I was standing outside the brightly lit cinema foyer, on a chilly Tuesday evening in the late autumn of 1958, with the growing feeling that I was going to be stood up! I had, of course, seen it happen to others from time to time (checking their watches, smoking, nervously looking around before edging into the shadows and finally leaving rather downcast). The girl I was waiting for was invariably late but this time it was nearly half an hour and getting beyond a joke. The big picture was Jailhouse Rock and, although we had had a silly tiff at the weekend, I still expected her to turn up because she was an avid Elvis fan. After a further ten minutes I had had enough and left for the pub around the corner. (There was no point in getting the bus back home as I had no wish to advertise to my parents that my date had been a washout, especially as I had taken so long in front of the mirror trying to get a DA into my longish hair!)
The pub atmosphere was not up to much and the barman was quite surly, so after a couple of pints I thought sod it and was about to move on, when in walked a small group of teds. . I recognised one who had been a bit of a bully among the younger element at school. ”Well, well look who we have here lads”. ‘ He laughed at first but then suddenly grabbed my hand. ” You really thought you and your fifth form sporting cronies were something didn’t you daisy may?” I winced as what seemed like a knuckleduster emphasised the point. There was obviously going to be no easy way out so I was coerced into buying a round of beers and then spend a tense time in their company, not knowing what the pay off was going to be.
Finally, I was bodily escorted to the nearest Chinese Restaurant where we had a noisy, rowdy meal of some kind of chop suey with chips. Then suddenly, as if on cue, the teds scarpered leaving me on my own to pay the bill. I was then immediately surrounded by an oriental posse of waiters brandishing sticks and demanding money which I just did not have. (Talk about out the frying pan into the fire!!) Luckily the Head Man allowed me to ring my Dad and he drove out and settled the bill, to which one shilling had been added for the use of their phone. When I thanked my dad on the way home he did not question me too much and so my teenage macho image remained fairly intact.
The girl?. I heard later on the grapevine that she actually saw the film that very same night, with another bloke, having arranged to meet some considerable time earlier! Needless to say there was no further association or contact between us.