Sometime in 1968 my mum discovered a book of rather ribald cartoons in my bedroom. She went ballistic and made strong allusions to the traditional theory that a smutty mind was the first step on a certain route to becoming a myopic miscreant. The offending material was confiscated, leaving me with a lot of explaining to do to my pal’s dad – the rightful owner of the dodgy mag – a merchant seaman, with fists like sledgehammers and a face that looked as though he’d been chasing parked cars.
Obviously, as far as my mum was concerned, a line had been crossed. She was a product of her time, as all mums are, and rudery of a bluish hue was not acceptable, but there was a great deal of laughter in our house. The kind that’s propagated when two broken families have been welded together for convenience. Humour was our bond. A giggle based glue.
I had plenty more sources of amusement. The TV was running hot with American imports and there was ‘Mad’ magazine, a bundle of which I’d used to camouflage the coarse cartoons. It was an uncertain time for me, a fourteen year old, oscillating between Eric Clapton and Alfred E. Neuman. My conviction that I was having some sort of identity crisis was only strengthened by the physical changes that were happening to me on an almost daily basis!
While I continued to find rules to break, my voice was doing it all on its own. I was on the brink of new and exciting territory. A world where young stubble beckoned to be tidied up, only to be replaced by a rash of hormone driven zits. Still, what could I expect? A crackle of “crazy” was in the air, as the decade was approaching its end, with no signs of letting up. That time always reminds me of a quote from a long forgotten Saturday morning show, “All for fun – fun for all – it’s Zokko!”