From time to time I think of someone who pops into my head whenever I see or hear something that reminds me of him. His name was Rod Morris: I say ‘was’ because he died a long time ago, and he was my friend. Rod was a bright intelligent and quick witted young man who had the ability to unnerve the unsuspecting with his knowledge of poetry, literature and music. My mother liked Rod, despite his unkempt appearance. He liked to shock with his old leather bikers jackets emblazoned with images of skulls or Hells Angels chapter logos. He would wear jeans with holes in them long before jean manufacturers hit on the idea of selling such ripped clothing as the latest ‘must have’ fashion accessory. Back then Rod was being a rebel without a cause. He would listen to Grand Funk Railroad or Status Quo then fire up his Norton 750 motorbike to come over to my house. “Yes Mrs Oliff”. “No Mrs Oliff”. “He’s such a polite boy” my mum would say as Rod would reel off another poem by Browning, Keats or William Wordsworth. Then one day, Rod asked me over to his house to hear a new album that he’d bought. I duly arrived fully expecting to see our mutual friends to also be there: but no. On this occasion it was just me. Rod made his way to the large ‘gram’ style record player that stood against the wall. As he was taking the LP out of its sleeve he turned to me. “Don’t think I’ve gone soft or anything will you Rich?” “Of course not Rod, what is it?” The stylus hit the vinyl and the orchestra began to play. It was the album Hot August Night by Neil Diamond: a record released in 1972, several years before this living room ‘premiere’. Two weeks ago a listener brought this album in for my album of the week feature, and I thought of Rod.