My best friend was allowed to bring two friends to his older brother Steve’s twenty-first birthday party; he chose to hand me one of the golden tickets, so – at the age of seventeen – we got to hang out with a bunch of blokes we looked up to and a group of girls we just looked at.
Sensibly, the parents had chosen to remain for the festivities, which was fine with all, as they were well-liked and top company. They buzzed around ladling out the charm, along with ample supplies of beer and two types of Martini. I don’t remember many people drinking wine in those days, and what was generally available tended to be on the sweet and sticky side. However, I do recall the lasses liked a Martini, and in my limited experience, if your chosen one opted for Sweet Martini over Dry, you might well be in with a chance.
The problem was - as Russ Abbott would doubtless have pointed out in song - that the party was lacking something. As Steve and his mates argued over which of their favourite LPs would be next up on the Pye Black Box music centre, the girls chatted among themselves, and we three looked on from just outside the social circle. I see now that Steve’s parents, John and Meriel, would clearly have been bemused as Wishbone Ash’s Argus gave way to The Who Live at Leeds which was replaced by Pink Floyd’s Meddle.
John took charge, and suddenly the girls took an interest. As John knew, if you can get the girls up and dancing then the boys will surely follow. Sure enough, pretty soon the spacious living room was witness to an indistinguishable whirl of feathered haircuts, cheesecloth shirts, and flapping trouser cuffs.
The album which John put on, and which was on repeat for most of the evening?
Thanks Trini Lopez, you lit up the room.