I was fascinated to see '56 Up' on ITV tonight - a programme that has been following the lives of a group of people every seven years since they were seven years old, which is now 49 years ago. I am ten years older than them and therefore old enough to remember the first programme, and I've watched every series since then. The latest series made me think about the seven year landmarks of my own life. One day maybe I will write my life story, but for now, here's a seven year interval snapshot:
- Aged 7, 1953. At Spring Park Primary School in Shirley, Croydon, living in West Wickham, Kent. The Queen's Coronation. Just a normal seven year old with a reasonably happy life I think. Music wise, a boring time - pre rock and roll.
- Aged 14, 1960. Now at Dulwich College having got there on my 11 Plus. Still living in West Wickham. Watching Crystal Palace when I can. Really getting into music and began my personal top ten, which I continued to maintain until the end of 1965. Top record of the year - Wonderful World by Sam Cooke.
- Aged 21, 1967. Trainee journalist with the Croydon Advertiser. Living in Warlingham, but left home and move to a bedsit in Tooting. Later moved in with a black exotic dancer seven years older than me. Reviewing records on a regular basis, some of which I still have, and concerts, such as the Stax/Volt show in Croydon. Favourite singer - Otis Redding.
- Aged 28, 1974. Now living up north. Moved from journalism with the Wigan Post and Chronicle to PR for the Co-op Bank in Manchester, having previously had jobs driving exotic dancers to Northern clubs and selling encyclopedias door to door. Living in Skelmersdale, a Liverpool overspill town, with my first wife, an Anglo-Burmese lady. Music-wise a barren period - Scousers in those days were mainly Country fans.
- Aged 35, 1981. Living in Bolton and still working as head of PR for the Co-op Bank. Remarried, honeymooned in Rome. Punk restarted my interest in music, but there weren't too many gigs worth seeing. Collecting beermats and enjoying real ale.
- Aged 42, 1988. Happy family man now living in Barnet and working for Barclays Bank as a PR man. Set up Barclays' sponsorship of the Football League the year before. Two sons - one born in 1982 and the second in 1986. Getting more interested in music again and thinking about going to New Orleans, which I did the following year.
- Aged 49, 1995. Still at Barclays, working hard as head of retail PR, and still living in Barnet. Visiting Jazzfest in New Orleans regularly and a regular visitor to boot sales. Record collection growing. Sons growing up. Now drinking wine, rather than beer. Beginnings of mid life crisis - making up for lost time!
- Aged 56, 2002. Now divorced and living in Bounds Green, although often in the Isle of Dogs where my girlfriend Maxine, aka Lex, lived. After leaving Barclays in 1999 I had several PR jobs but was made redundant and after nearly a year unemployed got a comms job with Defra in Guildford. Regular visitor to New Orleans, Utrecht Blues Festival and Porretta, and collecting records still.
- Aged 63, 2009. Still living in Bounds Green and working in PR at Rio Tinto, travelling to Australia, Africa and North America. Maxine developed a brain tumour and died at the end of the year. Still visiting New Orleans from time to time and Porretta, and frequenting boot sales on the lookout for records.
That's the story up to three years ago. Now I'm retired and living in Hampshire. The next '7 Up' landmark will be when I'm 70 in four years time. What will my situation be then I wonder?