’d have to rebuild it. The fact I was in pain, couldn’t walk, needed my heel cut open and spent ages healing were deemed to be a fair balancing of the scales… no, of course I’m not still bitter.

Eventually I had to buy my own method of playing music. I started with a small transistor, acquired in the early 70s to listen to Radio Luxembourg – 208 metres of joy. Such a rite of passage for the teen. After that I scrimped and saved to acquire a small white stereo player that managed to play both 45s and 33s, though it wasn’t until I reached University that my new found friends pointed out that those numbers were, in the case of my machine, more guidelines than accurate descriptors of the speeds achieved.

Sadly, and I live with this shame still, my lack of a musical role model left me with a blank canvas on which to paint my own musical tastes. What can I say? I’m a soppy hopeless romantic with a tin ear. My first album? Gilbert O’Sullivan followed by the Carpenters. Ok, the Carpenters were more than ok – Karen’s voice remains sublime and Richard’s a pretty mean axeman- but if you’re trying to establish musical credentials circa 1972 amongst your fellow 14 year olds, Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd might have been better choices.

I’m still catching up and living down my past. And it’s fun dancing around the kitchen to George Ezra… even if I still hope no one is looking

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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39 Responses to Glast-no-bury And The Musicography Of One Man #memories

  1. What a wonderful idea and post Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruth says:

    Glast-no-bury is a brilliant idea – I do hope they had fun! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Darlene says:

    I love this post. What a great idea to hold Glast-no-bury. We were lucky to have a lot of music in our lives. We didn’t have a TV so the radio was on all the time in our house. Dad was a huge Country and Western fan so the likes of Johnny Cash, Marty Robins, Gene Autry, Hank Snow and Jim Reeves etc. were heard in our house. Dad bought me a portable record player so I could listen to my Elvis records. Blue Hawaii was my very first LP.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Excellent achievement of the archeologist. Bad luck about your foot. My brother Chris and I used a pin as a stylus in the 1940s. Who is George Ezra?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A great post, Geoff. I remember the story of the pin and it getting stuck in your foot from your book. Lucky you can dance at all after that.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jennie says:

    I would say it’s a stretch to call Gilbert O’Sullivan to the Carpenters an eclectic taste in music. But, you did try. The transistor radio was cooler than a record player the late 60’s. I saved all my albums and still love that music. Such a shame about the pin in your heel.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Mary Smith says:

    Glast-no-bury sounds like it was a lot of fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Glastnobury looks a lot of fun. The Vet looks gorgeous and so does the garden. Sorry about your abysmal music beginnings. Although mine weren’t any better, I did come up with The Beatles (took an illicit day off school with my best friend to go meet them in Wellington. Wandered entirely unmolested around the hotel where they stayed, knocking on random doors and running away. Sadly they weren’t where we were, but we did find Ringo’s drum kit set up in the Town Hall and I left a note on it. All of which causes me to to muse on the fact the world was so much more innocent then)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I grew up surrounded by the music my mother loved, mostly Broadway musicals and Gilbert and Sullivan. I think I know all the lyrics to every musical from the 40’s and 50’s and most of G&S, though not Princess Ida. It didn’t serve me well in the larger world, but I can still do patter songs when requested. Sadly they seem never to be requested.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. arlingwoman says:

    I love the Glast-no-bury and the bunting. I wonder what was being played…We had all kinds of music in the house and my father played harmonica and banjo. I had piano lessons. Still, there was the cool factor of knowing the right musicians, which I did not always have. I remember being impatient when someone tried to make me feel bad for not knowing about somebody, because when I didn’t I just wanted to hear them. I’m still that way–I like the old music, but I love hearing new people, too, and sometimes, one of them can knock your socks off. Keep dancing!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Suzanne says:

    What fun, love the Tepee and the Vet looks very happy. Creating good memories is the winner on the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m glad they had fun, it looks great! Probably better than the real thing because you can get washed and go to a proper bed afterwards. Your brother sounds like John as a boy – he used to buy broken clocks etc just so that he could take them apart and put them back together in working order. I don’t remember if he injured his siblings along the way, but they have other dark tales to tell. We must have had a music conversation before, I’m sure we’ve discussed the wonders of Karen Carpenter’s voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. willowdot21 says:

    Life’s full of coulda shoulas but we all get there in the end. Music was big in our house as there were lots of us and all my brother’s and sisters had friends round . There’s nothing wrong with Gilbert O’Sullivan and as you say Karen Carpenter had the voice of an angel.
    Now I know your not a huge James Blunt but I dare you to listen to this and not be moved. Go with it I promise the whole song is worth it .

    Liked by 1 person

  14. There was a trend in the mid-70s to use what looked like ex-military rucksacks for carrying stuff to school in. These were a kind of khaki colour and great for decorating – usually with felt-tipped pens, though biro worked too if you were prepared to put some effort in. My peers would lovingly adorn them with logos and the names of bands. Led Zep, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath featured strongly. Looking back on it now, I do wonder what possessed me to cover the flap of mine with the word ‘Bread’. Not a reference to the foodstuff, you understand, and I do still love the music of David Gates and his band… I think what saved me from what would have been a well-deserved beating was the fact that none of my peers seemed to have heard of them.

    Liked by 1 person

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