If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Blast from the Past

Well, bugger me sideways, to coin a phrase.

We've been having a bit of work done round the house here of late (new windows and getting ready for a new kitchen), which has meant a lot of clearing out and tidying up. More of this in another post, I think, but today I have been clearing out The Study. This is the room where everything that had no other home gravitated to. It was full of - not to be too polite - shite, and I hadn't seen all of the carpet for months. Boxes of stuff, letters from the bank, unopened, unused gym equipment, children's toys, box after box of videos, computer peripherals ad nauseam and, top prize, my first Shoei helmet from 1992. And dust. Tons and tons of dust. Tonight, I am in sight of the finish, with all the carpet exposed (and vacuumed) and the last couple of boxes are out on the floor and receiving the benefits of the disinfectant of fresh air and sunlight.

A couple of years ago, I went up to the house that I used to share with my ex, as she was moving to a new house with her new partner and I was desperate to reclaim my piano. I had left it there while the girls were growing up, but now they have left home there was no way I was going to leave it to the mercies of removal men and the classified column of the local paper. As I was leaving, my ex offered me two large boxes containing maps, which she said she was going to throw away otherwise. Now I am a bit of a fan of maps, and I took them just to save them from the council tip, but I hadn't examined the contents until tonight. There will be a further post concerning this, as I am in a quandary about what to do with them. But what is exciting me at the moment is what was underneath the maps, hidden in the depths of a Safeway green box. My records. Well, not all of them, obviously, but a number of singles which I bought when I got my first record player, and which I had brought to the marital home and then forgotten in the rush to get a divorce.

Here's the playlist of my teenage years - I would guess from the age of about 12 to 15 or so. Ring any bells?
  • Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour EP
  • Lonnie Donegan - Times Are Getting Hard, Boys
  • Beatles - Long Tall Sally EP (LTS, I Call Your Name, Slow Down, Matchbox)
  • Johnny Keating - Theme From Z-Cars
  • The Tornados - Locomotion With You
  • Kenny Ball - March Of The Siamese Children
  • Mary Hopkin - Temma Harbour
  • The Shadows - Wonderful Land
  • The Troggs - Love Is All Around
  • Acker Bilk - A Taste Of Honey
  • Davies - Solemn Melody and Handel - Largo from Xerxes ("Your Kind Of Music" series)
  • Jet Harris and Tony Meehan - Scarlett O'Hara and (Doing The) Hully Gully*
  • Kenny Ball - The Green Leaves Of Summer
  • Ronnie Hilton - Leeds United Calypso
  • The Beatles - Twist And Shout EP (T&S, A Taste Of Honey, Do You Want To Know A Secret, There's A Place)
  • Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five/Blue Rondo A La Turk
  • The Tornados -Telstar
  • Herman's Hermits - I'm Into Something Good
  • Flaming Youth - Guide Me, Orion
  • Jet Harris and Tony Meehan - Applejack/The Tall Texan.
And, of course, yesterday was the day I took the old stereo system, including turntable, to the tip.


* Funnily enough, I thought of this ditty only the other day and looked for it on YouTube. Yes, it's rubbish. But it's good rubbish.


  1. The Shads; 1/2 the original Shads; and, the Tornados.

    You've got a great taste in instrumentalists.

  2. Get yourself one of these Richard...

  3. Joe - we share the same tastes (unless I missed trhe irony). Do you still feel the urge to do that four-step routine whenever you hear 'Apache'?

    Ripper - actually I have one of those (it's an ION, but a little older than the one in the link). I bought it 3-4 years ago when I burned a lot of old family videos to DVD, and I had every intention of doing the same with all my old vinyl, but the moment passed. A couple of months ago I lent it to my son-in-law. I can see I need to get it back. Thanks for the prod!

  4. So you lost your copy of "Diamonds" then?

    Grooveshark is worth a click. IMHO it's not as good as Spotify, but the latter now imposes a 5-play limit on tracks for non-subscribers.


    Being reminded of early Shads hits, do you remember "Ghost Riders in the Sky" by the Ventures?

  5. I haven't come across Grooveshark, so thanks for that. I've used Spotify a lot but not recently, so I was unaware of the new limits. I was getting fed up of those voice-over ads anyway.

    I remember that song, but as sung by (I think) Frankie Laine. But I remember the Rugby version better ...

  6. "And, of course, yesterday was the day I took the old stereo system, including turntable, to the tip."

    Ha!! I still have a turntable (and a reel to reel deck) to go with my cassette deck. I did make a start on digitising some of my old radio recordings ("pirate" stations & shortwave), but still have much to do.

    The cassette deck was called into use recently when my father died - the crematorium couldn't accept "burned" CD's (unbelievably due to the age of their player) but said TAPES would be OK!

    I duly took a pair of C90's over before the service, and all was well. I'm sure father would have seen the funny side...

  7. Pity the crem couldn't invest fifty quid in a modern CD player! I'm sure he would have seen the funny side, though.

    This old-tech topic is making me think. In all my clearing out I have found quite a lot of old 3.5" disks, and some of them appear from the labels to have quite important stuff on. I've just ordered a USB floppy drive from Amazon. One step forward, two steps back, eh?

  8. I'm sure I read (probably on The Register, or somewhere similar) that the pro's still rely on tape backups over all other more modern media.

    I've had CD's "Rot", and whilst I haven't actually suffered a hard drive failure, plenty have. But of all my tapes only a couple of BASF reel to reel tapes have gone off, and that is due to the magnetic particles coming loose. If I was desperate I could still get the information off in short segments, and clean the heads/guides in between. I dug some VHS cassettes out recently from the early 80's and they still play OK.

  9. I chucked some VHS tapes away last week. They were actually mouldy. The tape, with all white goo on it. But I will admit that old tech often has a lot to recommend it.

  10. For getting the odd track (or album) I find that a combination of Firefox and the Video Download Helper plugin works great on the We7 website ;-)


    If you have old mouldy tapes with important data on them, run the tape through vaseline before it reaches the playing head.

  11. Thanks for the link, Ripper. I have both FF and VDH, but that site is new to me. Looking there now ...


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