The Norman Arms St Leonards to become The Piper

Chris Barnett… For 30 yrs I’ve spent my life going to what has been amusingly called ‘toilet venues’ to watch killer young, up & coming bands cut their teeth in some of the UK legendary small venues: My bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Goat, Blur, The Libertines, The Verve, The Manic Street Preachers, Ride, Oasis, Mazzy Star, Pulp, Flaming Lips, King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard, Spiritualized, Mudhoney, The Vaseline’s, Loop, Carter USM, The House of Love, The White Stripes……

Sadly as you may be aware, many once great venues have been forced to close over recent years, robbing this country of not just some of its great cultural underground beacons, but also crucially that of 1st base destination venues for both new bands to tread the boards, or old established bands wanting to revisit their roots!!!!

Closer to home: since the closure of the Crypt here in Hastings several years ago, the town has tragically fallen off the map on- The Great Rock n’ Roll Toilet Venue Trail! Thankfully though, this is (hopefully) all set to change!!! Last month my business partner and I secured the freehold to a strategically key building here in Hastings that crucially straddles & connects St Leonard’s with Hastings. Built in the 1930’s: ‘The Norman’ is a whopping great 4 storey 1930’s late Art Deco dive bar that used to be a corner stone of the local community, providing live entertainment into the early hours.

Tragically, along with many other places along our South East Coast, the pub had seen better times & following years of decline, 4 yrs ago it finally bowed to regional & economic problems and closed. More recently though (like so many other traditional pubs & other importantly positioned buildings), it’s faced a new ever more real threat – the blight of property developers wanting to turn it into ‘trendy’ apartment blocks!!? That would have been a further cultural travesty but thankfully this is now NOT going to happen!! It is our intention (with a little bit of luck & support from all our friends & the local artist community), to see this once much loved old boozer, brought back to life as a very much pivotal, community based rock n’ roll destination dive bar (but with nice toilets, a great beer-wine-spirits offering & (hopefully) an affordable, array of healthy, locally sourced food provisions! The pub will be christened ‘The Piper’ – a gentle nod to one of the greatest albums of all time, and the very town in fact which, believe it or not……: a certain young Syd Barrett, performed his last EVER gig here on our pier with his band: The Pink Floyd, 50 yrs ago this year!! So long rest The Syd & long live ‘The Piper’ as we enter a new era at the gates at dawn!!! Please take a moment to ‘Like’ our new Facebook page which is called ‘The Piper’ (& has the same pic of the pub as here on the post) where you will be able to follow the exciting developments of the pub as we start the renovation of this landmark building as well as details of the crowd funding project we are launching shortly, to help raise some much needed funds to help renovate this pub & see it returned back to its former glory!

The Piper… Like a Phoenix, rising from the ashes, the Norman arms will be reborn!
The Piper calls! Offering a vast array of live music, arts, contemporary culture and quality libations. Coming soon to a St Leonards/Hastings near you!

Alan Esdaile… Very best wishes to ‘The Piper’

Adrian Straatman… Keep it alive, good luck regards Adrian & Annabelle The Hurst Arms in eastbourne

Dave Nattress… Nice article Chris and good luck!  When I was a lad, a saying was you never saw a pub or a church close down – but for many years both forms of entertainment or sufferance have seen many closures.  I think a statistic I heard a few years back was that something like 7 pubs a week close down!  Many of course used to be important music venues, as you say Chris, helping young bands get their first gigs albeit some audiences hardly made double figures.  Several bands/individual artists can attest to this indignity.

Neil Partrick… Great news. Good work Chris. He (or she) who crowd funds the Piper will get to hear live tunes.

Chris Barnett… Thankyou gentlemen!!! I appreciate your comments & support. Working hard to be open before the end of spring. Look forward to welcoming you to The Piper! Best wishes CB.

Tim Moose Bruce… Great news. As a tribute to Syd and The Piper, Shine On.

Janette Clare Morfey… Is this still going ahead. I thought they could not get a music licence???

Chris Jolly… Good luck with the new venue!

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Hastings Pier 20th October 1978

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poster 1 supplied by Mick Mepham & poster 2 supplied Mick O’Dowd

‘Human League’ didn’t play nor did Nico.

Pete Fairless….No, they did not. Support was from the Gang Of Four.

Mick Mepham….Gang of Four were excellent as were Siouxsie and the Banshees, can’t remember Spizz Oil. If I remember rightly, the singer wore a bin liner and by the end of their set he was plastered with gob …. yeeeuch.

Pete Fairless….I thought GOF were a bit boring, Spizz were fun, and Siouxie & The Banshees were fantastic

John Storer… The Human League did not play their first live gig until June 1978 (Sheffield Hallam University has a plaque commemorating the date and venue, which is now a computer room). They did tour with Souixsie that year, but not until December The Mark II line-up are still gigging for all they are worth, and never fail to surprise the crowd with how good they still are. First saw them in December 81 when “Don’t You Want Me” was No.1. Last saw them in 2012 and they were better … and doing stuff from both “Reproduction” and “Travelogue”

Alan Esdaile… Remember seeing The Human League in 2003 with John Foxx support and they were very good.

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Read moreSiouxsie & The Banshees – Hastings Pier 20th October 1978

Hollywood Killers, Before The Storm, Negative Earth Band – Falaise Hall 19th May 1978

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19th may 1978 - hollywood killers

poster supplied by Jim Penfold

Martyn Baker… Simon Fuller

Peter Fairless… The start of something big…

Jim Penfold …. Simon Fuller’s first promotion 19th May 1978…the Hollywood Killers…..the man who invented Pop Idol/American Idol..manager of The Spice Girls/David Beckam/Andy Murray/ Annie Lennox etc etc etc…..if you have a magnifying glass his name is bottom right…..his Easybeat Promotions promoted us a couple more times that year……what went wrong!!!!(for him)

Tim Moose Bruce… I remember Before The Storm. They supported Die Laughing a few times and I think changed their name to Billy Whizz im my memory serves me. A memorable gig was at the caves.

Jim Penfold… Happy days! I’ve got the Hastings Observer’s review of that gig and will post it when I can find it! It says promoter Simon Fuller raised £100 for charity for this sold out gig!….it’s a pity Simon didn’t go on to bigger things……

Mike Mitchell… I remember seeing Simon strolling down the road stuffing fiver’s into his pockets… We got paid a fiver for being bottom of the bill. My first professional engagement as a drummer. Happy days indeed.

Sharon Tandy – Falaise Hall Hastings 17th May 1968

Photo from Dutch TV programme Fenklup, 9 February 1968 by A. Vente, A & F. van Geelen

Andy Qunta..She did my favourite version of Stay With Me, Baby. Great voice!

Janet Rennie… She was fab . What happened to her

Alan Parker… I think she originated from S. Africa. and went back home

Mick O’Dowd… How did I not know of this? Loved Sharon Tandy but also believed her to be coloured! Recorded for Atlantic and her most well-known tune was Toe-Hold.