THE LAST STORY IN ‘UNLUCKY NUMBERS’ IS CALLED ‘HIDDEN TRACK’. IT WAS THE ONLY WAY TO FINISH THE COLLECTION. HERE’S WHY. (Expect spoilers – read the stories first, will ya!)
Link to ‘Unlucky Numbers’: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0839FLBMP
The story is about a son exploring his father’s loft after the older man has passed away. To a large extent, that son is me. My dad died in 2015, and as always in situations like that, there is a lot of clearing up to do. I volunteered to have a look in the loft.
I have to admit that I wanted to do it, for selfish reasons. I wanted to find the vinyl. I wanted to pore over all those old records and reminisce, and I wanted the chance to do it on my own. Also, cold though this may sound, I wanted to lay claim to them. I had no designs on anything else my dad owned, I wasn’t particularly bothered about proceeds from the house sale. I had no interest in inheritance. Just the old LPs.
They weren’t there. The stack of encyclopaedias was there, and a few other bits and pieces, but not the vinyl. I assumed they had been sold to pay a bill at some point; Dad’s finances weren’t in great shape. I wanted to ask his wife, but that just seemed callous. So I said nothing about it. I flicked through the encyclopaedias, collected over years as partworks, in huge binders. Part of a bygone age, and in the era of the internet, not much use.
Music was the connection I had with my father, and although I could not hold those LPs physically, I could still play the songs. That will remain my link to his memory: the songs of 1970s Genesis in particular.
The story then. It seemed an appropriate way to pay homage to the moment and the man. And to make the missing vinyl real again. The albums mentioned in the story, they were all from the collection, and I did used to study those covers as a child, and draw my own versions.
The names. In the story the deceased father is called Jimmy Collins. My dad’s names were Colin James. The grandson is called Hayden. My son: Aidan. Not particularly clever, I know. But a touch that I had to include.
My dad was in a band in his youth, but he was a drummer not a bassist. And he certainly didn’t sing. I don’t know what the band was called, but they were not ‘The Storymen’. As the last tale in the collection, it seemed a fitting name. Twelve stories had preceded this one. It seemed inevitable then that The Storymen’s debut album would also have twelve songs, twelve stories.
Not all the songs get a mention in the story, but those that do might give you a clue to this bit. Each song title relates to its equivalent story in the collection. Perhaps that’s the real Hidden Track, and why this story had to be at the very end. Here they all are, side by side.
|UNLUCKY NUMBERS – STEPHEN BARNARD||GOOD FORTUNE – THE STORYMEN|
|A Curiosity of Kittens||Cat Got Your Tongue|
|Romanian Roulette||In A Spin|
|Far From The Tree||Brothers and Sisters|
|Call This Number||Call Me|
|Tower White||Hard to See|
|A Door or A Window?||Sweet Love|
|Fainting By Numbers||Let’s Talk About It|
|Mixtape||Circle of Love|
|The Girl at the Bus Stop||Still Waiting|
So, a story that’s a little tribute to my dad, and the closing notes to a collection. Gives it a bit of a concept album feel. As Genesis would say: Los Endos.