Head On plus Missing Persons – Queens Hotel 1st December 1979

supplied by Mick Mepham and Pete Prescott

featuring Pete Prescott, Andy Qunta, Tony Qunta, Steve Kinch and Mark Thirsk.

Pete Prescott… I remember this gig. I was very nervous. They were amazing players. Nice guys as well.

Andy Qunta… I vaguely remember it too! Pete did a great job! Unfortunately I think it was the last gig we did. Couldn’t fight punk rock with prog rock! Fun while it lasted though!

Tony Qunta… I remember it too. A line up with great potential!

Ernest Ballard… Great band saw them a few times before I started playing drums (wink wink ). Long time ago now

Pete Prescott… We played a gig at a boutique in London. After the gig I got really drunk on punch (dangerous stuff). We got back to Hastings in time for me to go to work. The green cross code man was there. Huge guy. That was (I think) the last gig. Mark was an amazing drummer. Brilliant players. I felt out of my depth. I remember loving Tony’ s voice on “only you”. I’ve still got a tape of songs like “the burning of Atlanta” it was great being in the band with guys like that. And they were so funny.

Steve Kinch… Yes Pete, absolutely agree, Mark was a fabulous drummer with a great sense of humour.

Tony Qunta… Great memory Pete! Yes the green cross code man – was he in Star Wars or something? Thank you for your lovely comments about the band. Your vocals were fantastic with the band – it’s a shame the band didn’t keep going!  ‘Dinosaur Promotions’!

Steve Kinch… David Prowse – He was only Darth Vader!!!!  Great times! Hastings in the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s was the pefect environment for young musicians learning their craft. With hindsight, the late 70’s wasn’t exactly a good time to be attempting to get a “prog” band off the ground

Andy Qunta… True, Steve, but it was fun trying! Listening to the old tapes makes me feel it was well worth it! Pretty darn good stuff!

Shaft promo photo Rock A Nore Road and Hastings Pier Ballroom


This is a promotion photo for Martin Casson Agency, taken at Rock A Nore Road. I think the car belonged to the photographer?


Shaft on the stage at Hastings Pier – Early 70’s photos supplied by Andy Knight 

Andre Martin (commenting on the last photo) That is a really excellent shot of the Happy Ballroom – and of Andy when he had plenty of hair -Hah Hah

Andy Knight… Shaft (son of Freeway) on the Pier

Nick Shute… wow!! a sound city pa and the hofner bass….looks like a lot of my old gear up there!!!

Len Smith… Colin Pierce, Jim Beadle, Andy Knight, Bob Shipway, Dave Shaw

Ross Holter… Great band

Mark Gilham… Is that a Marcos?

Ralph Town… Yes Mark.

Robin Hughes… (To Mark Gilham) – that certainly is a Marcos and that presumably means that the photographer in question was John Sweet who was based at the top of London Road in Silverhill

Mark Gilham… Great British car, as was the TVR.

Robert Searle… Dave Shaw on the right

Robin Hughes… A photo very similar to this, taken at same time but different expressions and head positions, appeared in the Hastings and St.Leonards Observer in the Spring of 1972 above an article about the Carnival Queen’s contest. The subject line of the photo said ” Shaft, the up-and-coming pop group who will be at Bonita’s on Monday when the Carnival Queen contest will be decided”.

The Beez Neez – Help Our Pop Group – 1977


Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin…This will get a few people thinking – from Hastings Observer July 1977

Chris Pook….This was an ad for the group that became The Beez Neez. Julie was one of the singers and we used to practise at Nutrition House in the health food shop which was owned by her family! Her brother Mark was the drummer and the lead guitarist joined the Mobiles and featured on their hit singles and was also on ToTP! Mr O’Dowd was our manager. I played bass guitar.

Peter Millington….This may have resulted in Beez Kneez being launched

Chris Pook….It definitely was Peter. the group was started by Roy Harris and had his son Mark on drums, and daughters Julie and Tracey as singers. The guitarists chopped and changed and the singing line up varied from a lead singer with three backing singers to just a lead singer. We gigged extensively in town and all over the South East, even going as far as south Wales!

Mick O’Dowd….I answered this add and became their manager.

Mark Harris….good days!!!!

Andre Martin…..Here is a flashback to those days –


Lance Collins… Just found this site. Remember Chris well. Loading up gear from Nutrition House. Supported them a few times with my disco. Shooting Star Roadshow. Happy days

SMART coffee meet 25 – Friday 15th January 2016.


SMART COFFEE MEET 25. The next SMART coffee meet is Friday 15th January 2016 – 3.30pm till 6.00pm in The Seafront Room, White Rock Hotel, Hastings.

Please bring any photos, cuttings, records etc that would be interesting for others to see or just bring yourself and please mention it to other like minded people.

Mick O’Dowd… Thanx for all the birthday wishes from all my fabulous fans. Without you I would be nothing. I’d also like to thank my manager and hair stylist without whom I could not appear in public.I shal be making a rare public appearance at The SMART Meet on Jan 15th and will be willing to sign autographs for you for a small consideration. No seriously folks all best wishes have been gratefully received. Thank You. xx

Jim Breeds… The hair stylist deserves an award!

Andre Martin… Colin, Alan -I think that we will have to check the small print on this character, age can have a profound impact on their state of mind


supplied by Jim Breeds. photo sourcehttps://uk.pinterest.com/pin/409546159835798885/?fb_ref=486107490937755471%3A6922f48072591f09496dcfc

Jim Breeds… photo above of the The next SMART meet up?

Andre Martin… This is a very acurate image of ” the Gangs All Here” so lets make it a great first for 2016 as a thanks to Alan for his preception and perserverance over the years, and even if the weather is cruel then we must all remember that rule ” THE SHOW GOES ON…..”

Jeanette Jones… Hope y’all have a great meet;-)



SMART 13 coffee meet report 15th August 2014

The big question everyone was asking is Where’s Andre! Good crowd again and excellent afternoon. Chat was about… Beatles first 10 albums coming out on Mono vinyl, Cliff Richard, pirate radio, local bands reforming, Factory rehearsals, beach concert, bare-faced blues festival, what direction we are taking SMART in, Osibisa, how to get more people involved and how to get them to go into the attic to find these photos that they keep promising. Very grateful to Phil Little for bringing along copies of his magazine Music Files from the 1990s. Some wonderful reviews and cuttings which will be scanned and posted in due course. Lol Cooksey has found some amazing photos of the band ‘The Mone’ and ‘Rock Museum’. Look out for these soon. Among the new people were Roy Brigden from Hastings Pier Charity looking for high resolution photos, posters etc from bands that have played the pier and these could be used when it reopens in 2015. Good to see Graham & Wendy Weaver talking about Hastings Rock Radio and another first timer was Eric Cawthraw who bought some rare albums to show us, including ‘Man’. Mick O’Dowd has updated his folder on the Pier gigs with lots of interesting photos and a number I have not seen before. A few cd’s were changing hands and a great time was had by all. This is only a small part of what was talked about. Anyone else that had interesting chats that I missed, please feel free to post details here.

Barry Taylor….This is what Barry Taylor, Phil John, Andy Gunton & Pete Prescott were talking about. Mott The Hoople, Steamhammer, Sergeant and the fesitval scene in Europe in late 60’s early 70’s. How Rod Stewart came to record Maggie May, the song that made him a megastar. Barry was involved in the circumstances surrounding that song.
The darker side of Led Zeppelin was touched on, specifically the management characters involved in the band and their road fever antics in America. Uriah Heep, Foreigner, King Crimson… who Barry recalls playing a support spot at the old Marquee right at the start of their career.

Andy Qunta… Would like to hear Barry’s story about Maggie May. Big fan of Steamhammer, and especially their 2nd guitarist & songwriter, Martin Quittenton, who I believe co-wrote that song.

Yvonne Cleland… Breaking news! Will Thomson has promised to come to the next SMART meeting as long as I remind him! Perhaps you could all help me with this? 🙂

Tony Qunta… Excellent news!

Alan Esdaile… Just been chatting to Kevin Hoad, so Daisy reunion?

Yvonne Cleland… I know that Moff is up for it! I mentioned it to Will last night. It would be a good addition to the Factory reunion!

Mick O’Dowd… Another great afternoon. Well done Alan,I don’t know how you keep it up. Sad not to see the omni-presence that is Andre and I wish him speedy recovery.

Hastings Records Shops by Tony May for Hastings Town Magazine

As regular readers will know, I have a very soft spot for all things musical and have written a number of articles for H.T. about local record shops and characters associated with them.

Well, I’m delighted to inform you this month that a new website called ‘The British Record Shop Archive’ has been set up by another such enthusiast, Leon Parker.

The aim of the website is not just to record for posterity the name of every record shop to ever open its doors in the U.K. but to also make sure that the social interaction, culture and day-to-day way of life that was buying a physical music product from a real person over a counter is documented and remembered.

Having been in more record shops than Sir Richard Branson over the years I have been having a whale of a time contributing photos, memories and memorabilia to the site and you will be glad to know, have personally made sure that Jack & Sonia London’s ‘The Record Shop’ webpage has been royally decked out and the part they played here in Hastings for 44 years properly recorded.



In fact, Hastings Town has played quite a large part in helping me to see that Hastings record outlets are not forgotten. As well as my article on Jack London, I have contributed my article ‘Remembering Alan Jensen’ about the man we knew and loved as ‘Big Al’ of The Disc Jockey and submitted the photos our sadly missed friend, Ron Fellows, sent me of Stylus Records.

Being a true ‘anorak’ I also sent in photos of a few old local record shop bags I found stored away in the loft as well.

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Its sobering to think now that at the height of the popularity of vinyl records in the 1980’s there used to be thousands of independent record shops in the U.K. In 2009 that figure had dropped to just 269 (according to The Independent newspaper).

Somewhat surprisingly, the current total is actually a bit higher than that but this is tempered by the fact that of the larger chain stores only HMV is still with us and even most of their shops have now turned into larger versions of a supermarkets entertainment section. Gone from our high street are once familiar names like Virgin, Our Price and latterly , MVC and Borders.

While it is fair to say that I will not cry too many tears for the multiples, their passing is a relevant reminder of just how much of an impact The Internet and the buying power and pricing policy of the supermarkets have had in recent years.

So, thinking back to the early to mid 80’s for a moment, how many of the following Hastings & St Leonards record selling outlets do you remember?

The Disc Jockey – Queens Rd

The Record Shop – Queens Rd

Masons Music – Queens Rd

Woolworths – In Hastings and along Kings Road… I still can’t believe they went bust…

Greens – A department in ‘Debenhams’

Boots – Robertson Street (Oh yes they did! Upstairs)

W.H.Smiths – Who were then where ‘Yates’ is today and who had a second branch along Kings Road…

Abnormality Records – I think this was in High Street along the Old Town?

The Rock N’ Roll Shop  – Not sure if this was its name but it was alive and rockin’ in George Street for years…

Stylus Records – My old shop in Castle Street.

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Aside from all these I also remember Alan Whitfield’s second hand place at the top end of Queens Road (just past where ‘Morrisons’ is today on the corner), a short-lived record shop in London Road opposite The Old England pub and another hi-fi style shop that sold records in Kings Road itself.

Phew! Makes me dizzy just thinking of how many miles I must have walked visiting all of those places while collecting my 5,000 or so records!

The beginning of the end for most of these places came when the ‘Our Price’ chain took over the old Disc Jockey premises in Queens Road so you can see why I shed no tears over losing most of the multiples. Sadly, the same rule of thumb applies today, if you want to ruin something throw big money at it because as sure as eggs are eggs as soon as you do the biggest fish devour all of the little fish and leave you with a pool that’s unsafe to swim in!

I know I wax lyrical about how great life in a record shop was but as those of you who have worked at some time in a shop will know, the general public can be a strange lot to deal with  (“Do you sell shaving cream? – “No. This is a Record Shop mate”. “Oh, what about Batteries?”) and quiet times can literally drive you nuts!

Thinking back to my days in Stylus Records, January and February were rather like volunteering for solitary confinement!

Mind you, this did have its merits because all there was to do was to stand at the browsers and look through the album sleeves and this came in very handy one afternoon…

I will always remember the day because a tired looking man of about 62 came into the shop. Looking at me in my rather brightly coloured clothes (I was a boy back then! HA HA) he kind of sighed as if resigned to his fate…

“I’m looking for a record entitled ‘The Ballad Of The Green Berets’ but I don’t know who its by”, he said, as if expecting a blank look in response.“ Oh, you need this by Sergeant Barry Sadler” I said, walking to the exact place the record sleeve could be found in the browsers. Well, you have never seen a man look so surprised in your life!

The man’s mood lightened up in an instant and he told me that he had searched high and low for information and been to numerous other record shops without success (there was no Internet to look things up on in those days) before coming to Stylus.

“ When I saw a young person like yourself was working here I almost didn’t bother to come in and ask”, he admitted before telling me the record was for his dying father who used to be a green beret and had asked to hear the song one more time before he died.

The memory of being able to help provide that man with one final piece of happiness for his dying father has stayed with me all these years. Neither before nor after that day has my obsessive knowledge of music served a better purpose and I doubt I will ever see anyone look more surprised than he did when I just ‘came out’ with the information he required as if I was asked for the record every day of my life…

So, please don’t tell me that High Street shopping is rightfully a thing of the past because I know differently.

You can visit The British Record Shop Archive at the following web address: www.britishrecordshoparchive.org/

Mick O’dowd….I can confirm that the one in High Street was called Abnormality and was run by a guy called Keith. He specialised in second-hand records and mainly of an “alternative” genre. I was a regular customer because I worked down the road from there for a while. I actually got “The Walls Ice Cream” Apple ep from him pretty cheap and a bootleg Elvis Costello, “Live At The El Macambo”.He always had good quality bootlegs
available under the counter. Just up the road near FILO was another shop which closed in the late sixties I believe and was run my Al Smith and i’m sure Andre would remember him. Although essentially a second-hand shop he had quite an extensive selection of albums and singles for sale. Also, I realise that the article was themed around the ’80’s, The Disc Jockey and Al Jensen had 3 Disc Jockey shops going at one time. There was the one in Queens Road that was virtually opposite your shop a couple of doors up from the Records Shop. The Disc Jockey +1 in High Street and one, I believe in either Kings Road or London Road.

Andre Palfrey-martin…. can confirm that there was a Disc Jockey Shop in Kings Road, by the steps to London Road, its now one of the St Michaels Hospice Shops, ran from about 1963 till I think about 1968.

Johnny Mason….I remember the shop near the filo, the guy would not let you look properly at the records and kept watching you and saying are you going to buy anything. Didn’t Attwells sell records in the piano shop on the seafront near London Road St Leonards?

Martyn Baker….Yep I remember the shop near the filo. I used to go in there aged about 14, in the hope of finding a cheap copy of Led Zepp II, or whatever, and got hugely distracted by the racks of secondhand porn. And yes. I used to get asked if I was going to buy anything too!

Andre Palfrey-martin….Quite correct Alan – see this advert from 1964 Observer



John….For anyone still interested in buying vinyl, there’s a new record fair starting up in Hastings. The first event is on the 29th of June 2014 at the Ore Community Centre, Old London Road.