Another Time, Another Place

I’ve never been a great one for keeping a day-to-day diary other than to remind me of the usual events like birthdays or meetings. However, I recently I came across a small black pocket diary for 1972 in which I had made an entry for every single day that year. Even the little pencil used to make all the entries was still with it. I was 16 when that New Year began which is reflected in the somewhat naïve and juvenile entries yet, flicking through its pages, it’s easy to pick up on the social, economic and political differences from that time. The leisure activities of this young Corby boy seemed to revolve around friends, music, socialising…. oh, and work at British Steel. This was an era far removed from computers with the highest technological item one might own being a new stereo bought for £57. This was paid for in cash after many months of saving. It was a year in which my monthly net pay from work added up to the grand total of £40, out of which £15 went towards my next year’s holiday in Canada, £10 towards savings, £9 for general spending money and £6 given to my mum for a small insurance policy and ‘board’ money. Does anyone still use that term today? Universities in 1972 were reserved for the geniuses amongst us and even they didn’t disguise doing nothing as ‘a gap year’. Activity levels are amazingly high, travelling everywhere on foot or on my pushbike or on a bus. The telephone numbers listed remind me of one of those old black and white films where someone’s phone number might be ‘Piccadilly or Strand 2334’, they are all four numbers and, of course, there was nothing ‘roaming’ about a phone call then. I was surprised, given my age, just how much time was spent frequenting various Corby pubs or clubs, primarily the ‘Rock’, the Evs, the Pit at the Raven or the ‘Nags’ yet as an avid fan of live music it was often the only way to see a band who would invariably be introduced by that amazing DJ, my friend Dougie King. It was in 1972 that two other friends, Roy Garlick and Jim Crawford, and myself recorded our first E.P at Wellingborough’s Beck studio’s the cost of which, again, had to be saved over many months. Inside this little diary I found all of my enrolment stubs for the various courses at Corby Technical College, which were required for my Certificate in Office Studies. One such course was typewriting as I had a hidden desire to be a journalist, an ambition ‘beyond my station’ is how a careers information officer once put it to me two years earlier, whilst wielding a cane at the Corby Boy’s School. Although I have to confess that in 1972 another major factor for sitting in a room surrounded by thirty girls seems somewhat obvious. Of course today we are all typists as we tap away at our computer keypads. I have never since kept a diary ad infinitum.

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