source and photo: unknown
Dennis Torrance… Yes and carrying home not easy lol .
Tim Moose Bruce… And no cooking instructions
Mike Guy… Tim, sushi
Mike Waghorne… And the gold fish died after a few days ! Poisend by the chlorine in the tap water ! Having now kept water & koi for 30 odd years I now know why they died! We never knew as kids why !
Martin Stringer… Aged 12 I used to work on one of these stalls on Hampstead Heath (The Spaniards)
John Warner… Bloody things died after about 4 days.
Mike Waghorne… John, tap water was the cause !
John Warner… The rag and bone man used to give kids gold fish in exchange for clothes. Many a man has had to chase the van to get his best suit back!
Karen Sweatman… The two we won lasted far longer than ones we got in pet shop! They were called Fish and Chips
Paul Coleman… You sure it didn’t die ‘cos of the jam jar you kept it in??
Dave Weeks… Yeah they didn’t cook up that well though
Paul Coleman… Mike. If you’ve kept water for 30 years AND its got koi in it…..I wouldn’t want a cuppa tea at ur house! Lol.
Tracy Birrell… Me!
Remembering Alan Jensen (‘Big Al’ And The ‘DJ’).
In the early 1970’s a local businessman-Johnny Hodgson, owned a record shop in the Old Town of Hastings entitled ‘The Disc Jockey’. The shop was doing very well but Hodgson had other business interests (like the promotion of bands on Hastings Pier) and these were beginning to take up more and more of his time. Johnny decided to put an advert in the local paper for someone to help him run the shop. Alan Jensen (at this point working for Courts) applied for and got the job. Hodgson and his wife (who ran a hairdressers shop in the Old Town) were well known locally and Johnny had political ambitions. In 1972 those political ambitions became a reality when Johnny was duly elected as a Hastings Councillor. Seeing his chance, Alan Jensen offered to buy Johnny out of the shop. His offer was accepted and the pair went their separate ways.
A larger than life character and a born showman, Alan soon managed to make a success of ‘The DJ’ (as it became more commonly known) and swiftly set about moving premises to a more central position in Hastings at the bottom of Queens Rd. For a short time, the shop was renamed ‘The Disc Jockey +1’ but Jensen had another way in mind about how to stamp his personality upon the shop… the invention of ‘Big Al’ – a caricature ‘mascot’ of Jensen himself (the medallion around the ‘creatures’ neck featured the words ‘I Like Big Al’).
‘Big Al’ was a massive success and gave the shop a unique (and very memorable) image. ‘Big Al’ appeared in all the shops newspaper advertisements and on all of the shops printed bags. With his beautiful and glamorous wife Sue at his side, Alan swiftly established ‘The DJ’ as the most popular and trendy place to buy your records in Hastings. A chart of the DJ’s best selling singles and albums appeared weekly in The Hastings Observer and regular ‘competitions and give-aways’ ensured that another smiling picture of Alan (along with the latest winner/s) was frequently in print. In short, Alan Jensen was not just a flamboyant and confident character he was a fine businessman.
Then of course there was the shop’s staff. As conclusively proven by his wife Sue, Alan was definitely a man with an eye for the ladies and invariably the shop would have a bevy of beauties behind the counter. While in today’s day and age such a practice might be frowned upon, (like the similar period practice of offering ladies free entry to nightclubs) it certainly ensured that the DJ was frequented by most of the young male record buyers in the town… including me!
It is worth mentioning here also that in the 70’s and 80’s competition to The DJ was fierce and there was at least 8-10 places (not including second hand outlets) in Hastings town centre alone where you could buy records, tapes (and latterly cd’s)..
Eric Harmer… One of his best songs. Sitting in the park 👍👍
Wendy Wells… Love that song.
Mick O’Dowd… The original by Billy Stewart is also great. Check it out Eric.
Mick Knights… Pretty sure he played the Witch Doctor around 1965
Alan Esdaile… I got it down that he played The Witch Doctor on 18th Oct 1964 Mick.
Janie Lowe… I was there Georgie was amazing i also was impressed by Zoot Money
Chris Jolly… Back in the 70s I pulled over to assist in North London as a friend of mine’s van I thought I recognised had broken down. It was indeed a fellow roadie and Ian Leake said he was fine but could I just run his passenger home which I duly did. It was in fact Georgie Fame…
Alan Esdaile… Get Away, Chris!
Ian Quinnell… Yep, and Kensitas vouchers too
Jeff McCall… I went up to London to College in 1971 and bought my tools with Embassy vouchers and ended up sharing a room with a guy whose father worked in Sheffield for the Embassy voucher scheme!
Wendy Weaver… Players No.6 vouchers. Friends used to give them to me to add to the amount.
Jon McCallion… Yep remember them well
Chris Wood… If I remember correctly you had to smoke about half a million cigarettes to have enough to buy a folding deckchair which you needed cos you couldn’t breathe and needed frequent rests.
Paul Coleman… Yeh. Had hundreds of ’em. I obviously smoked too much! Lol.
Nigel Ford… Players No6 vouchers for me. I was surprised to find I had enough, being only a social smoker (school bus, pub etc…!) to get a car blanket. Very handy for my cold Triumph Herald 12/50 back seat….
Supplied by Colin Bell
Anyone remember this, or the year? Colin thinks The Glitter Band were also on the bill.
Matt Thomas… 91 or 92 I was in the Yelton sitting next to Les Gray.
Ian Mantell… it was just Sweet and Mud, Brian Connolly was in a bad way but his voice was still strong. A clue to the date is the use of the expression “Brian Connolly’s Sweet” he and Andy Scott had been in dispute over the name and so agreed to identify which band was playing in the early 90’s
Karen Sweatman… I was there dancing like a prat! Think it was around 91. You might be interested to know around 1990 I saw a band at The Crypt called The Wandering Crutchless with two ex members of Sweet in. They were brilliant
Jan Warren… Sweet are playing at The dlwp, Bexhill on The 21st December!
Ralph Town… I think the story of Sweet Mk1 is one of the saddest in music.
Mick O’Dowd… Be there or be extremely square and probably rectangled too! So there!
Merv Kennard… Hope to there with a newbie
Mick O’Dowd… Sometimes I get the impression that people who are following SMART and say they want to come but always find an excuse not to that they don’t actually know what goes on! It is totally INFORMAL. NO stand up speeches/lectures. If anybody is sitting in the corner we make sure someone rescues them and gets them involved. You talk to who you like . Get a drink/coffee from the bar and just mingle. In his reviews afterwards Alan goes through what he has heard people talking about. Even I am surprised at what has been talked about. Just make the effort and leave the rest to us. EVERYBODY is welcome and we don’t have bouncers on the door in case you look dodgy! Give it a try I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! See you there!
photos supplied by Robert Forsyth
Robert Forsyth… I wonder if any of your readers might be able to help? It was while I was presenting the blues shows on Hastings Rock back in 2016, that I realised that my long-time favourite band, the Climax Blues Band, would be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of their debut album in 2019. For me that was a very good reason to look at the possibilities of writing a ‘biography’ of the band.
The band was formed in 1968 in Stafford as the Climax Chicago Blues Band and comprised Colin Cooper (vocals, sax, hamonica and clarinet), Pete Haycock (guitars), Richard Jones (bass), Derek Holt (rhythm guitar & organ), Arthur Wood (keyboards) and George Newsome (drums) Best known in the public eye for their 1976 hit ‘Couldn’t Get it Right’ and 1981’s ‘I Love You’, the band went through some subtle name changes as well as line-ups, but still play today.
Sadly, two of the band’s founding members, Colin Cooper and Pete Haycock, are no longer with us, but I am delighted to say that the book is now at an advanced stage and many members of the band have supported the project as well as family members, former management, road crew, sleeve designers and other associates. The reason for writing, however, concerns a gig Climax played at the Ballroom on Hastings Pier on 9 May 1998. (see https://ninebattles.com/tag/climax-blues-band/ ) Phil Little wrote a marvellous review of the performance in print, but I was writing in the hope that perhaps some of your readers have recollections of that gig (or any others!). At the time, the line-up comprised Colin Cooper, George Glover (keyboards), Lester Hunt (guitars), Roger Inniss (bass) and Roy Adams (drums).
Many Thanks. Robert Forsyth.
Alan Esdaile… As always, happy to pass on any messages.
Colin Fox… In 2009, Johnny Pugh, (now known as Johnny Sax), and lives about ten minutes from me in Spain, joined Climax Blues Band as vocalist, sax and harmonica player and brought a tremendous amount of quality to the band, leading very much from the front. This is him in the video:
This is a photo of the band with Johnny Pugh on saxaphone. He lives close to me and plays local pubs and clubs, as well as going back to his home town in Essex to play sometimes. He now goes under the name Johnny Sax.
Robert Forsyth… Much obliged Colin. Yes, I plan to contact Johnny shortly, as I work through things chronologically. Many thanks again.
Robert Forsyth… Dear all, I am sending this as a (fourth) periodic bulletin/update to everyone who has kindly helped with the Climax Blues Band book project over the past three years. I am conscious that some of you may well have been wondering what’s been happening; well, the good news is that the draft is now finished and runs out to 309,000 words! On top of that is the enormous collection of illustrated material that has been so kindly contributed by many people, detailing various aspects of the band’s history. It really is incredible. As I worked on the closing chapters of the book, simultaneously I was very fortunate to make contact with a small number of people who have been kind enough to offer some amazing photos from their private collections: for example, these include rare and stunning sets of images, most of them previously unseen, showing Climax playing in Switzerland in 1970, in Belgium in 1975, recording in Montserrat in 1979 and at gigs in the US Midwest and West Coast in the mid to late 1970s. I can assure you, that thanks to the generosity and goodwill of certain individuals, it really will be worth the wait. So right now, I have the difficult task of deciding what will not go in the book! But I also have a cunning plan that may, longer term and depending on how the book is received, go some way to solving that problem. Suffice to say that the way things stand, it looks like the book is going to take the form of a large format (poss 303 x 226 mm), coffee table-style and probably quite heavy(!) hardback volume of ca 480-500 pages, with between 600-650 illustrations including black & white and colour photos, plus images of posters, badges, promotional material, stage passes, advertisements and other items of ephemera covering the history of the Climax Chicago Blues Band / Climax Chicago / Climax Blues Band from 1968-2019. I regret the delay, but if I had rushed it, I would have missed some historically important and fascinating interviews, as well as much of the above illustrated material. My hope is that design and layout will commence within the next 5-6 weeks; this can only take place once I have gone through my draft again and worked on the photos and captions.The book will be a limited edition collectors’ volume, with high quality production values and colour throughout and will only be available through the website which I will shortly be setting up for the book. I will also soon be setting up a Facebook page. I’ll let you know when these are up and running so you can stay up to date as we go into the production process and head towards print. Thanks for your patience. Hopefully not long now! For those of us in the northern hemisphere, enjoy the spring! OK – I’m back to it… With best wishes, Robert Forsyth
Uli Twelker…Hello Robert Forsyth! Fortunately, the first volume of your Climax book has come out in 2020. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock everywhere. Do you know when it will be available again? Thanks very much in advance! Uli Twelker, Bielefeld, Germany.
Robert Forsyth… The first volume of my history of the Climax Blues Band – ‘Using the Power 1968-1977’ was published in August 2020. I had no idea how things would turn out as I set off down the path of attempting to writing a book on the band (and didn’t expect much to be honest!), but after nearly five years of research and interviews, I was amazed at how generous, kind, warm and open the former members of the band, their families, friends and associates were. Indeed, so deluged was I with material that in the end I took the decision that in order to get as much information in as possible, rightly or wrongly, I would split the work into separate volumes. So ‘Using the Power’ covers the period leading up to the band’s formation in Stafford in 1968, through the early ‘blues years’ up to the release of the (unexpected) hit single ‘Couldn’t Get it Right’. The book is an A4 hardback and crammed with text and hundreds of rare photos, posters, ephemera etc. I self-published it as a limited edition book and full details can be found at https://www.moonshineeditions.com You can read reviews from ‘Blues in Britain’ and ‘Blues Matters’ magazines on the website. I’m afraid Volume One is sold out, but I have a very small number of very slightly less than perfect copies. I would be happy to sell these at a discounted price while they last, so if you are interested, contact me through the website. I hope to release Volume Two next year. My sincere thanks to Alan for kindly lending me the oxygen of interest and support!
Factory… Here it is – The Official Video for Razzle Dazzle Man! Thanks to Tee Ann for putting it all together! Hope you enjoy it!