- 1 – It’s personal.
We moved into our brand new house in 1968 and this wall clock has been here ever since. (We’re not big on renewing furniture items unless completely necessary) The wall behind it has changed a few times and the clock has witnessed my David Cassidy obsession, my attempts to play Burt Bachrach songs on the Bontempi Hit Organ, and some truly startling perms. Thankfully, it remains silent.
The maker was Seth Thomas of Scotland and the clock was my dad’s gift to my mum. I presume his reasoning was, why have chocolates or jewellery when you can have a big, pointy wooden thing?
Eagle-eyed Marty and Weedgie fans may spot the clock on the cover of To Kill a Mocking Dog. It’s been such a large part of my life and I wanted to honour it with a book appearance…and it’s a bribe to continue the silence.
Plus, it comes in handy for the odd impromptu Statue of Liberty impression…
- 2 – The Scaffold: Lily the Pink.
One of the first songs I remember singing and, guess what? It’s about a real person. Well, I never. It’s No 15 in the top 100 chart hits for 1968. The Ballad of Lydia Pinkham is the original folk song, and here she is.
I wouldn’t take a broken pay packet home to her, but she invented a herbal-alcoholic women’s tonic. I’ll have some of that.
- 3 – Oliver!
Directed by Carol Reed (confusingly a bloke) and starring Mark Lester. Ron Moody, Shani Wallis, Oliver Reed, Harry Secombe and Jack Wild. Won loads of awards and voted No 77 in the BFI top 100 British films. One of my favourite musicals and a jolly romp through Victorian London, encompassing child slavery, prostitution and murder along the way. Great songs. And a special mention to Bullseye from Weedgie the Dug.
- 4 – The Isle of Wight Festival.
The first one, featuring Jefferson Airplane, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Fairport Convention and the Prett Things, among others. This is why I’d use time travel – never mind world peace, just get me back to some groovy gigs.
- 5 – The Herbs
A masterpiece of British television. Dill, the dog is a hero in our house. I’m not sure Weedgie agrees, but I’ve hidden the box set so we’ll be alright.
- 6 – The first Marty and Weedgie book.
To Kill A Mocking Dog is set in1968. I can’t count. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.