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1971: CYCLING UPHILL

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I left school at 15, in the late autumn of 1971. I remember my last hour at school and have written about this elsewhere. I had no consciousness of inhabiting history, of moving around in that foggy cloud that is the past. Things felt solid, concrete, firm to the touch. Hours lasted 60 long minutes and days took 24hrs to run their course. And yet what seemed so solid, so real then, has now been swallowed by the fog. At fifteen I was still obliged to attend the youth employment service, situated in Belmont, close to the Town Wall of Shrewsbury. On the wall was a poster announcing the death of the 1960s. The Beatles had split, Ali had been defeated, time to move on. Why it had been thought necessary to rub this in bewilders me to this day. However, at the time and even now, it strikes me as somewhat sinister. A statement of the triumph of time over hope and expectation. I cannot remember the interview or any of the subsequent proceedings, but they found me a job. Globe and Simpson was sit…