The Kids from Fame
The first sign of “popular music” impacting on my life was back in the summer of 1982. I was 8 years old.
The BBC began screening “Fame” in July 1982. My friends and my sisters were hooked and I couldn’t get enough. Everyone at school was talking about it.
The TV show was based on the 1980 Alan Parker film “Fame” and it was two decades before shows like “Pop Idol”, “X factor” and “Glee” dominated the planet.
The show was set in a performing arts school. It was eye opening.
Best of all they released albums featuring songs from the show. It was the first time I was introduced to the concept. The girl from next door had a copy of the album on tape. She let me make a copy of it. I played it constantly for months.
One day I started a group. I would rope in anyone I could (usually other kids on the street or my sisters). We would make up dances and performances to the songs on the album. It was my first taste of performing and creating something instinctively and this was all without any adults or teachers.
Years later when I eventually started recording my own music I would record a version of the track “Starmaker” as a tribute.
I often ask people I meet what their earliest memories are. I suspect our most vivid memories often have to have significance to become lodged in our brains.
Try as I might, I cannot recall any memories earlier than around 4 years old.
It is 1977. I am in a house. The house where I live. I am exploring. There is a cellar. This is a new and exciting prospect to a 4 year old. The cellar, unbeknown to me, will be the location of both good and bad experiences in the coming years.
A steady pull on the cheap silver handle and the world behind the dark gloomy brown door is revealed. The stale mouldy air hits as I enter and I fumble my way down into the darkness. Stretching upwards to reach a discoloured white plastic box to the left, a press of a switch and a dim yellow light glows above a dank stone staircase.
There are large colourful letters of blood red and silk white painted on the soot black walls. They appear as magnificent works of art to my young innocent eyes. “LED ZEPPELIN” announces one. “T-REX” roars another. I have no idea what these words mean, or that the logos in front of me are the band names belonging to iconic rock gods Jimmy Page and Marc Bolan (Bolan tragically died in this very same year).
I have no other stand-out memories from this time. A fleeting recall of being at preschool standing inside a large smooth wooden truck lingers at the back of my mind.
The blurred and hazy moments of my early years only exist to me as photographs kept in thick, yellow faux-leather albums or white cardboard shoe-boxes.
I see the boy I was, but I do not see me.
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