My father is a man of few words. Not exactly what you’d call a Chatty Kathy. If anyone ever used that phrase apart from me.
There was once an occasion when he gave me some sound words of advice. Actually, that’s not strictly true, there’s more than one. The one I’m thinking of is about records.
Another one I can recall is about football. Or, more pertinently, about drinking whilst watching football.
In 1986 he and I settled down to watch England v Poland in the World Cup finals. England needed to win, or they were pretty much out. My dad is not the most avid of football fan, but we settled down to watch the match anyway. To get him through it, he had a few beers lined up, and a bottle of whiskey on stand-by.
“We’re either celebrating or drowning our sorrows”, he told me when I mentioned this might be a little excessive. I was only 16 at the time. He gave me a beer and I shut up.
This is how it panned out:
I, as with so many others of a similar age, desperately wanted to have a bandage or cast on our left hands after that. With the benefit of hindsight, one on the right hand was more likely.
“We’re either celebrating or drowning our sorrows”: the best advice I ever had. Seven words I’ve tried to live my life by ever since.
Anyway, the record related advice was this: “You’ll regret selling them, you know.”
Back story: I was skint, and had decided to off-load a wodge of my vinyl, including one that I haven’t even told you I’ve bought yet. See, time is a big blob of wibbly wobbly timey-wimey…stuff (apologies, you will only understand that link if you saw the greatest episode of Dr Who since it rebooted).
Now I’m not a massive fan of Pink Floyd, and I can prove this by telling you that amongst the vinyl I was flogging off the day that those wise words spilled from my father’s mouth was the album on which today’s song resides. Floyd fans will gasp in horror that I even contemplated selling my copy. But that’s what I did.
I don’t deny that that The Dark Side of the Moon is a work of genius. And today’s song is, as is the rest of the album, amazing, powerful, beautiful.
Two weeks later, I went out and spent the money I had made selling my old vinyl on buying a new copy of The Dark Side of the Moon.
You should always listen to your parents.
There’s some karma in here. About 10 years ago, after they’d both retired, my parents built themselves a rather nice bungalow in Southern Ireland and moved over there. As they were moving out of the spacious three bedroom detached place I grew up in, this lead to a downsizing of their belongings, and needless to say one of the casualties was my father’s vinyl, the majority of which went in a car boot sale or three.
One of the records they sold was one which I know is very close to his heart. And I say karma, because I sought out a copy of the album and gave it to him at Christmas. The volume went very loud when he played this, I think one of his favourite records ever:
See, a “Best Of” album. That’s where I get it from.
If you don’t know who Lonnie Donegan is: well, he’s possibly one of the most influential and unsung heroes of pop music. John Peel loved him. The Beatles were inspired by him, as were so many other bands that broke through in the late 1950s/early 1960s. Much of what we know as popular music simply would not have happened were it not for Lonnie. I urge you to go seek out his stuff.
In the meantime, here’s a song that I love from the same album:
1-1, I think.