The dark side of the early eighties

The only music I really had access to when I was younger was my Dad’s record collection. He didn’t have much in the way of vinyl, maybe enough to fit into a couple of cardboard boxes and most of it had been played to death or had been scratched by us as kids. It sat in a veneered cabinet in the lounge underneath his Trio amplifier and Garrard turntable.

The was some classic R&B from the sixties, some prog rock, metal and a fair bit of British folk from the previous two decades. In amongst it all was most of what Dylan had released up to that point and even a bit of country, Crystal Gayle springs to mind because Dad told us he was having an affair with her and not to tell mum.

Out of everything in his collection there was some records that I returned to time and again.

Usually Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana or Pink Floyd, although occasionally I dipped into the folk stuff. At the time we had a green Velour sofa chair and I’d listen to these records on a pair of huge white 70s earphones with a curly lead, they were a bit cheap, from Boots I think.

I used to play Dark Side of the Moon to death. I loved the sound of it, the songs running into each other, samples and loops in the background, the whole ‘concept’ thing intrigued me. I got into this habit of listening to it on headphones in the dark whilst watching the Nine O’clock News with the TV sound turned down, so the video experience would be different every evening. There where three periods in the early 80s when I did this.

The Falklands Campaign. The Belgrano, freezing water and hundreds of dead teenage conscripts all played out in a grotesque tabloid pantomime. Thatcher, sunken ships and melted faces.

The Miners Strike. Working class coppers beating the shit out of their own people as the media leapt about like coked up chimps, towing the government line of lies, secrecy and deception. The foolishness of Scargill and the spite of Thatcher, again.

Greenham Common. More old bill, more moustaches, a whole lot more Thatcherite warmongering and spin. Who could have thought that protesting against weapons of mass destruction could have attracted so much derision?

All of this played out against the soundtrack of Dark Side of the Moon, this three or four year period would become a defining point in my life. A loss of innocence? Maybe, things were certainly never be the same after that. Most of all I came to realise that anything but the government tabloid point of view on any of these issues was a lonely place, and would remain so for the rest of my life.

Yes Dark Side of the Moon is music for bank managers and hippies. And yes Pink Floyd are about concept albums and collecting Ferraris. But there is a place for this music in my life, even though it may not always be that welcome.

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