The Way I Was: Unwashed and unpolished but a lot of fun: Jools Holland reveals his dirty past to Nicholas Roe

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Indy Lifestyle Online
WHERE can I begin? I'm probably about 17 here, which means it was 1974 or 1975, and the first thing I notice is that my thumb, which is holding The Joy of Sex, is very, very dirty indeed.

I used to fiddle with motorbikes and things like that, and I was famous for being incredibly unhygienic, which made me very popular with all the girls; I don't know why.

I had three socks, so I always had one in the wash, and they would take it in turns. And I'd always keep the same pants on for weeks - it was part of the biker thing not to wash and never change your trousers.

At that time, the only job I had was playing the piano with Squeeze, and we didn't have any money at all at first. I did have two other jobs: one for a week, working at Euston Station, holding a little clipper board and counting the people who were getting on or off the trains. I looked like in this picture and people eyed me up rather suspiciously.

The only other job I had was for about two weeks, when I stood in for a salesman who was on holiday. It was selling stuff like Pledge or polishes and air-freshener.

You turned up at a supermarket, you'd go to the shelf, see how many cartons of Purple Fragrance or whatever they had, count what they needed and knock on the manager's door and say: 'Hello, you're short of this many cases . . .' It wasn't hard sell or anything like that, and that's why they let idiots like me go and do it.

But I remember thinking it was really horrible, because I went to one supermarket and knocked on the door and no one said anything, so I went in. I was looking like I am in the photo, sort of perky, and this man said: 'I don't think I said come in.'

I said: 'Oh well, sorry. I'm from Johnson Wax and I just called to . . .'

And he said: 'No. I don't think I said come in, did I? Shall we go through that again, then?'

I said: 'Sorry, yes. Well, I'm from Johnson Wax and . . .'

And he said: 'No. Let's start again. You go out and knock on the door.'

So I went out and knocked on the door and he didn't say anything.

So I knocked again, and he said, 'Come in', then I went in, and we went through the whole thing and he ordered two cartons of something.

I thought to myself, 'Well, that's not right, is it? What a grumpy bloke.'

And looking back, I think I was right to think he was a grumpy bloke.

I'm not sure why we were in a bookshop taking this photograph, but Ron Reid, the photographer, he was - what do you call those people who hang around musicians? Drummers. But after drummers it's photographers, and he was doing this book on pop festivals at the time.

I think he was part of the Sixties hippie movement rather than the Eighties bowel movement which we became.

Anyway, he was with us, and I liked the juxtaposition of Lord Longford and The Joy of Sex. I was rather thrilled by it - you can see it from the expression on my face, which is full of sniggering. I think we were asked to leave.

Looking back on it, I don't mind myself there. What the picture reminds me of is that I remember laughing a lot, which I still try to do, and I don't think it was just because I smoked marijuana. I think it was more like things were fun. And so that's why I look at it affectionately.

I like the fact that something was amusing me. Whether or not it would amuse me now doesn't matter. I like the fact that I was easily amused.

The other thing is that the photo has been on my desk, and four people have said: 'Goodness, you look just like Christabel.' That's my wife. So that's odd, isn't it?

(Photograph omitted)

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