May 1967, London
I’ve written a letter to Dave Godin and Robert Blackmore at Soul City to let them know I’m going back to my previous job working in the record department of John Menzies in the City of London. As it turns out, it’s a wise move since Soul City is going through a challenging time financially and I do need to earn a living… My timing turns out to be great! Within a week or so, keeping up with what’s happening with the latest releases, I start playing Procul Harum’s haunting 45, A Whiter Shade Of Pale to the young City employees at the banks and other offices in the area at lunchtimes just as the record begins to take off. I follow my hunches (I know a good record when I hear it!) and I order several boxes of the 45. Smart, because the demand is massive and other record shops in the area are soon out of stock! I become the shop’s ‘golden boy’ and while I’m selling Procul Harum, I’m also plugging new soul choones by my favourite Aretha Franklin whose cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” is becoming her 1st British hit!
With money in my pocket again (since it’s a few months since I walked out of Soul City in my first of what will be a few disagreements with Dave Godin), I’m feeling good and start dating William (whose ‘bad breath’ first impression turned out to be a one-off!). He has his own room in the Harlesden home owned by his older brother who lives there too with his wife and who clearly disapproves of William’s lifestyle, evident from his response the first time I spend the first of many nights there over the year that follows… I like William with his cheery smile and he seems ‘serious’ about us going out together which is good given I’ve already dealt with one no-good heartbreaker (Franklin, his coworker) already and I’m only 19!