Home > Chapters > 1 – Introspective Retrospection

1 – Introspective Retrospection

In moments of retrospect, whether random or inspired, I often consider events from my past and try to make sense of how they form the chain reaction that has become my life. Without a doubt, the events surrounding my transition from child to teenager were the most momentous, and many memories of those halcyon days are still vividly imprinted in my mind.

This particular story starts in 1974 when I was twelve.

We lived in Cheltenham at the time and childhood was wonderful. It was a time of innocence, freedom and blissful ignorance. Mum and dad, me and my younger sister. We lived in the quaintly named Tommy Taylors Lane, just a stones throw from the racecourse and the boating lake and 18 hole pitch and putt. Dad was a career-minded soldier so it was known and accepted that our residence there would be a short lived one. It would be three years at most and we’d already been there for well over two, so feet were starting to itch. But we were seasoned travelers by then and another move on the horizon was just another beginning, more new friends and strange new territories to explore. No big deal. Until he told us we were moving to Guildford.

To save you the trouble, this is from Wikipedia:

The Guildford pub bombings occurred on 5 October 1974. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated two 6-pound gelignite bombs at two pubs in Guildford, England. The pubs were targeted because they were popular with British Army personnel. Four soldiers and one civilian were killed, whilst a further sixty-five were wounded.


And that’s when I developed awareness with a capital WTF!
The bombings were obviously major news at the time, and for some time afterwards. I recall several conversations with concerned friends who had also developed awareness and realized we were moving to a place where we would probably die quite horribly, blown to smithereens, at the hands of some mad Irish maniac.
But obviously the Irish maniacs were busy elsewhere because after we arrived in Woodbridge Road, sometime in the spring of 1975, they let me enter my teenage years without any further ado.

And thus began my awakening. It would be over a year until my ears became fully attuned to the real world. A waiting period of mundane pubescence interspersed with a plethora of teenage angst and a few acutely embarrassing moments…although that is the curse of  introspective retrospection…a moment from the past perceived as embarrassing in the present was quite probably perfectly innocuous way back then.
But the dice were cast, the stage was set, and strange and raucous forces were irrevocably set in motion.

My journey into musical enlightenment was under way. Bill Grundy’s infamous Sex Pistols live TV interview was still over a year away, I was living in Guildford – hometown of The Stranglers, Zeppelin had just released Physical Graffitti and Abba were the toast of Eurovision with Waterloo. And I bought my first ever album, called ‘At The Hop’ – a compilation of 50’s and 60’s rock n roll songs by the likes of Bill Haley and Little Richard.

Was there any hope for me?

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