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Live It Up 80: We Didn’t Start the Fire

I mentioned this song when I posted the same singer’s Leningrad in this category last year.

The lyrics are a reminder that the Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” might have resonance for many people who lived in the second half of the twentieth century. And indeed, now.

They are also redolent of Harold Macmillan’s second most important warning. When asked what would he say was most likely to knock governments off-course he reputedly said, “Events, dear boy. Events,” a phrase I use for my posts on happenings (usually, it has to be said, deaths) in the wider world. It seems though that documentary evidence of Macmillan using these words is elusive.

That other warning of his? “Never invade Afghanistan.”

Joel has apparently said he doesn’t particularly like the song as the melody is, “terrible. Like a dentist’s drill.”

He’s doing himself an injustice. OK the melody’s nothing to write home about, but it matches the lyrics. And the lyrics are beautifully constructed.

Billy Joel: We Didn’t Start the Fire

Charlie Gallagher

I was profoundly sad to read from the club’s website that the midfield inspiration of the Sons Second Division title winning team of 1971-72, the side which ended a fifty year absence from top flight football, Charlie Gallagher, has died. It is safe to say that without his promptings from midfield Sons may not have won promotion that year.

He was probably past his best when he joined the Sons from Celtic, with whom he’d been in the Lisbon Lions squad, mainly as an understudy to Bertie Auld, but was, according to the grey sage Bob Crampsey, much underrated. Nevertheless he gave that Sons team a creative midfield presence essential to its eventual success.

His displays included a magnificent performance in a 3-3 draw away at Partick Thistle in the League Cup quarter-final of 1970. We won the second leg 3-2. In the semi-final we drew 0-0 with Celtic (a team which had reached the European Cup final less than six months before) after extra time before losing the replay 4-3 in extra time after being 2-0 down in the 90 minutes. (In that extra time, at 2-2, one of their goals ought to have been disallowed for a crossed ball going out before coming back in. The linesman raised his flag but put it down again when the ball went in the net. After that goal they scored again and started to try to play keep ball. Once we got it back we did the same but then launched a counter attack up the left which ended with us scoring in a supreme get-it-up-ye moment.) Charlie played so well that it is said during the game Celtic’s manager Jock Stein told his team to “break that bastard’s legs.”

From that 71-72 promotion season I remember in particular Charlie’s free-kick against Alloa at Recreation Park – my first ever visit to the Recs. The goalie had lined up his wall and the ref was striding away towards his vantage point when Charlie carefully moved the ball aside about six inches. He then blasted it past the wall and the keeper for the only goal in a 1-0 win. (Vital at the end of the seaon, but all those wins were.)

This photo (taken from Pie and Bovril) shows Charlie about to score from a free-kick against Celtic in the Drybrough Cup (remember that?) Sons players also in frame are Johnny Graham and Kenny Wilson. Great days.

Charlie Gallagher

His skill from free kicks meant they were almost as good as penalties. In all Charlie scored 29 goals for the club.

He will forever be remembered as a club legend.

Charles Gallagher: 3/11/1940 – 11/7/2021. So it goes.

Live It Up 78: Holding out for a Hero – RIP Jim Steinman

The man who wrote Bat out of Hell and so was partly responsible for thrusting Meatloaf onto the world has died.

Despite not having much success on his own account Steinman had a few strings to his bow. As well as composing he was also a record producer and contributed not only to Meatloaf’s career but also to Bonnie Tyler’s, producing her two highest charting UK albums and writing her two biggest hits in the UK, Total Eclipse of the Heart and this one, Holding out for a Hero.

Bonnie Tyler: Holding out for a Hero

James Richard (Jim) Steinman: November 1/11/1947 –19/4/2021. So it goes.

Michael Collins

One of the most important cogs in the Apollo 11 team which made the first Moon landing (way back in 1969, 52 years ago!) has died.

While Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin flew down to the Moon in the Lunar Module, Eagle, Michael Collins stayed in Moon orbit in the Command Module, Columbia, keeping the whole mission together, orbiting the Moon alone – the supposedly loneliest human in the universe – thirty times before the Lunar Module returned Armstrong and Aldrin to Columbia.

Having started his career as a fighter pilot and going on to be a test pilot Collins was a veteran of Gemini 10 where he became the fourth human to space walk and the first to do it twice but retired from NASA in 1970 very soon after his most historic mission.

Michael Collins: 31/10/1930 – April 28/4/2021. So it goes.

Frank Worthington

Frank Worthington was one of those maverick footballers whose antics can drive some managers mad. Sadly he died earlier this week.

He was one of the flamboyant extroverts whose presence on a football pitch always implies the possibility of something memorable occurring but does not endear them to bosses who prefer a measure of control, to minimise risk. As a result, despite being one of the most gifted ball players of his generation he gained only eight caps for England.

By all accounts he was as extravagant off the pitch as he was on it.

This is an example of his sublime football talent – an incredibly inventive goal scored for Bolton Wanderers against Ipswich Town. With his back to goal and seemingly going nowhere fruitful fast, with one touch of the ball he created a scoring opportunity – and took it. It’s so good the clip plays it twice.

Frank Stewart Worthington: 23/11/1948 – 22/3/2021. So it goes.

Peter Lorimer

Another football name from my youth has gone. The death of Peter Lorimer has been announced.

He came to prominence playing in that great Leeds United side of the late 60s and early 70s, managed by Don Revie.

I actually saw him play once. He even scored. It was in a World Cup qualification game against Denmark at Hampden in 1972. Denmark outplayed Scotland all over the park except in our penalty box. Everything kind of petered out just before they reached there. Scotland won two-nil.

In the finals Lorimer was involved in the most bizarre free-kick incident ever to have happened during a World Cup. It was Scotland’s first game, against Zaire. Lorimer was lined up to take it when the ref blew his whistle and a Zaire player rushed out of the wall. Lorimer hesitated, waiting for the ref to blow for the ten yard distance to be re-established. He didn’t, and the Zaire player kicked the ball upfield. Lorimer scored the first in a 2-0 win.

Peter Patrick Lorimer: 14/12/1946 – 20/3/2021. So it goes.

Columb McKinley

I’ve only just found out that former Sons player Columb McKinley died last month.

A local lad as I recall, Columb first played senior football with Airdrie before moving to the Sons in 1975. He was centre half in the Sons side that made it to the Scottish Cup semi-fimal in 1976. I doubt a Sons team will ever achieve such a thing again. Had we won that semi-final we would have qualified for the European Cup Winners’ Cup, as the other finalists, Rangers, won the league. Sadly, despite playing well in the first game, we could only draw it 0-0. Hearts won the replay 3-0.

Columb McKinley: 24/8/1950 – 6/2/2021. So it goes.

Murray Walker

I’ve just seen on the news that Murray Walker for so long the voice of motor sport on British television has died.

I remember his distinctive voice commentating on Motocross (formerly known as motorcycle scrambling) in the 1960s on the BBC’s Grandstand; itself sadly long gone.

It was as a commentator on Formula 1, though, for which he was best known, for both the BBC and ITV in a stint lasting over twenty years. After his retirement the sport somehow never felt the same. Shockingly, that commentating retirement was itself twenty years ago.

He was one of those few characters associated with a particular sport whose fame and personality allowed them to transcend it.

Graeme Murray Walker: 10/10/1923 – 13/3/2021. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 201: That’s What Love Will Do – RIP Trevor Peacock

Trevor Peacock, who was best known as an actor (particularly as Jim Trott in The Vicar of Dibley, died earlier this week.

However he was also a songwriter, with several hits to his credit in the early 1960s, though they were performed and sung by other people. Mrs Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter was a no 1 in the US for Herman’s Hermits, though it wasn’t released as a single in the UK.

This one was a No 3 in the UK. It is a very “early 1960s” sound, from a tiny bit before my time.

Joe Brown and The Bruvvers: That’s What Love Will Do

Trevor Edward Peacock: 19/5/1931 – 8/3/2021. So it goes.

Willie Whigham

I see from the club’s website that Willie Whigham, who played in goal for Sons for some of that post-promotion 1972-3 season has died.

While never managing to replace previous season’s goalie Lawrie Williams in that generation of Sons’ fans affections he is nevertheless a well-remembered name for those who witnessed those great days for the club.

William Murdoch Morrison “Willie” Whigham: 9/10/1939 – 4/3/2021. So it goes.

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