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More Shades-related memories

from The Southend Standard, 18 November 2005

Scooter memories

I have followed with interest the letters about Southend coffee-bars.  Here are some of my memories of that time.

When I was 17, in 1963, me and my friends used to go to the Jacobean, the Capri and Shades.  

In our group, names I can still bring to mind are Clive Powell, Tony Burkett, Mick Andrews (who sadly died a few years later) Jim, Dennis (who had a Vespa which had a special half-thickness saddle, as he was short) David Morris (sadly, also deceased) who I went out with briefly.

There was also Ian Sykes (to whom I have now been married for 37 years), Alfie Stokes, with whom Ian now occasionally works and a couple of girls, Lyn and Val, I think.

I had a Lambretta Li 150, Ian had a Vespa GS150.  We had all the accessories – mirrors, racks, aerials, lights, plastic streamer things that fitted into the ends of the handlebars – plus bullet hole transfers that we stuck on our tiny windscreens.

Caption: On parade – Ian Sykes and his friends were photographed on their scooters to publicise the film, He Rides Tall

My dad and brother Ronnie owned a motorcycle/scooter shop at Tarpots Corner; Benfleet, (M A Moyse and Son), so I suppose I was lucky as I could get all the bits at trade price.

I was friendly with Di Metcalfe, another girl from Benfleet who also had a Lambretta, who I met up with briefly about 15 years ago.

Ian and a few friends were approached to take part in an advert for Dunlop tyres.

They photographed the scooters along Clifftown Parade.  Ian, Jim, Dennis, Mick and another lad took part, with some girls as pillion passengers.

We still have the edition of the 1965 Scooter World in which it appeared.   Photos were also taken to advertise the film, He Rides Tall.

We used to ride to Southend to spend all evening in the Jack, as we called the Jacobean, nursing a Coke and trying to make it last all evening, as most of our little bit of money went into the jukebox.  We listened to the likes of the Stones, the Yardbirds, the Beatles and the Animals.

My mum always used to hate me going to the coffee-bars.  She thought I would be led astray and start drug-taking, though I never encountered any drugs or dealers.

One December I, and two friends who were on another scooter, had a collision with a car by Gordon Road, Southend.

We all were injured.  I broke my right wrist.  The police prosecuted the car driver, and we had to give evidence in court (in the old courthouse in Alexandra Road).  It was terrifying.

Ian used to belong to the Vespa Owners’ Club.  The Southend branch met at Sid Jorgensen’s flat in Fairfax Drive.  (Sid, sadly, passed away a couple of years ago.)  He was a great guy.

As time passed, we all gradually moved on to cars, went to the coffee-bars less often and lost touch with each other.  I often wonder what they are up to now.

Unfortunately we are unable to attend the reunion at the Ekco Club, but will, hopefully, make the next one.

Burdett Avenue

Thanks, John; and Jill, for the typing

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