White, a bit too tight, it had the band of the moment’s name emblazoned across the chest. It arrived by post, quite a phenomenon in itself, for this was before everything was ordered online and was delivered to the front door by a harassed man in an illegally parked van.
Back then, a parcel usually came from the Freemans catalogue and contained something boring. However occasionally my folks let me order an LP. Paid up at a few bob a week, it took months to own The Dark Side of the Moon, by which time it was scratched, warped and the cover reeked of the 60 fags a day my folks put away – a first lesson in the dangers of credit.
Back to the delivery which was accompanied by a note. Congratulations, I’d won *drum roll* a Kursaal Flyers T-shirt!
Unfortunately the Kursaal Flyers managed just one top 20 hit – a grinding dirge with lyrics along the lines of “he knows that she knows that I know that he knows that she knows ” which went on until your ears bled.
I wore the T-shirt once before it became a Windolene-stained weapon of mass destruction in my ma’s cleaning kit. I thought of it at the weekend having switched on BBC Four’s Totally British: Seventies Rock ‘n’ Roll expecting some Slade and Bowie with Jimmy Savile edited out.
Instead up popped Eddie and the Hot Rods screaming at a zillion miles an hour to get out of Denver while the studio audience attempted to keep a beat that Usain Bolt would struggle with. There was Wilko Johnston looking like he’d snorted his father’s ashes. The Motors, Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and The Steve Gibbons Band singing Tulane accompanied by me, as lyrics memorised four decades ago came rolling back. And the Kursaal Flyers – all bad teeth and dodgy hairstyles, unfortunate outfits and rubbish song. Magic.
You know you’re old when you poo-poo your children’s music and I sigh loudly when they force me to listen to Nicki Minaj ‘singing’ about her butt.
I’m not alone in yearning for those raw, honest sounds of the Seventies – sales of vintage vinyl from that era are soaring while companies making new versions of old albums can hardly cope with demand. The quaintly named British Phonographic Industry has announced sales of vinyl in 2014 topped 1.3 million for the first time since 1995.
I’m sure I still have a few old albums stashed in the hut. If only I could find a record player and that old Kursaal Flyers T-shirt, I’d be bang on trend.