(the script of my BBC 2 Radio Pause For Thought on December 1st, 2022... the theme for the week was My Best Bargain)
Bargains. I love bargains. As a music fan I have searched bargain bins all over the world, to find that rare gem as cheap as possible. We even had a Bargain Bin Fellowship which every Monday trawled the Belfast record stores seeking.
I remember when my then girlfriend, now wife Janice, lived in London. I’d leave her at work in Wimbledon and get my underground all day pass and travel every shop I knew in Soho, Newport Street, Notting Hill, Camden… checking the bargain price before looking at the title or artist. Coming back with a treasure trove, most of which I still have.
The biggest bargain though. Early summer 1976 I literally bargained with my mate Colin. I am not sure what I offered him in a ropey pile of uninteresting 7” singles… BUT in return I purloined not 1 or 2 or 3 BUT 4 Beatles albums! They had been his uncles. Colin must have thought outdated. They became my future.
Here’s the thing. When I got them home and played I Should Have Known Better from A Hard Days Night I opened up a life time love of all things Fab 4. A love as passionate almost 50 years after as when I first set Help on my turntable.
BUT more than that, because of my mid teens saturation in all things Beatles, I started to ask existentialist questions. I came to love All You Need Is Love or Lennon’s Give Peace A Chance. The Beatles asked the questions my developing mind wanted to ask.
Yet, though I loved their questions The Beatles lacked something in the answers. As songwriter Larry Norman put it “The Beatles said all you need is love and then they broke up”.
A couple of years later my mate Philip mentioned Jesus. After a long suspicious look at what Jesus said and did, I was convinced that here was someone not only with answers but maybe the power to make the answers work. I even thought he probably looked like a 1970 John Lennon.
I am also still as passionate about Jesus all these decades later.
So, one sunny afternoon. One bit of teenage bargaining. One life changed for ever. I wouldn’t be on with you Nikki this morning but for grabbing those 4 precious slabs of Beatles vinyl. I love bargains!