Sunday, March 08, 2009

When We Saw The Who At Charlton In 1974


Here is story of the great adventure
One Friday evening i got home from work and Dave and Paul had taken some acid so i had some as well.Then we went for a walk.We visited some pig sties and had a look at the piglets which was good fun then we went to visit Dobbin.He was this really old white horse who lived in a field near us.We didn't know his real name so we called him Dobbin.When we shouted to him it took Dobbin about 10 minutes to walk across the field to see us and we gave him some apples.Then we went for a walk across the fields.We pretended that we were on an expedition around the world.I was naturalist David Attenborough and i gave a running commentary.We walked through a wood which became the tropical rain forest.
"If you look up into the canopy of the trees you can see the ring tailed lemur,and over there you can see the Orang Utan which means little old man of the woods"
Then we emerged into a field which became the savannah,
"Here you see a huge herd of wildebeest",They were actually only cows.When we reached a boggy bit, that became the Artic tundra.Eventually we reached the village of Cefn Y Bedd,we always called it Seven In A Bed.We went in the pub and ordered a pint and tried to act normal because we were out of our heads by now and kept having fits of the giggles.
"Hey look, theres a dead man over there in the corner",said Dave trying to freak me out.It was just someones hat and coat lying on a bench.In the end we went and sat outside in the warm evening air.Then we walked back along the lane towards Summerhill.
Suddenly, out of nowhere a fire engine appeared racing towards where we lived.In our state we immediately assumed our house was on fire.
"Right", said Dave,"If it's our house, we will just walk straight past,i want no truck with the police in this state".
As it turned out we had no reason to get paranoid,the house was alright.We sat up all night smoking and listening to records,such as Bitches Brew,Miles Davis,Berlin by Lou Reed,Satanic Majesties by the Stones, Next, by The Alex Harvey Band,Lifemask,by Roy Harper and gradually getting mellower as dawn approached with Joni Mitchell,Melanie,Leftover Wine etc.All the time we were waiting for the village shop to open so we could buy a pint of milk to have a cup of tea,some cigarettes and a paper.Finally at 7.00 i went to the shop,still totally out of my brain.I had thought of every possible thing that could go wrong,i had even made a list of the 3 items we needed.When i got in the shop though i discovered there was about 10 other people in there and i had to queue up for an eternity to get served while i was still hallucinating like billio.I got back to the house which was strewn with album covers and all sorts of garbage from the nights madness and put the kettle on.
In the Daily Mirror something caught my eye.
"Hey, guess what?, The Who are playing in London today".
It was a huge concert at Charlton Athletic Football Stadium.Also playing were Lou Reed, Humble Pie,Bad Company,Stone The Crows, Lindisfarne and some others who i forget.
"Right, lets go," said Dave and Paul immediately.
"Don't be stupid",i replied, "We havent got any money".
"You boring old bastard, you're no better than Dobbin,we are going, you stay here you old git". I was 22 years old.
We added up all our money and we had about £3 between us and set off down the lane in the general direction of London.At Wrexham railway station we got on the train and kept a wary eye out for the ticket collector.Finally i spotted him coming along the next carraige
"Here comes the clippie",i said to the others,"Get in the bog".
We all casually left our seats and all 3 of us got in the toilet with our boots wedged against the door and the sign saying ' VACANT '.We sat in there for about 20 minutes till the clippie had walked past and then nonchalently resumed our seats.In this fashion we arrived in London.
When we got to the venue, Charltons Stadium 'The Valley' we clambered over the top of the turnstiles with no hesitation and we we in. I couldn't believe it had gone so smoothly.There were about 74,000 people there.It was packed, even on the pitch.It was also a really hot day and i took my shirt off.I was also really thirsty.
"I'm going to get some lollies",i said to the others and strolled off to an ice cream van.I queued up for about 30 minutes and bought 3 ice lollies and started strolling back,then i looked up and all i could see were 74,000 faces.I had forgotten where we were!.I was seized with panic and had a vision of me in London in the middle of the night dressed only in jeans with no money.Luckily by some miracle i managed to find my comrades and all was well.
We heard some great music that day, Humble Pie featuring the late great Steve Marriott were great,Lou Reed did Sweet Jane and The Who were sublime, playing for at least 2 hours.To tell you the truth it is so long ago in the mists of time i can't remember all that much about what songs they did.I think they did Baba O'Riley, Summertime Blues, Wont Get Fooled Again.All i know is that it was a great concert and the only time i ever saw The Who.
We spent the night in Euston Station and got some free soup and tea from a stall outside.Much later i heard that this tea stall was run by a notorious sex criminal called Roger Gleaves,the self styled Bishop of Medway who used it to lure runaway boys into a life of degradation.Thank god we never met him. Anyway on Sunday morning we bunked the train back to North Wales after a great weekend.I remember things like that, in those far flung halcyon days of yesteryear when we were really young and really happy.

THE END.