Leave a comment

Spotted at Victorious

Despite my disappointment with Mr Davies (below) I had a great weekend – made me very proud of Pompey and it is a fabulous festival whether I can make much sense of all this new music or not. Here are a couple of shots from my weekend

First a Pompey legend, waiting for his folks and watching the Castle Stage:


Next up my pals the Three Belles. I didn’t realise they played (Sunday early) but walking down the path I turned round to look for MRA and there they were, off to another festival in Bedford later. I taught them all at Uni and they were great guys in a really interesting class

Three Belles

Well I found MRA eventually, over by the kid’s playground


Not spotted (despite the wonders of the modern mobile text facility) – any Mooks!!??


The Evening Session Started Well

On the way in we spotted this

Drug Bin

So MRA distracted the security guys while I raided it

Then we saw the Darkness – after which we saw the light


Provided by the rather delightfully electro-psych Super Furry Animals. New to me but lovely

Then there was an excellent DJ interval with tracks by hank Williams, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson etc and much less rain than had been suggested. Finally there was Ray Davies

Ray Davies

This is a shot of the video screen which was fixed like this for his set – or at least as much of it as we stayed to see. It seemed to me to echo quite well his performance. I can’t recall right now the last time I saw a big name whose back catalogue I love, who disappointed me so much. He had a rock band with him but performed a bit like Max Bygraves with angst, end-of-the-pier show circa1958.

NONETHELESS, Victorious was great fun – a real delight and thanks/congratulations to everyone responsible.


The Texas Trail

Big Love Soul

Around midday we caught Big Love Soul – a pretty funky bunch, classy lady vocalist with not many in the audience. After they finished we wandered up the hill where there was an unremarkable guitar band watched closely by seven people:


Then we sat in the seafront and spotted hordes of people making towards the main stage for Texas

Texas Crowd

You can say what you want, but they were popular

We saw local celebrities Alan Christmas (with Sue) and Mick Eveleigh (with Maggie) too

Back later – its a matter of All day and All of the Night …


Etta Burger

with bacon, cheese and fries.

Then saw Etta Bond who, MRA and I decided was a bit like Lily Allen meets Massive Attack. Pretty cool

Etta Bond

Before her there was teenage rapper Isiah Dread. I don’t listen to rap at home but I always enjoy it at Festivals

Isiah Dreads

Nice lights too – hard edge psychedelia

Then watched Laura Mvula – she was really very good. The band included harp (no not harmonica, harp), violin, cello, double bass and a very fine drummer. Ms Mvula played keyboards on some stuff – heartfelt but very subtle too – rhythms were sometimes superb. What intrigued me too was enjoying three acts with not a guitarist in sight.

Laura Mvula

Earlier there had been some interesting things to see


But by 3pm it was raining and by 4.30 raining hard

Vict rain

So we came home for a cup of tea and watched Hampshire lose their televised T20 semi-final. I got a pass-out stamp to go back later but the rain’s washed it off, so maybe they won’t let me back. I thought festivals used those plastic bracelets these days but maybe it’s karma for all those nights I forged the Birdcage stamp!


There are toilets …


Off there tomorrow and Sunday with MRA. No idea about most of the acts although there is a bloke called Ray Davies who seems familiar …

Will it rain? I thought it would be soggy already but walked through it tonight and it was rather more lush green


Pink Sky Tonight

Tomorrow’s Alright (we hope)



Simply the Beste

Birdcage Open _2

I sent an email to a few people celebrating the 50th anniversary, including Robin Beste (above) who launched the Birdcage with Rikki. Had a delightful response – some extracts here, including an interesting piece about his son which will certainly interest Mr Greedy:

“Crikey is it really 50 years. More than holding on. Doing fine. Fit, healthy and very busy …  I think I mentioned my son Sam before. He’s a musician and kept me in touch with developments in music for a while. If you’ve seen the film Amy, Sam is featured quite a lot, as he was Amy Winehouse’s keyboard player for much of her career. He was a friend too, so her death cut him up a lot. It’s a well made film, but for me spends too much time on her compulsive self-destruction. The filmmakers had lots of great footage, which they didn’t use, of her at her artistic best. On a good day, she’d have graced the Birdcage without any problem. She had an incredible musical knowlege that embraced all the soul greats (hence the name checking of people like Donny Hathaway in her songs). Funnily enough the range of her musical tastes had a bit of the Bradys about it, like how at the Birdcage he would go from Bob and Earl to the Shangri Las or from Solomon Burke to the Mammas and Pappas. Sam is down a very different musical path these days, playing a variety of indie rock that’s too doomy for me.
Outside of Brady I’ve had no contact with anyone else from the Birdcage years. Last I heard of Rikki he had changed his name back to Richard and just served two years in a US jail for tax evasion.

Many thanks for keeping in contact, though it’s a bit frightening to think it was 50 years ago. I know it’s a cliché, but thinking about those days it sometimes feels like yesterday. I was reminded recently of Steam Packet at the Birdcage by a YouTube interview I chanced upon with Brian Auger – who, like then, seems one of the nicest blokes in music. And every now and then I hear what Julie Driscoll (Tippett) is doing these days. And I hear quite a bit about Rod Stewart from a good friend of his, a disabled women who is a neighbour of mine, who meets him every time he’s in the UK. Who’d of thunk it watching them on 26.08.65, that 50 years later they would all be going strong, excepting of course Long John Baldry.

So, I hope you’re keeping well and here’s to the Birdcage centenary, at which, with luck, a reformed Steam Packet will play.”

Looking forward to it Robin! I was in Eastney today (on cricket business) and took time out for my first ‘selfie’ under the Birdcage Blue Plaque

Birdcage selfie

I’m sure my hair was darker in 1965 …

1 Comment

Ron Monger RIP

Hi Fis

One of the great pleasures of the whole Pompey Pop/AAA (etc) project has been getting to know a lot of ‘new’ people from the Pompey scene that I did not know previously. They included Ron Monger of the very elegant Hi Fis (above) who appeared at a number of recent events despite being in poor health. I’m sorry to report via Barry Barron (live Five below etc) that Ron died a couple of months ago. Once again, he may be gone but he’s not forgotten. Our sympathy goes to his wife who always accompanied him on these recent events.

(Ron is far left, guitar, above)

There was a nice story on here a few years back about Ron and Maria Bailey, daughter of the other guitarist in the Hi Fis who met up at the launch of Pompey Pop Pix. Here’s the pic again: