Saturday, 15 December 2007

I passed my driving test today…


This day in 1978 that is. I couldn’t tell you what I did on any other Dec 15th in my life but I remember nearly every detail of that one.

First there was the 20-mile drive to Yeovil, the nearest test centre, with my dad sat next to me and my mum in the back so she could do some Christmas shopping. After dropping her off we went for a little test run where I made a couple of mistakes (or did everything wrong, depending on who you believe) and my dad told me I was fucking useless and we might as well go home now. Never let a family member teach you to drive. In hindsight I think he was more nervous about the test than me. At that age you’re used to doing exams and all I had to do here was drive sensibly for half an hour.

So, anyway, I passed and celebrated with a trip to Acorn Records, my record emporium of choice at the time (which a quick Google search shows it’s still there), to buy the just released The Best and The Rest of Be Bop Deluxe. I was still in mourning following the demise of my favourite band so I was really looking forward to this. It was a double album with the first album being the best (although as always there were some curious selections) and the second featuring non-album singles and b-sides and six previously unreleased tracks. Now, time and bitter experience have taught me that most of these are unreleased for a reason. For the most part these tracks were pretty good and in the case of Autosexual excellent. It ticked all the right boxes for me: hypnotic drum loop, great guitar playing and plenty of synths. My understanding is it’s from the Drastic Plastic sessions (at one stage Bill Nelson wanted Drastic Plastic to be a double). It would have to be a brilliant album to leave this off. It was a brilliant album but would have been even better with this on it. I can only assume it was considered too similar to Electrical Language which shares a near identical drum loop. It quite rightly appears on subsequent “Best of…” compilations even though it didn’t make the cut back in the day.

mp3: Be Bop Deluxe - Autosexual (1978) (Buy)

If you’re still reading this I’ll tell you what happened next. I had my own car, a 1965 grey Vauxhall Viva HA similar to the one above which my dad had bought for £150, so in the afternoon I decided to drive to Salisbury Tech to see my friends and pose around for a bit. It was on the way home I learned a valuable lesson about driving: keep you’re eye on the fuel gauge. I ran out of petrol somewhere on the A30. I had my sister and my mate from across the road as passengers because I had told them it would be much quicker to come home with me rather than catch the train. As I recall they weren’t too impressed with the hike to the nearest petrol station.

9 comments:

Planet Mondo said...

Love that track - I really should get more (read:some or any)BBD into my collection - I saw them on one of the 'Whistle Test' DVDs and thought the same then. So that New Year Res' number 1 sorted then.

PS - Took me 4 attempts to pass my driving test.

So It Goes said...

I know what I was doing on December 20 1979...gigging with my band. We closed a set of covers with a 12 bar blues on 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' The guitarist made a recording of the event and on the tape put all the songwriters for the tracks...and for the above-mentioned, he added' 'by J. Christ'.
How we laughed.

Mick said...

pm,
I bought that ‘Whistle Test’ DVD just for that BBD performance. Good luck with the New Year Res. I ‘forgot’ to mention this was my second test. I was pissed off at the time because I wanted to pass before my 18th birthday but missed it by one month.

Steve,
Are you going to post that song on IWICBCE? We’d all love to hear it, unless it’s one of those 12-bar blues that goes on forever (most tend to).

There's another car related anniversary tomorrow. Nine years ago my wife was a passenger in a head on collision with another car. In a display of bad taste I was going to post 'Warm Leatherette' but I just won't have time.

londonlee said...

I didn't learn to drive until I moved to the States - at age 30. But I lived in London, what did I need a car for?

So It Goes said...

I wish I had it to post Michael...but the rhythm guitarist had it, and I haven't seen him for the best part of 30 years. Shame, cos it's the one song where we were all in tune.

Davy H said...

So are you wrapped for Christmas now Michael, or can we look forward to a few bon mots and music before the big day? Mange tout?

Mick said...

Wrapped? No way, Pedro! Sorry I haven't been posting, chaps. I'm just getting over the worst case of Man-flu in history. I hope to do a post later but I've got visitors coming - it depends what time I can get rid of them...

Davy H said...

Hope you are feeling better now dear boy? Have you tried whisky?

May I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a most splendid Christmas and New Year; thanks for being a true e-friend during 2007 and keep 'em coming 'cos, lawdy, It Feels Like Winter Again...

Dx

Mick said...

Much better, thank you. And may I also wish all the H's a fantastic Christmas.

Check your gmail. You too, Stevie boy.