The Mad Social Whirl – a memory of London 30 years ago

I don’t believe we really appreciated it at the time, but the late 1970s were a pretty hectic time for Carol and me. This post is illustrated with a couple of pages from our 1978 diary, covering our activities in the days from Dec 12 to Dec 18. I was working as a press officer at CBS Records in Soho Square, London, so I had access to a huge number of gigs. On the page immediately preceding these two I was railing against the “Bribery and Corruption” which I was witnessing (and partaking of) at CBS – namely freebies of all sorts. I’ll post that page up one day.

Meanwhile, these two pages give a good flavour of what we were getting up to. On December 12, we went to a delightful Stephane Grappelli 70th Birthday concert in The Royal Albert Hall. A couple of days later we caught up with one of our favourite bands of the era, surf punks The Barracudas at The Chippenham pub. On December 17 we were at The Lyceum to catch David Johansen and The Rubinoos. My preference was for The Rubinoos, and at heart I’m still a huge fan of pop-rock.

The following night we were down at The Dominion Theatre catching Elvis Costello, John Cooper-Clarke and Richard Hell. I actually saw Costello on several occasions in the late seventies and, to be honest, he never really grabbed my attention. He seemed to me like a mean-spirited chap with a chip on his shoulder, despite having written some excellent songs. Richard Hell was, lest you know it not, the man who originated the whole punk rock look of safety pins and razor blades which was nicked wholesale by The Sex Pistols and their ilk. He too wrote some classic songs but came over very indifferently on this occasion because of a bad sound system. John Cooper-Clarke provided the best entertainment of the evening.

I notice too that Carol was out on strike at the BBC. Always a rebel, that girl. David Buckley of The Barracudas spent a couple of nights at our house while we were away visiting Carol’s mum and dad in Lymington at Christmas, and our friend Linda Lou Cockram from Dundee paid us a visit, as did our Texan chum Mary Spence, aka American Mary. And I got a letter from my literary agent suggesting we should meet up, so all in all a pretty eventful closing couple of weeks for 1978.

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