Our Century

A life in the day of . . .

Martin Swain, Coventry
Born 1955

Martin Swain

"The last great days of Hancock, the first great days of the Beatles. Mum crying over Kennedy like I would one day cry over Lennon. Crisps with little blue bags of salt.

"First car, a two-tone Austin Cambridge, opening the summer to Tenby and Twist and Shout from the beach cafe jukebox. Norman Wisdom shouting "Mr Grimsdale?"

"Cooper v Clay. FA Cup finals, Leicester v Man U and Leeds v Liverpool. Danger Man.

"The Saint. Saturday mornings at the ABC and a bloke with a rocket pack on his back and a secret identity (of course). Saturday nights with Diana Rigg and Steed.

"Chiiaaaannnggg!! The opening chord of A Hard Day's Night.

"Football on the street between the lamposts and (occasional) passing car.

"Mum and Dad catch the first Bond; I kneel on their bed the next morning as they frighten me with the spider scene.

"Christmas snow of '62, the pre-video rain that drew you into Johnny Cougar, Olac the Gladiator and Roy of the Rovers.

"And the first sense of darkness when grown-ups whispered grimly of the Moors Murders, too ugly, too evil for the children to be told. Best mate? Jimmy Griffiths.

"Best teacher? Mrs Brice. First Kiss? Carol Lawrence, next door.

"And to two who didn't make it - Jimmy's brother Ian, who would choke on his own vomit after drinking too much at his first teenage party, and Caroline Wax, knocked over and killed by a car - a message. It never got any better than this."