Saturday, 7 December 2013

Simon and Garfunkel (late 1970s & early 1980s)

If Simon and Garfunkel is the soundtrack to the summers of the late seventies and early eighties, then St. Ouen's bay is the backdrop. 

I was very fortunate to have not just one set of parents but two, as my friends lived just across the road and I owe a debt of gratitude to their parents for treating me as one of their own. 

In the summer holidays, as soon as there was a sunny day, and in my memories it was sunny every day, we would climb into their VW combi van*, collect their mum from her part-time bank job in Broad Street at 1pm and head out to St. Ouen with Simon and Garfunkel blaring out the eight-track player, competing with the distinctive sound of the air-cooled engine.

Liam recalled that his Dad had bought loads of tapes from Bob Furness' shop in the market, including; Simon and Garfunkel, Abba, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Carpenters, Leonard Cohen, Nilsson, Elton John,and the Beatles greatest hits.

We had our spot, second steps along to the left from the Watersplash. My friends' parents always came prepared with comfy sun loungers and newspapers. We would then lay out on our towels and bake ourselves punctuating the day with a swim in the Atlantic surf when we became too hot.  

Later on in the day we'd head to the Watersplash  for a coke and crisps.

By 5.30pm it was time to think about heading home. Sometimes in the height of summer there were so many hire cars on the roads that it could take over an hour so we'd stop at the chippy at Beaumont for fish and chips to eat on the way home.

Perfect summer days.

Eventually, going to the beach with parents morphed into going to the beach with friends and so by the Summer of 1985 we were now heading to St. Ouen in Paul's white mini with Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69" at full volume. 

Like that endlessly looping 8-track of a few years earlier, Bryan Adams was the soundtrack to my 16th year. I owed my entire social life to my best-friend and her family.

St. Ouen is a place that I always return to when I need to think. I was 21 years old when my mum died and after her funeral my Dad went to the Yacht Club for lunch (a creature of habit) and I went to St. Ouen and sat there. There was something comforting knowing that no matter what, the tide will ebb and flow and the sun will come up again.

* The van was a 1969 Kombi in "Turkis Blau", bought in 1979, became blue in 1980, black in 1982 and red in 1984.

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