A glimpse of paradise

Monday 13th August 2012

1965: the summer of the river.

It’s a Sunday afternoon. I know that because I’m listening to Pick of the Pops on the transistor radio, which is resting on a towel on the cabin roof. So am I.

After more than a decade of family holidays on the north-east coast of Yorkshire, we have dared to come south and are in a hired, six-berth cruiser, floating along the Thames. The sun is shining, but a breeze prevents the heat being too sultry.

Alan Freeman plays Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone: a new entry at number 19.

You could jump into the water. The river is brown, not blue, but inviting nevertheless… and you are allowed. Later, perhaps.

In the past year, I’ve discovered T S Eliot, the harmonica, and cigarettes. Girls are wearing mini-skirts. Much as I respect my father, I am going to have to tackle him on the matter of short-back-and-sides.

The Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction: straight in at 15; followed by The Byrds’ Mr Tambourine Man, Marianne Faithfull’s Summer Nights and See My Friend by The Kinks.

Wish I knew more about nature. When you’ve seen one swan’s slapping-flapping take-off, you’ve seen them all, but those thin, long-legged, grey-feathered birds intrigue me: there’s an elegance to their stance you don’t get with starlings in a back garden in Hull.

Is it possible to be completely happy? How do you hold on to certain moments? Can I consciously decide to remember something?

The Animals’ We Gotta Get Out of This Place is at number 6; The Byrds, again, at 5, with All I Really Want To Do.

Mum’ll probably bring cake out soon. The logistics of catering mean nothing to me. I just eat.

Look at all those posh houses, with their long lawns, stone sculptures, ornate gardens. It’d be fun to take the rowing-boat downstream into town on a Saturday morning. Don’t suppose I’ll ever be rich, but who cares.

Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe must be top. The Beatles are okay, but we think of them as being too straight now.

Wonder if I’ll remember this glimpse of paradise in my sixties…








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