If only I could remember her name.
Posted by Big John on October 13, 2007
It was 1956 when Sandra Dee entered my teenage world, and I was immediatly smitten. No, it wasn’t the real one, but a young typist who looked like her and worked in the same office as me.
Now ‘Sandra’ was a very pretty girl who always dressed in the teenage fashion of the time, wearing a full skirt with layers of net petticoats, a wide belt, tight sweater and white gloves. Yes, it’s hard to believe now, but back then, girls wore dainty white gloves.
My gauche attempts at attracting her over the office tea trolley always failed miserably, and my loitering around her desk only drew evil looks from her ’Gorgon’ of a supervisor. I did try to talk to her one lunchtime in an Oxford Street record store, which was a really dumb idea as it was one of those places with little booths where you could listen to your favourite music for free, and she was far more interested in listening to ‘Rock Around The Clock’ than in talking to me.
My attempt to woo her at the office Christmas party was a disaster, as she was sipping Coca Cola and I had just met ‘Johnnie Walker’ for the first time.
My ‘casual’ encounters at a local Soho coffee bar fared no better, as the juke box had more appeal for her than my feeble invitations to share a ‘frothy coffee’ or my offers to let her listen to my latest Elvis record.
During that drab and gloomy time ‘Sandra’ and I worked in an office in Denmark Street, which was known as London’s ‘Tin Pan Alley’ due to the number of premises occupied by people in the music business.
Now it just so happened that Denmark Street was only a ‘stones throw’ from the Dominion Theatre in Tottenham Court Road, where in February of 1957 ‘Bill Haley and his Comets’ were due to give their first European performance. Somehow, through a ’Tin Pan Alley’ contact, I managed to acquire two tickets for that show, which to the ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ mad generation at that time, was the biggest thing to hit London since the ‘Blitz’.
I looked at the tickets laying on my desk. Most teenagers at that time would have ‘sold their soul’ for just one of these small pieces of paper, and I had two ! … I thought of my mates, and wondered which of them should have that spare ticket ?
It’s now half a century since that event, and during those fifty years I have sometimes been accused of boring the pants off people with tales of how I was there to see Bill Haley perform … LIVE ! … Well I bloody WAS ! …
… and so was ‘Sandra’ !