Myself, my ex, my son and a couple of friends, planned to spend Xmas in a cottage in Pembrokeshire, and naturally my first thought was "How am I going to record the Festive 50 ?" What if they didn't have a decent tuner in the cottage ? Of course I'd have to take one with me, but my own, hailing from the glory days of Hi-Fi, was the size & weight of a well-packed trunk, and I just didn't fancy trying to shift the thing.
To save myself the driving, I was to be getting a lift with a mate, so I thought perhaps I could persuade him to take his, which after all, had originally been a gift from me. However, when I arrived at the house I soon realized he was in no mood for de-rigging the hi-fi, and there followed a furious row, which ended with me saying that I would drive there in my own car, fuck-you very much, and take my own sodding tuner.
Of course, it being the season of goodwill to all men, we eventually made up over a few bottles of red, and I managed to rig up the tuner & DAT in my quaint little Pembrokeshire bedroom and record the Fifty in all it's glory. Here's the first CD's worth, nos. 50 - 30.
By a strange coincidence, the cottage turned out to be in a little village where some 25 years earlier, I had spent a disastrous week trying to earn some money picking spuds. To cut a long & rather miserable story short; we crashed the car on the way there, had trouble finding work when we got there, earned piss-all when we did; crashed the car a again, got sacked for telling the farmer that we were working for that we'd witnessed his dog worrying sheep; the car broke down, we spent a week waiting for spares, living off nothing but potatoes; I pulled a muscle in my leg and had to limp for miles before managing to hitch a lift from a dodgy redneck, who offered to find me work, then took me to a pub where no-one spoke English, and I couldn't afford a drink, before taking me only as far as Swansea, where I hoped to borrow money off my girlfriend's junky sister, who of course had none, so I ended up jumping a train home, and was late signing on.
I have a strong suspicion that the only thing that kept me alive whilst waiting for the car bits to arrive, was listening to Peely on the radio.
If someone had told me then, that 25 years later I would be spending Christmas in a holiday cottage nearby, I would have laughed, or more likely wept bitter tears at the irony of it all; back then, holiday cottages were things you set fire to, not spent Christmas in - "Give the anarchist a cigarette", and all that....
FF03 CD1 pt.1
FF03 CD1 pt.2
...and here's disc 2
FF03 CD2 pt.1
FF03 CD2 pt.2
...followed, almost inevitably, as John would say, by disc 3
A word about the discs - they run in the proper order (ie. starting at no.50 and ending at that thrilling No.1 spot) and I've edited them so that as far as possible the tracks segue seamlessly, as John would have no doubt done himself; to appreciate the full artistry of the thing, burn the CD's with no gaps between tracks.