Growing Old Disgracefully


The first song to appear in today’s shuffle list is. Say When, by Lene Lovich; my favourite part being the whistle in the background of chorus two. I much preferred this song from the album, Stateless, to the mostly remembered Lucky Number, which had an alternative version of the brilliant, Home on the b-side. I love how a song can transport you back in time and evoke memories that have lain dormant. Maybe one day I’ll see what assortment of memories a few hours on shuffle will bring, but that’s something for another day.

Say When, reminds me of walking down the road in 1979, with my blond hair dyed a mixture of blue and black, (not a good look for a pale youth), dressed in skin-tight green drainpipe trousers, pointed winkle-picker shoes and my fathers jacket that was many sizes to big and covered in safety pins and assorted buttons. Growing up in a small village meant I stood out and that was the intention. I won’t claim to be original or rebellious, what I was I think, was outlandish by choice.

1979

I was always looking for a way to stand out, and if people sniggered and pointed than I had achieved what I set out to do. I had a time in the eighties when, (long before Prince) I’d wear stiletto boots  and double-breasted shirts, with bolero jacketed suits, made for me at the time by my wife. I do my shopping in Tesco or pop to the pub wearing make-up and dressed to shock . Androgyny soon became the in-thing and so I fitted in; which I didn’t want to do. Singing with a band meant that my musical tastes changed, I started to develop a liking for darker indie rock, and with this the amalgamation of androgyny and my previous punk looks developed.

Baz 1

Around 1984, my life was unsettled, I was still singing with the band and felt that although we had success locally, we could achieve more. I arranged a gig in London at the prestigious Camden venue, Dingwalls. We took a coach full of fans to see us perform for some record company A&R men. They were impressed, but felt as a band we weren’t marketable, however they thought I had potential, and with a change of image maybe they could work with me. This coincided with the end of my marriage and I hastily made decision to move to London. I did some backing singing work for Virgin records, there’s a few singles from the period that had my BV’s on, but I’ll not name them here. I did some acting work and my style reverted back to a more punk look, back came the spiky dyed hair and spray-on trousers. Having a 26 inch waist meant my bottom half looked like Olivia Newton-John in Grease posing like Elvis Costello. (He had a way of standing with his legs at odd angles that I adopted).

Skip on a few years and I settled down a little, gone was the deliberate shock-dressing and in my 30’s and 40’s it was supplanted by unusual shoes and loud shirts, but there was still the hair that defied gravity, or as the kids I taught called it, my crown. Then of course there was those moments when I was able to be as outrageous as I wanted to be, performance day for the kids I taught, whether it was punk inspired story or a bunch of freaks, the teachers all joined in the fun and dressed accordingly.

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Cirka No Prata 2011 (There’s those buttons)

So will I grow old gracefully? Probably not, I may no longer wear jackets festooned with buttons, or dye my hair pink. I do still wear flowery shirts and very pointy shoes, and my hair, which is now rapidly turning from blond to white still stands on end like I’ve had my fingers in a plug socket.

Age, it’s just a number, isn’t it?

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Abruzzo 2013

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