Pocket money

Comics were all the go. We often did the rounds with a bundle of comics under our arm to swap them with other lads. Sometimes it was two for one depending on the thickness or tattered quality of the comic. Favourites were Superman, Captain Marvel, The Phantom and American war comics. Cowboy comics were also prized swaps.

When Tommy left school and started work, he gave me and Coral pocket money each week. It was a great feeling to at last have money of our own in our pockets.

On Saturday afternoons the kids lined up for the matinee at the ‘Pav’. The Pavilion was the old, dilapidated picture house alongside the common. The usherette ruled with an iron fist, shining her torch and chastising rowdy groups. The formula was much the same each week. A cartoon, the serial and a cowboy film, starring celebrities like Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger, Tom Mix or Gene Autry, ‘The Singing Cowboy’.

Gene Autry – ‘Don’t Fence Me In’  1944
Just turn me loose
Let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies

Later we went to the smart brand-new theatre, The Odeon, with Freda’s kids but it didn’t have the same homely feel of the Pav. The Odeon was ‘up town’. It had a flashy organ and always had community singing or some sort of demonstration before the films started, such as police dog handlers or a talk about road safety.

Vic Damone – ‘You’re Breaking My Heart ‘Cos You’re Leaving’  1950
It’s breaking my heart to remember
The dreams we depended upon
You’re leaving a slow dying ember
I’ll miss you my love when you’re gone

Next: 2014 – Roseberry Topping

Previous: Tommy in hospital