Building scenery for Elton John by Paul Crimin

supplied by Paul Crimin

Paul Crimin… As I have woken up far too early on a Sunday morning, I thought I’d tell you another story from my life behind the scenes in the showbizz world. This one involves Elton John. I got a call at my company, Archetype, from my friend Nick at Gaslight productions. Could I build scenery that was over 20′ high and held up by scaffolding? Of course I can said I, thinking…No. He sent the drawings over and me and my crew looked at them, scratching our heads. We loved a challenge. We were to build four huge marquee entrance’s, all based on fairy tales. Old Mothers Shoe, which is in the picture, and The Cottage Made out of Sweets are two I can remember. We got to work, and these structures dominated my railway arch workshop. They were for a Children’s Day Out for Watford Football Club, to be erected in Elton John’s garden in Windsor. After many shannagins we built them, loaded them onto a lorry and set off for Windsor. At this time the Sun, a national comic, was attacking Elton for some reason, he sued them later, and on the day we arrived at his mansion their headline was that he’d cut his guard dogs vocal chords so that they wouldn’t bark. Needless to say, the dogs barked like mad when we entered through his huge security gates. The marquee’s were already standing there in Elton’s huge garden when we arrived, so we unloaded the truck and got to work building our fairy tale entrances. My good friend Mick Boleyn put the scaffolding bracing up as we put the pieces of our scenery together. It was a really hot day, and Elton’s wife at the time, Renate, would bring us orange juice on a silver tray, which was nice. On the second and last day we were amazed when we saw Elton walking towards us with a tray of beers. He chatted with us, no airs and graces, a really nice man. He did this a few times during the day, I got the feeling he liked being ‘one of the lads’. I did a dodgy thing that day after I noticed that the french doors were open to his swimming pool room. The pool had a huge chandelier over it, very impressive. I walked in there and started singing a song I had just written, just because I could and this was, after all, one of the worlds best song writers house. I nearly died when a voice said ‘That’s nice. Haven’t you got one of mine?’ He’d caught me, but thought it was funny, which was a relief. We were all invited to the ‘Day Out’, and I was really made up when Elton took the time to chat to us and say that he was impressed with our efforts. I gave him a company T-shirt, and am still disappointed to this day that he never wore it at one of his show’s. lol. Here ends the story of one of my more memorable jobs. The photo is of me trying to look like a proper builder and Elton wearing an interesting track suit. Happy days.

Andy Qunta… What a fabulous story! Thanks, Paul!

Neil Partrick… Excellent story Paul.

Mike Guy… Naughty but nice, Paul.

Who remembers Mr Cherry’s?

Yvonne Cleland… That’s a yes from me.

Peter Fairless… Oh, yes!

Neil Cartwright… Remembers? Has it gone???

Andrew Freeman… Oh yes!

Peter Thomson… First place I ever tasted Fosters lager, on a warm summer evening. It was genuine Ozzy fair, imported and served from a tinny. Tasted ok but was significantly stronger than the artificial urine we get now. You want to know how bad it is? Try it at room temperature! This is CAMRA signing off…

Jim Breeds… Definitely!

Patrick Lewis… Quite a few happy nights there in the mid to late 70’s

Jim Breeds…  I think you might be right Pat.

Chris Giles… Yes I used to go there …it was a long walk but ok if you were going into scalliwags later

Alan Pepper… Was it opposite what is now AZUR ? I think we did go there 1977 en route to Scalliwags Fridays ‘back in the day’ !! When the Bee Gees ruled the decks . Get on down !

Alan Esdaile… Yes opposite Azur, Alan.

Jane Dorsett…  went to mr cherrys every weekend,in the mid 70s,then up Saturdays.

Diane Knight… Passed my college years in there !!!

Leigh Weiland-Boys… Loved it there – used to pop in lunch times when at College, and, like others, before going down Scallis

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Live Aid July 13th 1985. Can you remember what you were doing?

Thanks to Matt Thomas for suggesting this.


MTV 1981 – 1991

July 13th, 1985, At 12.01 Status Quo started the ‘Live Aid’ extravaganza, held between Wembley Stadium, London and The JFK Stadium, Philadelphia. The cream of the world’s biggest rock stars took part in the worldwide event, raising over £40million. TV pictures beamed to over 1.5bn people in 160 countries made it the biggest live broadcast ever known. Artists who appeared included Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, The Who, U2, David Bowie and Mick Jagger, Queen, Tina Turner, The Cars, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Bryan Adams, Hall and Oates, Lionel Richie and Led Zeppelin.

supplied by Barry French

Mike Curtis….I  was glued the the TV, astounded by the professionalism by all who took part, blown away by Queen and Dire Straits! And Quo.

Mick Mepham….I think I was still in Western Road then but that’s as far as my memory goes ….

Matt Thomas…I was working in the shop and all the punks and metalhedz kept asking for records to be played whilst i was trying to listen to the concerts on the radio lol

Alan Esdaile….Same as Matt but taped it all and watched when I got home. Queen were excellent.

Jim Breeds…..Living in West Kirby on The Wirrall. Watched it all through. Taped the whole lot on VHS. Never played the tapes. Bought the DVD when it came out more recently. Never watched a minute of it!

Clifford Rose…..As far as I can remember I watched Live aid up until 19:30 and then went to the Hastings Beer Festival. Queen and Bowie were excellent.

Karen Sweatman…..I was 15 and did not move all day from the telly. Loved it – particularly Queen and U2. As a Duran Duran fan, I was disappointed though cos they were a bit pants on the day. Think Simon Le Bon’s voice broke half way through 🙂

Phil Thornton….had it up loud all day !

Yvonne Cleland…..I was at a party in Northiam…

Matt Thomas……I remember a heavily pregnant Alison Moyet belting out a Marvin Gaye track with Paul Young and  I recall an interview with Bob Geldof and he was saying everyone was watching Queen backstage and said ‘That bastard Mercury has stole the show’ lol well he was the ultimate showman. Another highlight for me was when Joan Armatrading popped her head around the curtain and just said ‘Hello’ lol

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Joe Cocker – Hastings Pier 13th July 1968 & Kippington Lodge Brinsley Schwarz chat.


joe cocker

supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey…. Joe Cocker – July 13th, 1968. The reference to ‘Marjorine’ is merely trying to highlight his single from the ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ album of the same year. He was never nicknamed ‘Marjorine’. The single made the Top Ten on the British charts, remaining there for thirteen weeks and eventually reaching number one, on 9 November 1968.

Alan Esdaile…. Delta Lady was a great track around this time.

Sarah Harvey….  I agree….really liked Delta Lady. Although Delta Lady was a Leon Russell song…. a copy of which I have still got on Vinyl.

Alan Wood… Yes,I was there for this one,loved margarine ..

Richard J Porter… His drummer, Peter Gavgin-Rowney is on FB, I speak to him virtually daily.

Peter Howard… I bought my Ovation Magnum Bass from a guy who used to drum with the Fortunes, and then went on to play Bass for Joe Cocker


Mick Mepham… Dooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhh! Missed this too!

Jenny Tyler… I was there.

Andre Martin… What you have not mentioned was that his backing band was called ” the Grease Band” Remember this gig as it was when John Schofield [Strand Entertainments] was promoting on the Pier. Chances are that Kippington Lodge would have been the Supporting band – they were on the pier nearly everyweek. Great show on the Sunday with The Episode formerly Episode, Six they were always popular on the Pier and a great bunch to work with.

Mick O’Dowd… Would that have been after the Deep Purplers left Andre ?

John Storer… Back in those days, Joe recorded for Regal Zonophone records, along with Procol Harum, The Move and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Remember going to St Helen’s Youth Club (the one outside Ore Village, not the one further along The Ridge) and Marjorine, With A Little Help From My Friends, and Delta Lady were regularly on the record player. Think all of these artists moved to Fly Records when EMI shut down RZ as a label, as seem to remember having a sampler album with them all on. The first ever Fly release was “Ride A White Swan” by T Rex followed, I think, by The Move’s Brontosaurus. Audio Bully’s sampled “Marjorine” to great effect on their second album

Colin Bell… Andre is right in his assumption that the support band was Kippington Lodge that night, I was backstage doing some chores for Jon (Schofield) that day. And Mick, I remember talking to Roger Glover at the Episode gig, cant remember if Ian Gillan was present but think he was….my memory isn’t what it was!

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