My Contribution  

(Article by Dave Cooke)


It's the morning after the night before. Last night was the third date with the new girlfriend at a Northern Soul/Mod evening, tackily billed as 'Modrophenia'.

We're there with friends, looking forward to meeting more friends from the 'old' days and planning to have a bloody good evening! She's concerned - not because it's early days for the both of us, but she's known me since school and she knows they'll be playing The Jam this evening. "Dave, promise me you won't do that jump tonight please!" What do I say? I like her, but she isn't The Jam. "If you're going to do that jump, I'm going to hide in the toilets!" I toy with the idea of suggesting she bring a magazine with her so she has something to read whilst she's in there.......................

It's August 1980. I'm in Laura's bedroom. I like Laura. Sadly she likes Adam Ant. There are posters everywhere and about as many of his records. She has an old Dansette in the corner and she slips a 45 onto play. It's something new she's picked up and wants to know what I think. What do I think? I'm hooked. As I walk home later that evening, I'm singing "And what you give is what you get!" over and over again, clutching her copy of Start that I've persuaded her to sell me for 60p. Liza Radley? Pure genius in a couple of minutes! It's 25 years later and I bet you've probably got more than your fair share of wrinkles Liza Radley, together with child bearing hips and cellulite, but I'd still shag you tomorrow!

That's what started it all off. From there, I got the back catalogue of singles and LP's. Out went the clothes my mum chose for me. In came the Fred Perrys, Stayprest, button down collars, Boating Blazers and the obligatory Parka. The music of The Jam became the catalyst for the way I would live my life.

Tuesday nights. The Sacred Heart disco. Fifty pence to get in and the only place I've ever been to where they use Nuns as bouncers. We've had the New Romantic session and Wham have been and gone. Not for the first time I'm sitting there hoping to God that they take up residency in Club Tropicana and don't come back next week. The faulty smoke machine has given up the ghost and as the last of the clouds of carbon monoxide disappear and the DJ makes one final check to make sure that no one has been suffocated and is lying dead on the dance floor, the all too familiar bass line of A Town Called Malice pours out of the speakers and a hundred lonely Mods pour onto the Dance Floor. To them it's music. To me it's class. We want more! Next comes Eton Rifles. Going Underground! It's manic out there now. The rockers have lined the dance floor baying for our blood. By day they're my class mates. Tonight they're my sworn enemies. All too soon it's over and we quickly retire as the greasy ones start head banging to a Whole Lotta Rosie. We'll be back next week!

Flicking through the magazines on the way to school looking for articles on The Jam. "Jam to split" announces one. No!!!!!!! I quickly buy said magazine and read it over and over again on the way to school, wanting it all to be a bad dream. I remember my best friend crying when he heard that Lennon had been shot dead, but this was far more serious as far I was concerned. Not The Jam! As quickly as they came, they had gone and I was gutted. I was known for my Jam obsession. People cleared me a space on the dance floor whenever they were played. What Weller wore I wore. What the hell was I going to do now? Fast forward to 2005. It's still the morning after the night before. The Gift is coming out of the stereo speakers. The kids are dancing to it. That and all my other Jam records are still with me, which is more than can be said for both of my ex wives. I often wonder whether they ever had a chance really. Them? The Jam? Something had to give and they went.

And my girlfriend? Apparently the toilet seats are quite comfortable after a while................

(Article by Dave Cooke)