The first time we met Danny was one Saturday morning in the summer holidays – Sandra was still at school then– in the record department of the Co-op.

We lounged against the high counter, Sandra in her brown leather jacket and me in my brown suede.  By this time we had swopped buttons.  Sandra was asking the woman serving if they had Roy Orbison’s latest single, when a boy wearing a navy blue Crombie overcoat and a blue-beat hat came out of one of the booths, shouting at us, ‘No, no, you don’t want to listen to that rubbish, listen to this, listen to this!’  He leaned over the counter and moved the arm of the record player back to the beginning of a 45 on the turntable.  The woman stared at him.  ‘Turn it up!’ he said.  Slowly she turned the volume knob and then stood with folded arms as we listened to ‘Madness’ by Prince Buster.  Danny rocked round the counter to the ska beat, his head nodding back and forth like a chicken.  When the record finished Sandra asked the assistant to put it on again.  After we’d listened to it twice Sandra said, ‘Yeah, thanks,’ and we left the shop.  We had to go home for dinner. 

Sandra was only just fifteen.  She had a term to go before she left school.  Danny was twenty and had a few days to go before he was back in prison.


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