Birdcage beginnings


Alan Williams has spoken to his pal Bob Yates (in Australia) – Bob was involved at the ‘Cage in the early days and the story is as follows:

Gary Farr and Rikki Farr were both Winchester College boys (ha! and you thought I was posh PC) so both had Hampshire links although they lived in Brighton. Rikki accompanied Gary & his T-Bones when they appeared at the Savoy (I cannot track this gig down but they certainly played pre-Birdcage at the Rendezvous) and was impressed by the enthusiasm of the audience so he decided Pompey was ideal to open a new club.

He enrolled Robin Beste and crucially mum, Mrs Beste plus guys from the Flamingo in Soho notably Tony Harris – plus secretary Pauline Mason who had worked for promoter Bernard Delfont and off they went. The Drayton bunch including Bob Beard, Pete ‘Brady’ Boardman, ‘Birdy’ and Bob Yates were involved from the start and Brady plus former Pirate DJ “Boss Cat” Bruce were the original DJs. Bob’s memory is that while Nicholas Hoogstraten may have been around in the Birdcage days (he too came from Brighton) he was only involved in the business when it changed (after August 1967) into the Brave New World which opened at the end of that year.

The T-Bones played the first Birdcage gig in late February 1965 at Kimbells and exactly two-and-a-half years later Joyce Bond played the final night at the club which had moved to Eastney after the first six months.


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

3 thoughts on “Birdcage beginnings

  1. Thanks Dave and Alan for that interesting post. There is a lot more interesting information about Tommy Farr and his sons Rikki and Gary on the link below.


  2. Rikki can be contacted on rfarr@asiaudiotechnologies.com. He lives in Arizona and runs a company called ASI Audio Technologies. I wrote to him when he was in prison recently but got no reply.

  3. can anybody remember john castleton from the birdcage years?? we are playing( ex parkas) at his 90th birthday on the 31st march. i believe he was the manager for some time??

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