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I Could Have Been a Rock Star!

Settembre 2013
David Crystal oggi è un rinomato linguista, uno dei massimi esperti in materia, ma in gioventù aveva una promettente carriera nella musica, poi, però, è stato ammesso all’università...

di Mark Worden


David Crystal
David Crystal

Speaker: Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

Linguistics expert David Crystal remembers his school days:

David Crystal (Standard British accent)

Yes, I had my secondary schooling in Liverpool in the 1950s. I arrived in Liverpool in 1952 from Wales and left Liverpool to go to university at the end of the decade. Well, the ‘50s were, of course, an amazing decade, as far as popular music was concerned. People with long memories will remember Lonnie Donegan and his skiffle group from the early 1950s, and, of course, 1965 (1955 – ed) Bill Haley and his Comments... his Comets with “Rock Around the Clock.” And everywhere around the world was trying to emulate these guys, of course, and Liverpool was no exception. In fact Liverpool was one of the great places where suddenly everybody wanted to be in a rock group and I was no exception. The secondary school that I went to we were playing in the school orchestra and therefore we had instruments at our disposal, and four of us got together, five of us got together, and formed a rock group which we called the Zodiacs, and we started to play, we rehearsed. I... I played the saxophone ‘cause I used to play the clarinet in the school orchestra, you see. So I moved onto the saxophone, there were a couple of guitars, keyboards and a vocalist: called ourselves the Zodiacs, and we started to go the rounds, like everybody else was doing, playing the school halls, first of all school dances, and things like this, church halls in the area, and there were dozens of these all over the place. There was a circuit that people started to go on, and entrepreneurs realised that this was a very good way of bringing in some money, so they would put on evenings where the local Liverpool rock groups would be invited to come and play. 10 minutes, a 10 minute set, then some other group would come on, some group would come on, then you’d be back for another 10 minutes perhaps, and you’d end up at the end of the evening perhaps with £5, or something like this, a huge amount of money for penniless teenagers! Remember, we’re only 16, 17 years of age, and, of course, on those visits around the school halls and the church halls like St.Luke’s in... in Crosby were a group of unknowns, totally unknown people called... which decided to call themselves The Quarrymen. We all know who they are now: they eventually transmuted into The Beatles a few years later and became hugely famous. My little group didn’t transmute into anything, unfortunately, because it was made up, as I said, of schoolboys. We were all doing our A levels as we... in 1959, in the spring of 1959, we looked at each other and said: “If we all pass our A levels, we’re going to go to university and break up. If we don’t pass our A levels, we’ll stay together and become famous” and go the Carroll Levis Show and go to Hamburg and do all the things that we know The Beatles and others did. Well, unfortunately, a couple of us passed our A levels, including me. The drummer didn’t. Well, the drummer was younger than the rest of us and he stayed on and actually went into the pop music profession, Dave Lovelady, and he ended playing in other groups and eventually joined a group called The Fourmost, who ended up having a hit record, so I was very cheesed off about that! But still, you know, I... I ended up with my career. I sometimes wonder if I wouldn’t have... I’d certainly have made a lot more money if I’d gone the other way, but for a brief two-year period I was quite well known in Liverpool because ours was the only group to have a saxophone, you know, none of them... nobody else had a saxophone but we did, so we could be more like Bill Haley than... than anybody else. So, yes, I...I... I’ve  had women crying for my body and so on, you know, in those days! Yeah, I wish!

(Dave Crystal was talking to Mark Worden)

Per leggere l'articolo "A Question of Accent" di David Crystal pubblicato su Speak Up di settembre 2013, clicca qui

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