Johnny Young

She hadn’t allowed herself to really get her hopes up, or at least, that’s what she told herself despite the crossed fingers, clenched jaw and held in breath, but the second time she checked eBay, her signed Johnny Young single was getting bids of over five hundred dollars. She had a quick glance at the buyers – the names were ridiculous, vinyl62, shimpshimp, qwerty69. Her favourite was therealjohnnyyoung. She wondered if it really was him, and if he remembered signing her single.

It was in the early seventies, around Christmas, maybe ’72. There was a local Carols singing happening in Brighton and she had spotted him leaving backstage after he guest sang, “I saw Mummy kissing Santa Claus.” Thinking about it now, he’d been a bit drunk, and when she shyly asked him for his autograph, he’d given her a sloppy kiss on the mouth and grabbed the disc. He’d asked her name. “Cara-Lyn.” She’d forced out. “Just like your song.” He smiled and sang quietly to himself. The autograph said “Pretty as a picture, boy are you a mixture, love Johnny Young.”

She had taken it back to her mum, and her dad had made her brother apologise for teasing her about bringing it. She held it in her hands all night, not touching the lettering in case it smudge or come off. It was on her wall for four years, until she left home. She’d packed it in a box marked “very important” which had accidently been put at the back of the roof space and not seen again until now, over thirty years later.

Her Mum and Dad were going strong, and had decided to sell the old place, move into a flat and spend as much time as they could afford travelling. They’d just booked tickets for the US where they were going to get a Campervan and wind around for four months. They’d called a few weeks ago to tell her to come and get “her crap from the roof”.

So far, most of it was crap. The clothes hadn’t been stored properly and whatever the moths hadn’t eaten was covered in mould. Several of the records were warped out of shape by the heat, but “Cara-Lyn” still played. The writing was still there, as was Johnny’s smiling face. She would have liked to have it framed and put it on the wall, but when her daughter had checked out what people got for selling these things, she just couldn’t justify it, and had added it to her eBay items for sale. 

**To see Johnny Young performing Cara-Lyn


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