History – what’s the point of having been there?
I had an acting job last week - a commercial for a Games Console. I played Klutzy Granddad. In a gap between filming I was sitting around with the young actor playing Cheeky but Clever Son. To kill time I asked the kid, “Who’s your favourite band?” I expected his answer to be some dreary modern bunch I’d never heard of and that our exchange would go something like:
“It’s got to be the Wet Paint Watchers.”
“Oh. The Wet Pant Washers….good, are they?”
“Well, duh – they are my favourite band.”
His reply was “The Shadows.” What - my favourite band when I was his age? Then he said, “Hank Marvin, the coolest pre-Clapton guitarist. You know ‘F.B.I’? Du du derrrr, du du du derr, du du derrrrr du du durrrrr….” as he meticulously air-picked the tune. “I got it off Youtube,” he said blithely.
“The Shadows!” I cried, “Wow, Daddy-oh!” Fifty years had slipped away faster than the fizz in a pint of Harp lager. “Hank, Bruce, Jet Harris, and I’m still getting over Tony Meehan having to quit the drum stool in ‘62”.
He looked at me coolly. “I think you’ll find if was ‘61” he said.
“Whatever,” I said hurriedly, “But he was great in ‘The Rumble’, eh?”
“‘The Rumble’ featured Brian Bennett. Meehan’s replacement.…Don’t you ever look at the internet?”
“Anyway” I gulped, “What pioneers! Marvin, the first UK guy to own a Telecaster.”
He looked at me as if he’d just caught me chewing a bar of soap. “Stratocaster,” he said. I now began to notice his slightly pointy ears.
This kid knew more about my youth than I did. Soon he’d tell me what the attractive brunette in the Carlisle Dance Hall had said in 1964 after she’d laughed out my chat up line. And then give me the Youtube link to it.
All we had to refer to in our day was “Juke Box Jury”, and your mate’s grubby copy of “Melody Maker” which had been passed round the class. How the hell were we supposed to about the music that was going on?
Luckily the two of us were then called back on set to film the second scene in which Cheeky but Clever Son finally showed Klutzy Granddad how to work the console. How he loved it.