The Happy Ballroom and more – Christmas 1965 part 2 by Andre Martin

CHRISTMAS 1965 Part 2
That was Christmas Eve 24th December 1965, done and dusted, we now move to Christmas Day, and the Pier does play a large part in the local celebrations, believe it or not, one of the big attractions to the Entertainments on Hastings Pier other than the Happy Ballroom, was the Sea Fishing. And apart from the Beach Fishing sessions on both Christmas and Boxing Day, on the Pier was a real competition with a very good turnout of competitors and followers alike. The Bar and Café were in full operation at the time, so they no doubt played a part in the celebrations. The Pier was usually closed after about 3.00pm in the afternoon for the rest of the day.
Boxing Day 26th December was a Sunday, and this would have presented many restrictions as to opening hours etc, the only entertainment that is listed on the Pier that day, as the Annual Coffee Dance 10.30am – 1.00pm and the main attraction were the Lurking Cromwell’s, and I have so far found no more details of this outfit – if anything comes to hand I will let you all know.
The Witch Doctor was closed for the Saturday and Sunday and did not re-open until Monday 27th December with “ Boxing Day Carnival” featuring The Fabulous Symbols and The Poor Boys – late bar to 11.30pm [people had to get to work the next day, in fact I remember many who had worked on Boxing Day in Hastings, with all the stores & shops being open and Busses running] From what I recall, this was an excellent night and the venue was packed. I can also confirm that both the PamDor and Fiesta were open on the Sunday and Monday.
Christmas Day on the Radio – The Light Programme – 7.00am Christmas Morning Music, 8.30am Family Choice,9.30am HM The Queen, 10.00am Saturday Club with Cliff Richard, P J Proby, Bachelors. Joy Strings, The Johnny Pearson Orchestra and Brian Matthew. Later that evening 10.15pm Music for your Party with Joe Loss and His Orchestra, Freddie & The Dreamers, Russ Conway, Kenny Ball and The Lorne Gibson Trio [Close down MIDNIGHT]
On the Sunday – Boxing Day – 10.00am Joe Henderson, 10.30am Easy Beat with Keith Fordyce, 11.30am Peoples Service from Bexhill Methodist Church. 12noon FIVE WAY Family Favourites and for the season greetings from London, Cologne [Koln], Cyprus, Aden & Tripoli thanks to BFBS. This was followed by the usual programmes until closed down at Midnight.
Television had a lot to offer – on Christmas as Day, 9.15am “Welcome Christmas” with Ivor Emmanual, 10.45am Children’s Ward, 12.00noon Leslie Crowther meets the Kids 12.45pm “Champions on Ice”. 1.25pm “The Andy Williams Show” including The Osmonds & Young Americans. 3.00pm HM The Queen, 3.10pm The Billy Smart Circus. 4.00pm “Disney Time”. 6.50 Panto with “Mother Goose” Norman Vaughan, Terry Scott & Jon Pertwee. 6.35pm Dr Who. 7.00pm Max ByGraves. 8.00pm “The Road To Bali” [Film] with Crosby, Hope & Lamoor. 9.30pm The Ken Dodd Show with special guest Sandie Shaw. 10.35 Top of the Pops 65 with DJs Jimmy Saville, David Jacobs, Alan Freeman & Pete Murray.
On the Sunday highlights included 9.30 am “The Christmas Oratorio” J S Bach 11.30am International Balloon Racing. 12.15pm Repeat of TOTP 65, 1.35 “Jack and The Beanstalk” & 2.50pm “The Dick Van Dyke Show”.
Monday Bank Holiday Radio included 10.00am The Hollies, The Ivy League, The Yardbirds, The Seekers, Elkie Brooks, Kenny Lynch and Division Two. 12.00noon Forces Jamboree thanks to BFBS linking all parts of the Forces on land and at sea -with Norman Vaughan, Anita Harris, Barron Knights, Danny Williams, Frankie Howerd and the Cliff Adams Singers. 1.00pm “The Mitchell Minstrels” later in the afternoon 4.20pm and Panto “Alice in Wonderland” from a recording. 5.30pm “ We’ll meet Again” Vera Lynn. 6.45pm Edmundo Ross. Followed by “The Archers”. Later in the evening 10.30pm it was Jazz Club with Humphery Littleton.
Television for that Monday included 12.25pm Grandstand, 4.25pm Blue Peter with Christopher Trace and Val Singleton, 4.50pm Jackanory . 5.00pm The Royal Ballet. 7.00pm “United” a soap opera – technical advisor Jimmy Hill [ed RIP] 7.30pm Brian Rix & “The Whitehall Farce”. 9.20pm, Perry Mason.
“Thank Your Lucky Stars” on ITV that night included Jim Dale, Ivy League. Barron Knights, Frankie Vaughan and Ruby Murray.
I will pick on next Friday Night – New Years Eve in next weekend’s episode. OK time to go and look at the leftovers and start thinking more about 1966, which was to be a special year in many ways for some of us. I do hope that you have enjoyed these blogs, they have changed from what had been the original intention to be a “History of the Happy Ballroom-Hastings Pier” but then our lives changed, and if this weekly write up brings back memories I am glad. Till next weekend and the last slice of 1965 you all take care.
Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2015

Alan Esdaile…  Really enjoy reading these Andre.

SMART 24 coffee meet report.


A great turn out for our last meet of 2015 which turned out very magical. Among the newbies this time were Martin Stringer, Martyn Baker, Jim and Allyson Breeds and Margaret Beckett. Martin Baker brought some great cuttings and photos of Before The Storm, The Roaring 80s, Missing Persons, Billy Whiz, The Teenbeats, The Breathers, Titch Turner’s Escalators, Salvation Sunday and loads more. He also had cuttings on The Graffiti Club which I had forgotten about but this was the name of the club underneath The Queens Hotel after it changed from ‘Emmas’. Anyone remember it?  Martin Stringer had with him some great photos of The Abysmal Sister and pre Ritz group photos which we are still trying to find out the name of the group. Jim and Allyson Breeds had with him some Decca 78’s from the 1930’s of The Hastings Municipal Orchestra. Unfortunately we were unable to play them but hope to get them copied across so we can hear them at a later date. He also had The Radio Times from 1972 and lots of rare early Beatles cuttings. Mick O’Dowd brought some Q Magazine photographic supplements which featured many iconic black & white photos. Margaret Beckett was asking everyone for hi res versions of some of the early photos and cuttings we have posted. This is for Archie’s forthcoming pier video.  Roger Carey had with him leaflets of Head On  Martin Casson Agency Pier gigs, Fusion Orchestra, The Kinks, Jon Hiseman Tempest, Wild Turkey, Quadrille, Steamhammer, press cutting of Pueblo and an autograph from the Hawkwind gig. Expecting it to be Lemmy’s but no it was the  exotic dancer Stacia signature!

Halfway through the proceedings we were very lucky that Martin Stringer agreed to treat us to some impressive magic and mentalist tricks. Further chat was about ELO, when John Bonham played Hastings Pier, interesting story from John Petri when he met Jimi Hendrix plus lots more. Anyone else have any other comments to add about interesting bits and stories you discussed then please do so.


Mick O’Dowd… Quite a “magical” SMART Meet this month. Those of you hardy souls who made it will know why. Interesting find from Jim & Allyson Breeds who brought along some 78’s of The Hastings Municipal Orchestra at The White Rock from 1926! None of the Smarties is old enought to remember this event although some might be feeling they were! Interesting afternoon and totally different to what’s been before. Nice to see our photographer is back from her holidays. Well done Alan as per usual. Take a break ’till next year now.

Jimmy Kent… Cheers Alan, enjoyed myself during the short time I was there. Next time I’ll make sure I can stay longer.

Allyson Breeds… It was fun. I think 😉

Andre Martin… Having seen the original 78s, they are a little bit of History of Hastings Music Scene circa 1930s, let hope that Jim will be able to get they digitally recorded so that we can keep copies in the Museum for future generation to hear.

Andy Qunta… Sounds great! Another fab time missed! 😉

Geoff Peckham… Wish I was there, too. Family duties prevailed again. Hopefully next time.

Chris Baker… What ever happened to Bob Shipway?

Jim Breeds… We had a great time meeting Facebook friends, some of them met in person for the first time. You can’t bottle this stuff, sadly! 🙂

SMART coffee meet 18. Friday 6th March 2015 – White Rock Hotel.

SMART COFFEE MEET 18. The next SMART coffee meet is Friday 6th March 2015 – 3.30pm at the White Rock Hotel. Please bring any photos, cuttings, records etc that would be interesting for others to see or just bring yourself. Please mention it to other like minded people and new people are most welcome to join us.

Kevin Burchett… must try and get there

Paul Dove… yeh gonna make it at last, got some bits to bring along, Dovey

Stinger Magazine no.6


It’s here! Issue 6 of The Stinger has arrived and is now available.  Don’t forget that it also includes a full Fat Tuesday programme at the back of the magazine.

Alan Esdaile… Bumper issue and a great read, with The Fat Tuesday full guide, write up from Stuart Huggett on The Teenbeats and The Mod Revival and new Indie record shop in Eastbourne ‘Pebble Records’.

Stuart Huggett… Ah, good stuff, I’ll keep my eyes open. Got loads of Teenbeats interview material in the end.

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.

Expandis – Rise Of Psychomouse

31st March – The Carlisle Hastings

To celebrate the launch of their new e.p. ‘Rise’ Expandis are back after a 30 year break.


Now a two piece, the amazing ‘John Wilde’ aka ‘Psychomouse’ on vocals and multi talented ‘Phil Thornton’ on guitar, keyboards and any number of taped oddities. They take their influences from ‘Talking Heads’, ‘Kraftwerk’, ‘D.A.F.’ and ‘Yellow Magic Orchestra’. With a high energy mystic trippy throbbing sound that works its way into your brain and won’t go away, moving  you like nothing else. All eyes were transfixed on John, who was in full make up and Disney ears. Dancing around like a man possessed, with a nightmarish evil menacing grin and managing to contort his body in all manner of positions.  The stand out track for me is the more mellow ‘Prayer Mat’ from the new cd with John’s vocals at their very best. They also treated us to some covers ‘Prince’ ‘sign o the times’ , Pink Floyd’s ‘set the controls for the heart of the sun’ and Hawkwinds ‘master of the universe’.  Some old classics were played including the disturbing ‘everything stops for baby’  and ‘I don’t mind the noise’ which is always loved by the crowd. Expandis are back and stronger than ever. Don’t forget they will be playing  ‘The Big Green Cardigan Festival’ later in the year.

 Johnny Mason                                                                                     

Featured in Hastings Observer  19th April 2013