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Reasons To Pick Up A Guitar (part 9)

I was fourteen-years-old, and we were still living in our tiny council slum. One dark and freezing December evening Jimi Hendrix changed my life. He all but jumped out of our thirteen-inch, black-and-white television on Ready Steady Go, which up until that point I’d mainly watched because I wanted more than breathing to shag Kathy McGowan.

Through the living room’s fog of fag smoke I peered at this wild haired black man swaggering his Strat through a song of betrayal and revenge. He shot his woman down – I‘d have settled for shooting up one! Dad glowered at the screen.

“Ugly nignog! He proclaimed, “what a bleedin’ racket.”

And that was it. I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to play guitar just like Jimi, I wanted all those mini-skirted dolly birds bopping up and down in front of me. Despite school uniforms, boiled cabbage, cold showers, cross-country running, and hundreds of other passion killers I was a fourteen-year-old brew of seething hormones. And this bizarre-looking Yank had just showed me the key to paradise.