2013 in review

Here’s a report for the year although I guess with a few hours left ‘Oscar’ could post a few more Comments and challenge Phil at number 1 (confused? scroll down and click). Many thanks to them and my other Top Fivers, Keith, Pete W and JR as well as everyone else. This is a very busy Blog and I’m grateful.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 150,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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PC Pompey?

I’m not too sure about sticking this on the Blog except that it has some local  and historical interest. Anyway I hope no one is outraged – I found it in an anthology of old seasonal greetings cards.

Whatever, I do wish all you Bloggers a VERY Happy and Healthy New Year. I’m off to Rosie’s tonight for a spot of jazz and nosh. Have fun!




More Loveable Mop Tops:

Exactly 50 years ago this month, the Beatles came to Pompey for their third and final gig and AW down under has followed up the pic from Aldershot and PW’s comments to suggest

“I think you’re mistaken about the column speaker,  I’d say it’s part of the decor, if you look behind George you can see the same pattern under the curtain..also if you look at their amps and follow the leads you can see they use their amps for the mics as I would suggest most bands did in those days”

I reckon he’s right, and he’s added this link for more info


(PS, I should add that this link ain’t working for me)

In addition Mick has found a couple of (new to me) pics of the fab four from Portsmouth in November and December 1963. Thanks Mick

12 Nov 1963

Tuesday 3rd December-

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Bright New Year

Tomorrow evening (Monday) at 7pm I’m with James and Simon on Express FM for “Towards the Point”, our monthly culture and arts programme, discussing among other things the recent BBC4 Blues programmes and the New Year in arts/entertainment – plus some highlights of the year

Here’s an on-line version by a French guy of Bert Jansch’s “The Bright New Year” – which I wish to each and every Pompey Popper. If like me (and Tim) you are spending later years trying to improve your guitar playing it’s a bit disconcerting – but otherwise very fine



For Albie

He sent a pic in so here’s one for him. A poster of the England cricket team in Southsea. Having just watched another crap performance in the early hours of this morning I’m wondering how good this lot were? The opposition needed more than eleven players!

19th C poster

Incidentally, Mr Wisden is the same one – still publishing his Almanack. Notice that the England lot, professionals were rather like Buckland oiks whereas Hampshire were all Sirs, Capts or esqs – except (Daniel) Day last on the list. He too was an employee and ran the ground.





I can’t really blow this up effectively but it may be possible to figure out that yes, there is indeed a left-handed bass guitarist on show in a four-piece ensemble with one of the Best drummers ever

The PA intrigues me. Only one Vox column?


how many? How FEW?



Here’s a shot found by Albie (thanks) of a gig way back, in Aldershot, attended by just 14 paying customers (and the two on the left seem to be on their way out?). The band (do you recognise them?) had travelled at least a couple of hundred miles too.

What about you? What are the smallest crowds you’ve played to or been in. Reet Petite & Gone once went to a blues club in Essex and played to two people (a couple) and I’ve a memory of the Notorious Strawboys/ Reds/ Steel Mill 1980s playing a pub in Southampton when hardly anyone came (maybe no one?).


Pompey in the Shadows

Here’s an interesting tale unearthed by Paul (Boyfriend) Moorhead (thanks Paul).

Does anyone know more?

“I have just been reading about the Shadows. In the 1950s, Hank Marvin used to spend his childhood holidays in Portsmouth with his uncle, Bob Turner, who ran a pub.”


Top Gear

Over in the USA, Boxing Day is not so special so things are pretty much back to normal for Pete who tells me that for 2014 he has a plan:

“Heading down to hang out at the music store this am and talk about prices as I have decided that this will be the year I clean out the closets and downsize my gear. At one stage I had 21 guitars but that is down to 7 and I might get it down to 2. I have 2 complete PA Systems with JBL Speakers, Mixers, Power amps Wireless Mics 8 Mic Stands, Regular mics Hot Spot Monitors, Amp Stands and on and on. 3 Fender Amps, Flight cases, Gibson Gig Bags, Mountains of guitar parts and a partridge in a pear tree. And it all just sits….  So I am making a list and checking it twice. Gonna make some space……..”

Well Pete, when MRA and I sold her business and ‘downsized’ in 2008, space became a premium and I’m also playing now in an essentially acoustic band which often plays venues with PA provided. But I have a set-up from Nevada in Portsmouth, consisting of a  Mackie PPM 608 power amplifier and Wharfedale Pro speakers. I have no monitors but the speaker and mic stands live in the roof between gigs – we use four vocal mics plus one for the good old washboard (which used to come from antique stores but is now tailor-made for percussionists – I nearly said musicians!). When I bought that PA system a key consideration was that an old guy with a dodgy back could lift it and get it into a smallish car!

I’m only an ‘at home’ guitar player but I have a Fender Squier which rarely appears and two Tanglewood acoustics – one is a small-size travelling guitar. My real instrument is the harmonica and after many Hohner decades I now prefer Lee Oskars. I do have a green bullet mic but that’s more for the harder chicago sound and I have a 10 watt amp that I can use with that if the occasion arises.

So, any more equipment tales out there? On the domestic front I’m beginning to wonder about the fact that I listen to so much stuff through Ipods and computers that I no longer have a portable CD player in the house and I’m wondering if that’s a mistake as I still have hundreds of CDs. I do still have a vinyl player however. What about you guys?

PS: Pompey won! Hooray for that!