More Pompey News

1st March 1958 (From Mick) – more evidence of how peaceful life was in the 1950s


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Diary Dates

Almost a repeat but extra info for the Friday Radio show

Thursday 2 February: Banana of Youngbloods + Reet Petite & Gone at the Eastney Cellars

Friday 3 February: I’m starting a new one hour 60s show at 3pm on Express Radio, called “The Weekend Starts Here”. First week, 1962 in Pompey and in Pop – http://www.expressfm.com/

Sunday 5 February: The Big Band at the Blue Lagoon, Hilsea (lunchtime)

Tuesday 7 February: 6pm at the Omega Centre, Portsmouth Film Society present Citizen 63 plus Kojak on Pompey. Check their website and book – NOT £5 (as I suggested) but £2 – http://www.portsmouthfilmsociety.org.uk/



Pompey News

It’s just a page from the middle of a Melody Maker in September 1956 but there are three stories with Pompey links. On the right the “MM Champion” is Johnny Lyne in a piece about Reg Bannistra’s Band playing in the city (at the Empress), at the foot is a tale of Gosport’s adopted son Nat Gonella forming a rock & roll group but the main story is the now well-known tale of Tony Crombie & his Rockets about to make their British debut at the Theatre Royal – despite growing stories of rock & roll ‘riots’ in the cinemas.

(To see the detail just click on the pic)


Back to Bert’s

Mick found this pic and the following story in the News. Is this the original Bert’s Cafe? It sounds like the same location:

This was the one-time paddle steamer Solent which in her heyday plied between Lymington and Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight. But she ended her days as a cafe alongside the A27 at Paulsgrove, moored near, says transport historian Brian Jackson, what is now Mother Kelly’s fish and chip restaurant.

He says this boat was launched in February 1902 and was the third vessel used on the route to bear that name. He says: `Solent was the last vessel employed to tow barges and, following the introduction of the car ferry Lymington during 1938, she became a spare vessel.But she returned to service during the Second World War and was transferred to the Portsmouth Ryde route for various periods during the war.’

Brian adds: `She returned to Lymington for the summers of 1946 and 1947 after which she was sold to the scrap dealer Harry Pounds in Portsmouth in September 1948 and moved to a corner of Portsmouth Harbour at Paulsgrove where, alongside the A27 road, she became a transport cafe – Bert’s Cafe – and was also reputed to be a lodging house for lorry drivers. Alas time took its toll and by the late 1950s she was derelict and broken up.


The Ray Baker Story (Part Two)

See, I told you. There’s places far worse than Pompey …

Here’s Ray:

Another very notorious gig haunt of ours was “The Shoreline Club” at Bognor Regis. New Years Eve 1967/8 saw me playing with two ex Royals, Ray Brook on Tenor Sax and Rick Semark on drums plus the “Gentle Giant” Ray Todd on Bass.

Just after midnight a huge ‘on stage’ brawl broke out between us and some drunken locals who wanted to get up on stage and sing and they demanded that we give them our instruments to play. Tenor sax player Ray Brook was quite a big guy who rode a Vincent Black Shadow motorbike and I can tell you now that it is a very unwise thing to demand of a very stroppy young guy like Ray Brook that you want his saxophone, particularly if you are standing looking up from the dance floor and he is standing above you on stage.

Ray was pleased to oblige but  “bad accidents’ can (and sometimes did) occur …… Have you ever seen the damage that the vertical flange joint under a saxophone can inflict upon a guy’s forehead if he should suddenly jump up onto the stage and the sax “accidentally” strike his head with great force? I can tell you that it’s not a very pretty sight to see a guy slowly slide down off the stage as his forehead opens right up between the eyes….. Ooooh! very nasty and in that horrible key of B flat as well !

After several minutes of bloody battle that night, I ended up with an old-style solid glass Coke bottle smashed into the back of my skull which rendered me unconscious and during which time I had my night’s earnings of about five quid stolen out of my trouser pocket. Fortunately I’d had the very good sense to put my Strat safely away before launching myself into the melee.

Further punishment of several hours at Bognor hospital emergency unit with a very unsympathetic, typically obese Matron shaving my long locks off and digging glass out of my skull with a scalpel and pick without any anesthetic brings back very nasty and painful memories.  I think I got off lightly compared with the two poor buggers that were “Selmered” in the head by Ray Brook’s Tenor sax.

Fortunately there was no police follow-up at all although my Dad was absolutely furious at the theft of my wages and he swore for weeks afterwards, ” I’m going to pour 5 gallons of petrol round that bloody Shoreline Club and set light to the f*****g place”. I think it did eventually burn down a year later… didn’t it?

Oh the joys of being a young muso eh? I can still feel that scar on my head to this day.”