There’s sod all on telly tonight so I’ve been playing a compulsive game on my tablet and listening to music. The playlist has been the Jackie album (which will mean nothing to non British people) and it’s been stirring a few memories.
Some of the memories are cringingly embarrassing – kissing the telly when David Cassidy was on for instance but some of them are wonderful and are the ones that have shaped me into the person I am today.
Young, Gifted and Black came on and I sang along with gusto whilst all the animals sat with their paws over their ears. I thought about the MacLennans who were a wonderful family we met just after we moved house in the early 70s. They were always Uncle and Auntie Mac and I suppose they had first names but I’ve never know them.
They had two (I think) sons who stayed back in Jamaica when they came to England and three daughters who were around the same age as me and my brother and sister. Beverley and Joyce were great but I adored Barbara and I still do even though I haven’t seen her for years.
I spent al lot of time at their house and loved it when Uncle Mac let me help him burn the reeds to shape for his saxophone. I’m sure I ballsed them up completely but he let me do it anyway. He gave me my first hard liquor – a tiny glass of mega strong white rum that you’d never get in a shop, if you know what I mean, with a bare dash of tonic. He was my favourite uncle.
I encountered racism for the first time when I was walking around with Barbara one day and I was devastated that people could be so full of hate just because they didn’t like the colour of her skin when I loved the person that she was.
On the day that is now known as 7/7 we were shocked and scared for our Muslim friends when we heard about the bombings in London, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer (he died 10 weeks later) and Barbara had a brain haemorrhage on her way to work. I think it’s fair to say it was right up there as one of the shittiest days in my life.
Barbara recovered and went back to work which was amazing, my dad, as I said, died later that year and one of our Muslim friends gave us the money to pay for his funeral because he didn’t want us or his Auntie Winnie (my mum) worrying about it.
Memories eh, wonderful bloody things.