Tuesday, 24 February 2009


I was listening to the radio on the way home today, and they were playing the songs of someones life.

Whomever it was, must have been a similar age to me, as a lot of her songs resonated with me. It go me thinking how, for me the year I was 14 was probably the zenith of music being utterly important. There are songs from this year, which was 1968, that when I hear them now take me back to that time. There are five imparticular which remain, even now favourite pieces of music. Back in the day, these were the ones that got played over and over again on my record player in my bedroom, usually with me sitting on the windowsill, with the curtains closed grooving along to them.

Cause I know you're now desperate to know what they are......
Albatross.... Fleetwood Mac
All you need is love.... The Beatles
San Fransisco.... Scott McKenzie
Good Vibrations ... The Beach Boys
Time is Tight.... Booker T and the MGS

I had the four famous Beatles posters on my wall, although I only had eyes for George Harrison. I had a poster of Andy Fairweather Lowe, out of Amen Corner. I had loads of bits of magazines cut out with words like groovy and fab stuck on a montage.

I adored comics and magazines, Jackie, Honey and Petticoat being the ones from this era. I still can tell you what comic I read from the first when I was 8, to the magazines I read today. I loved knowing what was fashionable, still do. Although now I go for a more classic look, than high fashion!! I had the first three years worth of Cosmopolitan magazines in my wardrobe for a very long time, what they would be worth today!

For the next couple of years I wore, either men's trousers with pinafore tops and bare feet, or long hippy dresses, that I would buy in a Boutique called Bus Stop in Birmingham.
I remember going to Walsall Town Hall to see Emperor Rosco one of the first Radio 1 DJs... I wore an extremely short green tweed skirt, knee high white socks and my maxi herringbone coat, also pale green.... Did I think I looked good!

Like music, clothes have always been really important to me, I can remember clothes all the way back to being a tiny tot. But my teenage clothes were just so cutting edge, well at least they were in Walsall, as I always shopped in Birmingham. When I'd learnt to drive I used to take myself of to Shrewsbury where the nearest Laura Ashley was. Oh, that was a treat getting her floral frocks to drip around in.

I went to my first ever pop concert at the Odeon with my best friend Max (the one I got reunited with last year after 28 years!) Can't remember what I wore, but know the Beach Boys had blue and white stripped shirts on!

Writing this makes me very aware of how even then, I was more independent than people around me (except Max) The day after I passed my driving test, I took myself on to the motorway just to get familiar with it, so I could go places and do things on my own.

Even when I was relatively young, when I took myself shopping in whichever place I ended up, I would always go and find somewhere to have lunch on my own. As it seemed important even then, to be able to sit and have a decent meal in unrushed surroundings. I didn't like shopping with anyone else then, so nothings changed there.

It has always been vital to be able to cope on my own, even though I haven't always liked it. That's not the point. The point is not to be frightened of doing things.

Although weirdly I can go out to dinner in the evening on my own (well in America!). I can do lunch and breakfast anywhere. I can go to the theatre alone, but I have never yet been to the cinema on my own.... maybe that's a challenge for this year. After all I have to do something, and last years was learning to sail, so.....

I'm very mindful of the juxtaposition (seriously love that word) of my needing to be on my own and sometimes hating it with a vengeance. And the other side of the coin of being very sociable and hating being amongst people for any great length of time, especially places where I have to do small talk. Doesn't happen, I hide in the kitchen at parties, even my own!!!

So going full circle back to my youth, and I'm going to have to really think about this,when did I learn to be so independent and capable, juxtaposed with scared and lonely. Cause it all started there, and if I want to change it, then I have to go back to those memories and undo them, cause right now I think it's damaging me a bit.I have wonderful and amazing friendships, all with people who live miles away from me. So I can get to visit with them. And I have no friendships where I live. (Admittedly I used to, but I have let them go... think ironing board conversations and stepford wives!!!) And I need to think about how that is affecting me.

Please don't think this is a 'beating myself up' post it isn't, I'm ok. But I've started a chain reaction in looking at a part of my history that I haven't for a while, all thanks to hearing Procol Harem on the radio this afternoon!!!

Pic is Max on the beach with her beloved dog, at Exmouth last visit I made.


Dark Side said...

Thanks for sharing all that and I do hope Alex is finally on the mend..xx

Angela said...

I think these years until we are twenty are soo very important, and it seems that we are never again able to enjoy/hate/tremble/groove/believe...as much as we did then. Did we decide then how we would be, or were we set on the day of our birth? (my daughters were different from the very start). I also like Procul Harun and the Beach Boys and even George Harrison best! ( I once became friends with a cousin of his from Liverpool!) But I do like small talk and find it easy, and I don`t like to eat out alone or face highway tours. What is learned, what genetic? And also I have no close friend in my neighbourhood, but I DO have very good friends abroad! That`s fine with me.

e said...

Hi Byrd,

I'm several years younger than you, but the experiences you discuss and the music were woven somehow into my early adolescence as well. My earliest memories of LPs owned by my mother involve the early Beatles, with whom I became fascinated after they had broken up. My own favorite of theirs was Sergeant Pepper. I also had a sitter who loved Jimi Hendrix and Procol Harem, so she would bring her music and play it on the hi-fi. We would also listen to Salsa and ballads on the spanish radio stations, and dress in "hippie" clothes trying to be cool. I was also very independently minded, thanks to a mother who insisted on that. Unfortunately, her efforts backfired a bit as I was older and she did not like my decisions or the ability to be comfortable by myself. We are and were very different women, which shocked her a bit, I think. But I grew up in different times and with different situations mediating my reactions. I think a lot is learned but the basic sensitivities remain at the core. My favorite memory of being fourteen is waking up in Paris and then going to sleep in London, on the same day!

I'm glad Alex is better. Take Care.

Ronjazz said...

1968 was an emphatically important year in my life, so it's remarkable that you bring it up. It was also that kind of year in the States, if you recall your American history. I lost my virginity that year (and yes, I was 14)... I faced up to a lot of family stuff at that very tender age... and I survived it all. In the background were the Beatles and Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds, which gave rise to Crosby, Stills and Nash... and my first concert -- Blood, Sweat and Tears, and my introduction to jazz. We live and learn...oh and yes...Whiter Shade of Pale, with that painfully distant, but everpresent organ riff...I do remember well.

karen said...

lovely descriptions of the music, the clothes, the era ...

i also often wonder about that juxtaposition (yes it is a great word!) of feeling so tough, yet so vulnerable half the time, as well...

take care & remember you definitely have a friend here, half a world away x

hele said...

how lovely to learn so much about you.

i too struggle with the loneliness versus solitude dance. i like the way you are engaging with it and wish you much luck on your journey to reclaim a part of you.

Cait O'Connor said...

We must be around the same age and I am very lke you Firebyrd as I was nodding and agreeing all the way through, from the usic, the clothes, the mags and the desire for solitude (and hatred of small talk). I could go to the cinema alone but would not like to do the other things that you do on your own though, eating out I mean.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Great post. I see similarities in our younger years though I am about 8 years your senior. In '68 I had a really cool midi horizontal small-stripped short-sleeved turtle neck knit dress in orange, hot pink, & white that I wore with bright orange fishnet stockings. I was hot! I was thinking about it the other day and wished that I had kept it because it was such a classic for the time. Ahhh, hindsight.
I have to reflect on those times & compare notes with your post. Happy memories.

J.J said...

Music is such a powerful provoker of nostalgia. It can instantly transport you back to where you were when you heard it, who you were with and how it made you fell.

Great post.

Lori ann said...

such an interesting post, you have such good recall I am really impressed.
i love all that music too, although i wasn't too into clothes...but i did have alot of bikinis!
and yes, you have a friend here too dear byrd.
xx lori

Fire Byrd said...

I am lucky indeed to have such friends as you, all of you, but especially those lovely people who I email.

Rach, hope you are feeling better as well.

angela,how good that we have George Harrison in common.

e, what a spohistocated 14 yr old you must have been.

ron, Blood Sweat and tears, wow what a great memory, I loved their music, spinning wheel was a real fav.

karen, it is a joy to be able to return your friendship.

hele, it is a joy to get to know you as well from your sensitive and thoughtful blog.

cait, sounds as if we would get on really well together.

cheryl, your outfit sounds really cool!!! and what a joy to remember it.

jj, your are so right, where would we be without love songs and broken heart songs from our history.

lori, you were the California girl that the rest of the world envied as the Beach Boys sang about you.
I'm so pleased to be able to return your friendship.


Merry ME said...

What????? No one listened to John Denver? Was I folk listening nerd or what?

Siska said...

I love your pics!

Barbara said...

We were obviously flower children of the same era. I was singing along with all those songs you mentioned. There has never been a group greater than The Beatles EVER!

Fire Byrd said...

ah merry, yes John Denver, know I heard him but didn't set my world alight as others did.

siska, thanks hon, you are too kind

barbara, I liked the beatles, but I had greater loves than them... but we all need to be diferent.


Mel said...

I must say, I've heard those songs courtesy of the 'Oldies but Goodies' station.


(yeah, yeah, yeah....I lied--shhhhhhhhh!!!!)

Going to the movies alone is GREAT! NO one steals the popcorn and afternoon matinee's are great prices. AND I can sit anywhere I wanna AND wiggle and squiggle all I want without bothering a soul.

Just sayin'....... :-D

Fire Byrd said...

sounds a really good reason to be brave and go then Mel, thanks you young thing you (she lied too)

Walker said...

I love music and listn to all the old and new songs that come up.
Each one is a marker to place in time which also means that the past is always in the present when a song pops up to remind me how i got here to this point in life

aka k said...

Strangely moved by this post, I felt compelled to respond with a post of my own...