Watford was a place of glamour.
It was where trifles came from.
It was where my sister went to see Generation X and wore black nail varnish for the event.
(She may deny it, but it’s my memory and I am sticking to it).
It was the big city before we’d been to the big city.
We didn’t know it was brutalist then.
It’s not anymore.
They’ve knocked the brutality down. The brutality is now just rubble in the way of the massive George A Romero memorabilia of the local shopping centre.
Those concrete stairwells were perfect to imagine Nicky Henson leading a bunch of Hell’s Angels on their way to purgatory.
However sunny the day, it was always dark corner.
I think there was a Wendy’s on the corner where teenagers could drink vanilla shakes while waiting for the day they’d get the false ID that would given them free access to draught Skol or even Lowenbrau if their Saturday job in the shoe shop was paying well.
In the Friday market, past the hanging cows and balls of wool, was the record stall where I’d browse till my fingers stung.
I bought a double album of John Barry’s themes and incidental music from the Bond films.
Friends mocked me. He wasn’t hip then.
Down the road was Our Price.
I bought my first Beatles album there.
It wasn’t even a proper one really.
It was The Magical Mystery Tour Soundtrack, gatefold and with a booklet.
I always liked a booklet, that’s what drew me to Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds.
Our grandmother lived in Bushey Heath. Pop on the bus and before you knew it we’d be in the local department store restaurant. The Marks and Spencer’s trifle would be bought later.
We’d eat that in the kitchen of maisonette where the sugar bowl had a crocheted cover to stop flies vomiting on the granules.
Blackbirds dashed their brains on her clean windows, so she stuck on a sticker on the pane so they knew it was glass not air.
They don’t have drawers of buttons in store anymore. If the buttons fall off your clothes, it’s now a mammon given sign to buy a new one and stick the old one in a clothing bank so that the poor can be dressed in button sparse knitwear.
I bought a copy of Day of the Daleks there, signed by Tom Baker, not Jon Pertwee.
Hopefully, on some shelf, a comic book guy has this contradictory Doctor Who tie-in.
I went to the Watford Museum today. Apparently, they have 12 William Blake illustrations that he created for The Book of Job. They weren’t on display today. Maybe the angels never sat in the trees of Garston Park. They had a copy of painting of Elton John flying on hornet instead.
Dead Funny Encore, the horror anthology with stories by Rufus Hound, James Acaster, Isy Suttie, Josie Long, Alan Moore and loads more is out NOW