Monday, 9 April 2018

Mid-Life Crisis Songs #22: My Hometown

I've joined a couple of groups recently on facebook in which people share old photos of the local area, and it's all become a bit of an addiction. Part of the fun is seeing my hometown (Huddersfield) and surrounding areas in days gone by - long before I was born in many cases. Often people will post photos of what the same area looks like now. Old buildings long since knocked down to be replaced by new... and in the majority of cases, the new ones aren't a patch on what was there before. This is surely a sign of ageing: nothing seems as good as it used to be. (Yes, yes, I know, nostalgia is all about rose-coloured glasses. But it's reassuring to cling to the myth of the past.)

The biggest thrill, however, comes from seeing pictures straight out of my childhood in the 70s and 80s. It's like a time machine, without the need for plutonium or a lightning bolt. The pictures on this page all show the old ABC cinema in Huddersfield, one of two town centre cinemas when I was a lad, both long gone. The two photos above are from before my time, but the one below - even though I can't work out what film is showing - is as I remember it. My main memory of this cinema is of my mum taking me and my mate Liam to see Blade Runner there in 1982. We were both very exciting about this film as it was being marketed heavily to Star Wars fans because of Harrison Ford's involvement and even serialised in the weekly comics we read.

Imagine our horror then when we discovered that the film was rated AA, and that we wouldn't be allowed to see it till we were 14! Give my mum credit though, she fought her corner, telling the woman on the counter that she'd cover our eyes if there were any horrible bits. Sadly, it didn't work...

The ABC closed the following year and was knocked down soon after to build a Sainsbury's. I was interested to read that the cinema played host to both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in years gone by. The Beatles played there in 1963, when a ticket would have cost you 32p. Here's the cinema preparing for their arrival...

Beatles aside though, there was only one song I could play to go along with this post...

22. Bruce Springsteen - My Hometown

I was eight years old and running with a dime in my hand
Into the bus stop to pick up a paper for my old man
I'd sit on his lap in that big old Buick and steer as we drove through town
He'd tousle my hair and say son take a good look around
This is your hometown...
Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more
They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back
To your hometown...


  1. Rol, you should definitely submit this post to Andrew Collins (yes, that one) at The British Aisles (

    1. Yeah, but if I do that, he might steal my crown back next year!

      (I've added the blog to my roll though: looks good.)

  2. Did the same - joined a Facebook page of Old Reading. Only thing is, after a year or so the same photos pop again, and a whole load of posts starting "Do you remember ...". Filter this out, and there is still interesting stuff coming through.
    Nowt like a bit of Hometown Nostalgia (even though I'm still in the same town).
    Tough bit for me to accept is photos of the 70s and 80s (my childhood) or now historic artefacts like photos of World War II when I was a nipper.

  3. Love these old photos - Our town had 5 cinemas at one point but now all gone, replaced by a big out-of-town multiplex. Of their time though and the local theatre has a really good little art-house cinema attached to it, which is the one I prefer nowadays.

    I like RD's comment about 70s/80s pics - He is right of course, it's like our younger selves looking at photos of the war years - These last few decades have passed in a flash.

  4. One of the cinemas in Aberdeen - The Capitol - doubled as a music venue throughout the 60's, 70's and 80's. I was too young to see The Rolling Stones there in 1964 (backed by Freddie & The Dreamers, Peter & Gordon, Dave Berry & The Cruisers and Millie of "My Boy Lollipop" fame) although I did get to see them at the same venue in 1982 when they kicked off their world tour there.) The Capitol finally close its doors about 20 years ago and has since become part of an office block. Lot of happy memories from many great gigs there.

    1. Well said - Like you I thought of the Capitol on Union Street when I saw Rol’s pictures. Happy memories of that place for me too.


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