I’ve thinking a lot about my Uncle Terry these last couple of weeks. He died from Covid back in December 2020 (the time period that had been in the news a lot due to ‘partygate’). More specifically, I’ve been thinking about things that we did when I was young. We once went to watch Wales play rugby in the old National Stadium (along with my Dad on a trip organised by the local rugby club). On one of these trips, we stopped to watch my first cricket match and even though I think the group went there because the queue for the bar was a lot smaller, I enjoyed the cricket anyway.
However before that memory there was one event that took place that involved my love of music, even as an 8-year-old, and my first visit to a pub.
Back when I was that age I was obsessed with this artist, loved everything they did. One day my Uncle told me that in the local pub that he played darts for, they had just taken a delivery of what was at the time a state-of-the-art video jukebox. Of course this was before MTV and the myriad of other channels that showed music videos. Just to pique my interest even more he told me that it was in the room with the Pool Table. He told me that one day in the upcoming summer holidays he would check with the landlord if it would be ok for me to come with him one afternoon and have a couple of games of Pool and pick videos on the jukebox.
The following week my Uncle came to my house and said that he would take me to the pub the first day of the summer holidays and he give me a list of some of the songs that was on the jukebox. Uptown Girl – Billy Joel (yes!) Down Under – Men At Work (yes!) Can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins (yes!) I was already trying to work out how much money I would need to be able to watch all those videos and then at the end of the list, I saw the title of a video I was desperate to see, one of the first singles I owned and I just couldn’t wait to see it. Now these days, you could just ask Siri to play the video, but you have to remember, this was when phones had buttons and no screens!!!
The day finally came and I was about to set foot inside The Punch House, my first time ever in a pub! We walked into the Pool room and I could hear Karma Chameleon. I turned around and saw the biggest tv I ever saw, it must have been at least 40 inches (or the little tv as it’s called now). I walked up to the jukebox and just stared at the screen, after standing in awe for a few minutes I snapped out of it to check that the video I wanted to see was on the jukebox. It was and I couldn’t wait to throw as much money in the video jukebox as it wanted to take from me.
We played a few games of Pool while I waited for the videos that have already been picked to have been played, as each video finished and I was filled with hope that the video would finally be the last video, but each time my hopes were dashed. Then the time came, the final video played and I finally got my turn to watch the video that I have been waiting for, I put the money in and pressed the button and there it was! The moment I was waiting for, the video for Rat Rappin’ by the puppets Roland Rat and Kevin The Gerbil. I was in heaven, watching them on a giant 40” screen (as I said, times were different then.)
I know that is not the coolest first time in a pub story, going there to watch two puppets rap but I still remember it like it was yesterday and it gave me a good memory of the time I spent with my Uncle who is no longer with us. Also, I would just like to point out that I did listen to cool music at time. I was 8/9 year old when it happened and liked puppets as well, who didn’t at that age.