Monday, 25 October 2010

The big light...

Impossible to dodge the rain this weekend, a few minutes of safety in sunshine and then from nowhere – black, black, skies. It was almost as if somebody was turning the big light on and then off again. On and off, on and off – I’ve always hated the big light.

Turn the big light on.” My dad would say and with the flick of a brittle, black, bakerlite switch the room, which only seconds earlier was muted by the evening glow of the black and white telly irradiating softness from the corner of the room, was transformed into a stark, shadow-free, nowhere to hide, illuminated cell that any self-respecting Gestapo interrogator would find… ‘interestink, very interestink.

Torture. And to build on the extreme discomfort of the bright, white, spotlight above my head, bearing down on my boyish face, my dad would switch off the telly, turn on the shiny plastic walnut pattern radio, sit back in an armchair with his copy of the ‘News of the World’ humming tunelessly along to ‘Sing Something Simple’ and the Cliff Adams Singers. Those opening few bars filled me with dread – ‘Da, da, da, da, da, da, sing something simple as time goes by, sing something simple, just you and I’.

And as if the big light and the Cliff Adams Singers weren’t enough - to make things even worse - I had school in the morning, didn’t have a clue how do my maths homework, double cross country in the first two periods - so there would be no time to crib from Watkiss or Pugh before maths in period three.

Okay, yes it was me. I did it. Pass me the confession and I’ll sign. Do you want my signature in tears or blood? Either is fine with me. Now just what is it you want me to confess to?’

Torture, torture, torture - how did I survive?

I don’t know, but I did.

Between the rainstorms last weekend the sun came out taking advantage of a few minutes of freedom as it broke through the clouds, shining its light on the landscape below. The colours were spectacular with contrast, alive with enhanced, pumped-up, natural pigments - and whilst a little stark, nothing at all like the 150 watt bulb of the big light in that living room of long ago.

And best of all there was no sound of the Cliff Adams Singers. All together now ‘Da, da, da, da, da, da, sing something simple as time goes by…’

Play this at your peril:


  1. My Nan was just the same. she always put the big light on. There was no mood lighting back then.

    The only good thing about Sing Something Simple was that Pick OF The Pops was on before it.

  2. You know this strikes a chord....we've talked about it before...sitting in the bath on a Sunday night in winter, watching the condensation running down the walls (which were painted with purple gloss)..homework not sends a chill down my spine even now

  3. BlusherBabs tweeted:

    yes Andi, I remember the Cliff Adams singers, I also remember the Black and White Minstrels!