My week took a sudden upturn when I heard that S Club 7 are getting back together for Children In Need (as opposed to “Former Bubblegum Popstars in Need… of a few quid”-not quite as catchy nor politically correct). I challenge anyone not to bop along to “Don’t Stop Movin'” although few could match me on throwing a few shapes on the dance floor akin to Bradley and the gang. The breaking news on the pop front generated a wave of nostalgia and took me back to my stellar career in the music business. Way back in 1980 – when I had hair – I was working on the rebuild of the famous Enfield Rolling Mills and living in Palmers Green. Every Sunday after work we would go to the local café on the Hereford Road owned by Mr Panayiotou. The food was great and we were frequently served by Mr P’ son, Georgio Kyriacos. Nice lad, something of a spotty chubster and frankly, a crap waiter. One particular day I offered him the benefit of my worldly experience and said, “George, you need to find something that you are good at, because waiting tables is not for you”. I rather fancied myself as a prototype Alan Sugar. I am glad that he heeded my sage advice as otherwise the music world would never have witnessed George and Andrew in their tight white shorts, nor would Georgio have made the Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists List. During the same period, having embraced the local community (and one female in particular), I went to a local hostelry where bands were being given the chance to showcase their ‘talents’. One of them was pretty good, but offering my talisman-like advice I told the lead singer that they weren’t bad at all, but would never get anywhere if they kept the stupendously naff name, “Curiosity Killed the Cat”… Simon Cowell, your job is safe.
Why such reminiscing? Well a recent survey commissioned by the online estate agency, eMoov.co.uk reports that since 1974 house prices have risen 1,879%. Goodness gracious me. And houses are only the 5th biggest riser on the list. No 1: cigarettes, up by 4,370% and a first class stamp has risen by 2,067%. Incidentally, the chance of your letter arriving on time has fallen in similar dramatic fashion, but that is for another blog. What does it all mean? Well nothing but the blindingly obvious; we are 40 years down the line and the world continues to turn with all the associated inflationary risks and returns. As has always been the case since homo sapiens first inhabited this earth in a ‘compact one bedroom ground floor flat with many original features’, the drivers in the property business are:
- Marriage/falling in love
- Divorce/falling out of love
- Death (all those millennia ago being eaten by a woolly mammoth)
All these drivers are still doing fine and will continue to do so as long as the human race continues to exist. The property cruise liner sales along – sometimes with a following wind, sometimes relatively becalmed – and we embark and disembark at various ports. Is it genuinely life changing that the Halifax price index shows that over the past 12 months, prices have risen 9.5%, and over three years it is a not insubstantial 16.1%? One has to observe that these figures don’t quite justify the wretchedness of the Greek chorus led by Vince, Ed and Ed (different one – hates the first one and wants his job).
As Socrates (the philosopher, not the all-time great Brazilian defender who was blessed with more attributes than any man has a right to be), said, “Life is to be lived looking forward but is spent looking back”. Heeding his school of epistemology, I am off to tune into Capital Gold/Absolute 80’s and to look at photos of a time when I genuinely needed the services of a barber.