Something they didn’t teach you in school and as far as I know still don’t. My teenager’s fuzzy logic was trying to sort out the answers to the perennial questions, how do I fit into the world? What is normal, I want to be normal, am I normal? The thing I worked out quite quickly, was that I had to relate those questions to my changing relationship with my environment. I saw that we viewed normal in different ways as we became more aware of the world around us.
It’s difficult to give this a name, but let’s call it “the four stages of normal”. Don’t get me wrong, there is no way in the world that I would have been able to articulate this in my early teens, but I had started to form the idea. Stage 1, before you go to school you have no concept of anything other than your family life, as far as you know, the whole world is the same. Your normal everything is normal. Stage 2, you go to school and start to realise the other kids and their families are different to you and you quickly come to conclusion that you’re normal everyone else is mad. “What you put hot milk on cereal…” That’s weird, we are normal, they are weird. It’s not long after, that you decide, everyone else is normal and the whole of my family including me, are mad beyond comprehension, batty as fruitcakes, oh [expletive deleted] we’re weird everyone else is normal, that’s stage 3. When finally, you reach stage 4, you realise that there is no normal. Nobody (or everybody) is mad, we are all different. Another thing they don’t teach in school and the next thing I needed to get my head round was that I was allowed to be different, there is no normal to try to be.
If a headline act turns up practically on your doorstep when no other bands come anywhere near you then you have to take that chance, so I went to my first gig. Hawkwind at Bletchley Leisure Centre, I’d brought Silver Machine, and I probably played the B side a few times, but I didn’t know any of their other stuff. An odd thing about it was I went by myself, no one wanted to go with me they were probably listening to “Little Jimmy Osmond”. I don’t actually remember that much about it, how I got there and back or for that matter, how I persuaded mum to let the fourteen-year-old me go to my first gig by myself.
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is released and the track for this year is Us and Them I had one of the originals with the posters and the stickers.
What else happened in 1973
UK entered the European economic community as the year started, the open University awarded its first degrees. Several IRA bombs went off, a number in London. Inflation is running at over 8% and there is industrial discontent aplenty with strikes by rail workers, civil servants, firefighters and ambulance drivers and an overtime ban by coal miners. A first world energy crisis is caused by an OPEC oil embargo and the speed limit on motorways is reduced to 50 miles an hour to save fuel.
The Paris peace accords are signed in January and the United States involvement in the Vietnam war ends, America stops bombing Cambodia about seven months later. Chilean socialist president Salvador Allende is overthrown by a military coup. It later turns out the Americans were involved again. Watergate was bubbling along, little did we know just how big it would be, it got bigger as the year went on. Spiro Agnew resigns as vice president and is charged with tax evasion, Gerald Ford becomes vice president. Sears Tower in Chicago becomes the world’s tallest building. Sydney Opera House is opened and the first bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul is completed.
The Sting and The Exorcist are both screened for the first time, Elvis performs in Hawaii and it is the first worldwide entertainment telecast. Last of the Summer Wine begins on British television, it goes on and on and on. Bruce Lee dies in Hong Kong, a matter of days after his film Enter the Dragon is released.
In sport, the Five Nations Rugby Championship is a tie between all five teams, all of them winning 2 and losing 2 and Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in a tennis match dubbed the “battle of the sexes”