Or, ‘How I came to write songs and play guitar’
I was in love with Dusty Springfield. In the drear tea-time of my adolescent soul, I worshiped her truly, madly, deeply. Tiny girl, big hair, panda eyes, hands moving like a beckoning siren. I just had to hear “da da da da da da” and then “I don’t know what it is that makes me love you so…” and I was hers for the next two and a half minutes. Until…
It was one of those beautiful late-spring evenings that you would get in the England of youthful memory. The evening sun poured through the gothic stained glass windows of the school library – it was one of those schools. A group of lower sixth lads, budding intellectuals all, as lower sixth tended to be, gathered for a ‘desert island disks” show-and tell of their favourite records.
Mine was Wishin’ and Hopin” by you know who. Then it was on to the next. Clunk, hiss, electric guitar intro, and: “My love she speaks like silence, without ideas or violence, she doesn’t have to say she’s faithful, but she’s true like ice, like fire…” I was gone, far gone. So was Dusty.
I bought a guitar. A clunky, eastern European thing. I tried Blowin’in the Wind, but what came out was unrecognisable. My dad said he’d break it over my head. One day, that tipping point was reached. It sounded indeed like Blowin’ in the Wind, or something similar. I was away, and the rest, as they say, was hearsay.