Now over 1000 members on the SMART Facebook page.

A big thank you to Nick Prince for bringing this to our attention and posting these images on the Facebook page.

Alan Esdaile… WOW! Thanks Nick and thank everyone for their support. A number of people help to keep this page interesting and couldn’t do it without them. Don’t forget still need more old group photos and music related cuttings, especially ones from the Hastings area.

Ernest Ballard… Nice one x

Nick Prince… It’s one great page you have created Alan and I couldn’t think of anyone more qualified to successfully start and run such a page than your goodself.. For me the music, local groups, retro talk, film and cinema stuff, pier bits and general chit chat of 60’s, 70’s and 80’s nostalgia successfully goes hand in hand to make it such a great page. Something for everyone that was in the area during those decades and of course further afield… Posts from SMART are regularly shared to three of my pages and that is how broad an appeal it has….

Mick O’Dowd… Well done Alan!

Jon McCallion… Well done Alan.

Paul Dove… Well Done Alan, you keep it real , will be there fri , 👊 🎹 🎤🎸

Dave Nattress… For so long I was trying to discover the names of the very many bands that played the pier – so many of which I saw, as well as getting back to all the other local gigs and venues. Also I was wanting to re-visit old band-mates, local names, the musical competition back in the day, and just to re-live so many local connections, music shops, clothes shops, DJ’s, pubs, clubs, characters, and this site has enabled all of that. It’s compulsive stuff. Really ticked all the boxes and brought the great memories back. Probably best though, the pier on a wet, dark, cold winter’s night, the floor of the bar, ankle deep in Whitbread Tankard bitter, the cold and draughty and actually quite grim old ballroom – great days.

Website Update

Website Update

As you can see the website has just been updated.

As more people source the internet on their mobile phones, the old site was difficult to view and should now be more user friendly.  If your looking at this on your computer screen, some of the old posts may look messy (well more messy than usual) but will be cleaned up when there is interest in that post.

A big thank you to Geoff at 1066 Internet  for setting it all up and to Justin for his constant help and for setting it up in the first place.

I always welcome any comments good or bad.

Happy searching!

SMART 36 Coffee Meet Report



Our 36th coffee meet and no politics, well maybe a bit! Andre Martin confirmed that Carnival FM will be back on the air on 87.9 fm during carnival week. We talked about early disc jockey equipment and Conquest Hospital Radio. Heather Smith popped in looking for a sixties band to play at an event. Mick O’Dowd had with him a platinum disc of East 17 Steam for 50,000 sales, The Who Quadrophenia LP, Beatles LP covers of Sgt Peppers, The White Album, Please Please Me, Revolver, For Sale, A Hard Days Night, With The Beatles, Band Aid 12” single, and the bizarre ‘Walk With An Erection” by the S.A’s and yes it was a 12 inch, apparently a parody of Walk Like An Egyptian.  He also had a tour programme from The Shadows. I had with me books from John Peel by Mick Wall, Are You Experienced by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby, 12 Days On The Road The Sex Pistols and Scott Walker – A Deep Shade Of Blue.  Mick was talking about the bands that have played De La Warr Pavilion in the past like Zoot Money and Geno Washington. Colin Bell was talking about his favourite year in music which incidentally is the same as mine, 1967 and also remembering the jukebox in Divitos St Leonards. He even remembers what button to play ‘See My Baby Jive by Wizzard’ as Paul Casson used to play it all the time. He was also talking about a new post, on what tracks you secretly love or hate but never own up to! Eric Harmer was raving about an old Bill Withers track I Can’t Write Left Handed.  Ann Gill was talking about Boyzone and Ocean Colour Scene coming to the pier. Phil Gill confirmed that The Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band will be performing the Sgt Peppers album at the annual Hastings nearly on the beach concert on Sunday 30th July. Lol Cooksey was talking to John Petrie about modern drum kits. All are taught, positioned and set up to the same format. No room for originality and flair.  Barry Taylor was talking about the up coming Oak Fest Rye music festival which takes place on 17th June.  He was also talking about Terry Reid who recently played The De La Warr. Interestingly Terry wrote the hit Friends for Arrival who featured Tony O’Malley who was playing at the Jazz & Blues festival last week. A number of people from SMART went to the Jazz & Blues Festival and full marks to Mike Raxworthy for putting on a great line up with a brilliant set from Liane Carroll. This is just a small bit of what I remember, pleased feel free to add anything I missed.

Heather Smith… thank you so much for the leaflets you gave us, nice meeting you

Mick O’Dowd… Good one again Alan even though we were thinner on the ground this time. Still found interesting people to talk to. I know a few people that say they’re coming but then don’t al I can say to them is MAKE AN EFFORT, you won’t be dissapointed. It’s completely informal. No stand up speakers. You are NEVER left to fend for yourself as we make sure you are introduced to people that share your interests/music etc. Try it next Meet. Because you’re worth it!

SMART 35 report

img868  johnny mars front cover johnny mars back cover

picture discs The Beatles 12 IMG_0521

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last 2 photos thanks to Sarah Harvey

Smell The Vinyl! Our 35th meet and lots of vinyl, tour programmes and rare slides of Hastings Pier were on display. Tim McDonald arrived with a whole bunch of picture discs and promotional 12” singles from Tina Turner, Lene Lovich and  others and a 12” single of The Beatles Love Me Do. Mick O’Dowd had with him The Sweet In The Mix CD while I brought along vinyl albums from Babe Ruth Amor Caballero, Tasty compilation, Cupid’s Inspiration Yesterday Has Gone and Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits. Jim and Allyson Breeds arrived with an impressive collection of tour programmes and tickets including Chris Rea, Paul Simon Gracelands, Wings In Concert, John Martyn, Queen, Elvis Costello, Hastings Scout Shows plus loads more. Also they had with them some very rare Hasting Pier slides from the 1870’s which people were eager to see on their binocular stereo viewer. I expect some of these will appear on Jim’s popular HAPP Hastings and Area Past and Present Facebook page at some stage. Pete Prescott had with him loads of albums including Nick Drake Five Leaves Left, Wishbone Ash Argus, Humble Pie Performance  Rockin The Fillmore, Montrose, Bad Company Straight Shooter, Cactus One Way or Another and Focus Moving Waves. He also had the album from Johnny Mars ‘Life On Mars’ which featured Ray Fenwick, Pete Shaw, Terry Pack, Colin Fox and others. Brian Wood was asking, does anyone know the whereabouts of drummer ‘Gordon Reid’ who played with him in the band ‘The Flirts’? Lol Cooksey and John Petrie where chatting about early auditions, basic band equipment back in the day and talking about The Springbeats, King Rod and others. Other chat was about Hastings Pier and how to bring in more funds and the suggestion of donation boxes as you enter the pier and a themed wishing well, the great success of Beatles Day, the recent unearthed pier photos of Marc Bolan, The Jazz & Blues Fest in June and the sad news of Ray Elgar’s death. This is just a small bit of what I remember, pleased feel free to add anything I missed.

Jim Breeds… Good to see you and the other SMARTies. It was a good session.

Mick O’Dowd… Great Meet as usual Alan. Nice chat with Tim McDonald. Interesting chap!

Jan Warren… Oh WOW, I sooo wish I could get to your meetings, I have so much to share with you lovely “Hastings Music” people!! 🙂

Pete Prescott… It was great!

Terry Pack… Who brought Johnny Mars along, Alan? Recorded in one session, mostly first takes, with a couple of overdubs (guitars mostly). Not the strongest material but a lot of energy. Johnny needed better songs to show off his great singing.

Pete Prescott…It was me, I hope your well. I thought the performances were great. The songs as well. Standing in line is “slow down” with a different vocal (I remember singing it at a gig with the band in London. Dave Storey said “how does slow down go ?” Ray said quietly “just play standing in line”). There is “need your love so bad,” “do it again” and “Caledonia ” (is that back door man?)
When one of the guys asked if the band would get away with it he was told “it will be fine. It won’t sell enough to be a problem “. I still think it’s a good album.the playing is great and Johnny plays and sings at his best. I do remember the wonderful lyric “standing on a desert island baby. Nothin round me but a lot of sand” brilliant !

Jan Warren… I’ve got “Nice Enough to Eat” and the silver Motown album!!

Jim Breeds… Forgot to show Sarah the Steeleye programme from Congress Theatre with a page about Gryphon who were the support.

Keeping it Reel (to Reel) with Pete Fisher

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supplied by Pete Fisher

Pete Fisher… keeping it reel (to reel)…new arrival, just rescued from a friend’s basement, cleaned it up and it seems to run fine… I was using tape in my home studio until about two years ago, when my 8-track started showing signs of age. Now I use a hard disk recorder. My bulging archive includes old reel to reel tapes going back to 1972, which I made copies of about 20 years ago using two tape decks and different speeds, as neither of them ran at the right speed. This one has 17/8 ips, which is what I recorded at back in the day, so the copy quality might now be better…several reels feature rehearsals and jams with Bernard Jeffery and Roger Carey in our bands Mae West and Pueblo, at various locations in Hastings…will keep you all posted!

Alan Esdaile… Anyone else still got a reel to reel?

Peter Millington… I still have 2, a Sony TV252w in perfect order. 3 speeds, 1 7/8, 3 1/2, and 7 1/2. My first was a Phillips in 1959, a great little machine and very portable. It had the capability of being able to accept a guitar or bass guitar into the amplifier section and a 3″ speaker, that was the first amplification of the Confederates in 1961/2. After that I had a larger Stella machine. I think you can understand why I don’t have many records LOL

SMART coffee meet 28 – Friday 27th May 2016

SMART invite 28 test

New people are most welcome to join us.

Carol Bolton… That’s my b/day!

Alan Esdaile… It would be great to see you Carol.

Lauren Gower… I’d love to come but work Fridays.

Cliff Wootton… Looking forward to it. Hopefully I’ll be able to get another couple of copies of the Factory CD for friends who have heard about it and want a copy.

Kevin Burchett… this afternoon the birds will have to wait I’m going, its free.

Alan Esdaile… A BIG thank you to everyone who turned up today. I will post a report over the weekend.


Happy New Year to everyone and wishing you a Healthy and Happy 2016.

Alex Chapman… LOL! Happy New Year!

Andy Qunta… Thanks, Alan! Same to you & SMART!

Colin Norton… Happy New Year Everyone!

Jeanette Jones… Right back at you Ez xxx

Phil Little… Happy New Year Alan.

Caz Simpson… And a Happy New Year to you Alan xxx

Dan Large… Happy New Year to you too 🙂

Natasha Kaschevsky… you too x


Chris Sambrook… All the best for 2016.

Mick O’Dowd… To all my friends, family, fellow SMARTIES, and anybody else who knows me. May I wish you all a cracking New Year and hope that it is better than the last for those of you that have had your problems. In the words of a political parties election song a few years back. “Things Can Only Get Better”. I wish you all health, peace & happiness and that you send donations to me in brown envelopes care of SMART! Cheers!

Happy Christmas 2015 and very best wishes for a healthy new year.


Well we are nearly at that time again. The sites going from strength to strength and the coffee meets are proving extremely popular. Next one is Friday 15th January 2016. To keep this page going and interesting we always need more photos and cuttings and more new people on board.

We have lost some good people this year and its a sad time for many but they can’t take away your memories. A BIG thank you for your continued support and very best wishes for Christmas and a Healthy New Year.

Dave Nattress… Alan. Thanks again to you especially but also of course to so many people who have posted the many items of information about so much of the past 50 years of the local rock scene on the site. For years I was looking to top up the memory on the local scene – Hastings area bands and gigs etc. and the pier certainly, and this ticks all the boxes. Brilliant stuff. Long may the archives keep being added to.

Chris Sambrook… Thanks for the Birthday wishes for 19th Dec. Currently have Gout so my Birthday was spoilt really, oh well never mind. Merry Christmas to you all and to Alan for putting SMART together. CS

Yvonne Cleland… Best wishes to you too, Alan. Hugs ))))) xx

Natassja Kaschevsky…  Happy Christmas Alan, see you soon xx

Karen Sweatman was Blackman… Thanks for a great year of memories etc Alan. Merry Christmas and a fab 2016 for you too x

Kevin Burchett… Happy Christmas Alan, hope you have a great one see you in the new year

Jim Breeds… Have a great Christmas and New Year Alan.Thanks for running this group and bringing back the memories. 

Matt Thomas…  Let’s hope 2016 is a better year!!!!!!!

Mick O’Dowd… Happy Christmas Alan and thanx for a brilliant year of SMART. You have done us proud with your dedicated hard work and organising skills even though I know you have not had the best of health. Cheers to you mate and see you next Meet.

Barry Newton…  I hope you have a good Christmas Alan and all the best for next year, take care.

Colin Norton… Merry Christmas to all members of SMART and especially Alan who does such a great job keeping this all together. Here’s wishing everyone health and happiness in 2016!

Wendy Weaver… Happy Christmas Alan and everyone in the SMART Group, see you on 15th January. xx

Lucy Pappas… Thanks  and the Smart Group. Merry Christmas and a fabbie New Year xx

Jeanette Jones… Merry Christmas Ez, and a happy healthy New Year;-)

Geoff Peckham… Just to wish Alan and everyone at SMART a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year. On behalf of the Factory boys I’d like to thank you all for playing such a big part in our getting together again and your continued support throughout our reunion journey. Gawd bless ya! xxx

Andre Martin… Well done lads -proves that this town has always had talent.

Joe Knight… Great !!!

Colin Bell… I know how hard you work to make SMART the success it is. I’ve been happy to reunite with friends old and new. Happy and healthy Christmas Alan my old mate.

Kevin Carlyon… Happy Yule Alan and to all in your group.


SMART coffee meet 23 Report


What a GREAT afternoon and yes the ‘F’ word was mentioned and everyone agreed that the Factory gig was excellent and has kick started talk about various local bands to reform, watch this space!  Among the newbies this time were Len Smith, Phil Thornton (and his hat!), Erol Edir and Graham and Karen How.  Andre Martin was talking about the History Of The Pier Book by Steve Peak which is due out next year and features Andre’s pier memories. Len Smith who runs the Eastbourne Bands From 1960 On facebook site is working on a family tree of local bands from Hastings & Eastbourne and had with him a folder of the work he has produced so far. It’s a mammoth task and people present were able to fill in some of the gaps. Mick O’Dowd had with him The Veronica Story CD (the popular Dutch radio station from the 1960’s) and also had some interesting Ready Steady Go 60’s DVDs. Graham How  brought along some great tour programmes from the 70’s including Melody Maker Poll Concert 72, The Who Tommy, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Wishbone Ash, Genesis 77 and more.  Pete Millington has come up with another rare photo of Suspect and Andy Knight had with him a whole host of various photos and cuttings including Freeway, Five Bob Rocket, Delta Wing, Dicemen, Tarquin, Shaft, Jukes and a Head On with Missing Persons poster. John Petri pointed out that the photo on the front of our latest newletter is Paul Freeman and not Steve. Too many other people to mention and get round to talk to, so please feel free to add  anything interesting that you were talking about and I missed.

Graham How… I remembered the date this time!

Natasha Kaschevsky… Sorry we didn’t get to say goodbye to you today Alan, had a great time x

Wendy Weaver… It was a very good meeting. Lots of interesting people.

Kevin Burchett… great meeting thanks alan

Mick O’Dowd… Great stuff and an appearance by Phil Thornton’s Hat! What more could you want.

Martin Stringer… Good morning. Martin Stringer here I am going to be in England from the 24th to the 29th of November is there a meeting around then?

Alan Esdaile…  Excellent. Am trying to organise the next one for the 27th November Martin and would be great to see you. Hopefully confirm next week.