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Things look great in …


In ’69/’70 Rosemary spent quite a bit of time around Notting Hill Gate. Lenny & I once visited the shop of DJ Simon Stable who presided over this Soho gig above, proclaiming NHG the “centre of the universe”. A Portsmouth gentleman called Peter Brown lived off Ladbroke Grove and provided a crash-pad and we played for Hawkwind Zoo’s management at the  All Saint’s Church (were they called Clearwater?). In the summer of ’69 I was dossing in NHG in a house full of prostitutes (one knicked my leather coat) and drug dealers, crazy times but most educational.

One September evening we set off to the Festival Hall with that nice Mr Brown, who gained entry for us all backstage to see Fairport, John Martyn and Nick Drake in a legendary concert – Mr Brown had in his own words “more front than Woolworth’s”. The album that always conjures those days for me however is Astral Weeks (“saw you walking, down by Ladbroke Grove this morning”)

Anyway, all of this rambling merely signifies that Mercury is strong in my chart today. JR has alerted me to a most interesting on-line article about NHG which you will find at



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Beatle Bones & …

(I’ll be watching floodlit cricket down the road but:)

Please come along to The Fountain, Rowlands Castle on Wednesday night – 1st JUNE to enjoy some good music. We’re planning to dedicate most of the evening to Beatles songs, with a few Shadows and other songs too. We’ve learnt a few new numbers for you too and may have a Guest Artist during our break.

 For Guitars, we’ll have Stratocasters, a Taylor, a Gibson 335, yet another Bass from Nigel’s collection and some cool Amplifiers!

Our thanks to those of you who managed to get along to the last bash. We hope to see you all on Wednesday night and look forward to a great evening. Sing along as loud as you want!



Apparently today is the centenary of the day that the Titanic sailed. There’s been quite a lot of music about it – my favourite cos I love all his stuff (not many recordings) is by a guy called Richard “Rabbit” Brown (born 1880) from New Orleans WAY back. He was a blues singer/songster and recorded a song called “The Sinking of the Titanic” – he may be the only black American singer to sing of that city along the coast (Hi DStJ) although he seems to call it ‘South-hamilton” – maybe to scan?.

PS – back in Reet Petite & Gone we sang one his songs called James Alley – beautiful music and on that wonderful Harry Smith Anthology. Check him out (but give Miss Dion a miss)

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I Love Thursdays!

Actually I love this Blog. No sooner have I posed a question (song titles with Thursday) than my good pal Mick Cooper is back with loads of answers including

Holy Thursday – David Axelrod
Jersey Thursday – Donovan

and stuff by Bowie, Bjorn, Eliza Carthy and loads of people I’ve never heard of. Even ‘Thursday Afternoon’ by Brian Eno which I have/love/forgot!!

Thanks Mick – anyone else like all that Brian Eno stuff (my mate Nick calls it Ambulance Music)?

PS The Mook Man calls Donovan Jersey Thursday, Hollies Thursday Morning, David Bowie Thursday’s Child?



(Are Country Joe & the Fish the only people to write a song with Thursday in the title?)

OK – you may recall below that the Rocky Lawrence (Robert Johnson) show was aborted when the authorities chucked him out of the country. Well there’s a new and very interesting alternative coming to the club – the old Dockyard Club in Onslow Road and also to my TV half-hour on Portsmouth Live TV (5pm Thursday then available on archive)

The star is Bex Marshall and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her (with CJ & Fish as it ‘appens). Here’s info from JR about her and her guest for the night, harmonica player Steve Lockwood.

“This gig will  be a “warm up” to Bex’s appearance at Glastonbury Festival, and it  promises to be a great night.  Bex Marshall plays an explosive slide rock ‘n’ ragtime guitar, roots pickin’,  with frails of bluegrass. Moonshine at midnight vocals with a back porch delivery, her lyrics are reflections of life and love with touches of humor, entwined with Americana roots. Bex pushes the boundaries of blues music from within this musical melting pot, but her songs have also been called timeless with touches of genius, her live show is fearless…there you have the tornado performance that is Bex Marshall.

 Bex Marshall’s last release ‘Kitchen Table’ received stunning reviews world wide along with stand out sessions for Paul Jones & Bob Harris’s BBC radio shows. Touring three times around the USA, extensive tours of Australia, UK and Europe all in under three years. Bex got to number 13 in the USA ‘UK artists chart’ and number 20 in the USA national Americana Music Association Chart. (AMA Chart).
Steve Lockwood, singer, songwriter & instrumentalist, has spent 25 years and 4,000 gigs testing the boundaries of harmonica playing and creating songs which make you dance, make you think and make you  move. Steve’s had an extraordinary career as a frontman, singer and songwriter, from busking on the streets of Cambridge to recording with a symphony orchestra. He has played on over 70 albums but his new album, “Between the Tracks” is his first solo release. “I have no fear of crossing musical boundaries,” says Steve. “Every track on the album is different. It’s a musical variety box with something for all tastes, from dark-centred trip hop to the smooth caramel.” Check out Steve Lockwood on steve@steve.ms “
So, check them out on Portsmouth Live TV and then come down for the full show on Thursday evening (spiderpromos)

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And more Cagey stuff ..

See below – just in from Mr L Tench (check Nicholas H out on Wikipedia)

As far as the Birdcage is concerned I also remember him very well [ on the occasions he was actually there], also the big geezer [his minder?] that was always in attendance – blonde flap over haircut, enormous gold rings and a Winston Churchill cigar….. Hoogstraten reportedly liked a certain suit that he bought and then promptly had another five or six of the same made, but in different colours – I remember seeing him in about four different colours.[ Royal blue, Red, Green, Beige].

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Birdcage Days

Interesting comment from my pal JR (see the rainbow below). He asks “Anyone remember any tales about Nick Hoogstraten (he added the “Van” later…) revolving around the Birdcage days? I’m not sure if he was ever there… ”

I certainly remember seeing him there inside the club. He dressed on the ‘dandy’ side of mod which I once saw an article about in a colour magazine – guys with smart long hair, shiny coloured coats and afghan dogs

I have no stories about him there & then though. I guess he hated us …