55 songs in 55 days - one for every year of my life...so far.
Our story actually begins a few days before the start of 1971, on Christmas Day 1970, when I received this from my Parents!
No other single present in my whole life had the same seismic effect as that one. Freedom. The freedom to listen to what I wanted, when I wanted. To begin with, I spirited away some of Dad's records to play in my room, along with the small handful I'd been given as presents here and there. But I soon became anxious for more.
Filling out. All dressed up for 'Big School'. 1971
Do you remember the days when all kinds of different places sold records? In Walthamstow High Street everyone was at it. Market stalls, clothes shops, newsagents, junk stores - look in the corner, there'd be a rack of LP's or a cardboard box full of singles. And that's not even counting the half dozen legitimate record shops within walking distance of home. I started at 'Big' School' in 1971 and opposite the school gate was a little parade of shops comprising a newsagent, a hairdressers, a chippy (very popular at lunchtimes) and an electrical shop*. Looking through the window of the electrical shop one day, I spotted a box of singles on the counter and ten minutes later, after a quick rummage and at the cost of just a few pence, I walked out clutching this.
* Remarkably, the electrical shop is still there. I'm sure the business must have changed hands at some point over the past 44 years, but looking at the exterior on a photo I found online, it appears that the decor is frozen in time (see here). I wonder if there's still a box of singles on the counter?