Hastings Music Resource Centre – can you help, interested, ideas…

Tim McDonald… According to Locate East Sussex, the official inward investment agency for East Sussex, “Hastings is a magnet of raw musical talent and home to one of the UK’s most vibrant music scenes. In fact, there’s so much music happening in and around Hastings that the area was declared the UK’s newest ‘Music City’.” 

Few would disagree with the view that Hastings – and the surrounding area – is an extraordinary region of musical activity with concerts, gigs, recitals, gatherings, competitions, sessions and an amazing variety of other events going on right throughout the year, covering every single aspect of the musical spectrum. In fact, it is difficult to find another comparable-sized town in the United Kingdom where there is such a phenomenal concentration of musical talent and enterprise. One has only to read the local press in order to gain an idea of how extensive musical life is in this part of the world.

However, there is one glaring gap in this otherwise bright artistic scene. Astonishingly, there is no central music resource where people can go to get scores, sheet music, look at reference books, listen to different pieces, and so on. There hasn’t been since 2002 when Hastings Music Library was arbitrarily moved away to locations on the other side of the county. If someone wants to get hold of a particular work in order to play it, or just to look at it, then it has to be brought in from either Lewes or Hailsham. This is not the way creative people work – most want to be able to see and compare different songs, dances, piano pieces, guitar works, orchestral scores, etc, ideally with a small soundproof studio equipped with a keyboard/synthesizer and audio facilities where they can play through a chosen piece of music or listen to recordings.

A lot of music is available on line. This is true – but a lot isn’t, and there is still a considerable number of people who prefer to play off printed sheet music or, at the very least, manuscript scores. Music lovers should have the option to access their music in their preferred format.

Additionally, the resource centre will be equipped with small rehearsal spaces where individuals or ensembles who currently have nowhere to practice will be able to do so without disturbing others or, just as importantly, being disturbed. And, of course, provision will be made for educational activities of all kinds to take place.

The proposal has been put forward that an independent music resource should be created within Hastings & St Leonards. Whilst it is not inconceivable that a small part of the County Music Library’s stock could be made available, the bulk of the content will be made up from private collections of individuals, initially living in the immediate area but, it is to hoped, eventually contributing from further afield in order that a comprehensive assembly of material can be made available for use by anyone interested in music.

It goes without saying that a suitable building will need to be found to accommodate all the scores, sheet music, books, magazines, recordings etc that it is hoped will be brought together. Ideally, it should be located in Hastings town centre, close to the rail and bus station, so that as many people as possible whould be able to access it without too much trouble. Hopefully, a vacant site may become available under the Hastings Town Centre Deal but, to begin with, we need to produce evidence of a strong desire on behalf of as many folk as possible that such a resource is something that the town – and its surrounding area – needs and would play its part in helping to raise Hastings’ status as a major musical centre.

Can you help, interested, ideas then please contact Timtim@timmcdonald.co.uk

Lucy Pappas… Excellent idea!

Fiona Evans… Great idea. I’m a classical music fan & we need a good music library.

Chris Meachen… Sounds brilliant .

John Wilde… Wonderful idea.

Mick O’Dowd… I was talking with Andre & Tim about this at the SMART Meet. I must admit I did not fully grasp what he was envisiging due to my hearing difficulties in a noisy enviroment, but , I did get the gist of it and think it would be a fantastic idea if it could get off the ground. Having been involved with the local music scene all my adult life as DJ , promoter & band manager I agree that the town has and always had a tremendous and diverse musical talents. As Tim so rightly says there always has been something for everyone! Good luck Tim on this. I’m fully supportive of it!

Fiona Evans… And me too

Andy Qunta… 👍




What magazine/newspapers did you used to read & chat about.


images from eil.com

What magazines/newspapers did you used to read? Reading Andy Knights recent post about The Melody Maker, reminded me of the magazines of the day. Always read Record Mirror, Sounds and remember my sister reading Jackie.

Leigh Wieland-Boys… ‘Jackie’, ‘Disco 45’ & NME

Andy Qunta… As many as we could find! NME, Sounds, Record Mirror, Beat Instrumental was a good one, & many more! Melody Maker was the one we had delivered to the house every week. It sometimes arrived a few minutes late, as we eventually found out our paper boy used to stop and read it before he delivered it! Said paper boy being future bassist-extraordinaire Roger Carey!

Jim Breeds…  I usually subscribed to one per week that the newsagent delivered but often switched allegiance. Mostly NME (still do sometimes) but I tried them all at one time or another. Also we used to lend them to each other at school so that we could read them all.

Pete Fairless… NME for me!

John Storer… It was Roger Carey who told me about the New Musical Express around 1969 or 1970 when I was 13 or 14. After buying my first copy, persuaded my Mum to order it from the newsagent for delivery instead of my usual Lion & Champion comic. Would literally read it from cover to cover. For years and years, I looked forward to the paper boy delivering it. Would photocopy the crossword and me and Mick Watson would spend Thursday afternoons at work racing to see who could complete it the fastest In 1984, when I was doing my law finals in Manchester, one of my fellow students, Rob Mortimer, asked me if he could have my copy when I’d finished with it, as he had no grant and couldn’t afford to buy one. I agreed. Several years later, I would see him again … he’d changed his first name from Rob to Bob and had teamed up with a bloke calling himself Vic Reeves. Not long after, I gave up the NME for Blues & Soul but went back to it in the early 90s and the start of the Madchester / BritPop scene … never lived up to its former glories, though … those halcyon days when Danny Baker, Ian Penman, Paul Morley, Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons were the lead journalists. Finally stopped reading it about 15 years ago. Also bought Sounds form about 1971 and had that every week until it started going ultra-right wing around the time of Oi and Gary Bushell. Does anyone else remember Streetlife? … a really hefty mag, issued fortnightly, and which aimed to become the UK’s answer to Rolling Stone. Had every copy from start to its end about a year later. Responsible, along with John Peel, for introducing me to dub. Finally, a big thank you to my neighbour up on Montgomery Road, Jean Christmas. In the late 60s, every six months she would hand me a big pile of Jackie magazines. Would stay up reading them into the small hours … those glamorous picture stories, the Cathy & Claire problem page … where has that innocence gone these days? LOL

Mick O’Dowd… Used to have NME in the 60’s then Record Mirror and sometimes Melody Maker in 70’s. Also a monthly mag called Blues & Soul.

Alan Wood…. Sounds

Patrick Lewis… Used to read NME, Melody Maker, Disc and Music Echo but the most interesting in the late 60’s was Record Mirror which always seem to avoid the celebrity crap and concentrate on the music.

Diane Knight… Don’t want to sound uncool ,but ….June and school friends!!!

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Model aeroplane books

Supplied by Lloyd Johnson

Lloyd Johnson… A few 1930s model aeroplane builders books from my collection.I Love the cover artworks…and they have great plane plans in them so it’s like building Antiques….

Nigel Ford… Is dope still allowed for setting tissue? Pretty heady stuff from childhood memory, maybe restricted sale item now?

Lloyd Johnson… You can still buying Cellulose shrinking dope….still stinks and makes you dizzy if there is not enough ventilation .I always dope my models in the back garden…..

Peter Ellingworth… I would probably doubt it….most likely classified as a harmful substance in today’s climate.I believe L H Sparey who is named on one of the covers, also wrote ‘Using the small lathe’ of which I have a copy, and was printed by Percival Marshall’s successors MAP.