Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Silver Surfer

Like most 9 year olds in the 70s in the north of England I lived in hand me down clothes. High waisters, patch pockets, shirts with massive collars I had them all, all slightly to very well worn by my older cousins. I got good clothes for Christmas and Easter. Brand new. God knows I wasn't allowed to do anything mad like play out in them. Truth be told, I didn't really care what I wore then and, as I said earlier, everyone was in the same boat, though it does appear that somebody, somewhere up the food chain was getting brand new clothes bought for them at other times than Christmas and Easter.

I had a zip up cardie from Marks and Spencers that I loved. I had a mop of blonde hair and my best friend had black hair, we used to pretend to be Starsky and Hutch. I always felt the part more when I wore that cardie for some reason though I don't think David Soul ever wore M & S. Mt best mate's  dad was a milkman, we used to take turns sliding across the bonnet of the van he used on his rounds. 

Other than loving that cardie, turquoise(a proper 70s colour if ever), cream and petrol blue stripes - God it sounds awful doesn't it? - I never really had any feelings towards my clothes. We were all scruffy little sods back then. Well that's not strictly true; I had a brown anorak that would have probably been the height of fashion if I were in an indie band in Scotland in 1986 but I wasn't; I was a 9 year old in the north of England in 1976. I didn't even play the recorder. I hated that anorak with a passion. I despised wearing it. I wore it under duress. In those days if your parents told you to do something you did it. Indeed, had my dad told me to wear it and then promptly got himself run over by a bus and killed I think I'd still have it on today.

Like a lot of 9 year old boys I had a bit of a thing for comics; The Avengers, Spiderman, The Fantastic Four and the like. I don't remember where it came from but I had a cloth Silver Surfer patch, about 4 inches square that depicted The Surfer gliding through a galaxy of stars set in a purple sky. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, cooler than my neighbour's air rifle and that was pretty damn cool, I can tell you. I begged my Mam to sew it on the old brown anorak, convinced that anything it touched would instantly become cool too. One Sunday evening she sewed it on on the left side chest area, right where I wanted it. Perfect. I was so happy. I put the jacket on and ran upstairs to the bathroom to stand on the wooden chair up there and look at myself in the only mirror in our house. To my immense surprise and disappointment my anorak hadn't suddenly become cool, the spirit of Stan Lee didn't rub off on the somewhat shapeless brown coat. No, I stood there looking at my reflection and saw myself in a crappy brown coat with a big purple square with a naked silver man stood on a silver surfboard; my heart sank. The eleven year olds were going to eat me alive on the school bus the next morning I knew that for a fact. I told my Mam I loved it.