Thursday 4th May
‘Hey, Jane,’ Harriet burst into her sister’s bedroom one evening, ‘You’ll never guess. This is just too incredible for words.’ she blurted out.
‘What?’ Jane replied, sitting cross-legged on the floor, her record player blaring out the Who’s ‘Pictures of Lily’, as she turned the record cover over to read the tiny writing on the back. As usual Jane just wasn’t listening to Harriet; she was totally engrossed in her records.
‘You will never guess who is coming to Stowmarket, of all places?’
‘Who, the Queen?’ Jane smiled up at her all innocently. Jane was just learning the art of sarcasm, but would never really perfect it. Not like Harriet had anyway.
‘No, not the Queen, dippy – but something just as amazing. I’ve heard from John Jakes, you know his sister is in the year above us, and he heard it straight from the Carnival Committee, or from someone who knows someone on it anyway. Pink Floyd are going to play at the football ground. Yes, Pink Floyd of all people.’ she almost screamed with excitement, ‘Can you believe it?’
And yes Harriet was right. Pink Floyd of all people, were coming to their tiny town. Of course, they weren’t really famous then. They had just released ‘Arnold Layne’ and it was getting played a lot on Caroline, but nobody outside of London really knew anything about them. If the people on the Carnival Committee had known anything about them then it is pretty certain they wouldn’t have booked them either. They were weirder than weird and at the forefront of all that psychedelic scene that was taking over in 1967. The girls were just getting into caftans and beads and bells – and all that hippy stuff coming out of California, and here in England everything was getting quite strange and far out too.
* * *
The day of the concert couldn’t come quickly enough, Harriet had made sure that Jane and her had tickets and were there really early. There was a tiny stage built about five feet high at the lower end of the football pitch, opposite the one decent stand and there was a huge stack of speakers on each side. There were these old wooden tiered seats down each side of the pitch that had been there for years and a ramshackle fence round the whole place. No-one in Stowmarket had ever seen anything like it, the thing sold out in days and people were pouring in from Ipswich and Norwich and even further away. The band were now in the charts with ‘See Emily Play’ and were far too big to be booked into a small town like Stowmarket, but still, they honoured the contract and actually turned up. And Harriet and Jane met them, well were in the clubhouse bar at the same time as them, which nearly counts – surely.
Harriet always knew somebody. Sometimes it was just somebody who knew somebody else but she was so confident she just smiled that dazzling smile of hers and they were in. The club- house bar was supposed to be for the local bigwigs, the owners of the football club, the Carnival Committee and people like that, but somehow Harriet inveigled them both in there an hour before the concert. They were completely surprised though when in walked the band themselves. They were incredibly scruffy and looked only a couple of years older than them too. You would have passed them by on any street, except they had a certain air about them, a quiet confidence and almost a swagger that marked them out as just that bit special. Harriet walked straight over and introduced herself to them without a shred of embarrassment, ‘Hi, I’m Harriet and you must be the fabulous Pink Floyd.’ She smiled her most dazzling smile and held out her hand. But they seemed not to really notice her, (probably wondered who on earth this precocious young woman was) and smiled politely before being called over to the other end of the bar to drink with a few men in suits, their managers and guys from the record company. Looking a bit miffed, Harriet just shrugged her little shoulders and said, ‘Well it doesn’t look as though we will be singing backing vocals on their next single after all, does it?’ and she and Jane both collapsed in a fit of giggles. That was it, their famous meeting with Pink Floyd.
* * *
Harriet got her first fuck at that concert. She had had too much to drink, which was unusual for her, as she could normally stop herself before she got too pissed. But she wasn’t too drunk not to know what she was doing. It just seemed right, the music, the lightshow, the moonlight, all those groovy people standing on the pitch almost stunned by the incredible noise the band were making, most of them just waiting for the two hit singles. But Jane and she had already heard their album so knew the music would be something else entirely. Harriet was quietly grooving to the riveting bass line when this guy suddenly hit on her. Well, people were always hitting on her, but he was a bit older, a bit different. He had really long hair and a biker jacket with badges all over it and she’d never seen him around. Over the din of the band she caught that he was from Great Yarmouth and he had come on his bike, a brand new Triumph 750. He had some dope with him and they smoked that behind one of the stands, leaning against the old wooden struts in the dark and as the stuff hit her and she began to go all woozy he leaned over and started to kiss her.
* * *
Jane had lost Harriet somewhere on the pitch, they had pushed their way to the front and were only a few feet from the band, and it was/ really crowded, everyone pushing and shoving. There must have been a few hundred people there, they weren’t allowed on the old wooden seats at the side, everyone was on the pitch itself, which ran slightly downhill to the stage. This was Jane’s first real concert and she didn’t want to miss a thing. There had been a few local bands at youth club dances, but they were amateurs who just ran through weak covers of the top ten, or tried to sound like the Beatles or the Stones. This was the real thing, and though she had had a few drinks she had been pacing myself. Harriet could always drink more than Jane and was looking decidedly drunk, or was it just an act? You could never tell with her. She was beside Jane when they started with ‘Astonomy Domine’ but she was so engrossed in the music and the light show, all squidgy bubbles projected onto big sheets behind the band, that she didn’t notice when Harriet disappeared.
* * *
His hand went straight for her tits, and before she knew it he was hoicking up her skirt and rubbing between her legs. She knew what was happening and that this was getting a bit serious but somehow she was up for it. It seemed just the perfect time and place to get your first fuck. She didn’t even know the guy’s name, which in a way was an even bigger turn on. In no time he was inside her and pushing hard, ‘so this was what everyone went on about’ she thought to herself, ‘this is fucking’ And with each plunge into her it was getting better. It was dark by now, but not really dark. You could see people moving about in the shadows, which only made it more exciting. If only they knew what we were doing. she thought. The music was still loud and she could feel the vibrations through the wooden struts she was leaning against, each snap of the drum in time with biker-boy’s thrusts. But the most exciting thing was being out here in the open, as the cool air splashed all over her breasts and as he grabbed her bottom and pulled her onto him she lifted her feet off the ground and wrapped them round his thighs.
She was so turned on and ready for it. She had come close once or twice, being felt up in some bedroom at a party and had really wanted to do it. But she always knew the guys, and there would be the inevitable relationship stuff to follow, as if you couldn’t just do it and walk away, that would be her ideal. She had no time for a ‘boyfriend’ and all that schmaltzy lovey-dovey stuff. That was for other people, she didn’t want the hassle, the misery of putting up with a boyfriend – all that possessiveness. she didn’t want to belong to anyone. So, that was it, her first time; behind the football stand as Syd Barrett was singing ‘Careful with that Axe Eugene’ and her little sister was somewhere up front totally absorbed in the music, here she was getting it standing up from a total stranger in a leather jacket with her skirt hoiked up around her waist and her knickers yanked to one side. How exciting was that?
* * *
The concert was fabulous. Hearing the music live was so much better than the records, and some songs just seemed to go on forever, the music spiraling off in all directions and then returning time and again to the songs Jane knew. She now understood what they meant by mind-blowing. She had thought listening on her Dansette was fantastic, but now she heard it live it was like a different dimension had suddenly appeared. The projected lights were incredible too, and quite hypnotic, drenching the stage and the band in ever expanding bubbles, splodges and splashes of coloured light exploding everywhere. Then suddenly it was over. With no announcement at all the band were walking off the stage and the lights went out. They were in absolute darkness and there was just a touch of panic was in the air, nobody really knew where the exits were, and she was being swept along by the crowd, and as Jane looked desperately around there was Harriet back at her side.
‘Hi, little sister. Wasn’t that the most fantastic thing that ever happened in your life?’ she screamed at her.
‘Yes, I can’t believe it’s over.’ Jane replied grabbing her hand as they were pushed along by the throng of people. ‘It all seemed too quick somehow. Where did you get to, I thought I’d lost you.’
‘I just had a little walk around the place, you know. I wasn’t far away. You know that don’t you. I would never abandon you Jane. I always keep an eye out for you.’
Of course Harriet told Jane a few days later and she was so shocked. ‘You mean you didn’t even know who he was?’ Jane said. ‘God Harriet, I can’t believe it? And it was your first time too.’
‘Yeah well – first of many I expect. Just remember Harriet, got to make it special. That first time; make it special’ and she laughed at the very idea, ‘Now you can really say I am your big grown-up sister. And Jane, don’t go getting any ideas in that direction yourself. You are only fifteen, and that is far too young.’ And she gave Jane a long old-fashioned look, as if she were some ancient aunt peering over her pince-nez.
‘I wouldn’t dare. Not with a stranger anyway, Harriet.’ And Jane looked up at her with such a look of admiration in her innocent little face. My little sister Jane, ah what would become of her when she went off to University. How would she ever be able to cope without Harriet looking after her. She would probably end up with some local lad and get stuck down here in Suffolk and have lots of kids and stuff. Not for Harriet though. No-one would tie her down. She expected to go places, and she intended to take her fun where she found it. ‘Look out world, here I come.’