Book Jacket

 

rank 3017
word count 11909
date submitted 17.03.2010
date updated 17.05.2012
genres: Biography, Popular Culture, Harper ...
classification: moderate
incomplete

In My Life

Tony Shelley

A light-hearted account of growing up in Essex in the 1960s and 1970s, and a lifelong love affair with pop music

 

In My Life is a light-hearted look back at growing up in the 60s and 70s and what happens when you don't fully achieve that boy-to-older-boy odyssey of stemmed ambition. It’s a confessional yet unrepentant autobiography that runs from childhood memories to mid-life crisis and taps into all of our pasts along the way, with a particular focus on popular culture.

It’s a book for anyone that sniggered at Mrs Slocombe’s pussy, dreamed about scoring the winning goal at Wembley, played in a band or simply stood in front of their bedroom mirror, strapped on an air guitar and sang into a hairbrush. It's about listening to pop music: buying it, loving it, hating it, making up with it and eventually settling down with it.

Written with great humour and a touching frankness, In My Life is a compelling blend of nostalgia and cultural overview, interwoven with a literary soundtrack that saunters through some of the most powerful – and most ghastly – music of recent decades.

Celebrity autobiographies are two-a-penny nowadays, but here is the story of an everyday life to which all readers can relate, but which nevertheless constantly manages to find and revel in the extraordinary within the ordinary.

 
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tags

1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 60s, 70s, 80s, autobiography, bands, beatles, comedy, eighties, essex, football, lennon, london, mccartney, music, nostalgia, pop...

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142 comments

 

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Karamak wrote 693 days ago

You got me with Mrs Slocombes pussy, this made me read on! You have style and flair with some wicked one liners. I know you say you started to write for yourself and family( a bit like me) then though why not. Well you were right why not? A few pointers I have been told re my own book which is somewhat similar. Books like this need at least 3 scenes in them per chapter. That bit with the telly unexpectantly arrives is priceless if you could bring out your dad more with dialogue then he would become even more of a character to identify with, likewise with your school chums. All the best and i hope you post more, Karen.Faking it in France

Tony Shelley wrote 912 days ago

Thanks laurence glad you enjoyed it although not so sure Mr Brandon would. Do we know each other? Bewick only taught me for one year and that was much later. theres some more school stuff later in the book but i never really had much dealings with him apart being told numerous times to get off the grass. Thanks for reading and the backing. Tony

lolt wrote 913 days ago

Great reading.....so many memories! Was actually with Mr Brandon last week, I see him quite often-he still sings the formula. No mention of Mr Bewick? Looking forward to reading more

Good luck
Laurence (Beal & 12th Ilford)

Crispy wrote 1030 days ago

Hi Tony

This does seem like recounting my own memories. A very vivid portrayl of that time and those feelings. Remind me, was a trapezium the same as a parallelogram? Funny how the formula remains with you for all those years....though I would have to say I have only a passing acquaintance with the species.

Backed and starred. Perhaps you would care to give Marking Time a twirl on your shelf and comment.

Good luck
Crispy

markwoodburn wrote 1030 days ago

I can relate to a lot of this. (the 1970's anyway!) Told in an easy style. Ahh those days before email and mobiles...Starred, backed, Mark

stephen racket wrote 1035 days ago

You are writing the story of my life! I remember listening to radio 1 in March, 1973, as Roll Over Beethoven and Whiskey in the Jar charged up the charts. This is full of nostalgia, memories (good and bad) of the seventies when I discovered music. I think the writing is good and full of delightful comic touches. Those budget compilation albums full of session musicians were crap, weren't they? I'm now having flashbacks of the dreadful rendition of Hellraiser I optimistically invested 80% of my pocket money in! That was one painful lesson. Generously starred and on my WL. Good luck with this.

Tony Shelley wrote 1047 days ago

Thanks very much skip , very nice of you

Skip Mahaffey wrote 1050 days ago

This is the second time I have backed In My Life.

I still find it one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read on this site.

I wish there were more like it. I do get a little burned out on fantasy and fiction.

Well done Tony
Be Brilliant!
Skip Mahaffey (Adventures With My Father)

NorthernSi wrote 1072 days ago

Love so many of the sentiments in the book, especially the pompous music teacher.
Mine said a similar thing along the lines of "in 30 years, who's going to be listening to Hit Me With your Rhythm Stick?". Well me and millions of others, for a start.
My only bit of advice, for all it's worth, would be to break up the paragraphs a bit more. Tends to look a bit blocky at the moment.
But apart from that, can identify with most of your sentiments, even though like your last poster, I'm a Simon born in 1967.
Good luck, Si.

Gauis wrote 1400 days ago

This is great stuff - once it eventually starts - I was born in 67, so a few years behind you, but close enough to get it.
My feeling is - dump the preface - it's neither enticing, nor really needed -
A lot ofd people read 1 page and if they're not grabbed, that's it -
If you must have it - put this bit at the back, and jump straight in with the new telly and Munich

Sorry if that'sd v bold - but I like honest crit myself, so......
best
simon
Charlie Marconi - which just might strike a chord with you in a whiolly differnt way

Vanessa Darnleigh wrote 1401 days ago

From Dublin and a bit before you too but able to relate to much of what you have recorded so faithfully and well...I started with Buddy Holly and then the Stones, Beatles, Who etc. As I wrote in my profile I have a massive collection of music concerts and documentaries etc on DVD which I dip into when the mood comes upon me...your book should become archive material for researchers etc one day so finish it!
Backed 100%
Stewart

Joanna Carter wrote 1402 days ago

From an honorary Essex girl - I spent some time in the UK in the 70s, and this brought it all back for me. I hope Noddy's mirrored hat is in a museum somewhere! The first time I heard 'Cum on feel the Noize', I was in the Wimpy Bar on Chelmsford High Street . . excellent stuff, brought to life by some really good writing. PS First record I ever bought - 'Hot Love', 1971.Backed.
Joanna Carter
Fossil Farm

Pen Power wrote 1413 days ago

Hello Tony. From an Essex girl to an Essex Boy - you really had me hooked. I grew up in Essex in the 50's and 60' so a bit before you. But the anecdotes and the references brought back memories a plenty.
Keep up the good work (my son!)
Alice
Interfering Busybody
Backed!

andrewvecsey wrote 1413 days ago

Brought back a lot of nostalgic memories. Thanks, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book.

eleanorigby02 wrote 1414 days ago

Tony, you are a fantastic writer. Your writing reminds me a bit of Nick Hornby. I didn't grow up in the sixties, seventies, or eighties (I was born in the eighties though) and I'm from a very small town in USA so I can't relate to many of the things that you refer to in your writing. But nevertheless, I'm still very much captivated by the story. I enjoy the music references, especially the Beatley ones. I hope to see this in a bookstore soon!

Anna

Cyndi Tefft wrote 1416 days ago

Thoughts on ‘In My Life’

Who is Mrs. Slocombe?

‘for someone that’ – should be ‘for someone who’

Sentence ‘my original plan’ is very long and could be cut up into smaller chunks.

‘comparable lack of talent’ – you made me grin here

I love that you have named your midlife crisis.

Sneaked should be snuck

I like your description of a ‘relationship’ with pop music. The analogy works really well.

‘adrenaline has forced’ –drop the ‘has’

You handled the Olympic massacre retelling beautifully. Just the right amount of sentiment and emotion. Well done.

‘as quick as look at you’ –the phrase doesn’t really work for me, since boots don’t look at you.

‘big, bright, orange curly mass’ – love the description here.

Giggly adolescent boys and ‘periods’- made me smile

‘When I was at school, pop…” missing a comma, which threw me off as I read

Honestly, you kind of lost me when you went philosophical about pop music and its place in schools today. I was trucking along with you as the student in the new school and found it a little jarring to follow the train of thought. I don’t disagree with you; I just was looking for more linear thought so had some difficulty keeping up. Then we get back to the school days and I’m right back in it.

‘a hate/hate relationship’ – great description!

‘teacher that’ should be ‘teacher who’ (that is for an object whereas who is for a person. I won’t point it out again- just take a reread through for yourself to catch any more of them.)

Any relation between your midlife crisis Colin and Colin Baldwin? Just curious.

‘turn his eyelids inside out’ – oh, so HE was the one you were referring to earlier!

Nice lyrics to your song. Made me laugh!

Love the description of Mr. Manuel!

The Manny ‘hairdryer’? Do you mean because he yelled so fiercely that it would dry your hair? I’m confused.

Bottle-green flares and yellow t-shirt! Yes!!

The Debbie kiss description was great. I loved it. Really sweet.

Dad should be capitalized since you are using it as a proper noun here.

‘second twelfth birthday’ – excellent!

You lost me a bit at the Gilbert O’Sullivan part. The pieces I enjoyed most in this memoir were parts where you took me along with you in a scene, in school or on the dance floor with Debbie. The pop music references were good, but tended to pull me out of the story. Memoirs can be tricky from a chronology standpoint because it is tempting to put examples of later life in with the stories of your youth, but it can make it jumbled. I tend to think in more linear terms.

I loved your writing voice and particularly the stories where you were recounting a scene from your youth. I would gladly read more, so I am backing your work. Keep writing!

Cyndi
Between

lmmartin wrote 1417 days ago

Hi again Tony, here it is a couple of hours later and I emerge from your memories back to reality. Though we grew up at the same time, certainly not in the same place, culture or circumstance -- still I relate to all you say. I have little to say as far as critique goes -- I edit for new writers, but mostly fiction writers -- because your writing skills are excellent. I'm not big on memoirs as a rule, though found yours enjoyable -- still it leaves me with little to say on plot structure and development. There isn't one. I hope that now you have this exercise out of your system and on paper you will turn to more projects -- you definitely have the skill. Thanks for this visit into your past. Lynda

lmmartin wrote 1417 days ago

Hi Tony, Lynda here from Fair Critters. I've just finished reading your intro and I'm ready to go on. Just as an aside, I grew up on those glacial formed Canadian prairies. I'll read the next two chapters and select one from later on. In the meantime, if there's an area you'd like me to look at, please let me know.

Bubbity wrote 1422 days ago

PS - Your book is on both of my book shelves.

Bubbity wrote 1422 days ago

Tony
I've just written you a really long message and because my internet connection is playing up I've lost it. I'll try and remember what I can. I was really gobsmacked that someone else should dedicate so much space to Gilbert too! I agree about the tattoo!! There was so much in your book that I could relate to eg Kes, platform shoes, Solid Gold Sixty, scout hut discos etc. I have made the very same references in some of my books eg Aqualung is mentioned in my book Down The Tubes and I have also fictionalised my time at school from the 70s in my Thalidomide Kid. Oh yes and I had double art on Monday morning but loved it because I fancied the art teacher. In 1972/73 David Bowie and Alice Cooper were my idols, I went to see Bowie in 73 so very hip :) My first record was All Right Now by Free so that ain't so bad, is it? I say my first record though my sister and I used to club together to by singles in those days. I've never been into classical music much and I always felt that those occasional instrumental records that got intot he charts were not quite the real deal.
My mother's natural mother was Jewish (she died when my mum was four) though my grandfather wasn't. Maybe that's why two of my best friends in my teens were Jewish.
Your writing itself is delivered with much wit and verve and had me laughing out loud eg the trapezium and the damp swimming trunks hanging from the rafters. This book is seriously underachieving and deserves to be much higher. Anyway, many thanks Tony for taking me on a wonderful trip down Memory Lane.
I hope this message gets to you this time.
Cheers
Kate - Little Guide to Unhip/Lost The Plot

yasmin esack wrote 1425 days ago

I could stop reading your work because as you wrote I saw myself more and more. This is the beauty of your writing, it appeals to everybody who as we say move along with age. Well I hope you get rid of colin soon, didn't read enough to get to know him more, but all in all this is simply great stuff, filled with nostalgia and many unanswered question. And no, i have no need to be a superstar, they all seems to have problems greater than COLIN.

backed

Foretuneight wrote 1425 days ago

Fair crit review Foretuneight. I saw you liked Andy Hardy's book, me too. I have e-mailed you a summary in your messages. Enjoyed the story but i am a fish out of water as i am from across the pond. I am writing for the same reasons as you. Too much locked in my head.

Annockonda wrote 1427 days ago

outrageous and irreverent...lol...i love it..backed

toscka wrote 1427 days ago

I'm 40, and yes, where did that come from, how come I never met Colin before? Ok, I'd heard about him, much like I'd heard of Minneapolis. But I wasn't ever going to go there....

I completely relate to what you say in chapter 1. The trouble is, whilst it is a perfectly nice letter and very well written, it has no place in your book and no place on this site. Your story begins in chapter 2. Or, it should begin in chapter 1, to hook you in - how did Colin arise - but only if you keep much, much, much shorter.

In short - I would mention Colin, I would mention 'I still have my faculties', I would say 'I can still remember.' Then say: "remember what?"

And turn to chapter 2.

i.e. chapter one should be two paras max.

Hope this helps. Because you write very well and I was very engaged. I don't know if you can get this published. But it doesn't matter. This is your life. It is now written down. Your kids can now read it. It's there. And you have relived it in the telling. You've bought yourself some extra years there. You've lived the years again.

Well done.

delhui wrote 1428 days ago

Dear Tony --

You may not think you're a writer, but your story does. In My Life is wonderful; I got to the end of chapter 2 and was so disappointed not to have more to read. You have a gift for recreating a scene from your past and weaving together who you were and who you are seamlessly. Please, please post more. While I'm waiting, I am very happy to back your story for the pleasure you've given so far. -- Delhui, The Long Black Veil

Bubbity wrote 1428 days ago

Tony
I've just read your preface. I totally relate to it and have also written (& published some) books where the 60s - 80s have formed the backdrop, with the music, the sweets, the TV progs, the politics and the rest. I grew up in that era too. Your book was recommended to me by Ben Hardy. I trust his judgement and I'm so glad he made the recommendation otherwise I'd have missed it.
All the best with this
Backed with pleasure
Kate - Little Guide to Unhip

solo1 wrote 1432 days ago

Fair Critters Review -
Hey - Just want to start off by saying that I'm still lost in the 80's, so even though we are off by a few years, I totally get your concept. I thought the first chapter was brilliant...explaining why you should write about yourself and Colin - hilarious! Then, Simon...great! I began to wonder if I was hitting my midlife crisis - haha...I want you to go check out Crazy Mama if you haven't. She has a blog book...short tidbits in short chapters but on a specific theme. When I got to chapter two I was ready for something right away POP...music oriented...something on that line. Instead, I found myself in your TV, school memories...which were all very well-written, however...I was looking for the connection that I got from the first chapter...the section on kissing the 12 year old...great...that was how music changed your life at that point. I could see that as a blog on it's own. The way that you should be listening to opera, and you would have if you would have listened to those teachers who banned anything Pop...another short chapter or blog. It is just a suggestion. Even though I have no clue what your references are, I'm not supposed to know them but they are supposed to evoke a memory for me...and they did. The old Nick show, "You can't do that on television" came into my head...as well as my obsession for new MTV...so, you did spark my own memories even if I had no idea what you were talking about...well done. I could just see it condensed more, then you could pull out more connection and more humor to it. My best advice is to check out Crazy Mama, cut and paste and make it flow with the music as the central theme...then how it changed you, inspired you, got you into trouble...love, fear, exposed...that kind of twist...because that is what I felt would happen from chapter one. Good luck with this! I backed it because I see it's potential! Solo

solo1 wrote 1432 days ago

Fair Critters Review -
Hey - Just want to start off by saying that I'm still lost in the 80's, so even though we are off by a few years, I totally get your concept. I thought the first chapter was brilliant...explaining why you should write about yourself and Colin - hilarious! Then, Simon...great! I began to wonder if I was hitting my midlife crisis - haha...I want you to go check out Crazy Mama if you haven't. She has a blog book...short tidbits in short chapters but on a specific theme. When I got to chapter two I was ready for something right away POP...music oriented...something on that line. Instead, I found myself in your TV, school memories...which were all very well-written, however...I was looking for the connection that I got from the first chapter...the section on kissing the 12 year old...great...that was how music changed your life at that point. I could see that as a blog on it's own. The way that you should be listening to opera, and you would have if you would have listened to those teachers who banned anything Pop...another short chapter or blog. It is just a suggestion. Even though I have no clue what your references are, I'm not supposed to know them but they are supposed to evoke a memory for me...and they did. The old Nick show, "You can't do that on television" came into my head...as well as my obsession for new MTV...so, you did spark my own memories even if I had no idea what you were talking about...well done. I could just see it condensed more, then you could pull out more connection and more humor to it. My best advice is to check out Crazy Mama, cut and paste and make it flow with the music as the central theme...then how it changed you, inspired you, got you into trouble...love, fear, exposed...that kind of twist...because that is what I felt would happen from chapter one. Good luck with this! I backed it because I see it's potential! Solo

Andrew Burans wrote 1442 days ago

A charming and captivating story which is finely crafted, well paced and well written - I especially like how you explore your own feelings and your reasonning for writing the book.. Backed with pleasure.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

crazy mama wrote 1442 days ago

i love this walk down memory lane. Backed

Sara Monet wrote 1445 days ago

Fair Crit List F

Hi,
I know this is probably not aimed at my age group (30) but i LOVE it! Some of the things you talk about were the same for me, and a lot of them were the same for my mum. I love the scout hut orange squash, and the creepy maths teacher. .. . Infact, i love it all! Funny, real, and above all, very readable. I dont usually enjoy the 'reminisce' style books, but this was like having a chat with an (old) friend. hehe.
Sara :-)

Bocri wrote 1445 days ago

'My Life' as the title implies is a collection of reflections on a bygone time and the experiences undergone, suffered or enjoyed. It is whimisical, nostalgic and prompts to recall the similar remembrances int he mind of the reader. My only criticism has been voiced before - please, Sir, can we have some more! BACKED. Robert Crickard. The Tuzla Run.

cat5149 wrote 1446 days ago

This is a very compelling read.. I just wish more had been uploaded. Shelved.

Carol

kenwyn wrote 1448 days ago

Hi Tony - 'In my life has sat on my shelf for a week now. To be honest I was a little worried that it probably wouldn't live up to its cover.

Finally, I took a breath and began reading. YES! It wasn't just me!

Boys (and girls) born at the same time, exposed to the same cultural trends surely share a bond. We may have lived in different parts of the country, but we have lived a very similar pop-culture life.

One thing that occured to me after reading your all too brief 2 chapters, is what a huge subliminal part the BBC has played in our lives, both radio and television. For that reason, your book will never sell across the pond. Who cares? they don't deserve it. It was our childhood. Please upload more, and simply, and genuinely, Thanks!

Pia wrote 1449 days ago

Tony

In My Life - The time you grew up in remains a very special slice of history, and I think you pull this off with good writing, your love for pop and a humorous style. You'll have not shortage of readers, if you can convince publishers to take it on. Are you going to put up more chapters?

Backed. Pia (Course of Mirrors)

Declan Conner wrote 1450 days ago

First of all I would like to commend you on your choice of ttle "In My Life" That has to be my favourite tune and one I always turn to and play on the guitar when I feel the need to reflect. The collage on your bookcover is also a great idea. I am starting with those points because you have chosen to write is perhaps the least likely of genres to have published by a mainstream publisher by anyone who is not a "name" But then you know this as you righly point out using the young footballer as an example. I can only hope that your title and cover will attract an agent or publisher to read your book and give it some serious consideration.

I like the voice you use and your choice of phrasing, which makes the read enjoyable and entertaining. I am surprised you chose to start around the time your dad brought home the colour TV. I am guessing we are a similar age and would at liked you to have started earlier with the introduction of Black and white TV. I have to admit I had forgotton all about Mary Peters and her Gold Medal. One thing I noticed as I read was that with each name or story you mentioned, a period of my own life opened up before me. It is here that I think the strength of the book lies and why I feel it should start earlier. Your story evokes a great deal of nostalgia and I don't think I would be on my own to say that this would be a good book to have on a shelf at home for the times people want to reflect but don't quite know the chords to "In My Life"

pete-83 wrote 1450 days ago

Tony what can i say - good book, good read, good times. Enjoy your mid-life crisis!!! Pete ps keep on ace-ing

johnjoch wrote 1450 days ago

I agree with you whole heartidly, we all dream of either being famous or having a lot of money. Why we do, heaven knows. But we seem to be all the same in our dreaming of fame. I am backing your book because it makes me think back in time, the 60's and 70's when I feel perhaps deep down we were all the same - slightly mad.
Take a look at my offering Three Stayed Home, a WW2 adventure and love story. It is completely fictitous and yet I must have written it feeling I was Geoff. I told you - slightly mad. JohnJ

Telegraph wrote 1451 days ago

Wonderful read. Your craftmanship brings the charcters to life as if they were old friends. C W

Linda Lou wrote 1451 days ago

hullo Tony. Very good and interesting first two chapters. the music world is another all together and you'rs fits right in. Already shelved and backed. Please take a look at mine if you have not already and thanks in advance for that.
Linda Lou Long
Southern dis-Comfort
http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=11421

ergi1120 wrote 1451 days ago

Chapter 1

Good opening chapter. I too had an affair with pop music (new wave, punk rock explosion). From your introdutory first chapter I am totally intrigued to read more on your memoir. I have a short story in my collection entitled 33rpm that is my memory of the punk new wave scene in my mdiwest city. It was a beautiful, glorious, rebellious time just like the music. Your voice is very candid and wry. I look forward to your pop music love affair. Shelved.

Julia Rush
My Parallel Universe

xenzero wrote 1455 days ago

I'm a slow reader and you've written an awful lot of words. It's just as well they are entertaining and, unlike so many books I pick up and put down before reaching the half-way point, your language is really comfortable to read. Like putting on an old Adidas Beckenbauer :-)

The subject matter brings back lots of memories. Ok, so I wasn't quite born for the '72 Olympics, but even references to a set of compasses made me think back to school-days. (Let's face it, much like the formulae you mention, I bet you haven't picked up a set of compasses since school-days either?)

I look forward to reading the rest and certainly hope that by backing it here, I'll be able to read it in a book rather than on screen. Good luck!

P.

davina wrote 1455 days ago

loved this section...and have to admit I am a big fan of Gilbert.........and have all his music on my itunes.....and all the 70s tunes you mention....get a book out already.. I will def buy it

DanL wrote 1456 days ago

Oh, and "Backed" by the way!
Dan

DanL wrote 1456 days ago

Excellent job Tony!
Living in North America for so long, you tend to forget some of the minutae of life as we were growing up in Gants Bloody Hill!
You brought it all back......but in a funnier way than it actually seemed at the time!
Of course, the memories of Beal were fantastic.
Loved it and can't wait to read the chapter on the "Martley Drive Gang"
Cheers
Dan

Beval wrote 1456 days ago

So much is so familiar:-))
Okay, i went to an all girl's school, so the conversation was just as filthy, but from a different angle. RE lessons were the same though, there must have been something that encouraged the inadequate to teach it.
Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane...ah, discos in the scout hall, the arrival of the colour television, my bloody kid brother who could do a bloody rubik cube, little git....all of it.

GK Stritch wrote 1457 days ago

Dear Tony Shelley,

All best wishes for In My Life. You seem to have quite a loyal following. Chicago Review Press in Chicago and Da Capo Press in Boston might be interested in your manuscript.

GKS
CBGB Was My High School

zan wrote 1457 days ago

In My Life
Tony Shelley

Thanks indeed Tony for this enjoyable trip down memory lane. You have certainly shown the path to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Loved this! Best wishes in finding a publisher and thanks so much for sharing and entertaining.
Zan

tennison wrote 1457 days ago

I read Ronnie Woods autobio a few months ago.......(no doubt ghost written) and this book does something better....... it captures the essence of the culture of the 60's........ a Lark Rise book that historians will read in the far future........ as for Gilbert being a Cloth-cap-buffon..selling records, (no matter how good u are..I remember he was called the next Paul Macca ) is like selling books...you need to get noticed............Perhaps Authonomy is all our cloth caps!!
best of luck with this...backed!!
David Saving Starfish

Paul Freeman wrote 1457 days ago

Bastard! Now I can't get the shake n vac song out of my head.
Who doesn't love a bit of nostalgia, put three blokes in a bar give them pints and soon they'll be talking about the great Liverpool team of the seventies and eighties, who was better Charlton or Best, Best or Keegan. The conversation will jump around the place, Fizzle Sticks, Doc Martens, Grange Hill. Everything was better back then. Football, Telly, Movies. What's Big Brother compared to Minder or Not the Nine O'Clock News. Kevin Keegans shorts and his haircut. Ahh, the good oul days.
Great idea.

Paul.

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