Sunday, 10 October 2010


A trip up west in the mid seventies as a teenager 'bunking off ' was a regular adventure. Up west was basically the towering white elephant of Centrepoint down to Marble Arch and various streets round the back of Oxford Street. Stopping in Jean Junction to ‘pick up’ a pair of FUS Jeans or two, Dark They Were And Golden Eyed which was London’s first proper Comic book shop, HMV to rifle through the racks of vinyl. Of course John Lewis and Selfridges had vast opportunities for filling ones pockets amid the masses.Dolcis and Etam were  good for a laugh and you would find girls there too. Bookshops a plenty and given the convenient size of books a reasonable haul could be had. Saxon for your shoes and wimpy for your lunch, on a plate and everything.

There was something exciting about going up west then, no cameras monitoring your every move shops to go into that had all manner of items that could be marvelled over and lots and lots of girls; most of whom were much older but definitely approachable or ogle-able.
When I see photos of this time and place they appear overwhelmingly beige and brown, but I remember the vividness and colour. Things look bleak in the archive of retro pictures but I remember it as a vibrant time. Then I again I was young and responsibility free.

If it was pouring with rain the Cinema was a refuge. I can remember bunking into the Odeon Leicester Square to watch Rollerball; being too young to get the underlying dystopian message but loving the action.

Bunking off and nicking stuff was pretty much a way of life then but age soon put these practises into perspective (ie not big and not clever). Up West in those days was a short bus journey on the 19 but seemed a world away. As I progressed through my teens up west was about the nightlife; Global Village, Gossips, Lyceum, and less about the naïve wanderings of younger times.
that summers big one

Still back then, who knew? The journey back on the top deck of the 19 bus having a crafty fag whilst unscrewing the light bulbs from their ceiling home, followed by a lovely plate of nosh was better than school. That was just how it was. I'm not romanticising it but I feel that being young back then life was simpler and if you had a bit of adventure about you the time and place was right.

But this lot were just coming over the horizon and then things changed. The Golden time was over but other, different pleasures awaited.

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having said that;