Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Monday, the fifth of May 1980
She was tall, slim, pale, red-haired and beautiful. She gave me a cool look.
“My mum said I shouldn’t take lifts from strangers,” her soft voice thrilled me. “I know you though - you come into Slipped Discs every Saturday.”
“Not just Saturdays, I go in on week days too but you’re not there.”
“I only work on Saturdays.” She wore a baggy black jumper like a dress with leggings, slip-on pumps and an army-surplus bag.
“So, do you want a lift?” I asked. “Only we’re holding up traffic.”
“You like Blondie,” I told her as we pulled away.
“How do you know?”
“You’ve written their names like ten times on your bag.”
“You a spy?”
“No a DJ.” I said proudly. “Only on hospital radio though…”
My car’s a fourth-hand Triumph Spitfire. Nan and Granddad wanted to give me a big present for my eighteenth – so I asked for a car. It’s got faults, but it’s also got a stereo.
I turned the radio on, the Knack pounded their way through My Sharona. Then Kid Jensen hands over to the newsroom.
“The siege at the Iranian embassy has ended dramatically with an assault on the building by the Army’s Special Air Service regiment…”
We paused at traffic lights.
“This whole thing’s been like an episode of the Professionals that’s escaped into the real world.”
“Yeah, but why does Radio One have to give it such heavy coverage?” She asked. “They’re a music station, they should just do the headlines and play the hits.”
“Should I take that as a hint - you want music?”
“If you like.”
I opened the glove box and grabbed a cassette. The keyboard intro to Rip Her To Shreds starts and I pump up the volume.
“I don’t know your name.” She announced.
“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”
“OK,” she paused hesitantly. “Suzanne – but my mates call me Suze. Your turn.”
“Steve but all my mates call me… Steve.” I did a swift eyes left, Suze was grinning. “Do you want to go straight home?”
“What have you got in mind?” She sounded suspicious.
“I dunno,” I shrugged. “If you like we can go to the Overcliff, look at the sea, talk…”
“OK.” She dipped into her bag and pulled out a pair of shades. “I’ve been revising all day, I thought – enough’s enough, get out while the sun’s still shining girl. I’m glad I did now.”
“Revising – you’re at university?”
“Hardly – I’m only sixteen.” She giggled. “No, got my O’Levels are coming up.”
I parked, down below the too-small beach was empty, in the day its standing room only. We talked about music, exams… everything…anything. We talked until it was dark. When I finally got round to running her home she’d agreed to go ice skating with me on Friday night.
I drove home doing my own singing along to Roxanne. Even the high bits that Sting has trouble with!