1976 and all that


It is 1976 and I paint my toe nails Californian Poppy red and my father says I am a tramp.

It is 1976 and my friend Karen is dating a Northern Soul DJ, he says his wife doesn’t understand him and our 14 year old mouths try out, for the first time, the flavour, taste and texture of this sentence.

It is 1976, we play swingball in the back garden, within days the parched grass is trodden down to dust.

It is 1976, I walk past the only punk record shop in town and want with every fibre of my being to go in, but too fearful, simply walk past as often as I can believably contrive, hoping that someone inside will notice me and see beyond my convent school uniform.

It is 1976, two older girls get expelled from school for piercing each others ears with darning needles and slices of cucumber. We talk about it in whispers in the playground.

It is 1976, there is some Royal Jubilee, but my family, Irish, keeping our heads down during the whole of the mainland bombing campaign do not get involved and do fly flags of any sort.

It is 1976 and I am teaching myself to like coffee and smoke cigarettes, I apply myself to the project with focussed concentration.

It is 1976, the Sex Pistols get to No 1, the record is banned, but I buy a copy & keep it hidden. I play it when my parents are out, I threaten my brother and sister with violence if they ever tell on me.

It is 1976 and I buy a pair of wedge espadrailles – they are so heavy that each time I walk, I twist my ankle over, but they are the first shoes I have ever bought myself and so I continue to walk and fall until the soles themselves fall apart.

It is 1976 and it doesnt rain, we watch people waiting for water at stand pipes on Nationwide and wait for the water to run out in Norfolk.

About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

2 responses to “1976 and all that

  • Stephen Wright

    I have read some powerful love letters in my time, but nothing like this, you really did love 1976. I know you say you never write about yourself so I can only say you have a wonderful imagination and eye for human detail, weaving the fabric of our lives with little truths and childhood secrets. You have made 1976 breathe like a human being, one I’d like to meet.

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