SMART 16 Report – Friday 12th December 2014


SMART 16 Report. Sorry won’t be able to make it I’ve got a gig, I’m down with flu, weather looks bad, I got a firms do, I got to work, oh dear doesn’t look too good! How wrong was I.

Another excellent turn out and with some of the regulars unable to make it but always new people to fill the gaps. Among the newbies this time were Nick Prince and Derek Macey. Nick brought along some very rare copies of The Hastings & St Leonards Herald free newspapers from 1973. Some good cuttings in here which I will post in due course. Very interesting LP from Colin Bell ‘The magic world of Ruperts People’. With some fascinating sleeve notes that Colin wrote, from their days on Hastings Pier, which I will scan. Mick Mepham brought along some donuts which quickly disappeared and the ultra rare programme of ‘Hastings International Folk Festival’ with Tom Paxton headlining featuring various people playing all over the town including Titus, Blowzabella, The Albion Band, Jake Thackray etc. Can’t see the year anywhere but was May 22nd to 25th and think it could be mid to late seventies? I will post the cover at some stage but anyone help with the year?
Now if only I was as organised as Pete Millington. He brought along his tablet with loads of images and cuttings with many I have not seen before, watch out for these soon. Eric Cawthraw never lets us down, as had with him Jack Bruce – Songs for a Tailor LP and Killing Floor – Out of Uranus LP, as well as a Budgie gig ticket when they played Battle. Lots of other photos floating around but didn’t get to see most of them.
Usual chats about the future of the pier, Mott road crew live gig at The Carlise on the 18th Dec, how are your aches and pains, when are Factory going to play, Curzon cinema, future of local radio, is this the end of the beach concerts, what are you doing for Christmas, The Tabs reforming, Andy Gunton and The Stinger Magazine having funding to support 2 unsigned local music acts and loads more chat that I can’t remember but will once I post this! Anyone add anything to this please feel free to post.

Yvonne Cleland… Hope everyone has a great SMART meeting today. With you all in spirit ♥ xxx

Chris Meachen… Missed you, dear girl… xxx

Andre Martin… Good afternoon was had by all… well done Alan, now you can have a break for Christmas & New Year. PS I think that a quick TY to Lawrence and the staff at the WRH would be good, after all he has to put up with us making a mess in his bar once a month !!

Mick O’Dowd… Echo Andre’s words. Every Meet seems to surpass the previous one. Well done Alan!

Robert Searle…  Great write up.Looking forward to seeing more features on SMART

Jim Breeds… Is it reasonable to assume that a 4 day festival would end on a Sunday? Many do. If so, Sunday May 25th only occurred in 1975 in the ’70s. Next was in 1980.

Alan Esdaile… Friday to Monday Jim

Sarah Harvey… I organised all the Ore Rock Festivals in the 70s and they only ever occurred on the Saturday and the two-day festivals occurred on a Friday and Saturday.

Andy Qunta… Great pic!

Yvonne Cleland… Great write-up, Al. Looking forward to meeting the newbies next time and seeing Mick’s ‘Hastings International Folk Festival’ programme. Have a great end-of-year celebrate, everyone xxxxxxxxxxxx

Jon McCallion… Good write up

Paul Dengate… Hastings Folk Festival was in 1987.

Mick O’Dowd… As we come to the end of a very successful year for the Group as followers increase every week, it’s time maybe to reflect on what we have got personally from the Group. Myself have rekindled old friendships with people that I would never see again (The Grim Reaper is not far off!) and make friends with people whose names may have been familiar to me but now I have been able to put a face to the name. I’ve learnt alot from Andre Palfrey-martin series of “The History of The Happy Ballroom” i’ve seen items that I would not have got to see outside the group. I’ve been offered a doughnut from the Legendary Michael Mepham (politely refused as it was my diet day). I’ve taken coffee with some very talented musicians ( no egos in sight) and enjoyed convivial talk with some very interesting folk and fellow anoraks. It is nice to communicate with people that know their stuff but if you don’t understand something you’re not cast out as a prat! I am looking forward to The Meets and the banter on Facebook page and website in the New Year and to meeting new people that share the same interest in music and the history of music in the town that I do. There is no doubt that those old enough to remember the early days we were indeed spoilt in the amount of talented groups/artists that were appearing in the Town on The Pier, Witchdoctor/Cobweb et all. There has also been an immense pool of locally produced talent the likes of which are , in many cases, still performing alongside very promising new/young talent. Hastings is overlooked as a great music centre but those who were /are ther no different. Finally I would like to thank the most important factor in me being able to write this piece today. The person who through his tireless efforts as put the whole thing together even though( he probably won’t thank me for saying this) has not been in the best of health. I’m sure all of us would like to say a big THANX Alan for everything and hope you have a healthier New Year. Take it easy this Christmas, we need you to keep us supplied with our fix of nostalgia etc. So raise a glass to Alan Esdaile Johnny Mason!

John Wilde… Although I have not (yet) attended I applaude the wonderful organisational skills of our dear Alan. He has galvanised the collective and created a group of seemingly exciting nostalgia.
My excuse is simple. I worked EVERY bloody meet day. Soon I hope to retire. I too am ancient and sincerly hope to join in before Micks grim reaper finds me. Well done each and all. Love john wilde.

Pete Millington…. Hear hear and well written Mick – Strength to strength

Caz Simpson… Wonderfully said Mick, I’m raising my glass to Alan Esdaile Johnny Mason right now. I’ll get to the next one by hook or by crook, there’s so much catching up to do x x

Jim Breeds… Well said Mick!

Alan Esdaile… Thanks for your very nice comments but all I do is post a few photos and cuttings and organise a coffee get together. None of this would happen without the support of people here. So thanks are to you and long may it continue.

Yvonne Cleland… Good health and happiness to you, Al x

Colin Bell… I should just like to add my congratulations to Alan for making Smart happen. Hard to believe its been 40 plus years that we’ve been mates and shared some interesting times! Its been great to reconnect with so many old friends, I wish everyone a peaceful and happy Christmas, see you in the New Year.

Eric Cawthraw… Another very enjoyable afternoon. An interesting chat about Steamhammer – and particularly the ‘Mountains’ album. Popped down to the Gecko Bar yesterday and saw Mick M playing – a few of the SMART regulars were there as well.

Geoff Peckham…. Yes, good on you, Alan. Through SMART, you’ve brought a lot of people back together and shown me what’s been happening in the Hastings area since I left in ’74 and, come to that, whilst I was there! And the Factory reunion wouldn’t be happening without SMART and your interest and encouragement. Thank you, Alan. And while I’m at it, Seasons Greetings and a Happy and Healthy 2015 to you and SMART and all who sail in her!

Mick Mepham… Mick is right Alan, you’re the reason it exists at all. I for one am very glad it does. More power to your elbow mate  and, of course, yourself too Andre!!!!! Take it easy this xmas and we’ll see you in the new year. Cheers.

Andre Martin… Well that was a good idea of yours, and I have been glad to be involved and add my two- penny worth – let look for 2015 and some more good stories and old friends.

Ralph Town…. Thanks to this group,I,ve realised how much great music I MISSED due to alcohol abuse.Wish I could go back in time and re-live it but sober this time.I would have been a better guitar player and maybe have stayed in a few bands rather than not turning up for rehersals due to booze

Tony May… Well said Mick! It has been great seeing you enjoy giving Johnny Mason a good airing Alan. You do the simple things so well at group meetings and never tire of hunting out/posting something new and intriguing here. I wish you (and all here) a VERY Merry Christmas and a healthy new year



Leave a comment