When this song was first released, I was preparing to emigrate to Canada by the end of the year. The song had additional meaning to me because of a young woman with whom I had previously had a few dates with. I can’t recall her precise name, but it was either Diana or Dina to the best of my fading memory.
I first met Diana/Dina in Cleckheaton Town Hall at a Saturday night dance. She was dancing with a friend when I and a few mates from Windy Bank Estate arrived. She instantly caught my attention as she turned like a spinning top on the floor as she rocked and rolled to some current hit. It wasn’t her free-flowing dress revealing the longest and best female legs I’d seen for many a month that initially grabbed my attention; nor was it the engaging white of her undergarments that suggested the slightest hint of a possible ‘surrender’ to come, but the big, beaming smile across her face that emanated happiness in spades which was framed with long, flowing black hair that moved in perfect synchronisation with her body movements at every twist and turn. Diana/Dina was having a great time. She obviously loved dancing, something that her smiling face showed so clearly and every body movement on the dance floor reflected.
The first official date we had, I called around to her house to collect her. We were going to one of the cinemas in Cleckheaton to see ‘From Russia With Love’; the latest James Bond film starring Sean Connery. She had agreed to go to the pictures with me providing I collected her personally and returned her home afterwards. This was a strict condition of her father it seemed.
Diana/Dina was ready to go straight out after my arrival at her house to collect her. No sooner had I knocked on the door, she opened it and was saying, “See you later!” to her mum and dad as she hurried out of it. I presumed that she wasn’t wanting either me or her parents to get into any lengthy joint discussion, lest they disapproved of me.
Diana/Dina looked a completely different young woman to the beauty I had danced with at the Town Hall a week earlier. She was still attractive but wore no makeup. Her hair was tied up in the Audrey Hepburn style and she wore a dress of blue velvet which was presumably her parent’s choice of garment and not hers. The velvet dress was cut a few inches below the knee; contrary to the dictation of 1960’s fashion for young women.
It later transpired during our journey to the cinema that her parents were extremely strict, especially her father. Her dad apparently didn’t like her wearing lipstick or ‘immodest dresses’ (as he called any dress that was cut above knee height). Neither did he allow her to be out beyond 1O:30 pm if she went to the pictures (the cinema for you under 65 years of age). It was only after much argument when she attained the age of 18 years, that he agreed his daughter (and only child) could stay out as late as 11:30 pm on Saturday nights when she attended the Town Hall Dance in Cleckheaton.
As I waited in the queue to pay for our cinema tickets, Diana/Dina said she wanted to go to the Lady’s toilets to tidy up. She seemed to be taking ages and I started to worry that we might miss the start of the film as I waited outside the toilets for her ten minutes later. When she did emerge, she was a different woman. During her time in the women’s loos, she had put on red lipstick, rearranged her hair by letting it down, and she had also had a complete dress change. The blue velvet dress she had left home wearing was now wrapped up and under her arm, and she was wearing a much more fashionable garment befitting the times. After the picture show was over, she returned to the lady's loo and changed back to how I'd collected her a few hours earlier. She loved her parents despite dad's strictness and wanted to keep the peace until she left home. She planned to become a State Registered Nurse.
That night was probably the first time it ever dawned on me the things women do, both young and old, to keep their man happy. Diana/Dina told me that it was common for many a young woman with strict parents (who believed the wearing of dresses above knee height to be ‘undignified’ at best and ‘sluttish’ at worst) to leave home and do a quick change of wardrobe a few minutes after they were out of sight of the parental home, and perform a quick ‘change back’ before returning at the end of the night. I’d come across this behaviour a few times previously with the carrying of a secreted pair of high-heeled shoes in the handbag of a girlfriend, but never a dress! Neither had I ever been privy to a complete fashion ‘makeover’ being made by my date in the women’s toilets as I queued for the cinema tickets.
I can never hear the song ’Blue Velvet’ without thinking about Diana/Dina and the quick change of wardrobe in the women’s toilets at Cleckheaton Picture House (I can’t recall if it was the 'Savoy' or the 'Palace', as both cinemas stood side by side). The passage of years is often cruel on an old man’s memory, and I cannot recall any image of Diana/Dina’s face for the life of me. But, I can still vividly see the cobalt-blue velvet dress she wore that night and the broad smile of happiness the first time I saw her rock and roll on the dance floor at Cleckheaton Town Hall.
I dedicate my song today to my Facebook friend, Isabell Delgarno whose birthday it is today. Isabell lives in Corby. I know very little about Isabell except that she is a regular follower of my Facebook Page. Have a super birthday, Isabell and I hope that your special day is filled with much happiness, love...and...lots of cake and wine. Thank yoiu for being my Facebook friend. Love Bill x
Love and peace Bill xxx