Gavin Wilkins, a small town boy with big dreams wants a piece of the Swinging Sixties for himself and his friends. But when they form a band the realities of such a bold move quickly start to become apparent. It's much harder work than their previous favourite pastime of underage drinking, and when one of their number proves not to have quite what it takes, it falls to Gavin to be the one to ask him to leave the group. The punch on the nose he receives as a result of this is the first of many blows to his naive outlook on life, something that makes him ill prepared for the road he has set himself on.
Tom, Gavin's father is less than pleased with the unpredictable career his son seems so intent on pursuing. He doesn't even try to hide his feelings on the matter but he is not a stereotypical ogre of a parent, he merely wants to protect his son from the possible pitfalls he might face. Naturally, from Gavin's point of view it seems his father is doing all he can to crush his ambitions, and his rebellious streak makes him reluctant to listen to advice.
Without either father or son ever being consciously aware of it, they play out the timeless struggle between the younger generation trying to carve out it's place in the world and the parental generation that in many ways does know better, but in just as many ways may have forgotten how it feels to be young. Though somewhat willing to allow his son to make his own mistakes, Tom despairs at Gavin's apparent determination to make every mistake he possibly can as he lurches from incident to incident along his path to manhood. What keeps him on his son's side is the knowledge that Gavin is a genuinely talented musician and even if the band goes nowhere, which seems inevitable as far as Tom is concerned, his son might actually be able to make his passion his meal ticket.
Gavin's music seems to him to be his passport to easy money and even easier women, and the temptations that come with performing to well pleased audiences threaten to send Gavin off the rails. Though increasingly in demand as a performer, this young man’s enthusiastic discovery of sex keeps a very different sort of performing uppermost in his mind, and his increasing appetite for the booze he can finally afford to drink as much of as he likes hardly helps matters. As far as he is concerned he is exploring a whole world outside his father's experience, of cheering crowds, illegal nightclubs, gambling and eventually mind-expanding drugs enter the equation.
But the equation is soon to be resolved when a fellow performer, a little further down that particular ruinous road pays the ultimate price of the hedonistic approach to life. This forces Gavin to rethink that aspect of his future. But far from becoming more mature, he merely gives the drugs a miss and continues being led by his libido into the exact trouble his father tries to warn him about. He mistakes lust for love more than once and his body is writing cheques his ability to conduct adult relationships can't cash.
Sooner or later the consequences of his promiscuity have to catch up with him and when they do he decides to do 'the decent thing' and leave the music behind for a more stable career. This isn't what he really wants, and his father knows it, and he steps in to save Gavin from himself. This comes as something of a surprise to Gavin, even though Tom has clearly been on his side all along and is far from the 'square' his son thinks he is. His work takes him all over the country, and he knows there are clubs in the North of England crying out for people who can do what Gavin does and willing to pay much more than Gavin can earn locally.
When Gavin leaves home to pursue his career up North, he does so as a father, on the advice of his own father. Once a boy with much to learn, he's learnt just about enough to call himself a man, but he's still got a long way to go...
Gavin's Music is inspired by (but not a literal depiction of) the author's own experiences of growing up on musical stages during the sixties and beyond. But rather than a nostalgic vision of days long gone, it could be more accurately described as a tale that suggests that no matter how much the times seem to change, no matter how technology advances, regardless of passing fashions and the ever increasing price of beer, the basic stuff of life stays exactly the same. Breaking up is hard to do, and growing up can be even harder.
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