Hastings Sound – Kings Road St Leonards-On-Sea Christmas 1975


Harry Randall… That was a great place to hang out and get amps repaired bought my JTM Marshall 45watt for £90.00 I think they fetch about £3000 now wish I’d kept it!

Jan Warren… Oh them prices??!!

Tony Qunta… Yes wish I could buy an electric guitar for £16.50!

Kevin Burchett… Im sure hastings sound supplied some of the lights and disco gear for Scalliwags

Dave Nattress… Memories…bought my first PA there – HH MA100? 5/6 channel 10 mixer/amp and a 100w slave, AKG D1200ES mike, HH speakers on stands, then a pair of Carlsbro bass bins, then another mixer/amp. Hastings Sound was a good hang-out.

Kevin Burchett… this is a full page spread in The Observer and Hastings Sound are in it, when they opened Scalliwags


supplied by Kevin Burchett

Dave Weeks… Whatever happened to Leisure Music in Silverhill?

SMART coffee meet report 60

A Great turn out for our 60th SMART coffee meet and among the newbies this time were Rod Stapley, Mike Raxworthy and Lea Mason. Rod was chatting about when he was singing with The Silver Songstars one of the first boy bands with 12 in the group. Coming from a musical family, his dad was a drummer in a dance band. Mike was talking about his busy schedule of events coming up on The Stade which include Midsummer Fish Fest on the 25th & 26th June, 8th July Eddie & The Hot Rods, 9th July Big Band event, 10th July six groups playing and the nearly on the beach event is booked for the 30th & 31st July. Lea was talking about his happy memories when he was a dj for Mecca at The Lyceum, The Tottenham Royal and at The Locarno Ballroom in London. Dave Jenkins had a photo album of the Jimi Hendrix museum in London and remembers seeing him at The Upper Cut Club in Forest Gate on the 26th December 1966 and this is where Hendrix wrote Purple Haze. Mo Elms had with her an autograph book which included autographs of Junior Campbell, Miki Anthony, the actors from Please Sir and also business cards from Free Radio Association 1970 and Broadside Free Radio Movement. Pete Prescott had a bundle of albums including a rare ‘Free Story’ Canadian edition, also interesting photos albums with some of when he worked for Collins & Hayes. Merv Kennard had a massive collection of pirate radio station albums and radio books. Colin Tapp had a pile of tickets and cards of The Humperdinks and The Mix-Sirs. David Muriel had with him the invite card for his 21st birthday party which was held at The Pam Dor in Hastings and the band that performed was The Preachers which featured Peter Frampton and original drummer of The Rolling Stones Tony Chapman. He also had publicity info from the book he wrote with Bruce Veness ‘Gridlock Spumes And The Case With No Name’ which is a spoof on Sherlock Holmes. Among his photo albums were photos of his dad John Muriel when he acted in Treasure Island with The Hastleons. John ran a chiropodist surgery in Wellington Square. General chat was about the sad loss of Ray Fenwick and Martin Stringer, The Pier, Eurovision, happy memories of the white rock baths and our aches and pains! This is just a small bit of what I remember, if you had anything interesting you were talking about then please feel free to add.

Lucy Pappas… I think I missed a good one! xx

Lance Collins… Sorry to miss it. Will catch you next month.

Stephen Moran… Thank you so much for hosting yesterday’s SMART coffee meet Alan. It’s something I always look forward to.

Claire Lonsdale… As usual, I really enjoyed it , chatting to like-minded people and look forward to the next one. Thanks Alan for organising it. X

David Jenkins… Had a great time, so good to see new people . Thanks Alan, you are doing a fantastic job , looking forward to the next one. Dave.

Mick O’Dowd… Wow what a turn out & it didn’t, unfortunately, bring me any bags of sherbert lemons (see ad for Meet online). Loved the collection of pirate radio albums as it contained an album that I was always after on Jumbo Records & Tapes label about Caroline. Interesting
chats with Colin Bell & Stephen Moran among others. Great to see so many newbies coming along and against many would be newbies fears, they are all still alive! A great deal of credit must go to our leader, Alan Esdaile/Johnny Mason for his sterling efforts and hard work in putting this all together for us. THANKS ALAN!

Merv Kennard… Hi Mick, if you want the Caroline story on vinyl look on ebay, I’ve just seen several copies for sale.

Stuart Moir… I must make the effort and get there to reminisce as there are many memories that are interesting to remember.

Keith Veness… Will get there one day

Merv & Cris Kennard… Really enjoyed the gathering this month, I hadn’t seen Paul Hugget since his day’s of commentating at Lydden Hill rally x. And the last time I saw Eric Harmer was 1968 when I left school.

Cassette tapes and Woolworth – 1970’s Advert

Who remembers buying cassettes from Woolworth?

Dennis Torrance… So enjoyed Woolworths everything about it broken biscuit upstairs as a kid and think when it went sad. Cassette tape nightmare always getting caught and after a while the recording just not good but vinyl and tape was the main thing then. How it’s all changed now but vinyl is making a comeback

Roy Penfold… Pick and mix – making sure to ‘sample’ a few sweets before putting them in the bag….

What Was Your Favourite Year In Music? asks Colin Bell

Colin Bell… Alan (Johnny Mason) and I were discussing our favourite year in music, it turned out that both of us said 1967! He asked me my reasons why for a thread on SMART site. I guess its impossible to sum it up without relating it to your own personal circumstances, so forgive me the personal rambling bit! I was 15 loved music and wanted to get into it somehow, so spent my weekends hanging about on the Pier waiting for the bands to turn up then helping them and their roadies lugging the gear up to the ballroom in exchange for staying free for the gig. This was to prove invaluable and give me a start in ‘the business’. The music on the radio (London & Caroline) I loved hearing was to name but a few coming from The Who, Small Faces, The Move, The Troggs etc etc. I was therefore in awe to meet The Move in person in May 67 when they turned up to play the Pier. They turned up in an old van mid afternoon Roy was shy, Carl lively, Ace & Trevor scary(particularly Ace who was very erm stroppy!) Bev however was very friendly and wrote down his address and said if I was ever up North i’d have somewhere to stay. It was a great gig as I’m sure those of you who were there would agree. And so the pattern went on each weekend and all those bands i’d heard on the radio I mentioned earlier I got to meet and form in some cases lasting friendships with, Dave Dee (r.i.p mate) in particular who helped me a lot over the years. In no particular order just some of the records from that year I loved were ‘Night of Fear’ ‘Waterloo Sunset’ ‘Itcychoo Park’ ‘Excerpt From a Teenage Opera’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ ‘I Was Made to Love Her’ ‘From The Underworld’ ‘I Can See For Miles’ etc etc etc. August of course saw the ‘festival’ in the Pilot field with The Kinks, Dave Dee, Arthur Brown, Geno Washington etc another highlight of 67. October back on the Pier and having the priveledge of being backstage with Jimi Hendrix and touching that white Strat! and seeing the Experience play! It was of course the year of Sgt. Pepper which changed and influenced bands for evermore and is no doubt remembered as the musical highlight. Much as I love the Beatles it was another band that issued an album in November that  year that for me is the greatest album ever made and that was Love ‘Forever Changes’ to this day I play it at least once a week its just sublime ‘Alone Again..Or’ pure perfection. These are just some of the reasons for my choosing 1967 as my favourite year, I hope its brought back some good memories for fellow Smarties, and over to you for YOUR favourite year for music and why. Off you go Alan it was your idea!…………..

Peter Fairless… On the pier? Has to be 1977…

Jim Breeds… Impossible to have a favourite year.

Alan Esdaile… Since I started helping out with The Conquest Hospital Radio, I noticed that most records I love are from 1967. Previously I would have thought  my favourite year for music was 1969 or the massive disco period in the mid seventies. 1967 the year of flower power. Remember buying a hippy bell from Carnaby Street, a few months later Woolworth and even WH Smith were selling them! Friends arriving at my house with beads on and flowers painted on their shoes. Hippy tie dyed clothes. Joss sticks were all the range and the message of peace and love was definitely for me. Scott McKenzie, Procol Harum, Small Faces, Beatles Sgt Peppers, Magical Mystery Tour on TV, Our World TV Programme with The Beatles All You Need Is Love,  Jimi Hendrix, The Doors,  Cream, Vanilla Fudge, Electric Prunes, David McWilliams, Privilege Paul Jones, pirate radio, the launch of Radio One and loads more.

Reg Wood… Yes 1967 for me too

Wendy Belton… I have always been stuck in the flower power era and the Motown and disco eras. I am true 60s and 70s. Love it. Just think you can’t beat those years…nothing compares to it now. Great to have you on board at CHR Alan.

Pete Prescott… Wow ! Tough one ! So many years to choose from. I was aware of music from as long as i can remember. 50’s and 60’s music. I remember when the Beatles exploded into our lives. My parents told my brother Steve and I we were leaving out home to move to upper Belvedere and I want to hold your hand was being played in the radio. I agree with 67. But 68 was big for me (My brother Chis gave me sgt Pepper).i became obsessed with Glenn Miller. music became very important to me. In 69 Chris gave me 19 albums he bought from a guy on his ship (so many albums ! Santana 1/abraxus and 3, Woodstock and more) and I saw my first concert in 71 (Hyde park. Grand funk/ humble pie/ head hands and feet) a very big deal for me. Music became everything ! I joined a band in 72. what do I choose ? I’ll go for 68 (with all the other years mentioned in dispatches !) I forgot 1970.I saw Free playing alright now on T.O.T.P’s. My life changed and 71, I saw The Who at the Oval. I’ll be thinking all day about this !

Stephen Moran… 1971

Judith Monk… All the above!

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Did Hastings Pier Ballroom smell? by Peter Thomson


photo source: MilborneOne

Peter Thomson… I’m not sure why I feel the need to put this out there, and it all started as a couple of sentences, but here goes… Most visitors to SMART have strong recollections of the sights and sounds of Hastings Pier Ballroom (I suggest) from the 1960s to the early 80s. I’m right with you but consider this: the pier ballroom also used to smell. I didn’t know it then and was even less aware that it’s haunting whiff was almost unique. I say unique because that was the case until I encountered it elsewhere – hence “almost”. Very few life experiences have evoked a smell in my memory, but those which have usually reside deeply within my sometimes challenging childhood. Examples include my late mother’s mashed potato and being less than half a mile from the River Mersey. My teenage years were arguably even more turbulent but I discovered loud music and the boys in red were winning everything. Saved!

The origin of the pier smell – still less it’s attraction – is difficult to nail down but, on reflection, it was most likely a combination of some kind of floor polish, stale tobacco smoke, dusty old furniture (including deckchairs), a hint of burnt electricity and teenage sweat. Striking a chord with you or am I talking through my rear? I would hesitate to include other, nefarious substances as peripheral influences. Similarly, the location wherein I unexpectedly found the smell again excludes any possible seaside aromas from the mix. Past or present Hastings dwellers of a certain age know the pier in the early ’70s was a musical Mecca. Every tour listing published seemed to include Hastings (only later did we realise the notable exceptions). Regardless, history was made and the sights and sounds of those days echo daily within us and, thankfully, on this site. The other venues on that list were equally recognisable, and predated the modern arenas, while being one step up from the college circuit. Margate Winter Gardens; Newcastle City Hall; De Montfort Hall Leicester; The Dome, Brighton etc, all culminating in either the Finsbury Park Rainbow or, later, the Hammy Odeon. Just one of those gigs and you’d “made” it. It was in one of those iconic locations that I experienced nasal deja vu. Several years ago, this proud dad attended his eldest daughter’s graduation ceremony. It was while walking into the De Montfort Hall in Leicester that I was struck by the pier smell not experienced since??? There was I, gormless smile in place, transported to my teenage Nirvana. But this was before the Hastings pier fire so why was it such a profound re-awakening? I can’t answer that but it returned to me when I saw the fire on TV and has become more of an issue as rebuilding progressed. Like the music itself, that smell is etched upon my soul. I don’t know why this now looms before me and maybe I’m just nuts. I don’t have any strong views over who should perform at any pier reopening, and the smell of history is probably irrelevant to those considerations. We can’t possibly recreate it, even if others have managed to, unknowingly and unintentionally. Why should we want to? It was just one of those things; a nasal snapshot, and I needed to get it off my chest. Ahem – does anyone else know what the hell I’m on about? I took Mrs T to Venice for a day last summer. Venice smells, not uniquely but it’s an ancient seaport, so it should smell – and there the similarity with Liverpool (or Hastings) ends. While strolling through the narrow alleys and hidden piazzas, the sound of a busker started to echo around the locality. He wasn’t singing, but was beautifully strumming out “Wish You Were Here”. A snapshot; a perfect musical memory created in World Heritage surroundings that will always, somehow, be triggered through my nose.

Alan Esdaile… I always thought the smell was from the hot dog onions, damp and stale tobacco. God I can smell it now, just thinking about it!

Phil Gill… It always smelled of music, weed and patchouli oil in the 70s.

Peter Fairless… All of the above. Yes.

Dave Nattress… Well..having attended many a gig and had the privilege of playing there a few times with Damaris, I can honestly say I don’t really recall the smell, although backstage the facilities, (dressing rooms), were rather basic though!! However, the bar floor was always absolutely awash with beer but then the flares would often mop up so much of this. It was either spilled beer or an unusually high tide on gig nights! My recollection was that it took a lot of watered down Whitbread Tankard or whatever it was to get happy.

Pete Prescott… Yes it did smell. It’s strange that smell is the no 1 memory enhancer and music the 2nd.it smelt of the things you mentioned. Stale beer sweat and tobacco plus polish and damp. I still love the smell of village halls and old rehearsal rooms. It takes me back to happy days but I think the music loving youth are going through exactly what we did with their own favourite bands. Im sure one day they will write one day about the smells of The Tubman. I wish I had a time machine.

Peter Thomson… Exactly Phil, how can it possibly “smell” of music?

Phil Gill… It just can. Synesthesia.

Jeanette Jones… Nostalgia & all of the above;-)

Mick O’Dowd… I remember the Ballroom smell as eminating from the gas fires strung from the beams. There again , as quite rightly pointed out, there were many other contributing factors to add to the equation so I think it is maybe a combination of all of these. My other smell memory was of the Pier Cafe which smelt of steam all the time, even outside the door. Moving from The Pier to other smell memories Hastings Staion always smelt of soot and steam engines long after the last “puffer” had gone. Standing on the bridge above the line at West St.Leonards staion when a “puffer” came underneath covering you in steam & soot. Ahh those were the days my friends!

Dave Weeks… Definitely patchouli (and music of course) and those onions from the hot dog stall on the way in. I can remember the unique smell too.

Pete Fisher… with you on the weed and patchouli oil Phil (although the former was more likely the resinous variety of combustible)…I’d add stale beer and tobacco smoke to that, possibly with a whiff of salty sea air. As far as it smelling of music goes, I don’t remember that particularly from the Pier, but among other concerts I remember walking into Brighton Dome in 1969 to see Jethro Tull supported by Savoy Brown, and you could smell the valve amps (rows of Marshalls etc for both bands on stage), which had probably been on all day…

Colin Gibson… It was a horrible venue. As the late, erudite drummer Jack Peach succinctly put it “It’s a prairie with a roof on it”

SMART 41 coffee meet report

Excellent turn out and one of our busiest so far. Apologise to many people I didn’t get chance to chat to but among the newbies this time were Leigh Wieland-Boys and Mary Cox.  Leigh was chatting to Colin Bell about Bonitas and remembering him playing lots of James Brown. Mary was talking to Pete Millington with happy memories and photos of Chris Sayer. Tim McDonald was talking to Colin and Andre Martin about his time on the John Dunn Show for the BBC. Brian Wood remembers when his band supported a very early ‘The Sweet’ at the Witch Doctor. Also when The Flirts played the pier they had to get a special waiver to be allowed to play, due to Musician Union ruling at the time, as they were under 16. Loads of new cuttings and photos on display which I will get round to posting on these pages in the next few weeks, keep them coming. Roger Carey arrived with the early Rock A Nore promo photo of Stallion. Apparently they were told to dress smart and wear suits for the photo, except Tich who dressed as a skeleton. Happy memories of auditioning for a tour of Holland and juggling a job with gigs. Other bits he had on Stallion were an ad when they played the Iroko Country Club in London and a great photo of Tich Turner on the pier in 1974, as well as a playlist from 1975. Great very early photos of him and Phil Gill before they joined bands, with guitars, also Hat Trick photo and Felix reviews. He was also talking about the very successful tour he has recently finished with Steeleye Span. Len Benton arrived with a folder full of memories and lots of new items we have not seen before. Including a letter booking his band The Deep Purple at The Cobweb Ballroom for £15.00 on the 11th April, 1968. He also mentioned that when Episode Six played The Cobweb his band Deep Purple were also on the advert and posters for another date that week. Mysteriously Episode Six changed their name to Deep Purple shortly afterwards! Photos from his groups Pardon, when they played The Safari Club in George Street and also his band The Seekers.  Amanda Brooks was talking about the group Ghostriders which featured her dad Roy Brooks. David Miller and Mark Harris arrived with photos of their various bands, including Beez Neez, Split Image and cuttings from Carina’s Night Spot The Queens Hotel. Also a great photo of the duo Second Chance and The Likely Lads.  Tony Davis was talking about his recent trip to see The Giant of Rock at Minehead with the best bands of the weekend being Martin Turners Wishbone Ash, Manfred Mann’s Earthband, Deborah Bonham and Limehouse Lizzy. Jon McCallion was talking about the band Effigy, as Julie had found a gig ticket from 1971 at Clive Vale Annexe School. Trevor Webb asked if anyone has any merchandise on Smokie and did they play Hastings? Other talk was about who’s playing Fat Tuesday, The Mobiles, Music Festival at the oval, Beatles Day, Wrestling. With more people arriving and under pressure to finish on time, as the home secretary was due to appear at a function in the room we were in, we continued into the early evening in the bar area. This is just a very small bit of what I remember, anyone who wishes to add anything interesting you were talking about, then please feel free to do so.

Rachel Rayburn… Thanks Alan. Lovely to meet you and I appreciate the welcome. Look forward to the next one.

Jim Breeds… Sorry not to be there. We went north for a day out to see an exhibition that closes this weekend. Glad it went well. Looks like I missed a good one.

Josie Lawson… I enjoy reading the minutes of the meetings you have Alan…a great thank you to you all. It’s great you can all get together…

Carol Arnold… sorry i didnt make it this time

Alan Esdaile…  Interestingly this has just come up in my Facebook memories. Posted on the 3rd February 2013… Coffee Get Together. I’ve been chatting to a couple of friends here and thinking of arranging a get together over a coffee in town. Just a general chat, catch up of music lovers, pier talk, old photos etc.If it works out maybe meet up on a regular basis. Let me know if you are interested and pass on to like minded friends and I will be in contact with details in the future.

Leigh Wieland-Boys… I made it at last! It was lovely to see so many old friends – thank you for the warm welcome

Sid Saunders… I wanted to go to my first one but was walking the South Downs Way yesterday, next time.

Pete Prescott… Very upset to have missed it.But ill make the next one !

Mick O’Dowd… Same with me but no-one would have appreciated me throwing up over them!

Andy Qunta… Sounds great! As usual, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there, but thanks for the great write-up, so I know what happened!

Lucy Pappas… Thanks Alan, sounds like a great afternoon x

Leigh Wieland-Boys… It was a great afternoon…even when Amber Rudd’s entourage evicted us from the room & we had to move into the bar we carried on regardless..! I found it all very interesting & enjoyable, thank you

Jeanette Jones… Ditto Andy