The memories of others

The exchanges with sister Diane below show how partial memory is; there was once a Labrador in our family, which I do remember, but I don’t remember its sex, nor that it had a litter (of one, apparently) nor do I recall, as Mum told me on the phone last week, that I gave the puppy away to, ‘someone you liked in the pub, duck, someone you thought would look after it.’

I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because nearly all my early work in writing was mined out of memories of Stoke-on-Trent, and whereas before I thought that these were accurate recollections, now I wonder what I missed and what I mussed.

I was thinking about Mum’s record collection today, specifically I was thinking about an Everly Brothers album she had and how I used to ask her about the lyrics, Why is he Cathy’s Clown? Why does Little Suzy have to wake up? Why does he do his Crying in the Rain? I used to stack singles and play them on something like, but not exactly like, the machine below (one with a taller spindle, for a start). The two Everly Brothers were not singles, they were an album; in the close-up shot on the sleeve they were hyper-real with plastic hair and in supersaturated colour like the pictures in Dogs, Dogs, Dogs… They seemed to be related to Scott and Virgil out of Thunderbirds Are Go! as I used to think it was called.

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5 Responses to The memories of others

  1. markelt says:

    My grandparents had an old radiogram, like a sideboard in walnut veneer, with a fold down door that revealed the turntable and an eclectic mix of 78s (Lord Rockingham’s 11, Bill Haley), my mum’s old Perry Como LPs, Folsom Prison Blues and some old singles including – inexplicably – Life on Mars. For a time it housed my collection of Smiths, Beatles and Echo and the Bunnymen albums. I first heard How Soon is Now on it, when it was still the B-side to William It Was Really Nothing. All over Britain, angsty herberts like me were listening to it wondering how Johnny Marr was making those sounds.

    My grandad hated that stuff but I would sit cross legged in front of it for ages listening to the music and wondering about the places on the radio tuner display. When I should have been out chasing girls obv.

  2. OS says:

    Like this you mean….

    http://www.alip.co.uk/Radiogram%20front.jpg
    http://www.alip.co.uk/Radiogram%20inside.jpg

    We had one at wom exactly the same as this one. No telly – just this.

    >When I should have been out chasing girls obv.

    You’ve more than made up for it since. ;)

    This blog should have been titled: The Onset of Senility. Its arrived early, Boy. :)

  3. Stephen Foster says:

    Hello herbert. We had Perry Como too. And Behind Closed Doors by Charlie Rich was one as well.

    That thing your grandparents had sounds like the prototype for the “stereogram”.

  4. Stephen Foster says:

    Are you sure that first one isn’t a radiator?

  5. markelt says:

    It was much nicer than that. We were from Newcastle, not Neck End.

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