I was 41 in 1955, and for the first time in my life I was starting to really feel old. New things were happening that I didn’t really have much Idea about. Things were changing.
I was ruddy glad that I never went to the Majestic Cinema (now a carpet warehouse) on the night that Rock and Roll came to Hull. They had that “Blackboard Jungle” on. Me and Raymond were thinking about going, but we ended up going to see the Belles of St Trinians at the Regent instead. I liked that Alastair Sim, and my Raymond enjoyed watching young lasses dressed in school uniform and nylon stockings, so we both had a good time. Anyway, it was naughty schoolkids of a different kind down at the Majestic, and the bad behaviour wasn’t all on the ruddy screen neither.
The thing was that the opening music for the film was “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets, and the song featured in the middle and the end of it too. Apparently each time it came on, the young lads in the audience got more and more fidgety and noisy. No doubt they were egged on by the behaviour of the young und in the film. It built up to such a pitch that by the end of the film, when that ruddy song was played for the final time, they went completely off the rails. They were tearing up their “coming soon to the majestic” brochures and throwing the bits in the air. They were jumping on the seats and waving their jackets around, they were throwing sweet wrappers and cigarette boxes at each other, it was all kicking off! When the manager came in and appealed for calm, he was hit on the head by a half full bag of aniseed balls. And the mob didn’t disperse until an usherette threatened to call the police.
They left a scene of devastation. My friend Violet’s sister worked there. She said that there were sherbet lemons literally trodden into the carpets and in the lavatories the rolls were all unrolled and almost every one of the toilet seats were left up. It was like something out of Danty’s “Inferno”
I mean, there was some pretty loud music in “The belles of saint Trinians as well, and some unruly children, but the blokes in the audience at the Regent didn’t feel the need to do anything more outrageous than shuffle in their seats a bit and adjust their trousers.
Who would have thought that a record by a chubby thirty year old bloke with a receding hairline could have caused such carnage? That Bill Haley had a lot to answer for. Once them young uns cottoned on to that style of music, everything started to change. They started dressing up in exaggerated Edwardian Clothes, and calling themselves “Teddy Boys” I had never seen anything like it. Sensible kids used to dress up in clothes like their elders used to dress up in. I’m glad our Cyril was a sensible kid. Them teddy boys were always in trouble, and they used to put the wind up me if I ever saw them while I was out and about. I was getting old. And I was starting to get out of touch with what young people thought.
Auntie Doris’s Pop Pick of 1955 “Unchained Melody” by Jimmy Young. Thank the good lord that there were still some people making the sort of music I could relate to. I liked Jimmy Young. He made some good records, and his radio programme always had some good stuff in it too. Including a recipe every day!