Friday, January 04, 2008

4th January

The Royal Albert Hall, London. Mad Dog first attended a classical music concert here on this day forty years ago.

The 4th day of the New Year seems to be one of those dates that has special significance in my memory. Forty years ago today was the first time I ventured to London on my own to attend a classical concert (Handel's Messiah) at the Royal Albert Hall. It was snowing and very atmospheric. Don't ask me how I can remember the date because these days I can't even recall what I did on the previous day. Somehow these formative experiences are etched on the brain.

On the same day the previous year (1967 if you're having trouble with the maths) one of my childhood heroes, Donald Campbell, was killed in the most dramatic fashion, live on television while attempting a water speed record on Coniston Water. I remember the film clip being broadcast over and over again while I watched aghast but with morbid fascination with his last words "...I've got the bows up, I'm going..." ringing in my ears.

Also on this day in 1986 the tragic death of Thin Lizzy frontman, Phil Lynott, came as a shock. This Irish combo was one of my favourite bands of the 1970s (yay, for a great concert at the Top Rank, Cardiff, c 1973). By that time I was living in San Francisco but tuned avidly to the BBC World Service for Euro news (some things never change).

Finally, I can remember clearly the news of Sir Edmund Hillary's triumph in reaching the South Pole by overland expedition in 1958. The first person to do so since Captain Scott in 1912. I was still in primary school and these kinds of achievements were applauded greatly in the grey post-war atmosphere still prevalent in the UK. To this day I've been fascinated by the Snowcats.

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