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A Shout From The Attic: Youth And Confusion - 8

...Thus, once more, music came to rescue me from the disappointments and negative aspects of my young life. I did not know it then, but it developed in me a taste that was to enrich my days for the rest of my mortal stay. Even in the darkening days of old age, music quickens my pulse, pleases my mind, warms my heart, and causes my spirit to soar...

Ronnie Bray tells of tuning in to melodic sounds.

Sounds Wonderful!

The man that hath not music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted. -
William Shakespeare

When I was rising fourteen, my Dad did something that changed my life. From deep within one of the two large wooden chests that he brought with him when he and mother were married, he produced a crystal set. I had no idea that such things existed, nor had I seen it when I has taken illicit rambles through the contents of his two mystery chests. He arranged it on top of the chest with the secret drawer and put the earphones on my head. I could hear a woman talking. Notwithstanding that the voice was faint, it was body-shaking exciting. After some basic instruction and probably some caution, he turned the set over to me. It was mine! It was the kindest and nicest thing he ever did for me.

I bought a coil of yellow-coated aerial wire from Taylorís in Macaulay Street, fixed it to the appropriate terminal, and threw the remainder out of the attic window. I was receiving loud and clear! The Home Service was the easiest and loudest to get because of the transmitting aerials on nearby Pole Moor. Snuggled down inside my bed in the foetal position with the blankets covering my head and the earphones on, I was safe and found the door to another world. This was my escape.

I was not much older when I bought for one pound the elements of a gramophone. These were purchased from Mr Armitageís second hand shop in Trinity Street. His shop was the last one up the hill after the Brownís sweet shop and before the top roadway into Towning Row. I had obtained a small toy gramophone before that. It was a tiny tin plate thing with a blue paint print and was designed to take records of about six inches in diameter. I didnít have any that size but managed somehow to steal some seven inch 78 rpm records from my grandmotherís store, possibly through my motherís assistance and nibbled these down to saw-toothed six inches with a pair of pincers out of the scullery table drawer. The introductions and verses were often missing but the rest played merrily away.

The elements I bought from Mr Armitage were a gramophone motor and turntable, a heavy reading head with a holder for heavy steel needles, a mica diaphragm, and a long arm that I fastened onto the huge square tin horn that had graced the innards of a phonogram in its heyday. It was cumbersome and a little unstable, but it played full sized gramophone records, introductions and all.

Thus, once more, music came to rescue me from the disappointments and negative aspects of my young life. I did not know it then, but it developed in me a taste that was to enrich my days for the rest of my mortal stay. Even in the darkening days of old age, music quickens my pulse, pleases my mind, warms my heart, and causes my spirit to soar.

Somewhere along the way, I got possession of a portable gramophone in a heavy black box that I took to school and played the Middy March in the playground to share my music with my schoolmates. Mr Brummitt asked me why I had brought it to school, and I said I didnít know. The truth is that I knew but didnít trust him to understand. He was, after all, a grown up!

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