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A day at the seaside

December 14, 2022

So, it’s Argentina in the World Cup final, is it? I’m glad they beat Croatia yesterday, because I’m still holding a grudge about England being knocked out by them in the semi-finals last time round. (Although, in honesty, the grudge is actually against the blind ref who helped them beat England.) Today we find out whether Argentina will be playing against France or Morocco.

There’s usually an underdog team that goes much further than anyone expected and this time it’s Morocco. And let’s be honest, they did a damn sight more to get to the semi-finals than England did to get to the quarters. It’s not as if England was up against any heavy hitters (to mix up sports terms) before they played France. Morocco has taken out Spain, Portugal and Belgium to get to today’s match. I wish them luck against the French goalkeeper.

Not that this has anything to do with what I’m sharing today. Well, not really.

I had a funny old day back in 1982. (Bloody hell, how can that be 40 years ago?) It was during my stint as a showbiz writer. For a brief time back then I was a bit matey with Chas and Dave. Music videos had been around for a while, but were still a pretty new thing. Chas and Dave decided to do one with their song ‘Margate’. Their record label rented an old charabanc and invited a number of people (one of whom was me) to fill it for a day at the seaside. When I mentioned this to my editor, he didn’t reckon there was much of a story in it, which I reported back to the label. No, I was told, I hadn’t been invited to get a story. I’d been invited as a mate. So I decided to take a day of annual leave and go just for the fun of it.

It was fun. It was also a very early start. When the woman from the label said she’d pick me up at ten to seven, I told her saying “seven” didn’t stop it actually being 6:50. But I managed to get myself up and off we drove to the rendezvous at the town hall in Tottenham.

This is the video that came out of it.

If you look closely (and knew me back then) my head can be spotted bouncing around in the back about 55 seconds in. Once we got to Margate the professionals took over and I divided my time between watching the filming and hanging out with Chas’s wife Joan and their daughter whose name I can’t remember. Which is when I found out that Wish I Could Write A Love Song was the overnight response by Chas to a complaint from Joan, after Eric Clapton (whom they knew) had released a beautiful song written for his wife Patti (stolen from George), that Chas had never written a bloody love song for her. 

And what’s prompted me to write about this today? Well, on the way back to London the driver pulled into the carpark of a country pub somewhere in Kent, then went inside to check that they were willing to take coach parties. They were, so we tumbled out of the bus and into the pub where we were almost immediately informed by a local that Argentina had been knocked out of the World Cup that day. I’ve just looked it up. This was on July 2. 

Now bear in mind that less than a month previously British soldiers had been fighting Argentine troops to reclaim the Falkland Islands. So Argentina being knocked out of the World Cup was cause for celebration. Celebrate we did. And not just in the pub. We left with crates of bottled beer which was consumed on the journey back to London, during which there was also a singalong. To the surprise of many, as one song ended I’d suggest another. Eventually Dave asked me how on earth I knew all these songs. I might, I told him, no longer sound like a Cockney, but I’d certainly been born one and had learnt these songs on my granddad’s knee.

It was gone 11pm by the time we got back to the town hall. Both Joan and I were desperate for a pee, but everything was closed. My last memory of the day is Joan and I taking turns watching out for the other as we squatted to pee round the side of the town hall.

I think I need to put my best of Chas and Dave CD on now.

As for the World Cup final? Well, if Morocco beats France today, I’ll be rooting for them. If it doesn’t go that way, I’ll be rooting for France. Yes, I know they knocked England out last weekend and I said a hold grudges. Some grudges last longer than others.

From → Blog

  1. John Galpin permalink

    The funniest time I saw Chaz and Dave was in a small club in Manhattan when the client I was with asked me to translate…

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