She sold sea shells by the seashore, primarily a small venture. But business was swift. Now she manages a large chain; ShellMart. Demand outstrips supply. People don’t care where the shells come from. We’re in a world where hermit crabs use plastic yoghurt pots as homes
It’s getting close to the 70s and the sun’s going down. I make a detour past an electricals shop catching a bit of the Moon landing on the window display of TV sets and instantly fancy a bowl of Shreddies. Ignoring this Pavlovian conditioning I take the 15 bus back to 1967, getting off at The Three Rabbits pub on Romford Road. The castle-size pub that is The Three Rabbits has long been an important venue on the music circuit. Tonight my Cousin Keith is playing, I’ve promised so many times to see him. He recommended this particular night to me.
Up until the late 60s/early 70s, being a musician was a bona fide job option. You could make a decent living out of it. All the bands had a repertoire of rock’n’roll standards, ballads, special tunes (Wedding March, Happy Birthday, etc.) as well as all the hits of the day. Some of the groups recorded their versions for compilation LPs such as Top of the Pops and Hot Hits, records that sold enough to top the LP charts. Some regular semi-pro musicians who recorded frequently for these cheapo compilations included: Reg Dwight (then, now Elton John) and James Page (then, now Jimmy Page).
Cousin Keith is a special musician and he’s put together an excellent band. Keith was making waves in the shark-infested waters of the music biz. Tonight, the record company A&R men had ventured out to see him. It’s reckoned they would have to fight to sign him, Keith was Hot Property.
It’s a hot summer’s evening, the air still, not a breeze in sight, the crowd spill out of the packed pub and on to the pavement, making the gig look even busier. I duck inside, if you’re going to see a band you really have to see them. Soak up the atmosphere. And the cigarette smoke. I forgot everyone smoked in those times.
With Keith not yet on-stage, his band brings an instrumental to a close: a buzz of expectancy ripples through the audience, cutting through the haze.
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Text: Excerpt from ‘The Playlist’, (Hard Egg Publishing 2020) available from Amazon soon
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The following video is purely an illustration of the excellent music around at the time and is for enjoyment purposes only
Observed at the diner:
“Who’s the big guy eating that massive plate full of beans?”
“Oh that’s Jupiter.”
“Is that because of the big red spot on his forehead?”
“No, because he’s a gas giant.”
“Honestly, you don’t want to be around to find out.”
Good news: the time machine lost tomorrow was finally found in 1876
Dan awoke tied to a chair in a murky basement. A hooded figure stood in the darkest corner, toying with an array of well-maintained torture instruments. The figure turned round to reveal
1) she was a woman, and
2) she held a fiendishly twisted spike in her hand
She rotated the spike slowly until it caught and jabbed a sharp glint of light in Dan’s eyes. He screwed up his face in discomfort.
“This is going to hurt. A lot.” Sneered the hooded woman. “It’s a nasty way to die, the vocal cords snap first…” she said. “You see, I collect horror stories as screamed by my victims…”
Dan’s shoulders trembled. “Hehehe…”
“STOP laughing! Why are you laughing?”
“Because I collect fairytale endings,” said Dan.
And they all lived happily ever after
Occasionally, as a typical nuclear family, we’d all sit together round the periodic table. That’s when Father would be in his elements.
“Reopen the Humpty Dumpty case. Jack Horner did it!”
Police smash through JH’s door with a big red key, drag the little boy from the corner & confiscate his pie.
“Y’ got nothin’ on me,” says JH, showing his true colours: a hardened criminal disguised as a little boy.
“GUILTY” says the Judge before they even get to court.
The Magistrate thrusts a thumb in the pie, pulls out a plum, some eggshell & an ‘I did it’ note.
“The proof is in the pudding,” he says.
“This is a stitch-up!” complains JH.
Egg installation @Towner Gallery, Eastbourne
These are plaster eggs, not real
At times, the Universe blipped, reset itself. For the good. In one such ephemeral moment everything got funky, everyone felt better than James Brown. Everyone was James Brown. Got up. Stayed on the scene. Like a fax machine…
Like a sox machine…
The Universe wasn’t perfect
Daisy lovingly glued her favourite vase back together for the umpteenth time. Satisfied with her work, she returned it to the mantlepiece and went to fix supper. Left alone, the vase trembled, spun and flew across the room, where it hit the far wall.
The vase gave a shattered sigh, “Bloody poltergeist.”
Vases photo taken in the Helsinki Museum
Police now believe that Juliet tricked the love-sick Romeo into taking his own life by employing a dramatic Shakespearean misdirection plot-twist device, or a ruse by any other name