OK, from my box of treasured possessions, in honour of a fine man

Hoppy 1Hoppy 2

For more, see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hopkins_%28political_activist%29

A few years ago I had a PhD student working on British Avant Garde and ‘Underground’ cinema. ‘Hoppy’ was one of the people she contacted, she went to see him and he was very helpful to her – a lovely bloke (albeit somewhat disappointed that her supervisor was not Daevid Allen of Gong!)




Anyone who shares my fondness for the days of International Times, UFO/Middle Earth etc will be sorry to hear of the death of John’Hoppy’ Hopkins – a prime mover in all of those and more initiatives at the time and also a fine photographer (see this Blog on 14 December 2012). He was famously banged up for possession (1967?) and IT ran its ‘Free Hoppy’ campaign. He was not related to one, Dave Hopkins incidentally.

It’s a nightmare DIY day for me to day but I’ll add more later

RIP ‘Hoppy’


Annoying Quiz Question

You guys were crap on the last one (Joe Jackson & Dan Dare) but I don’t give up easily.

I’ve spent the afternoon listening to Scott Walker albums. I’m very fond of them

Here he is and my question is: What’s the Link Between This Song and Pompey Pop?

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Chicken Pie

Two different kinds of Crow Black Chicken. First, from me, a favourite track from a favourite album

Next, advance notice from the Spider Man of an Irish band with the same title, CROW BLACK CHICKEN, who will appear at the Bullfrog Blues Club next Thursday (5 Feb) at the Dockyard Club, Onslow Road; two days incidentally before the next Dock Soul Club dancing night at the same venue.

Tickets for the band available now from
http://webplus.barkingsdpider.abelgratis.com/tcikets/ or from StreetLevel Musical Exchange in Albert Road

More about Crow Black Chicken


At home in the ‘Cage?

I’m going to pursue the question of local bands at the Birdcage and elsewhere

At the Savoy, George Turner, remembered fondly by Pete, almost always booked local support acts, from the 1950s Dance Bands through to the beat and R&B groups of the 1960s. Lenny recalls playing there with Millie and her Lollipop, Mike Devon & Diplomats famously supported the Beatles, it appears that Rod Watts supported the Stones (there are two versions) and Pete’s Furys (etc) played there as did others.

Ernie Sears at the Rendezvous booked local (Trad) Jazz acts and almost always had a local support act in the 1964/5 R&B days – mainly the Sons of Man, Roadrunners, Challengers and Soul Society. Two bands were used in part because this was pre the specialist club DJ, but at the Birdcage ‘Brady’ spun the discs and had a following of his own, so local bands were rare and got more chances at the Indigo Vat and later the Parlour.

Mr Greedy suggests that local bands were not popular at the Birdcage. A few played now-and-then, particularly as support on the all-niters. Those that did were Academy, the Crow, the Roadrunners/Simon Dupree &BS, St Louis Checks, and Wrong Direction. But I think it’s true that most Birdcage regulars weren’t bothered about seeing local bands although there may be a couple of understandable reasons:

(1) the club presented most of the the cream of UK and USA ‘live’ acts, many of whom worked intensively on the club circuit where the level of musicianship was higher than many of the concert and ballroom ‘pop’ acts, let alone local bands – for example the Graham Bond Organisation, Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames, Spencer Davis Group, Chris Farlowe with Albert Lee etc, John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, the Who, Steam Packet. Perhaps the punters at the Birdcage were ‘spoiled’.

(2) In those couple of years many of those bands developed and shifted at an an incredible rate in terms of material and styles – I’m thinking particularly of Bruce, Baker and Clapton, Alan Bown (Set), VIPs/Spooky Tooth, In Crowd/Tomorrow, the Moody Blues and of course the wonderful Action who moved from Motown through the Byrds/West Coast towards Mighty Baby. It doesn’t matter if you liked or didn’t like (some of) those particular examples – it’s the degree of inventiveness that was extraordinary in such a short period. If you were younger and semi pro it was bloody hard to keep up.

I happen to think that there were Pompey acts and musicians in the 1960s that were as ‘good’ live as many of the Merseybeat acts or pop hit groups like Dave Dee’s lot, Unit 4 + 2, Rockin Berries, Applejacks, Honeycombs, Tremeloes etc. It’s just possible that the local scene was in an odd way somewhat constrained by the standards set by the visiting acts because Portsmouth was so rich in its visitors at that time (I’ve not even mentioned from the USA, Muddy Waters, Wilson Pickett, Little Richard, Ike & Tina Turner, Motown etc).