John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Early Days
 1. Gillian was a girl, indifferent to my kiss, with whom I had a bit of a snogging-session in the shelter in the middle of the roundabout [traffic circle] by the Arena, Cleveleys, in late 1964. She was tall and thin and dark-haired, and was accompanied by a short, petite, strawberry blonde girl, whom Chris was with. Both went, as I did, to Fleetwood Grammar School; and both were rather plain-looking. Or rather, the other one was plain; Gillian just looked plain gormless.
 2. In recalling this, I thought that perhaps Chris and I had just decided to take a stroll from the Happy Land, and spotted them seated in the shelter. But Chris seemed to think that we met them in a coffee-bar just across the road from the shelter. It was on the left-hand side as one went towards the seafront, and it was in a basement. Collinge was there too. For the girl that Chris got off with, Kathy, said that her family came from Yorkshire, from Halifax; and Chris remembers Collinge taunting her about the place after Chris told him that Halifax was actually bigger than Collinge’s home town Burnley—something which he refused to believe. It seems that, in fact, he was confusing Halifax with Harrogate, because he then referred to it as “that place t’other side of Skipton”, and said that it couldn’t have a higher population than Burnley’s because “they don’t know how to do it there!”

Photo retrieved from Facebook, 12 October 2013, by kind permission of its owner, Richard Wynn. Perhaps contemporary with this story (late 1964), the photo shows both the shelter and the coffee bar, called El Patio.
 3. However it came about, there occurred a bit of snogging in the shelter, I with Gillian and Chris with Kathy. But Gillian was completely indifferent to me in her manner—impassive, unresponsive. Chris remembers us walking with them back to Kathy’s place in Palatine Road. Maybe they lived near to each other, but Chris seems to remember us leaving them at Kathy’s front gate. I never saw Gillian again, except perhaps in passing at school.

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