John Miles – Congress Theatre Eastbourne – 21st March 1978

Jan Warren… Love the song Music! Found the single in a charity shop last week for 20p

Pete Fisher… saw him supporting Robin Trower that year – he did a grand job – great show!

Paul Morfey… Saw him at Reading fest. ’77 Great!! Thin lizzy were dancing in the moon light!!

Virginia Davis… Saw him at the Congress Eastbourne

Robert Searle… Still got Rebel album on vinyl

Alan Esdaile… So have I.

Iain Cobby… I was there at Eastbourne, was I with you Mr Davis or am I dreaming. I seem to recall overtaking Rod Hull in his RR on the marsh road in my little red mini,coming back to Hastings ……….. or was this a cruel dream?

Tony Davis… Cruel dream mate. I’ve never seen John Miles or your little red mini

Iain Cobby… That’s odd, wonder who it was then?, could have been Steve D. still you missed a really good gig. I remember the stage sets were excellent, and the band spot on. Music was my first love……………………

Tim Moose Bruce…. Was at the congress in 83 and 84 too

Mark Hudson… Listeniing to John Miles on R2 it reminded me I went to that concert at the Congress. I worked at the Burlington Hotel in Eastbourne and this was my first concert I ever went to. Interested to see The Stylistics and Candi Staton were playing at the Congress back in the day. How times have changed as I cannot imagine Eastbourne would get acts like that these days.

Alan King… he sang with Jimmy Page for a while, I did some stuff back in London at the same time with a Venezuelan bass player Durban Laverde (sp ?) who was on the same album/tour, Miller Anderson also worked with him in Germany for a while, nobody had a bad word to say about him

Paul Dallaway… He came to the Congress twice and i saw him live on both occasions. Superb under rated man.

Mark Little… I saw him, great player!!!

SMART 40 coffee meet report

photos by Sarah Harvey

Our 40th meet and among the newbies this time were Mandie B (Amanda Brooks), Len Benton and Alan King. Mandie was talking to Len about her new blues band ‘Undercover Agents’ and the history of Soul X Press. Barry French found an early Christmas Soul Party poster, in memory of Andy Ashmore, at the Yelton Hotel in 1996 . He was showing Cliff Wootton his early sheet music of Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley, Hot Love T Rex, Cumberland Gap Lonnie Donegan and Winchester Cathedral by The New Vaudeville Band. Len had with him the very first Soul X Press photos with Russell Field on saxophone. Photos to be posted in the next few days.  Mick O’Dowd arrived with the TV series of The Grimleys on DVD which featured Alvin Stardust and Noddy Holder.  Pete Prescott had books of Soul Sacrifice The Santana Story, Home Before Daylight My Life on the Road with Grateful Dead and Bermondsey Boy Tommy Steele. Alan King was talking about the success of The Prisonaires gigs and John Petri and Phil Gill were discussing how they started in bands and how annoyed they are by getting rid of their early guitars. Tim McDonald was talking about his mint copies of The Beatles LP’s, Sarah Harvey was talking about the excellent show of Steeleye Span in Hastings and review coming shortly.  Wendy & Graham Weaver arrived with their lovely dog, who was happy to be pampered during the whole meeting. Pete Millington was reminiscing with Len, Laurie Cooksey was catching up with Clive Richardson,  Nigel Ford was remembering the dances at Battle and Andre Martin and Sarah Ferguson were remembering gigs and how things have changed. While Carole and Ann were talking about Christmas shopping!  Sorry for anyone I missed. This is just a small bit of what I remember, anyone who wishes to add anything interesting you were talking about, then please feel free to do so.

Pete Prescott… I saw Len there but didn’t see Mandy. Specsavers here I come!

Pete Millington… I didn’t get the chance to say Hi as you were deep in conversation from the moment you arrived to the time I left. Ah, I know! you were checking out the song words to increase your chances of getting chocks!

Jan Warren… I can see a photo of Fusion Orchestra on SMART mag, issue 40. December 2017!! – is this a magazine? and where can I get this Issue from?? – I’ve always been a true fan of Fusion Orchestra and the amazing Jill Saward, who I was lucky to meet and chat with in September of this year at a Shakatak gig in Eastbourne, I took along all my Fusion Orchestra souvenirs, of which she was absolutely thrilled to see!! so could you please tell me if I could get the issue of this magazine? thank you!! – also, I would have loved to have seen Mandie B. again, we were quite good friends years ago, but have lost touch, she was great fun!! ………… yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I really need to get to your meetings and I’m sorry I haven’t made it yet, I know I would love it and yes, I have some interesting stuff to share, its just that I’ve been very reclusive for many years and find it difficult to leave my “comfort zone”, but please bear with me, I will get to you one day, I must!! – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all at this wonderful SMART group, and Thank You!!

Mick O’Dowd… No Jan. It’s a thing that’s given out at each Meet and contains info on what went on at the previous Meet and other snippets. Nothing in depth. I’m sure if you contact Alan via SMART he could send you one. You’ll always welcome to attend and then you’d get one straight of the press! A great Meet Alan. One of the best. Interestings chats with Len, Clive Richardson & Pete Millington & Sarah Harvey.

Jim Breeds… Sorry we didn’t make it. We were up to our necks in removal boxes that needed unpacking and rooms sorted ready for my daughter’s arrival for the weekend. Hope to be there next time.

Andy Qunta… Great photos!

Steve Cooke… The Grimleys. Was great seeing Noddy acting. Bring back Miss Titley. (before she was famous!)

Amanda Brooks… Great meeting on Fri. Thank you ! Xx




The Hastings Flyer – gig guide and events listing for Hastings


New gig guide and events website for Hastings.

Andre Martin… Wrong Loco – it should be a Southern Schools Class Locomotive from the old West St Leonards Depot !

Paul Huggett… Very much needed, if lackadaisical venue managers can be arsed with providing the info. “Live music every Friday” is not good enough!

Happy Christmas and very best wishes for a Happy and Healthy 2017


Painting by Derek Esdaile

We are nearly at that time again. It has been a very difficult year with the loss of some special friends and family and a number of people we didn’t know personally but played a major part and still do in our love of music. It is a sad time for many but I hope some of the postings keep the happy memories alive. Thanks to everyone for the amazing support but we always need more photos and cuttings and new people to keep the page interesting. Very best wishes for Christmas and The New Year.

Dave Nattress… Thanks Alan. Wonderful site. For so long I tried to go back in time and re-discover, remember, recall, so much of the local music scene, a lot centred around the pier and the hundreds of bands that played there. It seemed like every Saturday night us in the Bexhill lot would trek to the pier to see the bands – and indeed we saw many, but it’s amazing how many we missed and so many I just did not recall had played there. Best wishes Alan and all and lets keep the memories flowing. I’ve copied into a folder all the band gig posters that are put on the site. Fabulous memories.

Chris Sambrook… it’s been a bad year for you Alan. I miss my parents at this time of the year. They were great, i’ll never forget my Mum saying Hendrix made the guitar sing on the LULU show and my Dad saying he makes a bloody racket more like, bless him. Have a fair enough Christmas my friend.

Jim Breeds… Seasons greetings to you Alan. Onwards and upwards in 2017. Thanks for all you do on this group. Great painting, by the way. Love it.

Eric Harmer… Hope to catch up more in the new year mate 👍

Kevin Sherwood… Always enjoyable looking back through your posts. A very happy Christmas to all.

Mick O’Dowd… Happy Christmas Alan. Thanx for another great year of SMART. Let’s hope you have a better year personally.

Chris Jolly…. Great to meet you earlier this year Alan! See you soon in 2017.  What a super picture Alan, It’s beautiful.

Phil Little… Thanks for all you do, Alan, Happy Christmas.

Wendy Weaver… We really enjoy our SMART get togethers and look forward to more of the same in 2017. Happy Christmas to all. Wendy and Graham.

Teresa Bassett… Thanks Alan. Really enjoy the posts in this group-even if I am many miles away in Cleethorpes and only visit Hastings occasionally . I confess to sharing a lot of posts to Gy, Clee Punk Scene and they go down well !! Merry Christmas to you all.

Andy Qunta… Same to you, Alan, and thanks for all the things you do! 🙂

John Wilde… Merry Christmas to You Alan. Thank you for your tireless work on bringing local musicians and music lovers together. I am happy to be a part of some of those memories. And big heads up to fellow musos and fans of our rich history. Keep on keeping on. Much love from Seattle by way of The Zoobies, Stallion, The Breathers and Expandis. Happy New Year.

Sarah Harvey… Thanks you Alan for all you have done to reunite so many people locally….I personally have found some long lost friends through SMART, so you are a real star in my eyes. My love to all who are connected with SMART in some way, you have all enriched my life so much. Big slobbery kisses to you all xxxx 🙂

Colin Norton… Hi Alan, Thanks for all you are doing for SMART! Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year.

Iain Cobby… Hey Alan, Merry Christmas and a better new year, my old friend. Thank you for all you have done over the years. You are our anchor and glue all our memories into a vast scrapbook that brings all our lives back in time, we were all younger then and didn’t know that they were to be the best years of our lives. keep on rocking!

Colin Bell… In a difficult year you have brought many people together who perhaps wouldn’t have and put a smile on peoples faces. After being friends for getting on half a century! What can i say but have a Happy and healthy Christmas mate and long live the ‘ballroom all-stars’ lol!

Josie Lawson… Very pleased I joined your group. Happy Christmas and hope you all have a good New Year….

Jan Warren… Yes, I’m very pleased I joined this group too!! – I love all the memories and nostalgia we share!! – Thanks Alan and thanks to everyone involved in this group – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all 🙂 

Tony Qunta… Happy Christmas to you too Alan! All the very best wishes for the New Year! See you in 2017. 

Pauline Sims… Great card 🙂

Yvonne Cleland… Great pic, Alan. Wishing you love and peace for the end of 2016 and much happiness in 2017 xxx

Kevin Burchett and Scalliwags… wishing you all a merry christmas and a happy new year xx

Jeanette Jones… What a lovely card. Thanks Ez, for everything you do. Hope you have a lovely Christmas too xxx

Virginia Davis… Merry Christmas to you also.

Eric Cawthraw… Merry Christmas Alan and to all at SMART, all the best and every happiness for 2017. A bit of peace on earth would be novel.

Kevin Carleonis… Wishing all SMART members a very happy and special Yule and may 2017 bring each and every one of you health, happiness and plenty but remember my motto – ‘For Need, Not For Greed’. And finally the man himself Alan / Johnny who has brought all of you together. A sincere and lovely man who I wish all things good for. I still think he should do an on line music show originally called ‘The Mason’s Music Show’!


The Happy Ballroom and more 5th March 1966 by Andre Martin

Time marches on and we find that we have now reached the weekend of Saturday 5th March 1966 – and for the first time for a while we see activity on Hastings Pier, and to be precise The Happy Ballroom and reactivated the Saturday Night Dances, this week the top of the bill are Hedge Hoppers Anonymous. They had a hit record in 1965 with “Its Good News Week” incidentally produced by one Jonathan King! But that is not all on the Pier, because Disc Jockey Promotion have started a Thursday Night event known as TEEN BEAT Coffee Club in the Pier Restaurant, this week the music is provided by Mud Mulligans Big Boss Band. 7.30pm – 10.30pm all for 2/6d. That has to be a move in the right direction of having the Dancing Sign flashing again after so many months across the front of the Ballroom.
Friday Evenings started with the one and only MOD show – Ready Steady Go from London, and on the show this week, David Bowies & The Buzz :”Can’t help thinking about me”, Manfred Mann, Small Faces : “Sha La La La Lee”, Spencer Davis: “Somebody Help Me”, Yardbirds: “Shape of Things to Come” with Keith and Cathy to pull it all together in their great way.
The Witch Doctor was gearing up to more entertainment in the coming week – On Saturday headlining were Essex band The Symbols who were regulars at the club and would later go onto have a couple of hit records on the President Label. On that night the support was from another well know group in the club – The Blue Stars and as ever Johnny Mann spinning the records. Sunday afternoon Dance sessions were as popular as ever 2.30pm – 5.00pm all for 1/6d. Tuesday night it was “Candlelight Spin” 7.30pm – 11.00pm for a whole 2/-. Thursday Night was as ever the night for The Muscles Maxted Show. Friday nights were back on the programme from next week 11th March with the Anteeks. Even so, they all keep respectable hours and the shows would have been over by 11.00pm. On the Radio The BBC Light Programme, followed its usual schedule, some of the hi-lights this week included – Saturday Club The Animals, Yardbirds,Dave Berry & The Cruisers, Jackie Lee, and Mister Murray – Brian Matthew was in control and adding some new records. Later in the evening 6.30pm on Jazz Club were the very popular Kenny Ball & His Jazz Men. Sunday it was Easy Beat, Two Way Family Favourites with London & Koln [it’s been a while now for a link up anywhere else in the world] Pick of the Pops and Movie Go Round.
Television on Saturday included –Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs this week’s panel included Eric Burdon, Maloo Pantera, Gene Pitney and Briony Newton. That evening it was time for the Eurovision Competition this year the broadcast came from Luxemburg, and we were represented by Kenneth McKeller “A Man without Love” – The final outcome was that we came 9th with 8 points (thanks to Austria and Ireland) the winning entry was from the Austrian entry “Merci Cherie” by Udo Jugens. The commentary was from David Jacobs in the studio. Sunday was a combination of the regular drama and entertainments plus films.
The pirates continued to supply much of the pop mix for us all, and even Radio Caroline was returning to fairly regular schedules after the beaching a few weeks earlier. So there we have the first weekend in March, from all accounts the weather was dry and grey. Until the next instalment, wrap up warm and lets all hope for some dry weather and less wind that at the moment. Until next weeks – the History of the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier et al………..
Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2016

SMART 26 coffee meet report

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Radio Luxembourg book supplied by Chris Saunders, Q Magazine supplied by Mick O’Dowd, photos supplied by Sarah Harvey.

Another great afternoon. Among the newbies this time were Dennis Wootton, Barry French, Justine Wood and Brian Adams.  Great to see the original members of the second Hat Trick line up from 1979 and 1st Emotion were all present.  Colin Bell had with him the new cd’s from The Honeycombs and The Three Degrees and will be reviewing these shortly.  Cliff & Dennis Wootton had some great photos of the very early Supersound Amps, which their father Alan Wootton made from premises in Kings Road and Mount Pleasant Road. They also had some photos of Eddie Ferret Hot Jazz, anyone remember them?  Barry French had poster from  Sixties Sounds gig on the pier in 1992 with the 6T’S, Soul Express, Ace Of Clubs and Project X and also  Rock N Roll charity dance at Falaise Hall with The Humperdinks.  Barry also had  some great photos and cuttings of First Emotion, Amethyst, Dum Dum Boys, Mice On Ice, The Edge and Grundy. Talk was about Factory playing back in town soon to coincide with the cd release (more info soon). Lots of pier talk as usual, a number of negative comments on line but most people agree with everything now coming together lets be positive about it. Mick O’Dowd had the CD box set of Chris Rea Blue Guitars and The Eurythmics Peace. I had a very early Radio Luxembourg book of Record Stars (thanks to Chris Saunders) which reminded Keith Day of when Adam Faith was at Hastings Museum.  Andre mentioned Carnival Radio is coming back in August and amongst his busy schedule of keeping Hastings memories alive, it looks like he will be on television in Europe. Sarah was talking about Hastings Rock Radio and the forthcoming music fest at Marina Fountain and everyones looking forward to Beatles Day on 3rd April 2016. This is just a small bit of what I remember, please feel free to post here any other interesting chat that I missed.

Geoff Peckham… Sorry to miss it, guys. In France just now. See you at Beatles Day if not before.

Jeanette Steve Jones… Wish l’d been there;-)

Andre Martin… Captured for ever ! great stuff Sarah

Peter Millington… Brilliant pics Sarah

Chris Meachen… Would have loved to come, but busy making stock for a train show..

Pete Prescott… Very frustrated. Hate missing them !

Yvonne Cleland… Awwww lovely pic on the newsletter of Chris x And you, Pete!  x

Jim Breeds… Sorry to have missed it! Is it on SMART +1? 😉

Lucy Pappas… Den and Cliff – did we have a band name when we played at St Helen’s Youth Club in the early 70s?

Neil Steadman… Is this a regular event? It sounds fascinating!

Alan Esdaile… Hi Neil, we have a get together about every 6 weeks and you are most welcome to join us at the next one. Once the dates confirmed I will let you know.

Tony Davis… Hi everyone, sorry to miss the meeting but have not been too well lately, Looking forward to more news about Factory gigs and the CD. See you next time or at Beatles day, whichever happens first.

Cliff Wootton… Another really great afternoon. Was absolutely chuffed to see my brother Den and our longtime buddies Baz and Roger. Topped off the day with fish & chips followed by an evening enjoying Rog’s bass playing at the Dolphin. Fab times. So glad to be reconnecting with my musical roots after I moved away from Hastings in 1978.