Narrow horizons made for hard minds and warm hearts, solidarity of family, religion and class. It was a black and white world with an occasional flash of denim blue. And then colour came and with it flower power and LSD. I dabbled in neither…apart from a pair of pink jeans and…er…a bottle green Regency jacket.
Then the wheel turned again.
Bubbles burst slowly. It’s a relative thing. A somnolent hippy world vanished like the dream it had been.
It hit me one day in Liverpool, walking up Hardman Street on my way to the ‘Phil.’ Heron-thin sharp-boys glided by with urgency and grace. Where had they come from? And the wine bars, the cold Chardonnay. Had they always been there? I felt clumsy and old, and I was still in my twenties.
Worse was to come.
I returned to Liverpool throughout the eighties, each time seeing it sink further into decline. Aintree, once respectable, now saw shops with metal shutters that made them impregnable in the night. I went to my local off-license to buy wine, perhaps beer, and entered Fort Knox. A narrow corridor led to the counter. From behind a thick grill a pair of eyes examined me:
“Er…I’m looking for some wine.” Easy to say, difficult to do. The entire stock was hidden behind an iron-grey grill.
“What flavour, mate?”
Aintree had changed.
I went to the pub. Beer had seen me through worse times. Good beer - not the thin drizzle now served in cans – but strong beer warm and raw to the throat so you want to drink more: Bass, Walkers and Felinfoel, Brains, Abbots, Fullers, Theakstons, Bishop's Finger…Sometimes a cheeky Holstein Pils, the list goes on and on. It deserves a post of its own. And I deserve a drink.