heard on the wire

And with a finger in one ear…

1974 was the year I discovered football, not jumpers-for-goalposts, in-the-park football, but real, on-TV football.

I remember Liverpool trouncing Newcastle in the FA Cup Final — an event that made me a boyhood LFC fan (the naivety of youth) — and a little while later Germany winning the World Cup.

Apart from the annual England v Scotland match, that was all the live football on the box in those days, but Sunday afternoon’s Big Match highlights became the highlight of the week. And Brian Moore’s head did look uncannily like London Planetarium.

Live music was equally as elusive. Seven year old boys didn’t watch the The Old Grey Whistle Test and had to make do with the exhibition of bad miming that was Top of the Pops. I’ve seen all the great mime artists of the mid-70s: The Osmonds, Mud, Alvin Stardust, Terry Jacks and, yes, Abba.

Now there has been a suggestion that Abba’s Waterloo should be my 1974 choice for a song-from-each-year-of-my-life, but, let’s be honest, it’s rubbish. Instead the seven-year-old me wanted to pick Heavy Action, the theme to the BBC Superstars programme, whose ’74 debut and David Hemery’s victory were an important stage in my development from football to all-sports-but-bloody-tennis fan. But it’s my ringtone, and I can’t pick a ringtone.

So it’s a record that I first heard 30 years later, inevitably played by John Peel who listed it amongst his all-time top 20 LPs (not including The Fall) of all time.

It’s fair to say that there’s a long period of life, basically, the first 35-odd years, during which I would have dismissed this as a load of ear-jabbing, folky nonsense. What folly. It’s brilliant, as is the LP to which it gives its name.

Richard and Linda Thompson :: I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
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