Chorers of the World Unite or Pippins Wallies or the Boston Death Disco
Right. I’ve decided what songs I want played at my funeral. Now I know the chances are that by the time they find the body they’ll probably just need to sluice doon the leather recliner where I’ve lain for 6 months or so, but just in case, the tunes are below.
Strange to relate, they’re both from the second album by Boston. And there’s actually a reason for that which involves going back in time to the nineteen seventies.
In 1979 I briefly became the most interesting person I, or any of my school contemporaries knew. This was because my birthday that year saw me become the proud (and first in my class) owner of a Sony Walkman.
This was due to my Auntie Terry and Uncle Ernie, who lived in California. They’d visited the year before with their teenage daughters, Twink and Val, and had obviously taken their advice as to what was a suitable gift for a teenage boy. So no more ill fitting T-shirts. Nope, it was an honest to goodness Sony Walkman.
How the folk at school, who’s studiously ignored me for three years, flocked to me side, to gaze at the technological marvel of the age. There was one down side, though. I didn’t actually have any tapes to play in it. So there was only one solution. Chorie!
Now I was a reasonably experienced shoplifter by this time. I’d sometimes bunk off with a laddie called Pippin and we’d go on the chore doon the indoor markets. He had nae pals either. That may have been due to his lack of personal hygiene. Or possible the fact that by age 14 all his adult teeth had rotted and fallen oot. In fact, by the time he left school he was already in possession of a full set of wallies. To be fair, his Mum had buggered off when he was about 3 and his Dad was a violent drunk, so it wasn’t as if anyone was looking oot for him.
Our usual haunts were the two indoor markets at Tollcross. One was just up fae Goldbergs, on the ground floor of a pool hall, and the other one was in Earl Grey Street, above the shops, where it ran the length of the street.
They were easy pickings due to bad lighting and half drunk stallholders. But they didnae sell tapes. No, for that, we had to graduate to the big time. Woolworths!
Aye, Woolies in Lothian Road was the only place near us that sold records. Apart fae the basement in Jeffreys the Haberdashers. But they kept the goods behind a counter whereas Woolies had everything oot in the open. The great thing about Woolies back then was the fact that it was an L shaped shop with one lot of doors in Lothian Road (the main entrance) and a side exit into Fountainbridge. So you could pick something up, amble about the shop a bit, then leg it oot the side door, across the street, doon the pend, then into the back greens at Thornybauk or the Murchies Dairy yard. Easy.
So, in we went. Pippin distracted the woman behind the record desk, I sneaked the Boston tape into my pocket and then ambled off. Now I had no idea who Boston were. They’d had their hit, but obviously never bothered flying over for Top of the Pops. No, I nicked it purely on the basis of the spaceship cover. And now I was on my way oot. Only to be accosted by my cousin Fay Linton fae West Calder, who worked in the dry goods section. She was asking me about my Auntie Famie and my Dad, and obviously never spotted the sweat pouring doon the back of my neck. Eventually, though, I was free. Later that night I played “Don’t Look Back” by Boston and it was glorious. It was six months before I choried another tape – “Trouble” by Whitesnake – so I had plenty of time to take it all in.
My life of shoplifting came to an end shortly after the Whitesnake tape when I actually got caught by the store detective sating my stationery obsession. Luckily I was by myself so handed over Pippins real name and address knowing full well what would happen if the polis chapped up his Dad.
Anyway, I’ve been listening to that Boston album incessantly of late and would like my coffin brought into the crematorium to a ‘A Man I’ll Never Be’, one of the saddest songs ever.
“If only I could find a way
I’d feel like I’m the man you believe I am
And it’s getting harder every day for me
To hide behind this dream you see
A man I’ll never be”
And here it is;
Once it finishes, I’d like two minutes silence, so the funeral director can nip oot for a fag, seeing as how he’ll be on his own. Then I’d like the curtains to close while ‘Party’ plays. And, yes, I get the irony.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton