February 1, 2017
I was in my mother’s loft recently putting away the Xmas decorations. I cleared most of the junk out of there years ago but in the furthest reaches I found stuff that’s been there 50 years and can stay there a while longer. My old blackboard and easel. A large tin painting set with a fantastic coloured “Treasure Island” image on the lid. A broken etch-a-sketch. A Spirograph. The artificial xmas tree with two dozen sparce branches complete with the set of (count them) 12 cone-shaped xmas lights that so delighted us every year in the early 1960s when my father performed the annual switch-on ceremony in the pitch dark. We were easily amused then. No treasures at all. I just rescued a bundle of magazines tied up with string. Mostly “Woman’s Own” from the mid sixties. In the bundle I did find two things of interest however. An old newspaper and this copy of “Disc and Music Echo”. The pages were brittle and crumbling but I managed to scan all twenty before it completely disintegrated.
Reading the paper brought 1969 rushing back to me. I loved Disc and must have bought every issue from 1967 to 1977. From 1970 JEO was a highlight. Although the music of the time was good, 1969 was that no-mans-land when all there was on the radio was Radio One in the daytime and Radio Luxembourg in the evenings. RNI wouldn’t launch for another six months. Everyone was demanding commercial radio. Look how crap that turned out in the UK.
PS: Then later we’re sitting by the fire drinking tea and my mother begins to relate the tale about the time her friend was abducted by aliens. I’ve heard the story before but I have to admit this was the first time I’d heard mention of aliens.
They were good friends and went to the same schools, the same dances as teenagers. They attended each others weddings and both had two children, gave up work and became housewives. Then one day in the 1960s l—— went missing. Her children came home from school, her husband came home from work but she wasn’t there. Her handbag and coat were still in the house. Nothing had been removed from her wardrobe. No suitcases were missing. She didn’t own a passport. The only bank account was a joint one with her husband. No money was ever removed from it. In the early days there were the
usual investigations. Neighbours hadn’t seen anything. No strange car had been seen on the (then extremely quiet) cul-de-sac. Teams searched the fields and outbuildings around. They checked back gardens for signs of fresh soil where a body might have been buried. Divers searched local rivers and lakes. No body was ever found. The years passed and her children had children of their own but she never made any contact. Fifty years have now passed and to this day it remains a mystery as to whether she is living or dead.
My mother thinks that they were close enough that if l—— had marital problems (or even a lover) she would have confided in her. Even in those days it would have been possible to get a divorce if that had been what she wanted. It is quite rare for a mother to walk away from her children and never see them again. Was she murdered? Did she leave on her own volition or was she abducted? When all possible explanations have been discounted then you start considering the impossible. Hence the talk of aliens.
March 1, 2016
I purchased the pop newspaper “Disc” every week from 1966 until the summer of 1975 when it was merged into “Record Mirror”. By 1975 I had also been buying the edgier and ever-improving “NME” for a number of years anyway.
In the early 1970s “Disc” was useful for its pop pirate radio coverage and for classified adverts where you could send off for cheaply printed duplicated/photostatted newsletters from the likes of Crispian St John containing yet more pop pirate radio info.
A highlight for me was always J.Edward Oliver’s comic strip featuring Fresco Le Raye. This always contained pop-related in-jokes and numerous mentions of JEO’s continued infatuation with Madeline Smith. Of course, writing this gives me the perfect opportunity to insert an image of MS (and JEO’s likeness of her too).
It’s worth a closer look at JEO’s survey.
June 1, 2013
In the late 1960s I finally tired of the repetitive stories in Valiant and asked the local newsagent to deliver “Disc and Music Echo” instead. Alas as they looked like newspapers they (and my brother’s “Angling Times”) joined the heap to be used for lighting the fire. I have just found some “NMEs” and “Sounds” from the early 70s but no “Discs”. So instead here is a Record Mirror from July 1970.