When I was a little girl, living at the bottom of Risk Road, on the beach, my Auntie Gillian lived a few houses down the beach at Alvaro.
Alvaro was a big house, I forget how many bedrooms, but I seem to remember six for some reason. The living room of the house stretched the length of the house and had a twenty foot ceiling (at least it seems that way in my memory). There were French doors that led out to the verandah, and doors that led out into the yard.
My brother and I spent a lot of time with Auntie Gillian when we were growing up. Her and UT. It is mostly at Alvaro I got to know UT. It is mostly at Alvaro, UT and I were at the height of our ‘war days’.
This is all stage setting.
In truth I want to tell you that this evening I found a key to my memories of Alvaro. And it was, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds.
Auntie Gillian had a copy of it–in those days it was vinyl–and my brother and I played it almost every time we went over there. We’d sit there, listen, read, play, whatever, but I remember it being in the background during many of our visits (many times many) to Auntie Gillian’s house.
In fact, it is when we were teenagers and Auntie Gillian and UT were living in Tog Tip in Holder’s Hill, that I think I last heard it.
So today when I went to Tesco’s to get toilet paper and a new toothbrush, I happened to pass the shelf with all the music on it, and there it was… a collector’s edition of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds.
I saw it and exclaimed, followed immediately by a pang of grief for Auntie Gillian. I bought it and am listening to it, riding a wave of memories.
I’m enjoying it, even though it’s been almost twenty years since I’ve heard it. It’s a progressive rock affair, and it’s got a Moody Blues feeling too, but that’s probably owed to Justin Hayward’s involvement. He’s not alone, Phillip Lynott of Thin Lizzy, Julie Covington and David Essex provide additional vocals to the saga and Richard Burton narrates.
The album is almost hokey 70’s… sounds dated, but again, it’s been nearly thirty years since it’s release. However, this is rock opera….. and it’s interesting despite the obvious dating of the sound. If I didn’t already have it as part of my childhood’s soundtrack, I think I may never have found this album. But as it is, I do and I have, and it’s a pleasure to listen to it again after all these years.
It’s a spooky concept album, and I remember being little and listening enthralled, chills running up and down my spine.
That said, this definitely is not for everyone. If there ever was an acquired taste, this album falls into that category. However, sci-fi fans, H.G. Wells fans and well, fans of Jeff Wayne might be interested in this interpretation.