Another year will soon have passed us by. Many of us will reflect, for different reasons, on the things that we have lived through during 2011: the good and the not so good. The media will take care of the local, national and international retrospectives, packaging them together in such a way for them to be broadcast in a nostalgic lead up to 2012. My parents never really celebrated the passing of the years, or if they did they kept it very quiet. I, on the other hand, was a teenager growing up and working in Corby, a place that even Billy Connolly and Gerry Rafferty told me they know as ‘little Scotland’. As soon as the sun had set on another 70’s year my friends and I would gather in some pub or other to begin a night that was completely unplanned. It would be a night where money was no object, no temperature too low to bare. Corby taxis were an essential part of the process given several obvious facts. Neither I nor my friends could drive, it was a cheaper form of transport than hopping on busses, plus there seemed to be an exclusive element of excitement as we hurtled through the last night of a year to our next crowded pub experience. Of course, in those days as soon as one entered a pub on New Years eve the thick smog of cigarette smoke would be the first thing to hit one and by the time one reached anything resembling a bar an entire lifetime would have passed by. Yet that was all part of the experience: sending your mates off to find the ‘grail’ that was a free table and chairs. It seemed to me that just about everyone knew everyone back then and the mentality was most certainly straight from the script of Life on Mars.
Wizard, Abba, Mud, Bowie or Showaddywaddy would blast from every jukebox which served as a temporary bar to those huddled around it. My friends and I reminded me of the vultures from Jungle Book. ‘Where do you wanna go?’ ‘I dunno, where do you wanna go?’ and to this day I don’t ever recall any of us coming up with an acceptable suggestion. The best bet was to find someone who might know where a party might be found where one might meet girls for those all important midnight kisses. Once we had found the scent of a party we would be off like rats up a drainpipe, usually to a flat or some poor unsuspecting stranger’s house on the Lincoln or Shire Lodge estates. Then, following the midnight countdown with Andy Stewart and the White Heather Club we might spend a couple of hours huddled on the floor next to the nearest rubber plant. We must have looked a right old sight wandering the streets of Corby with our half empty ‘party four’s’ or ‘sevens’ in our best stack heels and mullets. Incidentally, I’ve never once been to a ‘retrospective’ 70’s party that looked, sounded or felt like anything from the 70’s. Waking up on New Years day in the 70’s was always a very ‘painful’ experience.