March 1966, London
I’ve decided that it’s time to leave school. My parents aren’t thrilled and after a few weeks of attempting home study, my mother says if I’m not going to complete my education, I have to get a job. I land one, working at the Cheapside branch of a then-popular bookstore chain John Menzies in the City of London, working in the tiny record department, in the basement which I share with Mrs. Banks, a cantankerous older woman who runs the greeting card section. We are not well matched. She’s used to customers who like classical music. My mandate from Mr. Free, the chirpy Australian store manager is to bring the record department up to date. The release of the now-classic Percy Sledge 45 “When A Man Loves A Woman” gives me the perfect opportunity.
I put a copy of the 45 in the shop window and at lunchtimes, the young city workers are coming down in droves to buy it. Overtly racist with a heavy trace of anti-semitism, Mrs. Banks is not happy as Percy’s deeply soulful hit is on repeat play! I’m bringing in the young customers, Mr. Free is happy and I’ve only just begun to bring soul music to the fore in the little store!