Like any other child,
I was quite gullible and easily misled. When you are eight, the world is not that big-a-place. The radio played a massive
part on my upbringing, particularly popular music. I am not ashamed to admit that one of my favourite songs of all time is
the Starland Vocal Bands “Afternoon Delight” from 1976, but back in the day I thought the song was about
a place called “New Delight” which is a row of cottages that lie to the west of Hemington just off the A6! If
you thought that was bad then I was convinced that Keith West’s 1968 hit “Excerpts from a teenage
opera” was about nearby Hathern. The song is also known
as “Grocer Jack” due to its chorus and Hathern does indeed have a shop-called Jack's. Indeed I believe
Hathern’s Jack is still going strong to this day, unlike the poor soul in West’s song who sadly dies and plunges
his townsfolk into turmoil.
No wonder my mum and dad were desperate to
get my hearing checked-out, which was routinely done after starting at St Botolph’s Primary School in 1977. There I
was, with a gigantic pair of headphones on, one side red, one side blue and having to press a button when I could
hear a beep.
However my childhood delusion impaired
me much more than my hearing ever would. In 1980, I honestly believed that any celebrity worth their salt would own a
stake in Shepshed – indeed was there anywhere else in the world better to live?
I honestly thought that if you looked hard-enough,
Elton John, oversized specs, big-boots galore could be found strolling through Glenmore Park. His very-own Watford FC did play a friendly
against Shepshed in the 1980’s, but I didn’t recall seeing the Rocket-Man at the Dovecote ground and Watford did send
mainly a reserve/youth team. Like two of my sons, Russell Harty was born in Blackburn, Lancashire
but as an eight-year-old I was convinced he could often be seen catching a Midland Red in the Bull Ring bound for Loughborough.
Joan Collins, now she was a regular in the Richmond Arms – evenings only of course (it never seemed to open during the
day-time and still never does!) but there she would be, reapplying her rouge and lipstick in the ladies’ before
enjoying a Cherry B or two.
Paul “Splodge” Hodges,
my friend from Primary School must be blamed in part for this delusion. What happened was, during a school dinnertime in approx
1980ish after the stewed cabbage and water jugs were cleared away, he announced that
according to his mam (a lovely woman called Maureen, who was a dinner-lady and therefore in my eyes back only the the almighty
himself was feared more), "Buggles came from Shepshed!"
Buggles!? Who? Well in 1979, Buggles were a group who had a number one hit with “Video
Killed the Radio Star”. It was a massive hit, you must remember it? My interpretation of it was that it lamented the
demise of good old radio in favour of more trendy “Pop Videos”. Indeed back then, “Pop Video’s”
were becoming more and more mainstream and dare I say, as important as the quality of the song they featured! For example,
in 1980 David Bowies “innovative" Ashes to Ashes video cost a then-record £250,000 to produce! To be fair, its a great
song and a great video. I seem to recall that "Video killed the radio star" was the tongue-in-cheek choice for the first video
played when MTV went live on August 1st 1981.
However for years, I honestly believed that Buggles
did come from Shepshed. To me, Buggles was the bloke with the plastic-rimmed white specs in the video. He must
have lived up Moscow Lane? Somewhere posh like that, or
even in that old windmill conversion off the Ashby Road; which Posh and Becks were rumoured to be interested in buying, according
to one front-page exclusive in the Loughborough sorry Shepshed Echo during the early noughties.
However the reality is, the bloke in the video and ultimately the face of Buggles was and
still is Trevor Horn. Trevor was actually born in Houghton-Le-Spring in County Durham. Splodge had spun me a yarn, or had
On researching this book or this particular fable, I relied on that good-old modern-day undergraduate
invaluable resource: Wikipedia! (Indeed a former lecturer of mine at university, who shall of course remain name-less actually
recommended it in a lecture). It gives me great pleasure to announce, and my source is Wikipedia so it must be true, that
Buggles or rather one third or 33.3% of it did come from Shepshed!
Although Trevor Horn (since then, a successful
producer in his own right who of course produced Frankie Goes to Hollywood among others) is cemented in my minds-eye as “Buggles”,
they were actually a three-piece consisting of Geoff Downes (born in Stockport) and Bruce
Woolley, who was born in Loughborough but actually lived-in Shepshed whilst playing the pub-circuit! Sod off Loughborough,
Bruce Woolley may have taken his first breath in Loughborough, but like me, Shepshed is his spiritual home!
The moral of this story is kids, never doubt the gospel according
to thine Dinnerlady!
Bruce Woolley is sure worth
arguing about with our bitter Lufbra-rivals from the other end of Garendon Park! Notwithstanding
that Woolley co-wrote with Horn Dollar’s abysmal “Hand held in black and white”, over 25 million of his
songs have been sold and recorded by the likes of Grace Jones, Cher, Tom Jones, the Orb and the Feeling.
So from the top Railway to the bottom Railway,
let us raise a toast to the one and only living and famous Shepshedian worth celebrating, Bruce Woolley aka one third of Buggles
– we salute you! My research did unearth a link between Shepshed and a Miss Bonnie Holt. In 2006, the self-proclaimed
“geezer bird” became “first-in, first-out” on Channel 4’s Big Brother 7 reality show.
I noted there was some confusion as to her exact town of residence and origin. Sadly the unofficialbonnie.co.uk website has
long-since shut-down, the official C4 version gives her home-town as being Loughborough and a good-friend of mine claims that
during her five-minutes of fame, many of her relatives were drinking the watering holes and flesh-pots of Whitwick dry –
so she most certainly inna a Sheppy gel me duck!