Friday, May 26, 2006

Don't look back.

Choose your poison: the 1978 follow-up to Boston (why it took two years to basically recreate the same record experience all over again I'll never know, but aren't Tim Scholz and his fellow MIT music geeks clever with their computerized guitars) or D.A. Pennebaker's 1967 Dylan in England documentary with the famous opening card sequence parodied in Bob Roberts or a 1965 Temptation's Motown single or even a song by The Boss. Being a contrarian, this blog seldom takes its own advice.

Cleaning out some old attaché cases in a closet, I came across a sheet of A4 paper I've been looking for now for at least five years. It was a list of addresses of friends from URY and my graduate housing wing of Wentworth College (the purple buildings at #29 on map's extreme left). In the masthead of the college's welcome page (and I see it's now all graduate), you can just see the corner of the dorm I lived in below the semi-circular building which wasn't there in 1985-6.

So now I can look back and update my earlier post re: URY folks with some more names in the order they appear:

Jeremy Ball
Andy Cook
Nigel Dallard
Duncan Grant
Jem Stone
Anni Johnson
(so he signed it)
Chrris Newell
Jo-Anne Nadler
(with a jolly nice invite to come and see the tennis at Wimbledon)
Stephen Palmer (headed off to Viking radio in Hull that summer)
Stephen Humphreys
Mark Brooker
John Cornley
Jonathan Walters
Simon Aldous
Clare Kellett
Paule Rolfe

and Mike Bond

Grad friends:
Mike Myers who in the 1960s in Chelsea had John Lennon ask him how long he'd be in a red pillar phone box (in 1985 he was what we Americans euphemistically call a "mature student")
Simon Loseby (now a lecturer in Medieval History at Sheffield) who first played a tape of John Peel's show with The Redskin's cover of "14 Tons" on it for me
and Barbara Couchman.

The folks I corresponded with for a good while were the gang who eventually lived at the semi-detached (duplex to us Yanks) at 24, The Grove (but was it Aldreth, St. Clements or Cameron?); just round the corner at The Winning Post on Bishopthore, The Wedding Present made their York debut in 1985. Of course, that group plus Jo-Anne also lived at 68 Frances Street just round the corner from one of my favorite neighborhood pubs, The Wellington Inn on Alma Terrace, to which one or more of them introduced me.For a while I wrote the the two Stephens and Simon. I still have some great mix tapes that Aldous and Humphreys sent me at Stanford plus one battered cassette of The Umbrella Farm's FROCKS & FLOCKS! Stephen's mixes were always thematically linked somehow like the famous State of the Nation 1986-7 offering which featured the "Bizarre love triangle" b-side for starters. Simon hipped me to Brighton's mighty 14 Iced Bears, yet another victim of collapsing record labels. How many careers did the financial shenanigans of Rough Trade US destory? My very last night in the UK in 1986 in London after finishing up MA thesis research at the British Library during its heyday in Bloomsbury and the center of the British Library (I came home to Florida and wrote the 80 pages in about two weeks prior to leaving for PhD studies in California) on the literature and iconography of the Peterloo Riot, Stephen Palmer met me at the then pristine free house, the Princess Louise on High Holborn, for a legendary evening of chat and his favorite tipple, Guinness. The next spring I came back for a visit, and the grove gang kindly put me up for the better part of a week. I trust they're all well and hale now! Someday we'll be in touch again.

I'll leave you with a bit of Gedge's wisdom:
Every time a car drives past I think it's you
Every time somebody laughs I think it's you
You changed your number and my phonebook's such a mess
But I can't bear to cross your name out yet
Each time the doorbell rings it might be you
Each letter the postman brings might be from you

The Wedding Present, "I'm Not Always So Stupid"


Unknown said...

I also found an old cassette by The Umbrella Farm recently... and I'm wondering whatever happened to them. The one I have is called 'Get Your Frocks On'... sound familiar?

G. E. Light said...

I'm away from home in Austin, TX. But that is the title of the cassette I have as well. Search Simon Aldous or ask University of York alumni office for info about the same I guess.

Anonymous said...

George, is this really you?! From Tal- a-has-see Florida?! So do you remember Marathon toasties in Langwith, before they betrayed us as Snickers? URY's extensive collection of 45s, all lovingly collated and recorded on index cards... and yes, it was 24 Aldreth Grove, by the park and the laundry round the corner. I had the front bedroom in the glory days, then the tiny back one when the Stephens & Simon left... And life somehow never quite shone so brightly again.

All grown up and sensible now - hope you're happy!
Clare Kellett

G. E. Light said...

Yes Clare "MacHamleth" Kellett c'est moi. I like Ms. Gaynor survive.