I Was looking through a book Harry owns the other day called The Guinness Book of Hit Singles, and I came across Going Underground by The Jam. Alongside the song it gives you all the detail about highest chart position, number of weeks in chart and so on, but what staggered me the most was that it was fully 30 years ago this week when I shuffled in to Woolworth’s in Basingstoke with my mate Hutch, to spend my pocket money doing my bit to ensure The Jam were the first band since Slade 1973 to go straight in at number 1.
That song sat on my record player with the lever arm off so it would repeat and repeat throughout the Easter holidays as I learnt off by heart the lyrics which I still know to this day, and the funny thing is, whenever I hear it now, it reminds me of the daffodils and tulips in my front garden, and going off to play football with my mates Cunni, Kev, Jimmy, and Hutch, at the playing fields at the Atomic Weapons factory up the road. I loved the simplicity of life at that age, girls were yet to be part of my equation, so all I did in the holidays is play football and listen to record players.
30 years on, I can now see the irony off it all, there I was, an innocent 12 year old playing football all day at the facilities supplied by the local Bomb factory (where my Dad was a scientist) before going home to play a an anti establishment record about a government addicted to nuclear missiles (I’m surprised Thatcher didn’t get it banned).
Some would say I was two faced, but as a twelve year old I don’t suppose I really got the lyrics about Kidney machines being replaced by rockets and guns, I just thought The Jam were great, and my big brother did as well, and what your eighteen year old Brother does or thinks, counts more than anything at that age. I am forever thankful he wasn’t a Bucks Fizz fan, or my life may have been altogether different.
Here’s another final thought, when I bought that song on a Spring day in 1980, I was the same age as my youngest son Harry, and two years younger than George. Time flies doesn’t it.