Tuesday, 26 November 2013

26th November

Morning, 26th November 1976. Two days into my 15th year imprisoned on planet suburbia.

Outside, a familiar noise. Ford Cortina. Starter motor wheezing. Vain attempt to cajole unwilling engine into life. It goes on and on, until eventually, it stops. Battery flat.

Later in the day a second raucous racket will be unleashed.

I haven't heard it yet. Neither has our hapless Cortina owner who's now attached jump leads to his battery out a neighbour's gaping bonnet, nor has our unwitting helper holding the engine at constant rev to provide the necessary spark of life. Not one between us have the slightest clue that by tea time our whole world will have changed irrevocably, but in the meanwhile...

Coughing carbs, wheezing starters, humming motors.

For a few brief hours they remain the sounds of the streets.

I don't remember if I ever heard them again after that day. Fuel injection eventually consigned them to the aural dustbin, but they seem to have passed into history that very afternoon when sonic petrol directly injected into the flaccid veins of our moribund culture yanked us straight out of stumbling zombification.

I remember the import of that epic hair-raising roar "Rrright — Now, hahahaha..." as if it were yesterday, 37 years on and 52 years of age.

Radio to reel-to-reel. Erasing whatever went before. Who cares what ever it was?

The furious blast rewound, rewound, rewound.

Unbelievably. At precisely 2.09. End of bar six during the elevated stomping march of the middle-eight.

The strangest thing...

There's my name! And it's unmistakable!!

"Oh — Jeff Hatt..."


"Oh — Jeff Hatt..."


"Oh — Jeff Hatt..."


"Oh — Jeff Hatt..."



Morning, 27th November 1976. Escape planned.

Skinny black drills, sharp toed black brogues, black shirt, thin black tie — irregular issue.

Bathroom, mirror, scissors. Hack off the locks, soap up and spike.

Set out for school... 

Confidently late — no excuses.


  1. You were late you say!? Never!

    Anachronism in the UK!

  2. Never noticed that before. Probably because I'm not called Jeff, or Hatt.
    Mark H

  3. I had to turn that up so loud to make it sound like Jeff Hatt (but it really does!) the Lady Burton came to investigate, she thought the Great Man had got the better of me and sent me into some kind of spiral, and I thought you were headed in that direction with all that talk of Cortinas and Sounds of the Streets. You can look back now and those (then) outrageous hairdos look somehow kind of normal, how the world changed.