Memories, Smells and The Bus

The aroma of the bus. I have never been able to identify it. Plastic seats soaked in decayed human sweat, a definite metal acidity and stale smoke?

But at six o’clock in the unearthly hours of 1973, it was easy. Smoke, nicotine and any other poison the manufacturer’s harbour in a cigarette was our flavour of the day.

The top deck accommodated a blue haze of contaminant as we, like lemmings, were herded towards the factories. Embassy, Players No6 and Park Drive for us young bucks. Whereas the older blokes preferred their trusted Woodbines and Senior Service. No one on our bus could afford Peter Stuyvesant.

I know I post the strangest of things but it is a smell I cannot erase from my memory. An old automobile has the same smell, have you noticed? I firmly believe it has something to do with plastic seats.

Apart from anything else whilst I am editing this little novel of mine I am reliving those early days in Bradford. I actually programme Youtube to 1970’s UK Hits. Luckily I have nearly finished because The Brotherhood of Man and the New Seekers are starting to make my ears bleed, the skinheads are getting up my nose and I’m frustrated by how many bloody ‘That’s’ I have written in some chapters.

I was considering watching Saturday Night, Sunday Morning but I feel I am probably morose enough without the contribution of Albert Finney. Oh well, my break is over, back to editing and ‘the good old days’ of lino instead of carpet, ice on the inside of the windows and biscuits in an old Quality Street tin.

Take care my special friends (That’s ‘special’ as in loved not ‘special’ as in mentally delinquent. OMG see there is another that) xx


About charliecountryboy

Part-time Carpentry Assessor. writer, runner, guitarist. Curious about life and all those wonderful people in it.
This entry was posted in 1970'S, Blogging, Bradford, History, Humour, Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to Memories, Smells and The Bus

  1. I think that most British cigarette brands weren’t sold in the USA, where I live. And vice versa. I smoked Winston cigarettes, mostly. As for Woodbine: I grew up in the suburbs of New York City. My family lived on Woodbine Road.

    Neil S.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ana Daksina says:

    Are those of us who are mentally delinquent still loved too?

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Evocative. We underestimate smells. Try the smell of goats and chickens, sweat and wood smoke. cigarettes, “mbanje” smoke and plastic seats and come ride on a Zimababwean bus! Keep in touch with your senses, Charlie.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. My Mum smoked Woodbines.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. But you were just a wee chap in the 1970’s Charlie!

    I could almost imagine the smell of the bus, how that specific smell hits the inside of your nose. Far back, and towards the top.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Brockelman says:

    Reading your story, my nostrils widened as I took in several deep-deep breaths. I could almost smell your memories. And I could actually smell mine. Dunhill cigarettes, back in the day, The musty smell of my first car—a used Corvair. The masculine scent of an older guy who sat next to me on a bus going from Wichita to Kansas City in the late 1960s. I believe that I’ll have vivid dreams tonight. Thanks, sir!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m grateful that smoking has stopped on public transport.. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I remember as a wee lad in the early 70’s walking past pubs and the smell of cigarette smoke, working man’s sweat, mingled with alcohol… raucous chatter and debate … reminded me of cherries at the time for some reason. I also remember “The City of New Orleans”. A great song. “Good morning, America, how are ya?…” Back in the sixties I guess now, is the answer… very sadly. You see, Charlie, how the senses evoke?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. The Hinoeuma says:

    Vinyl seats in cars have a strong smell that gets mighty funky over the years. They were popular in the late 70s, early 80s with all of the subcompacts. Cloth seats reek of scotchgard until they air out. Then, if you smoke, they retain that. Then there’s the leather seats…even as they age, they still smell good…unless you have peed on them or something. 🙄

    I miss cars like my parents’ ’69 & ’72 Dodge Chargers…even my dad’s ’71 Plymouth Fury II state car. The two Dodges smelled of cigarettes, alcohol and gasoline. The Fury smelled like gun oil, cigarettes and gasoline.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The Hinoeuma says:

    Correction…’73 Fury II. I thought I fixed that before sending…🤔

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a typical looking US car for us lymies lol


      • The Hinoeuma says:

        Typical looking US cars, now, are all bubble cars…to me, anyway. Plastic bumpers, rounded features, blinding LED lights, electronics so confusing that you could have an accident looking for the volume. 🙄

        I was a Driver’s License Examiner for nearly two years. Kids weren’t allowed to use the back-up cameras. I flunked many because they didn’t know how to turn around and back a car up. One of then drove all over a concrete pole.

        Cars have no personality anymore…unless you are rich enough to own one of the classics. Then, you’d better have a locked garage and security. Somebody will try to steal it from you.

        We have a guy in our neighborhood that has a baby blue ’66 Mercury Comet. You can hear him, coming & going. Love it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah you see we never had those type of cars, the best we ever had was a Ford Cortina lol


      • The Hinoeuma says:

        I had to look that up. I’ve never heard if it but, at least it had some character compared to the blobs roaming the roads, now.

        If I recall correctly, in the 1989 TV movie Nick Knight (which spawned the Canadian series Forever Knight), Nick, played by Rick Springfield, remarks that his 1959 Cadillac had the biggest trunk of any car ever made. He used it as a hiding place if he got caught outside when the sun was rising.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I definitely would have missed that, I was busy in the 80’s and 90’s 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. chattykerry says:

    I smoked infrequently but loved Peter Stuyvesant cigs. You can’t call them fags over here… My mother in law smoked terrible cigs with no tips – can’t remember if they were Woodbine. Now I have to tell you my favorite joke from Egypt. The local ciggies are called Cleopatra and they make Woodbine seem classy. So, the salesman from Malboro and Cleopatra are sitting having a beer by the Nile. The Cleopatra salesman pleads with the Malboro guy to give him a clue as to why Malboro tastes so good. After a few beers, he shares that they mix a little bit of camel shit into the tobacco at Malboro. The Cleopatra sales rep says, “What is tobacco??”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Anne says:

    … and engine oil!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rothmans were for the Monte-Carlo set. I smoked John Player Special at the time – they were still allowed to sponsor racing cars in those days.

    The smell of a bus was, I think, different from the smell of an old car – more wet dejection and fewer vinyl high notes as the wine-tasting crowd would put it. Another great post – looking forward to the novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Reasons to be Cheerful | quercuscommunity

  15. somekindof50 says:

    Brilliant! I remember smoking Peter Stuyvesant Blue cigarettes back in the day. Not sure why “Blue”?!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The novel? Tell me about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, shortest synopsys ever. It’s set in Bradford 1974. I guess its a sort of coming of age. Billy is 18, on his own and trying to make sense of everything – Skinheads – local drug dealer – his many girlfriends – racism – bullying. It’s called ‘The Siege of Mr Khan’s Curry Shop.’ And that is the where the story culminates. Soory I’m rubbish at synoposys lol but thank you for asking it gives me practice haha.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s