This is a photo from 1979 outside my folks house in Blackheath, London with my 1969 Mini & 1975 Rickenbacker 480 – can you tell which bands I might have liked?
The Mini was bought for me to learn to drive with in 1976 and I passed my test at the 3rd attempt on 16th November of that year. For my tuition I drove to school from Blackheath to Dulwich with my mum every rush hour morning and she then continued on to work in New Covent Garden, Battersea.
After I passed I was able to drive myself to school for the remaining year.
Actually, one week after I passed I almost crashed it big time. I’d driven to see a gig with a friend and we came back via Vauxhall from Battersea. Several sets of traffic lights are staggered and I moved forward across diagonal traffic having seen the wrong set turn green by Vauxhall Bridge.
Amid lots of horn beeping we made it across but a police car was following behind within 5 seconds. He let me go, admitting that the lights were highly confusing.
An early warning to drive carefully!
It broke down fairly regularly, once in Piccadilly, once in Clapham, once in Birmingham and the heating was non-existent in the cold – I remember a deeply uncomfortable end of term journey down the M1 from Birmingham University one December.
The car met its demise in about 1982 when the handbrake failed from its parked position in the above photo and crashed into a wall, writing off the engine.