Happy Birthday to an Old Time Blues Legend

Listening to Brian Matthew this morning I discovered that I’d missed by just one day the 80th Birthday of one of the most influential of British blues musicians – so, a slightly belated Happy Birthday to John Mayall, who certainly played the Rendezvous, the Birdcage, South Parade Pier and the Guildhall in the 1960s (Kimbells anyone?).

(I’m planning a gig at the Cellars in October 2029 when I reach 80. Tickets available now at 2013 prices!)


Last & First

We received an Amazon order for Pompey Pop Pix yesterday. That wasn’t supposed to happen as I have only half-a-dozen left so they are no longer on sale (there is one in the Cathedral Bookshop, maybe one or two in Blackwells). Otherwise they have all gone in exactly two years so thanks for your support. There’s a bit of dosh in the account in case of an interesting event or two (about £400).

However, it will soon be readily available again! While checking why it was still advertised on Amazon we discovered the first on-line ‘used’ sale of the book – ‘marked only by a dedication” – at £19.95. If you have a pristine copy hang on a bit. By this time next year it’s bound to fetch fifty quid!


Dancing Fool

I’ve been implying that the new Dock Soul Club kicks off this weekend but I’m wrong, it’s NEXT WEEKEND

Saturday 7 December 8pm – 1am

Tickets £5 including membership (only 150)

The Dockyard Club, Onslow Road (off Clarendon Road) Southsea with two bars and pints only £2.60

DJs are Gary Buck and Martin Jackson

Info: dave.reeves@hotmail.com

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Less means more

Every time I go to the Guildhall exhibition I see and hear me on video – often simultaneously in three rooms. Even for a Leo-Rising with a big ego it’s too much

So the plan is to record MORE contributions and we have fixed a time at the Guildhall FROM 5pm on Wednesday 11 December. If you or anyone you know has anything to say on camera about Pompey Pop – and not just the 50s/60s, any period – can you confirm with me that you’d like to come. If 5pm is too early, just let me know, that’s fine

You can do so via a Comment or email: dave.allen@port.ac.uk. I’ll try to sort out a running order and confirm everything with you

Guildhall FROM 5pm on Wednesday 11 December

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More Blues? Less ‘blues’ (Mr Grumpy cheers up!)

I’ve been a bit grumpy about music and musicians lately so I’d better cheer up

I bought Billie Joe and Norah Jones Foreverly and it’s very nice. If you have the original maybe you don’t need it but if not …

Jim ‘Hot Rod’ Lawrence – who is a good friend and a fine man – has been back in touch with some trepidation after my travel sickness ranting but it’s all good news and I’m very grateful Jim. As mentioned, BBC4 are screening the first (pre-war) Blues Programme on Friday and the follow up (the Muddy era it seems) the following Friday. Then on Sunday there’s the very interesting tale of Big Bill Broonzy who toured Britain in the 1950s with Melly/Barber etc – there will be some good stories there. In a sense he did much like Seasick Steve – presenting himself as the only surviving rural, sharecropping blues singer – whereas back home he’d been suited and playing sophisticated ensemble blues for years! We like our bit of rough!

There are also broadcasts of the Sister Rosetta Tharpe programme (very good) and some blues compilations which do mysteriously advertise the Kinks. Now I’m very fond of the Kinks but once again … (no Dave, you’ve cheered up)


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Way Out West



My other life – I wrote the new book 150 Not Out: Hampshire Cricket 1863-2013 published by Hampshire CRicket to raise funds for a new Museum at the ground and a week ago I went to talk about it, and flog some, to the Dorset Cricket Society. Next to me is Julian Shackleton son of the great Derek and himself a county player with Gloucestershire and on the right my good friend Alan Rayment who played almost 200 games for Hampshire in the 1950s and is still a bundle of energy, well in his 80s. ‘Shack’ jnr is holding a picture of Hampshire cricketers Phil Mead, Hon Lionel Tennyson and George Brown who played together in the last ‘Ashes’ Test of 1921. Last week Michael Carberry, Kevin Pietersen and Chris Tremlett who have all played for Hampshire, appeared in the debacle at the ‘Gabba’ – we did better in 1921!

Why all this: well:

150 NOT OUT: HAMPSHIRE CRICKET 1863-2013 by Dave Allen & Stephen Saunders

Dave Allen’s Pompey ‘launch’ party

Blackwell’s University Bookshop, Cambridge Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2EF – 023 9283 2813

3.30pm on Tuesday 3 December 2013 

Come for a glass of wine and a chat? No obligation to buy!



School Report

Mr Tench has sent this very thoughtful contribution which I enjoyed very much

“With regards to the Schools business and creativity, I don’t think any of them, be they Gammar, Technical, Secondary Modern, were doing anything other than preparing pupils for the jobs they would be taking up upon leaving School.

I know this is a generalization but on the whole it appeared to me that the Secondary Schools supplied the Dockyard, Engineering firms and Garages – Hendy Lennox, USG, EMA, etc.. in the City – mainly for apprenticeships.

The Grammar Schools supplied the Civil Service [in all its forms], the major clearing Banks, Solicitors etc.. etc..  and the Technical High School [falling somewhere in the middle] delivered on both of the above.

Apart from the odd master at the odd school I think we were all pretty much left to fend for ourselves, oh, I forget, we did have a Potters Wheel at Drayton Road – I think I went on it twice. But that was ok with me.

I totally agree with you – it is in the person and you have to really want to do it – seek it out, and like you Music was the first thing; and although that started at school – there was no facility for that outlet. So, it was the Army Cadets. Then I moved School [from Southsea Modern to North End Secondary Modern – Drayton Road] and the amount of boys there at that time taking up musical instruments and forming groups was amazing. The rest is history.

It wasn’t until my late forties that I decided that furniture design and cabinet making was what I really wanted to do and so duly did it – by way of The Furniture School at Highbury College.”