Early July 1982 and three friends and I were in Swansea to watch Ammanford Cricket Club in the Divisonal Championship. Ammanford had had a good season and were a joy to watch.
We made a day of it. In our late teens, we were fully embracing the freedom of a trip to the big city with an early start at the Swansea Jack pub, nearest the bus station. Seedy, but a good jukebox. Then the Singleton, the Builders Arms and the Garibaldi followed as we worked our way across the city to St Helens’ cricket ground on the seafront.
Not surprisingly I don’t remember much of the match, even though we spent the whole day at the ground interspersed with lunch at the Cricketers Arms across the road. Sitting in sunshine in a cricket ground is one of life’s sweeter pleasures and we drank it all in that day. Ammanford won the game becoming Division 2 Champions.
But all of that faded away to monochrome memory, eclipsed by the sight that greeted us as we came out of the ground.
Leaning up outside the Cricketers were two devastatingly pretty girls with faded denim dungarees rolled half way up their calves. They wore black plimsolls, vest shirts that exposed their pale arms and each had polkadot scarves tied in their tousled hair.
Their liquid gestures as they smoked and chatted exuded an air of easy sophistication we hicks could only marvel at. The way they ignored us as we walked back to our bus emphatically confirmed our clodhopping gaucheness.
My mind imprinted a snapshot that has never left me.
Their unusual appearance, far from the norm of the time, in that place at least, was a puzzle to me. I didn’t have to wait long to solve it.
Later that week, a fiddle playing on Top of the Pops turned my head as Come on Eileen became the tune of the summer. The band, Dexy’s Midnight Runners’, wore faded dungarees and bandannas - the new look already adopted by the cosmopolitans we’d seen. The connection enhanced the girls’ insouciant coolness and ensured I’d think of those long gone trendsetters every time I heard that song.
I still occasionally pass the spot and their languid ghosts still haunt the boarded up doorway of the pub they graced all those years ago. The music starts playing in my head, “Poor old Johnny Ray….”