There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

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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.

west-end-56.jpgMy 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 byb-h-c.jpg 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’ !    😉


4 Responses to “If only I could remember her name.”

  1. ferouzeh said

    and so was ‘sandra’… yes..and then?

  2. Jackshian said

    If you can’t win with the old charm then bribery and blackmail is fine – worked for me 36 years ago when I ‘pulled’ the wife with two tickets to see The Beatles at the Lewisham Odeon – lousy show but we’ve stayed shackled together ever since so it worked ok for us.

    (Bill Haley was for the ‘teds’ which was a bit before my time, but I seem to remember that first tour was well known for the number of venues that were trashed by the ‘enthusiastic young people’ who attended – I trust you weren’t one of these John)

  3. Jackshian said

    My wife also reads your blog, John, and after reading my comment she reminded me that I bribed her with two tickets to see the Stones at Wembley, not the Beatles at Lewisham – after some thought I realised that I’d bribed a girl called Angie in 1964 to come with me to see The Beatles – that’s the trouble with bribery and blackmail, you need a good memory!

  4. Big John said

    Sorry Feruz. Nothing much happened after that as she ‘got religion’ and joined the Salvation Army. A worthy organisation but not exactly ‘my scene’ at the time. She did write to me when I was conscripted, which was nice, but we only met once after that. I think that she ‘had a thing’ about uniforms. 🙂

    “Oh what a tangled web …” Jack .. or something like that. 🙂

    I think that most of the ‘trashing’ happened at the first showings of the film ‘Rock Around the Clock’. Like most teenagers at the time I wasn’t a ‘Ted’. I fancied myself as a sort of cross between James Dean and Elvis.

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