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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

It was the fickle, style-obsessed London media that made a star of Tom Petty

Oddly enough, London was the making of Tom Petty.

When their first album came out in 1976 it made no impression in the USA. Their manager Tony Dimitriades, a Greek Cypriot born in London, just happened to be visiting his family here at the time when he read an enthusiastic review of an import copy in Sounds.

He went to see a British agent, showed him the review and he decided he could get the band a support slot with Nils Lofgren, who was due to tour the UK.

They came in Spring 1977 and went down so well that they stayed behind to play headlining shows of their own. They did "Top Of The Pops" and "Whistle Test" and got on the covers of NME, Melody Maker and Sounds, achieving in that short period national prominence that would have taken years to achieve in the USA.

What's more they went back to the USA as the band that the British had taken to and with punk credentials that would never have occurred to anyone over there.

Maybe it was the leather jacket he wore on the cover. Whatever, it worked. Of course it couldn't happen today. You only miss gatekeepers when they're not there anymore.

Monday, October 02, 2017

House price shock 1980s-style

We bought our first house in 1982. It was a four-bedroom place in north London.

An uncle of mine asked what it cost. When I told him he caught his breath and rocked back on his heels. He didn't have much experience of house prices outside Yorkshire.

He thought about it for a moment and then found a silver lining. "Still, I expect you'll also get a double garage for that."

I explained that there was no garage of any kind. Properties on suburban streets in London didn't work like that.

He went away shaking his head that we would ever pay such a ridiculous sum of money for a house, even in that there London.

How much were we paying?

£39,500.