Royal Footnotes 1

It was a little-known fact that King Charles III was very knowledgeable about bluebeat, ska and rocksteady. His great affection for these essentially West Indian styles of music had started when a fellow pupil at Timbertops (an Australian ‘outdoor’ school which he attended for two terms) had played him “Madness” by Prince Buster. Over the years he accumulated a vast, secret collection of vinyl and later CDs; later he would be sent MP3s and FLACs of rare treasures by a small group of fellow aficionados. Among these was singer Suggs, from Madness, who would be invited to Buckingham Palace to listen to new acquisitions.

King Charles greatly regretted that he was unable to see any of the original artists live, for reasons of security and historical circumstance (they were mostly dead). He hugely enjoyed seeing Madness at Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations, and invited them to play at the Coronation Concert. (They included the little-known “Country Girl” by The Upsetters in their set as a private nod to his passion.)

Sadly, when King William V came to the throne, the entire collection was lost in an energetic clear-out by palace staff.

Scenes from a 1970s novel: Part 3

Pat felt in need of a drink. She didn’t know quite why, but it seemed like the sort of thing people said in times of crisis. She had never been drunk, or even slightly intoxicated. There were two boys in the kitchen, slumped on the floor with a large can of beer between them. They seemed to be discussing bicycles. Pat waited while a boy at the table poured himself a brown ale. He turned and saw Pat looking at him with a cup in her hand. Surprised, he smiled and said: “Can I get you a drink?”

(Wow! I’d forgotten this! Look who’s making an appearance!)

His name was Mark. He was about six inches taller than her, brown haired, blue-eyed, and plain but not ugly. Just like me, Pat thought, and realised she had been nice to herself. He had a bright yellow T-shirt, spangled with red stars, and a pair of raspberry coloured corduroy jeans. (Mmm! Stylish!) They provided Pat with a pleasant memory of a jeans shop in Southampton, where the racks of trousers gave a vision of kaleidoscopic colour; not a rainbow so much as the range of a spilt tube of Smarties, or a scattered box of oil paints. She thought she had better not stare at his trousers in case he thought she was a tart, so tried to concentrate on his face. She was pleased that she found it easy to talk to him.

(They dance. They kiss. OK? No sex: this was the 1970s. And I was still a virgin when I wrote this.)



Fragments of a comic novel (Well, it amuses me)

Just for fun.

Clafferingham Social Club (new members always welcome) was thriving. The Clafferington Arms was no longer had a rival darts team, but the bowling alley was much in use with parties of teachers from the Hubris Academy (formerly Clafferingham Comprehensive School) and Velocity Business Solutions (formerly Clafferingham Business Solutions). Sadly, the Clafferingham Residence for Single Ladies (known locally as the Home for Loose Women), a cause in which the last Lord Clafferington had taken a keen interest, had closed in the 1970s.