I was eleven-years-old and we were still living in our tiny council slum. One bright and freezing Saturday in December I strapped on my plastic Beatles guitar, slapped on my Woolworths black plastic Beatle wig, and tucked my shirt collar inside my shirt. Then I strode out onto the "stage" that faced the tiny patch of icy mud we defiantly called our back garden.
I stood shivering on the stage, a small, cracked patch of cement outside our bog window. While our Roy set up his biscuit tin and saucepan lid drum kit I did a sound check. That is, I turned on our crackling red and white transistor radio and checked to see if any sound was coming out of it. Through the bog window I caught a whiff of cigarette smoke and heard the dulcet grunts of granddad straining away.
I twiddled the tuner and Radio Luxembourg faded in. The Rolling Stones were clattering through "Come ON". We didn't have long to wait for what we wanted, only Roll Over Beethoven by the almighty Beatles would do for us.
Our audience was always the same, the empty balconies and blank windows of the tower block opposite. We were both a bit scared of the rough kids that lived in those tower blocks, and their Dads, older brothers, and dogs tell the truth. So these shows were my first experience of dealing with stage fright. So, needing just that little extra bit of swagger, I was always John Lennon and never mind what song was playing. The bloke next door was burning something rancid and smoke wafted across the stage just as the song started.
In my mind the light of the grey afternoon dimmed and the roar of an unheard crowd rose to howl and scream approval. The world lay at my feet.
Causes Luke James Supports
Doctors Without Borders