Young PaulThe dilemmas of teenage life seem, at the time, to be insurmountable ones that adults just don’t understand. I laugh about it all now, of course, and especially when my own children pour out their own tales of woe and worry – I laugh inwardly, I hasten to add! Outwardly, I try to be sympathetic.

My parents must have done the same with me. Certainly, when I was 16-years-old back in 1982, the great problems of my life, in no particular order were:


– How do I keep my place on the school football team?

– How do I pluck up the courage to ask Maxine O’Neil out on a date?

– How can I pretend to my dad, who is a Maths teacher, that my studies are going well and I don’t need any extra tuition from him?

– How do I get to see both Duran Duran and ABC in concert when I can only afford to buy a ticket for one of them?


Both bands were scheduled to appear in Glasgow, within a week of each other, at the famous Apollo venue in the city. Duran Duran were playing on October 31st and ABC on November 5th. For reasons that have been lost in the mists of time, I opted for the latter and so used my hard-earned cash from delivering newspapers to purchase a ticket to see ABC.

I have to confess that every time Duran Duran have come to Glasgow since then, I have gone to see them, and I enjoy each concert more than the last one. I think that’s because it reminds me of being a teenager again, and a lot of memories come flooding back… of a time before marriage, children, mortgage, middle-age, grey hair – no hair!

Sometimes I’ve thought back to 1982 and wish that I’d chosen to go and see Duran Duran rather than ABC, to have seen them at the height of their initial success – it was the Rio Tour – and then I could compare them now to then.

Yet, maybe I made the right choice? ABC as a band never stood the test of time and so I was able to see them while I could, whereas Duran Duran are still going, and still going strong. I still listen to their albums, I still go to their concerts… after a few drinks, I even get the acoustic guitar out and sing a version of Rio which, in my head, sounds fantastic… that may be the wonders of alcohol, however!

So when I occasionally hear an ABC song on the radio, I remember that 16-year-old who only had enough money to buy one concert ticket… and whose parents probably laughed at such a dilemma.

RioAnd just for the record on my other teenage dilemmas:


– I just about managed to keep my place on the school team – only because there were only ever eleven players who turned up for the game.

– I asked Maxine O’Neil out, she said yes, and we went out for a few months.

– I told my dad I was fine with Maths and didn’t need any help. I sat the exam. I failed it. My dad didn’t talk to me for a week after I got my results. He laughs about it now, though.

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