For me, the 1970’s was a special time. It was a time when I started working in the shipyards on the Tyne. They always had plenty of work, we built some of the best ships in the world, from quarter of a million ton super tankers to some famous naval ships, such as the lustrous, the ark royal, HMS Newcastle, HMS Glasgow.
The 1970s, the best rock groups came to Newcastle, couple of venues, such as the Mayfair, the Odeon, the City Hal. Groups like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and The Who. With my mates I would watch such groups. Most weeks we’d also go to Newcastle home games. I think back now and wonder how we afforded to do all the things we did back then. Certainly couldn’t afford to them now.
It was at the Odeon that I met my first serious girlfriend, at The Who concert. By serious, I mean the girl I was to stay with for some time, her name was Jane. She came from a much posher place than me, cos I lived in a small flat in North Shields with an outside toilet. She had a big posh house in Cullercoats, and as we went on for a while, our relationship flourished, and I decided it was time she met my parents. So the day that she came to meet my parents, I had told Jane most things about the place I lived, she knew most of the things, but I didn’t mention the toilet.
Jane came into my home, sat down in the living room, had a cup of tea with my parents, all was going well, until she asked to go to the toilet. I though ‘Oh my God!’ Then it clicked, me brother kept live bait, crabs for fishing in the toilet. I took her down, she went in, next thing I know, she came running out, she said ‘ I was sitting on the toilet, turned round, and there was hundreds of little eyes looking at me.’ Shaking literally, she was. I said, its ok, its ok, they’re just crabs. After a while she calmed down, and she said ‘My god, I’ve never been so frightened in me life.’
It mustn’t have bothered her too much cos in the end we got married, I thought, what a way to impress a girl.