My happy days spent DJing at the Shades
Further to my previous letter about the Studio Club and Shades coffee bar, I found this photo of me DJing at the Shades. I used to do it with Alan Culff and for a short time with Jack. We also worked for Denny Knott at the London Hotel, where he promoted Dances, and the Jacobean coffee bar, which was under the Sutton Arms, or nearby, I think.
My strongest memory of Denny Knott at this time, apart from his convertible Roller, was of him sitting in the London Hotel, frantically trying to remove the bubbles from his champagne with a gold swizzle stick! With all these memories of these times from many people, perhaps Club Riga could be persuaded to organise a Shades/Cricketers reunion night for all of us?
As a result of the truly amazing response we have had to this series of stories and letters, the Standard is indeed now looking into the possibility of organising a reunion at a local venue some time this autumn. Keep reading for more details. TIM AVES, Editor
Modsí memories of our times at the
I have been eagerly reading the letters about local coffee bars and the gigs that took place in Southend in the Sixties. It was of great interest when I spotted the letter from Jennie mentioning the Capri coffee bar: How could we forget the Capri?
We spent many happy hours drinking frothy coffee and Cokes, listening to music and posing (before the word was ever used in its modern sense!). We had what was then the latest mod gear, GS scooters and Vespas, all with fur tails attached to the back of the scooters. The mods all wore parka jackets and college scarves to look the part.
My friend Gill mentioned there was the Shrubbery coffee bar, too and we also remember Gary Brooker and seeing the Dave Clark Five at the Mecca in Basildon. You needed an identification photo to enable you to drink at the Mecca bar, as one was supposed to be 18 years old! My friend tells me that she still has her pass.
It seems quite a few groups started in Southend. Remember The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (Urban Spaceman) from Leigh? I think The Barracudas played on a Thursday night at the London, and there was also a gig on a Saturday night at the Palace, which was quite good.
Are there still a lot of us in Southend? I thought Jennie had gone to Australia, but itís great to hear from her. Does anyone remember some of the Leigh Boys Ė Alex Ross, Gerry Mahoney and their crowd with their latest GS scooters? I know that Alexís brother was in a group, but I cannot remember the name.
Iím looking forward to reading the next write-up. Meanwhile, anyone who would like to get in touch can contact me, on 01702 306631, or Gill on 01702 302347. If there is enough interest perhaps there should be a reunion!
Thanks, John; and Jill, for the typing
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