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Shopping for ….

No not clothes this time but guitars, keyboards, drums.

Those of us  of a certain age who played music will remember fondly Bennett’s  music shops in Frastton Road and New Road. I’ve had this enquiry in and I’ve passed Julie immediately to  Mick Cooper who is the fount of all such knowledge but if anyone else has messages or memories (not necessarily of the 1920s incidentally!) please add a comment. I know Pete White has that lovely pale blue Strat still because I have a picture…

Here’s Julie:

“Hello, I just wondered if you knew if there were any Bennetts left in Portsmouth descended from the Bennetts Musical Shop which was based in Portsmouth in around 1920? My Grandfather Robert Bennett was a brother and I am trying to find any of my relatives who might still be around. I have found a Bennetts music shop in Southampton but not in Portsmouth”.

PS Not sure whether I told this story before but I once went into Bennett’s in Fratton Road (maybe 12/13) looked carefully at an electric guitar on the wall and asked the man “is that a rhythm guitar or a lead guitar?”



Unexpected Connections


(Sorry Dave G – it’s another Lord Snooty moment).

The weather is so good I’m back in cricket mode. There’s a lovely Comment below from Barry Stone, a relative of organist Eric Copsey. When Mick gave me the picture I mentioned to him that Copsey was an unusual name but I’d been at school with one (Tim Copsey) who I was sure came from a family of market-gardeners – Barry’s unexpected Comment confirms that he must have been part of that same family. I’m sitting in the middle above (yep, I was captain) and as you look at it Tim Copsey is on my left but I’m also interested in a couple of matches in that season of 1963 when we played the Portsmouth Schools Cricket Association sides which came from other local schools. I made a few runs before I was bowled by Stokes – I’d bet that was footballer Bobby – and other Pompey Schools players (surnames only of course) included Saunders, Pannel, Wickham, Smith, Glover, Peach, Gosney, Deacon, Hill, Wedge, Olding, Passingham, Tann, Brown, Johns and Best (probably not George). Ring any bells?

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Great Music (2)


So this is why I asked that question (below) – last week the Government unveiled a new poster campaign to persuade people (overseas visitors? us?) that Britain is (still?) Great. Now I have plenty of opinions about all sorts of things but I never will get into anything contentious on this site so I’m simply interested in what the design company (Mother) and the Government together came up with. The 10 images are above and one of the 10 is Music (there’s also Richard Branson of Virgin plc as an Entrepreneur). The Music picture is from the stage of the crowd at the Reading Festival and the Text reads

“From Glastonbury to Glyndourne, Adele to the Beatles, Britain is home to the world’s greatest music” – well the Beatles is completely 1960s and Glastonbury started just after but what do you think? And how – in the field of popular music – might the Americans feel? There’s a longer report on this at


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Great Music

There’s two parts to this post. In part one I’m going to behave just like the teacher I used to be and ask you to imagine the most appropriate image to persuade people around the world (think 2012 Olympics/Jubilee) that Britain has “Great” Music  – maybe even “the world’s greatest music”……


Plus Deerstalker?


Just got this from JR (Spiderpromos). Looks fun – only last night Jimmy the Mook and I were talking of the good old days when Downliners Sect played regularly in Pompey and there’s their guitarist, vocalist, autoharpist and deerstalker man Don Craine on the list of guests.

I played once at the (real) ‘legendary’ Flamingo Club (in 1968) and it was right up there as one of the worst gigs of my life – still that’s another story.

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Read All About It

It seems very recently that I was announcing the 500th Blog posting – well the previous one was number 600. Is there no stopping the man?

In the mid 1960s Mike Hales was an important figure on the Pompey Pop scene. He was involved at times in managing groups, was at least very supportive of the local group scene (notably the Indigo Vat) and most importantly was the pop columnist “Spinner” in the Evening News

He went from there to work as a publicist at Polydor Records and spent much of his life in the heart of London’s popular music industry. Now he’s written a memoir and while I’ve not read it, I guess it will describe much of that. There’s also a second book – a novel. The News reported it thus recently:

A FORMER reporter on The News has had two books published in the same week.

Mike Hales was born in Southsea and began his working life on the then-titled Portsmouth Evening News as a trainee reporter, rising to become the paper’s showbusiness writer. Two books he has written have now been put into print.

Fifty Years of Why Not? is a memoir of some of the lighter moments of Mr Hales’ career, including his days on the newspaper in the 1960s, life at the top of the music industry and his spells with the BBC and as a director of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

The Story of C is an adult novel dealing with the swings in fortune of a hedonistic woman.

Mr Hales, who now lives in Cornwall, said: ‘I have completed what I hope is an absorbing novel and a ramble through some of my memories coupled with an exhortation to keep going – life is short.’

Both titles are available through the Amazon/Kindle websites for downloading electronically.


The Organist Entertains (2)


Here’s another South Parade Pier organist from the 1950s and If you’ll forgive the seaside postcard humour, it looks like he’s playing someone else’s organ (see below). Maybe JR remembers him (Eric Copsey) too? Again pic thanks to Pompey Pop’s resident keyboard wizard Mick Cooper