The Cork Board

The Hipclique changed my life.


I have been conducting some family history research lately and reflected on some of the formative moments of my life. We’ve all had them. Those watershed moments that change everything. Something from left-field that you never bargained on but you know that from that day onwards life will never be the same. This can be good or bad, of course. But we tend to wax lyrical only about those good moments. Perhaps when a young impressionable mind is jolted sideways and your life is changed forever.

I was 14. A youngster full of uncontrollable emotions and nuances I didn’t know how to spell. Every second of school was a potential time-bomb of experience. I’d hang with the good guys, and then knew just enough of the bad guys to use as insurance and stay out of trouble. I’d try my hand, my luck, no chance. Oh well.

The interesting kids hung out in the Art Room. The Hipclique would congregate at lunchtime around a new (then) Dansette purloined from the Music Room and listen to LP’s with psychedelic covers. Nodding to the music. Nodding sagely. All tie-less shirts and braided hair. I fell in love with a girl two years older than me. She was lovely. Very pretty, hippy skirts,…..braided hair. Everyone loved her so I guess my unrequited love was in good Hipclique company.

Amazingly I found this picture taken in 1972. The Art Room was underneath the corridor arch top left of the Quad. (Image:North East Midland Photographic Record.)

Jim was edgy though. My age, in my class, he straddled good guy/bad guy with an ease that kept everyone friendly and tense. Jim operated above his level. The older guys dug Jim. If Jim dug you then there was a good chance you could make it with the older guys too. But then again, we didn’t really have Jim’s natural cool.

Jim brought an LP to school one day and, whilst I was trying to impress elsewhere, held court in the Art Room. Afterwards in class, he picked me out, “Hey Al, you need to hear this.” I looked questioningly at the trio on the cover. A black guy centre I didn’t recognise and two white guys. There was a lot of fuzzy hair. I took it home. Curious.

We had an old Bush record player that was the family entertainment. It rang to the chimes of Jim Reeves and …..Jim Reeves, I think. My Mum’s favourite.

..I'm pretty sure it was this one.... (image.Bedford Vintage Audio)

As usual our evening meal was ready as we sauntered in from school. I asked if we could listen to this record that Jim had leant me while we had dinner. No problem. My brothers sat around, chatting about the day, Mum checking in. I dropped the stylus on to the opening track and stood back.

What happened next sent a shockwave up my spine. Life changed. I can remember shouting to halt the conversation and telling everyone to stop and listen. LISTEN TO THIS. I / we had NEVER heard anything like it. Popular music in our house flitted from the Beatles (cheesy period) to Jim Reeves to Rolling Stones (Chuck Berry covers period) to Jim Reeves to the Beach Boys (fun fun fun)to Jim Reeves.

It was 1967….I was 14….and during the first 30 seconds of that LP my life changed…..

Jim became a life-long friend.

The original English cover

18 thoughts on “The Hipclique changed my life.

  1. There are always those magical moments when a song or even its lyrics change your life. I remember being around the same age you were, 14ish, when our aptly named English teacher, Mr Right (major hottie) began quoting Smiths lyrics…. “And if a double-decker bus crashes into us, To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die, And if a ten ton truck kills the both of us, To die by your side, well, the pleasure and the privilege is mine.” I ran home that day and got my sister’s best of Smiths cassette tape….there then began a love affair that I believe will last me for the rest of my life x

  2. I remember Jimi playing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ in the Woodstock movie. Since then I’ve been in love with what he, and then Neil Young, did with feedback.

    Life changing moments — it’s amazing how they happen and how much impact they have. I’ve had so many. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just too sensitive to things. I suppose as a writer, there’s no such thing?

    1. Sensitivity is the human condition, Ré . The “Star Spangled Banner” track at Woodstock is one those all-time classic moments in rock music, I think. Certainly one of my “Desert island Discs”. An aural interpretation of an anthem and a war that said so much…………………….and don’t you just have to play “Weld” LOUD ?!!

  3. Man, that music had power. I sometimes worry about my generation, or possibly me, as this music speaks my souls language, unlike it’s modern counterpart. I’m curious if your Mom had enjoyed it as well? It must have been somewhat jarring at first… so radical.

    1. Haha, I often reflect that we put my Mother through hell with our musical taste. Poor thing. I think she was tolerant though. Then came College and personal stereos and Jim Reeves was restored to the Bush.

      1. No, my blogs are still up, Freedom to a Full Life and Freedom is Waiting. I’m posting in both later this morning.

  4. Great read Al (as ever) Being a good twenty years younger than you 🙂 It was glam rock followed by punk for me. Seminal moments when one appears at the dining room table festooned in safety pins only to be chased upstairs by an angry, reactionary and deeply conservative father brandishing a poker and shouting “get down t’pit and earn an honest living!!!!!”

  5. I played the sound clip, and though I’m not familiar with the song, Huz immediately looked up from what he was doing and said, ‘Hmm…..Foxy Lady…..’ 🙂
    Nice story Al.

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