Off the Hook

This week I have been trying to cancel my landline – a long, arduous and probably expensive task.  Telephones, phone calls, numbers have been going round in my head and last night first line of the Stones’ Off the Hook came to me.  This morning I found the clip on YouTube.

I listened to this track on the juke box in the Orpheus coffee bar.  It was the B side of Little Red Rooster, another great song.  Although the Stones, in the beginning, were seen more as a Rocker-ish kind of group (as compared to the Beatles who were cleaner, prettier and more Moddy) what the Stones had was good bluesy music, which is what Mods liked.  Off the Hook was raw, it scratched its way into the room, it was clean and dirty at the same time.  It was simple but it rocked and it was our experience.  Sitting in your bedroom, getting into bed and reading your book, turning out the light – and taking your phone right off the hook, thinking about your baby.  It was pain, uncertainty, assertiveness.  It could have been me.

Could have been me but probably not, partly because the notion of a bedside lamp hadn’t reached the Woodhall Estate in 1964, and then our phone was in the hall and not in the bedroom – what an idea! – but mainly because we had a party-line.  We shared the line with the Conservative family along the road – so we were morally obliged to keep our phone in order at all times.

But when the first high guitar notes snaked into the Orpheus, you knew you were in the right place at the right time.  And so is my old landline.  It’s gone.  Right off the hook.


That music quiz.  Did you get all the answers?  Some did, some didn’t.  Someone thought that Charlie Watts was in the Beach Boys and that there were 5 Beatles – but she was young and I forgive her.   Many people thought Van Morrison was in the Spencer Davis Group.  Who knows? perhaps there was a night at Ronnie Scott’s when that magic happened.  We just didn’t get to hear about it in Chelmsford.

So in a very particular order here are the answers

1. The Supremes, Roy Orbison, Lulu

2. Them

3. 5,3,4

4. Eric Burdon

5. My Generation, I wanna hold your hand, Walk on By.

6. Love Me Do

7. The Rolling Stones

8. Detroit

9. BBC 1

10. Friday (the weekend really did start there).

And if you missed the quiz – there are the answers, what were the questions?

No prizes, but listen to the Animals and notice the young Alan Price.