Is Paranoia Good for You?


Hello Good People who read this blog….

I’m not really sure what I am going to write in this blog, and that’s because I am paranoid that perhaps you aren’t going to like it, actually I am writing this blog rant because I have to go to a thing tomorrow that is making me totally paranoid but I am too paranoid to tell you what it is…perhaps with more wine and time, I will…..maybe you should be paranoid because in reading this blog you are associating yourself with a deeply subversive person and therefore your ip address or your phone will become linked to me and they will track you down and watch you from now on. Am I being paranoid? Yes! But paranoia is a good thing.

The problem with positive thinking is that it is essentially for the easily brainwashed oppressively dull people of this world.  Let me give you the example of a dog I used to know, to protect his identity I will call him ‘Rufus’.

Rufus used to like to bark at postmen, at tall males in general, he barked at rustling sounds during the night that were outside near the front porch and laughed himself into a frenzy if you tried to do yoga in the living room, silly humans!

Rufus also liked to steal tuna sandwiches and  a sausage or two. He happily lived in a house with nice subversive and cultured people who loved books, music and art… and when the family were sitting down eating dinner and having heated discussions about the arts, he liked to quietly steal the odd morsel off their plates and so he thought he was a very clever dog and that his human family were rather silly not to notice his little tricks.

However this nice family had a next door neighbour called Dave who was not so cultured or nice. Dave would come round with little sausages and the odd tuna sandwich to give to Rufus and they became best friends. Rufus couldn’t wait for Dave to come round and to pat him and give him tasty treats. The dog didn’t question Dave’s motives or politics, he just thought he smelt rather nice. However it turned out Dave was a policeman who used to like arresting people just because it was fun and that they weren’t English, and Dave was also a chauvinistic womanizer with no morals who framed people he didn’t like the look of and indulged in a bit of violence whenever he could get away with it.  Dave never really read a book and was annoying all the nice people living in that house who were also quite scared of him. But all Rufus saw, tasted and smelt were the nice sausages and tuna sandwiches and he liked being patted by his new best friend.

Rufus the dog exemplifies people who say that the glass is half full instead of half empty. Rufus should have barked at the nasty man but he wasn’t paranoid enough.

I say: Who gave you the glass? Why did they give it to you? What do they want? If it’s half full what is it half full of? Is it mineral water or is it more likely to be bleach? That’s how my mind works, I know it’s meant be bad to be paranoid, but it’s taken me years to get this way. I have worked on becoming paranoid without (too much) insanity,  and I think paranoia shows your brain is switched on. This was meant to be a fun post but perhaps has become a serious one, perhaps it is both..because I think that accepting and validating some level of paranoia is a good way to operate most of the time, not only that, but the longer you live in a city like London and use the internet or a smart phone or even a travel card, or a debit card and are a little bit subversive, the more you should value some forms of paranoia. Before I continue I am going to put some music on. Listen to it while indulging in your favourite vice, but don’t tell anyone what your vice is, they could turn it against you ( see how I cultivate a healthy degree of paranoia?)

Here is my first music video, it isn’t Black Sabbath’s Paranoid but it’s Riders on the Storm (The Doors) as interpreted by Infected Mushroom (2007). Many of the world’s best songs, stories, and thoughts are generated by paranoia, not through waiting for the nice man to turn up with a tuna sandwich. See the rather amazing video animation below! I just realised this was released in Israel and made by Israelis which is probably why it is been ‘unliked’ so many times on YouTube. Just want to point out that I am not pro-Israeli government policy, but that doesn’t mean all people who happen to be Israeli are evil! I am not pro-British government policy, but I am British so anyway… I don’t want to get into this debate even with myself!

As some of you may know this brilliant animation was made by Anthony Francisco Scheppherd (https://vimeo.com/anthonyschepperd) for a song called The Music Scene by Blockhead. I have to say that I think this superb video goes better with this cover of the Doors classic hit. I think I have become addicted to both this video and this new version after I got over the initial shock of hearing such a familiar song being tampered with. Both the music and the video seem to get better, and I notice new details in both sound and the visuals each time I watch it.

OK so now that’s made me a little paranoid but not too much. Everyone who doesn’t like Infected Mushroom or Israelis might now dislike my blog. The thing is I really don’t care whether you like or dislike what I write, due to something we used to call ‘free speech’ which has been replaced in 2018 with ‘be careful with what you say because other people might get upset’. That is another kind of paranoia.

I think there is positive paranoia, but just saying stuff that goes with the crowd to be approved of is not the kind of paranoia I want to indulge in, unless it is essential. I don’t really know what is going on at the moment with the British Labour party. Is taking an anti-Israeli government stance related to antisemitism? Let’s just say that all the Jewish people I know are : 1. atheists 2. very subversive 3. find Israeli politics very embarrassing and upsetting 4. find the British Conservative party and Donald Trump equally offensive 5. are not really interested in that kind of ‘organised nationalistic politics’ anyway. I was going to write more but need to go to bed… I shall have to write more about  paranoia another time…so goodnight British blog readers, good morning American blog readers, hello to everyone else. All nationalities and religions or none are welcome to my blogspace. I will leave you with more music but it’s still not Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, instead it’s War Pigs and a Whole Lotta Love splendidly blended together by Wax Audio. Love and Peace and end Nationalism! We are all sharing this planet and we need to work together to stop climate change, focus on that!

 

 

 

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On borrowed time to a Fascist Britain


Hello Good People who still evidently read this blog!!!

I woke up this morning in a rage and wanted to write an enraged post about Britain today. But then I read some of the comments some of you kind and creative people have written to me and I read back on some of my posts and found a lovely video on youtube of Kozmik Andy at some hippie gathering in a pub in Cornwall and my heart softened and I didn’t feel so enraged anymore.

I stopped doing my blog because of many reasons but partly because of being under surveillance, I am not a threat just an individual, and these days The State in all its oppressive manifestations has become more powerful and more obsessed with stamping out and obliterating anyone who cannot conform, as well as poor people, who do not generate much profit for big business. Of course this has always happened but now it is happening more than ever before in my lifetime. The ideology of ‘Austerity’ and the media propaganda about poor people, immigrants, single parents and their children, and people too ill or disabled to work, portraying them all as greedy thieving terrorist dishonest lazy vermin who are bleeding the country dry of money is as nasty and deliberately constructed as Nazi Propaganda about the Jews .

As a consequence many ‘respectable hard-working people’ don’t give a shit if all those people die, are homeless, cannot get an education, medical treatment and commit suicide. I wouldn’t call those people respectable, I would call them brainless breadheads.

Yes I am tired of hearing about ‘Austerity’ and I am tired of hearing about ‘Brexit’ and I feel physically sick when I see yet another TV programme is aired in this country on poor people, which are nothing short of fascist propaganda, generating hatred to make a nice little profit for the TV channel and its advertisers.

We are living on borrowed time to living in a fascist Britain.

A bit of Bob Marley here:

Factions, factions and angry people everywhere and poor people’s rights not just eroded but beaten up, thrown out on the street, abused and stabbed to death, all in the name of ‘Austerity’.

What exactly is this ‘Austerity’ fiction, who created it?

How come we let so many politicians and decision-makers to make a nice career for themselves with ‘Austerity’, why do we allow the TV and newpapers tell so many lies about the poor and anyone different?

Well I can refer to my own personal experiences in the past two years, this week I was totally screwed over by the state, the law,  the medical profession for being ill, poor and daring to study part-time and caring for an elderly parent on a weekly income of £56 a week ( after rent) . Yes I have been abused by the state and treated like vermin for the past couple of years even though I care and look after so many people for free while I am ill, and many other friends and family around me have been mistreated in ways I have never seen before and all of our lives have changed.  Yet if we were living in some other European country we might be treated much better.

Most days I don’t feel like a hippie, I feel like an angry despairing person who looks after others and is treated like an outlaw for being ill, but maybe I need to return to my hippie roots.

If we can gather collectively in peace and without career-minded politicians, or patriarchal hierarchical religions, maybe we can challenge the propaganda that is turning good people into homeless poor people, and others into the bitter self-righteous little fascists in the UK today.

This song expresses some of my sentiments, but I don’t believe that rioting would be constructive, we need something stronger where we can live our lives well with dignity. In our hearts and minds we do need to riot and to tear down this oppressive system, then maybe we will be ready and confident to go and make radical changes in a more powerful enduring constructive way without violence or causing more cause for bitterness and revenge. We need to get many laws changed, don’t know how to do that, perhaps some inhumane laws need to be ignored or challenged outside the UK.

 

This blog entry wasn’t reminiscing to good times in the past, but even those good times were set in pretty oppressive times, but we managed somehow to have a powerful, creative counterculture all the same, and even though we did things in our own world apart from the mainstream system, we managed to change things, so why can’t we do it now?

If you are interested in alternative music of the hippie variety you may be interested in this fanzine ‘Stick it in your ear’  http://www.siiye.co.uk . One of the regular contributors is a revolutionary friend of mine Mr. Brian R. Banks … although he doesn’t like banks in general.

I found this excellent youtube rant from 3 year’s ago, unfortunately the negative results from the ‘Austerity Ideology’, that he predicted [4.30 onwards] have already come true without the successful opposition he was hoping for.

Signing off with my usual ‘Love and Peace’? Even when I am angry? No!

Perhaps now is a time for harnessing rage into constructive creative community (offline) opposition. Not just protest but actual alternative lifestyles in spite of Austerity ideologies where the poor die and the rich prosper.

Born2rant

 

 

The Quintessence of Ladbroke Grove, Glastonbury Fayre 1971, Meanwhile Gardens, Here & Now and alternative community spirit


Hello Good People who read this blog….

If you like this post please could you rate it with stars or add a nice comment, thanks!

My friend and mentor Brian R. Banks sent me a link to a wonderful piece about the band Quintessence  from the ezine It’s Psychedelic Baby, to celebrate the release of their complete Island Records recordings.  In his article Brian describes the vibe of creativity at the time in the Ladbroke Grove area. He also has a very interesting interview with former Quintessence band member Raja Ram a.k.a. Ronald Rothfield who also depicts ‘the Grove‘ or Ladbroke Grove area, filled with musicians, squatters, and people living alternative lifestyles. Please follow this link to read Brian’s excellent article: http://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2017/06/raja-ram-quintessences-complete-island.html

If you are wondering what Quintessence sound like, below here there is a film of them playing at Glastonbury 46 years ago.

They sing :

‘If you want a life that is free

If you want a life full of happiness

You’ve got to turn your back on fear and shame

Leave it, Leave it all behind you

Have no fear,

You’ve got to turn your back on Fortune and Fame

You’ve got to leave it all behind you

You’ve got  to leave it all behind you, ever free.’

Of course the Glastonbury Fayre was free to ‘get into’ , or rather walk into, in 1971. Others performing at this festival included a young David Bowie, Gong, Hawkwind, Traffic, Melanie, and Fairport Convention.

If you don’t like the music of Glastonbury 2017 and like me, could not afford to go there anyway, you can watch a documentary about  the free festival of Glastonbury Fayre (1971) here. To listen to Quintessence, play this video from exactly one hour onwards:

Today I walked down Portobello Road market, I found tucked away under the Westway in Acklam Road  there were residents and friends of survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, selling cakes, clothes and a variety of things where the money goes directly to those affected. It’s going on tomorrow (Sunday 25th) as well, a bit hard to find but worth going to. I gave them a small donation and wished them good luck, but they really appreciated my modest  contribution. I was glad they organised something, just wish it was in the middle on Portobello Road and took up the whole market and wished they’d opened up the little ampitheatre in Meanwhile Gardens where bands used to play Saturday evenings for free, they could have passed the hat around and done a great benefit gig. Today so many rules and regulations and they are ignored by companies in terms of fire protection but if a few people want to gather and have a free gig , is that allowed? I hope someone does run a free gig there for the community to remember and not let it be only a grand  Simon ‘Chimney Brush-head’ Cowell production.

If you are wondering what I am talking about here is a documentary about Meanwhile Gardens from 1981; Music performance @ 20-23 mins, and in view of recent events, a rather disturbing giant Guy Fawkes Bonfire (30mins in):

 

I went to many gigs at Meanwhile Gardens including probably this one:

I was going to write about other alternative lifestyle things in Notting Hill but have to go now. I will leave you with more wonderful Here & Now from 1978 (Careful with that effects pedal Steffe). On the youtube video below there are some great photos. I recognise people, marquees, The Tibetan Ukrainian Mountain Troupe, etc……I wish I could find my old photos…people at free festivals didn’t want to be photographed a lot of the time. There are also photos of alternative lifestyles in Latimer Road with tower blocks from the estate in the background, possibly Grenfell Tower or tower blocks still standing nearby.

 

 

‘You’ll plot and scheme to get your way,

but you haven’t the got guts to do it yourself,

so you make an alliance with somebody else,

A thousand years it’s been the same,

political parties in power again,

if you’re listening man, I’d like to say,

Floating Anarchy is a better way!’  (Here & Now ‘What You See….Is What You Are’ 1978).

This is really great music and spirited musical performance..Please listen to this before bed and/or play it to your children and grandchildren instead of a bedtime story.

So wishing you Love & Peace, sending good wishes and hugs to all those affected by the Grenfell Fire disaster, let us rebuild a free creative community spirit where and when we can.

 

 

 

 

To the residents of Grenfell Tower: this never should have happened to you, ‘got to make or save money, you see’; you may be in the hands of dishonest or simply incompetent people


Hello Good people who still read this blog…. (written in haste and may need editing!)

I just wanted to say how sad I was to find out about the destruction of Grenfell Tower by a fire that went very quickly out of control.

We await investigations, but my heart goes out to all the residents, their friends and family. I live in the area but coincidentally was locked out of my flat and had to go and stay elsewhere so did not hear the sirens or smell the smoke. Spare a thought for the victims but also those who heard the screams for help and the agony of those trapped by smoke and heat.

Someone said on the news that these days tenants in social housing are treated like vermin.

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I have certainly witnessed this on many occasions, and so many uncaring builders, lying surveyors, and incompetent contractors, some companies with famous names, coming to renovate buildings. Some trash the place, they charge housing associations a big sum, spout nonsense about health and safety but leave the place dangerous while their company is doing very nicely thank you very much and perhaps a bribe or two to various housing association surveyors and environmental health officers. Or perhaps they are just the cheapest deal and the council or housing associations cannot afford to have safe contractors, architects, surveyors who do the job properly.

I have witnessed this many times, and my own life and my family’s life was put at risk. But when you reproach them you get bullied or ignored. Lots of cash at stake you see. A veil of health and safety regulation speech and what lies behind it is absolute hypocrisy. People without jobs who live in central London are hated, and are definitely treated like vermin by MANY contractors and SOME housing officers ( not all I assure you). 

I will give you an example. A good friend of mine with a Notting Hill Housing trust flat close by to Grenfell tower, complained because the external fire escape on her old house needed some maintenance. It had been bolted to the outside walls of two adjacent buildings but these bolts had come loose, plus some contractors were storing a ton of wooden decking there for over a year on the fire escape stairs and she could not persuade her neighbours to move it. A health and safety surveyor from the Notting Hill Housing Trust came round for a special meeting after she’d been complaining for over a year about this. He got very irritated and said that the safest thing to do was to remove the fire escape and dismantle it completely to meet ‘health and safety regulations’. She explained that she was on the top floor (no lift) and that the single internal staircase was made of wood, therefore the external fire escape was her only safe means of escape. He got annoyed, and spouted health and safety regulations, a housing officer present also pleaded with him to fix the old iron fire escape that would lead my friend and her neighbours to safety in case of a fire. But he just got louder and more aggressive, then he wrote a report in front of them saying the fire escape had to be dismantled and removed immediately rather than simply re-attaching it with bolts in the walls.  DSCN0071

So in memory of all those people who died, were injured or  whose lives were torn apart, I say YOU ARE IMPORTANT, it’s time to confront the petty minded corrupt ‘health and safety’ officials in Housing Associations, working for Kensington and Chelsea Council and also to say to all those who write hateful articles about poor people living London that your spreading of hatred and prejudice needs to end. You successful journalists who write with prejudice and resentment today could be jobless and living in council housing on the dole tomorrow. Although it is very unlikely you could get either benefits or social housing!  

Now before I get angrier, let me wish everyone Love and Peace. Love and empathy always wins. Using your anger to find constructive solutions is always stronger, more intelligent, more durable but harder than destructive anger or revenge. If I am right in my assumptions, let’s make our revenge one which improves services for poor people in London, let there be an independent person that social housing tenants can take their stories to when they feel in danger, let’s sack the corrupt surveyors, the corrupt health and safety officers, the corrupt environmental health officers and bring in good people, who actually do good quality work and who deserve their pay.

Some Neil Young ‘After the Gold Rush’ don’t know why,  it just felt right, his voice always sounds mournful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e3m_T-NMOs

 

 

Still Funky Down Portobello Rd (Saturday after Manchester bomb)


Hello Good People who read this blog….. I have returned from a place of deep virtuous austerity where music and dance are still allowed, but not always, to a place where young people and their families are blown up for going to a gig…..Has it really come to this?

I thought I would go out the door yesterday and see what it is really like out there, searching partly as an ethnomusicologist and partly as an old hippie musician, looking for hope through music performed in public. Here are some snapshots of what I found on one  short walk down Portobello Road (27/5/2017). Glad to see Notting Hill is still funky and creative. Keep it going and let your music, dance, art, performance, and all verbal and non-verbal expression blossom further.   Love and Peace and lots of Music (was disappointed not to find any dance)

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They don’t answer my emails because they don’t know I am the Messiah


Hello Good People who read this blog…

Yes I am still alive, very alive, so alive I cannot sleep on this night under the full moon of Friday the 13th. I felt wired remembering the stressful trifles of today, I wish they were sherry trifles, and I wish that when I said ‘trifles’ I could convince myself that they were relatively insignificant things that I worried about too much and that I was therefore to blame, but no these ‘trifles’ are big  hairy scary angry monsters.

I never read the book ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’. The title tells me all I need to know, someone condescending telling me to pull myself together and to ‘Calm down dear!’ The thing is it’s not so much the  unanswered emails to important requests which drive me crazy in themselves, it’s the daily ageism, sexism and being treated like I am totally insignificant as a human being and that nothing I ever have to say or do is of any importance. It’s not two unanswered emails, after all my dear kind friends know how useless I am at answering their lovely emails myself when I am too busy, but it’s the 1000th and 1000 and 1th unanswered emails to urgent and important things that are driving me crazy.

Here is some music to give the atmosphere of how I was feeling as I walked out under the full moon on a clear cold winter’s night for a walk at 1.30 am with a rock in my pocket.

Led Zeppelin- No Quarter. This  one might be a semitone higher than usual but wanted to have the film in. Get the film ‘The song remains the same’ .

 

The rock I had in my pocket was important because I wanted to hold it up to the full moon and enthuse it with Moon Goddess spells, chanting things like ‘Please let me accepted and no longer be ignored and let people want to answer my emails for important things and realise that I actually matter enough for a reply regardless of outcome”.

Actually I said that quite a few times!

Why don’t you write me –Simon and Garfunkel

And I also asked the Moon or the Goddess or the cosmos to ‘Let me do good in the world, let people notice me but not for my beauty or age or some trivial superficial thing but let them accept me because I  want to do something important to bring peace in the world!’ Ok so now I have visions of dear departed Rik Mayal in this clip in Bottom:

We should never take ourselves too seriously but I also I could be the Messiah! Who knows? Then everyone would answer my important emails and text messages instead of ignoring me and my checking all my stupid devices all the time! Technology makes me feel so stressed and insignificant I can’t understand why people Twitter. I think Donal Trump must be the ultimate twat Twitterer and an advertisement for stupid people to Tweet or worse still ‘reTweet’ nonsense.

Speaking of Trump, let’s sit by the fire and listen to some anti-Trump music. Earlier while struggling to sleep I kept hearing the lyrics to this song, pure poetry, and just a great expansive song, like you start with the details of the streets and the everyday/every night experiences mixed into poetry and then it expands and expands into 10 thousand people maybe more… etc. Sheer brilliance, don’t know what it is about but it makes me feel good and I love hearing it. My subconscious seems to be tuning into Paul Simon tonight and I do not know  why, perhaps he will be the next classic pop musician to die or perhaps I am the messiah and Paul Simon and perhaps  Garfunkel will appear on my doorstep.

I also asked my rock, while I went out for a walk under the full moon for a lot of world peace a lot of the time. I thought about different aspects of politics.

 I realised the other day after thinking a while that Socialism is not the same as being anti-materialistic. All the ageing socialists I  know have bought their council flat, own a car, and  go for bloody good long holidays and have a pension, and drink smoothies made with their overpriced ‘bullets’. I am sure that drinking smoothies is good for you but they make me feel like I want to puke.

Plus I cannot cope with this obsession with hemp seeds. Plant them and they make very big pretty plants in your living room, which look like cannabis plants. Your neighbours and other official people dropping by will believe you are growing your own, even if you try to hide them behind the curtains they have a habit of  popping out and waving their instantly recognisable leaves to all and sundry. The reason why I spent £3.99 on a big bag of  hemp seeds was because a friend told me he  felt so much better after taking a herbal remedy called CBD and he told me  how much calmer he felt. I went to my health food shop and found 1. CBD was made of hemp seeds, 2. CBD cost over £20, 3. a bloody big bag of  Hemp seeds cost only £3.99. (Sorry I feel like I need to say bloody a lot tonight but since I am possibly the messiah it’s OK).

Now I am not a socialist who respects myself enough to have a reasonably paid job, no,  instead I  am the idiot who chose to be a non-materialistic hippie creative intellectual all my life, so I had to buy the bag of cheap hemp seeds. They look great, it takes me back. If you put them in a folded bit of paper with a bit of dried oregano, then it looks like the  Jamaican grass deals of the old days when we thought smoking dope cured asthma, didn’t risk turning you into a paranoid schizophrenic, and made you look cool. Instead it just made us make bloody good music and invent stories and make great art, and sit drinking cups of tea listening to Gong, Hendrix, Hawkwind, Steve Hillage and Here & Now, Pink Floyd  and  basically my entire vinyl collection which I still own but have no record player to play them on. So instead I’ll play a little now.

Gong:

My rock hasn’t saved the world, I am not the Messiah, my important emails remain unanswered, the nightmares of Donald Trump, Marine le Pen, Nigel Farage, Putin, Islamic extremism, all politics of hatred, Global Warming, poor people coming here and ending up on the streets at 2am in the freezing cold in London remain. But now I feel at peace with myself and so send this out to you. This is my ultimate unanswered email. Let the Moon Goddess if she exists, bring power to the kind-hearted people of this world, and let the bullies fight amongst themselves and leave the rest of us to live in a peaceful world where everyone has a decent life materially but where materialism and achievement are not the most important things in the world. Sometimes apologising and being humble is a sign of deep strength.

Imagine:

Leaving you with another tune,

Love and Peace

Born2rant

An Invitation to my school disco circa 1973-1976 ( you must be 13-18 in your head to attend)


Hello Good people and Tiger Feet who still read this blog…

  THIS IS MY MOST AMBITIOUS BLOG ENTRY TO DATE. THIS POST MAY TAKE SEVERAL SECONDS TO DOWNLOAD FULLY.  IN THE MEANTIME READ MY PRE-AMBLE AND THEN JOIN ME AT THE DISCO!

Last entry I made comments on the dreary songs of Mumford & Sons and Ed Sheeran, this post follows on from that. As many of my readers will know, before he was convicted for murder, Phil Spector was a legendary music producer. He multi-tracked many instruments playing simultaneously, until it created his notorious “Wall of Sound”. Now UK bands have many instruments playing simultaneously but end up with a “Wall of Bland”.

As an alternative, I am sending you a warm invitation to join me for a historical recreation of a 1970s school disco. This has little relation to “hippie counterculture” and is purely done for my pleasure and hopefully yours. 

Are you feeling down? If you come to my disco you will feel 100 times happier and perhaps 4 decades younger. (Bring friends!)

An explanation of what I am doing:

I am recreating an authentic playlist of music, that I remember dancing to at a variety of school discos in South London between 1973 and the beginning of 1977. The schools employed professional disk jokeys who supplied music and sometimes lighting. Later when the punk, reggae and other underground music scenes exploded, I was going to punk gigs, heavy dub reggae clubs, and then moved north of the Thames to become part of an alternative music scene, leaving my school disco days behind.

Setting the scene: School discos were of course free of charge. We as pupils thought it was very funny that the teachers attended. They sat at a table at the back of the school assembly hall, where the discos took place. We were amused to see the female teachers with their glasses removed, exposing lashings of bright blue eyeshadow and mascara, wearing flowing evening gowns and giggling. The male school teachers stood around in their flash 70s leisure suits, a bottle of beer in hand, getting drunk. They were vastly outnumbered by the women.

Normally our teachers were strict and angry with us, and loudly condemning all sexual activities outside a loving marriage. If we exposed the slightest bit of flesh, we were seriously reprimanded. But at the school disco, the teachers were now giggling and flirting with one another in a very scary way.

It was the teacher’s night off and so we also got the night off, to dance to sexy tunes, but we were pretty well behaved. The general age group was around 13 to 19 years old. Strangely I don’t remember being accompanied by parents to or from any discos or parties in my early teens. I seem to remember that we were allowed alcohol in a weak punch (mostly lemonade). No one got actually drunk, a few girls my age went outside to have cigarettes (usually forbidden at school). There was no sex or drugs that I knew of. Occasionally couples “snogged” on the dance floor or outside.

I went to discos at different schools in South London but they were pretty much all the same.

The lighting was simply done by turning most of the lights off! Some DJs supplied lighting, such as a strobe, which would be used during the final set of rock numbers. How I loved to dance in the strobe light, all self-consciousness gone! Occasionally the DJ would have a tiny lighting rig, which looked like a miniscule set of traffic lights, with four or five dim lights of different colours. This was set up in front of his decks which were on a table. Occasionally there was a glitter ball attached to the ceiling which made the school hall sparkle during the disco numbers. Sometimes there was a smoke machine used during slow romantic numbers.

I have little recollection of the DJs, anonymous young men with hundreds of 7 inch singles in cardboard boxes. If you went to ask them for a request, they usually told you to shove off.

There would be EXCELLENT sound quality, this was everything in the 1970s. Big speakers, loud music. The “cartridge” attached to the stylus, was usually incredibly rare and expensive. When music lovers handled their records and put them back in their sleeves, they did this with the same care and expertise that a Catholic would treat the ancient relics of some saint’s fingers or other revered body parts. I also remember being dragged to a massive “Hi-Fi” show spread across several posh hotels, where people would buy the latest stereo, or sometimes quadrophonic, hi-fi equipment. It all had to be perfect and newly developed, it had to be the right brand, and the sound of the music had to be perfect.

Dancing: generally speaking the boys didn’t dance. It was deeply uncool for boys to dance. If they did dance it was usually to their favourite rock tune. When self-conscious long-haired teenage boys heard their favourite band being played at the disco, they felt compelled to get on the dance floor to pay tribute to their most hallowed musicians. They would do this kind of Neanderthal adolescent swaying, sometimes with a sort of “hopping” movement, whilst trying to head bang at the same time. It was rarely in time to the beat. They managed to make their long hair cover their faces enough to hide their self-consciousness. I think this kind of dancing evolved into punk pogoing and rock “moshing”.

But there were also many boys with short-hair who liked dancing and were fearless in doing so, they danced like the girls mostly.

Other more “square” and timid boys, whose own clothes resembled school uniforms, hung around in the shadows like patient fishermen angling under the full moon. They were only here in the hope of enticing a girl to dance with them during the smooching songs near the finish.

The girls danced together usually in pairs or groups of friends. I recall several main types of dance although you could just about get away with anything, in fact I had invented a “finger dance” for when I was tired.

The main “girl’s dance” was swinging hips from side to side with slight stepping left to right, in time to the music. Hands and arms were not used much. I still use this dance technique today and get away with it.

Then there was the “funky chicken”, which was basically pretending to be a chicken.

Then the “bump” which was great fun. Usually a friend would interrupt your chicken movements by suddenly “bumping” into your bottom with their bottom or hip.

Then there were more sophisticated dances that accompanied “Jive Talking” and “the Hustle” and any songs mentioning the twist. They usually involved doing something with your arms and hands and legs at the same time and were hard to maintain.

Also there was the wild head banging which I was very good at especially as I had long hair and loved rock music.

Apart from that there was the “slow dance” ritual. The DJ would play several slow songs in a sequence. The start of each song could be the cause of some fear and trepidation.

Those boys who had been waiting around patiently for the chance to dance up close with a girl, would emerge from the shadows. They asked the girls and were mostly rejected. The girls weren’t expected to ask who we wanted to dance with, that would be controlling, unfeminine and totally unacceptable. Mostly the boys who asked us to dance were just not the ones we wanted to dance close to, let alone kiss, so we rejected them. Often girls danced with each other to avoid the whole embarrassment of it.

Others who paired up to dance to the slow tracks would often end up “snogging” and dribbling all over each other while the rest of us looked on. During these slow dances, the boys often suffered from what we called WHD or “wandering hands disease”. Things didn’t usually go too far at the school disco though, but some new romances developed between the older teenagers.

The music that was played was often the stuff I vowed NEVER to have in my own record collection. For a start they were all singles, I collected and listened to albums by dozens of “serious” artists such as Genesis, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and others. I hated to listen to “soul” music and disco songs but conversely I loved to dance to them with my friends. Now when I hear these same tunes I feel totally invigorated.

Now I can hear the musicianship in these songs. I can understand why and how I resent bland music that is produced now (I am also guilty of this in my own song writing). Perhaps the rock journalist in the film “Almost Famous” was right, maybe pop music should be “dumb”. Maybe once pop music gets too clever, it’s just no fun anymore for anyone.

This is escapist music but it isn’t stupid, there’s a lot of skill in the arrangements, orchestration, dynamics, and in the playing and singing techniques.

Some of these tracks are much older than 1973 but were obviously favourites of DJs and dancers at that time.

As we danced we thought that the music of the future would be so incredibly superior to the songs we danced to at our school disco. We thought these songs were a “flash in the pan”, a passing trend, of disposable songs for “teenyboppers” that would be dead and forgotten within 6 months. Sometimes it’s probably better that we don’t know the future…

So make yourself some weak shandy, get your best dance moves ready, and join me for this authentic 1973-1976 school disco playlist and I guarantee that you will feel life is better!

N.B. please play this through the best speakers you can find, and LOUD!

Once you’ve danced to all of these, it will be like taking acid and going to the moon, you’ll never be the same again.

Oh and I forgot to say… it is usually in fancy dress. I used to just wear my every day clothes, add a head band and paint flowers on my face, and declare myself a hippie, which I was anyway! Others made an effort. At one school disco, a boy in my class was wearing full scuba diving gear, complete with flippers, a black whole body frog suit, snorkel and goggles. I spoke to him for some time and he just nodded back. I thought it was probably difficult for him to speak. Then he turned away and I watched him walk off, slowly raising his big flippers and slapping them onto the floor. I kind of felt sorry for him, as it wasn’t ideal footwear for a disco, or walking, or speaking. I then turned round to look at the others, and saw the guy I thought I’d been speaking to, standing next to me, not in fancy dress. I’ve no idea who the bloke in the frog suit was!

This is an epic playlist. I chose a total of 58 songs from over 170, so there are quite a few I had to leave out. I wanted the timing to fit the length of an evening. The disco starts at 7 pm and closes at 11pm because otherwise your parents would worry!

It’s a mixture of soul, rock, early disco, pop, early reggae and novelty records. Some sections are for fast dancing, others for less vigorous dancing, one section for “headbanging”, and one for smooching and bringing the evening to a close.

I’ve put these songs in an order so that it more or less flows, this was before DJs did proper “mixing”. They just tried to get the mood to flow from one track to another rather than try to match bpm.

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FINALLY THE DISCO STARTS HERE, THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE:

  1. Crocodile Rock – Elton John (3.53   )

  1. Cum on feel the noize- Slade (3.21)

  1. I can help- Billy Swan (3.57) fade before end

  1. My coo ca choo- Alvin Stardust (2.44)

  1. Tiger Feet- Mud (3.50)

  1. 25 or 6 to 4 – Chicago (4.59)

  1. Kung Fu Fighting (3.11)

  1. Who’s that lady- Isley Bros (5.36)

  1. Layla- Derek and the Dominos (7.04)

  1. Wishing Well- Free (3.31)

  1. Feel Like Making Love – Bad Company (5.05)

  1. Nutbush City Limits- Ike & Tina Turner (2.59)

  1. Boogie Nights- Heatwave (3.11)

  1. That’s the way- K.C. and the Sunshine Band (3.07)

  1. Love is the Drug- Roxy Music (2.41)

  1. Monster Mash- Bobby Picket (3.15)

17. The Leader of the pack- the Shangri-las (2.38)

  1. Seasons in the sun-Terry Jacks (3.26)

  1. Make me smile – Cockney Rebel (3.55)

  1. The Jean Genie – David Bowie (4.38)

  1. Now I’m Here- Queen (4.14)

  1. Hocus Pocus- Focus (3.20)

  1. Pick up the pieces – Average White Band (4.00)

  1. Boogie Wonderland- Earth, Wind and Fire (4.52)

  1. The Hustle – Van McCoy (3.49)

  1. You Sexy Thing- Hot Chocolate (4.04)

  1. Heaven must be missing an angel – Tavares (3.31)

  1. Sugar, Honey, Honey- The Archies (2.45)

  1. The Isrealites – Desmond Dekker (2.35)

  1. Hey Fattie Bum Bum- Carl Malcom (2.08)

  1. Uptown top ranking – Althea and Donna (3.55)

  1. Superstition – Stevie Wonder (4.27)

  1. Lady Marmalade- Labelle (3.58)

  1. Green Onions- Booker T & the MG’s (2.58)

  1. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting- Elton John (4.57)

  1. Blockbuster- The Sweet (3.11)

  1. Remember you’re a Womble –The Wombles (3.46)

  1. Sugar Baby Love- The Rubettes (3.30)

  1. Money, Money, Money – Abba (3.07)

  1. This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us – Sparks (3.01)

  1. Black Night- Deep Purple (3.26)

  1. Silver Machine- Hawkwind (4.38)

  1. Hi-Ho Silver Lining- Jeff Beck (2.51)

  1. You really got me – The Kinks (2.14)

  1. Whiskey in the Jar – Thin Lizzie (3.52)

  1. Pinball Wizard- The Who (3.02)

  1. Easy Livin’ – Uriah Heep (2.36)

  1. Radar Love- Golden Earring (5.03)

  1. Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf (3.30)

  1. All the Young Dudes- Mott the Hoople (3.27)

  1. A Whiter Shade of Pale- Procul Harum (4.00)

  1. Killing me softly- Roberta Flack (4.50)

  1. Air that I breathe – The Hollies (4.08)

  1. Without You- Harry Nilsson (3.28)

  1. Sailing – Rod Stewart (4.51)

  1. Bridge Over troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel (4.51)

  1. Samba Pa Ti – Santana (4.52)

 

Goodnight all you “Tiger Feet” out there.

Love and Peace

Born2rant