I’m with John Handy


“Hard Work”

Yesterday was one of those typical lunchtime/afternoon gigs. Scarlet Town was at full-strength with a three-piece clarinet, flute, sax, violin section and fresh from a rehearsal the day before, with some new songs.

We were doing three x 45 mins sets which inevitably stretches towards three hours, so I packed the car and drove down at 11.30. I got back and unloaded around 6pm and the seven of us were paid £120 or around £17.50 each (which we then blew on a curry at the Akash). Talking of ‘blew’, one of my harmonicas went (a D) so that’s £30+ for a replacement

It’s the magic of the local band and local pub gig and after 50 years I generally accept all that.

Except that during the first two sets yesterday the PA was a nightmare – at least for my (lead) vocals and it took us two sets, lots of fiddling, helpful comments from audience members etc to figure that something was wrong with the channel I was using. I hate it, HATE IT. I’m probably singing as well today as I’ve ever done, with the new drummer I didn’t need to play percussion, I could focus on singing (and we are a ‘songs’ band) and playing harmonica and for the first 20 songs it all sounded shit.

Having switched channels, the third set was fine, but I am beginning to wonder whether I’ve finally had enough of the average pub gig and all that humping and electricity. Our next gigs are acoustic – bring them on!


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

4 thoughts on “I’m with John Handy

  1. Blooming’ ‘eck Dave,
    You were probably also paid around the same, 50 years ago, too !
    ( Unless you were at The Savoy on a Saturday morning, of course. 😉
    Good on you though, I can relate to so much of what you wrote.

    Reading how you enjoyed your curry afterwards made me think of a late night ‘Indian’, somewhere near The Kings Theatre, that always seemed to be open and where we often used to find ourselves, around 1.30 am ? Anyone else remember this one ? Was it called “The Great Mountain” or something similar ?

    That then made me remember the very late night ‘chippy’, nr Hilsea Lido, which became Giuseppe’s Pizza House ?
    If you made the mistake of asking for a steak and kidney pie there, ( Telfers in those days ), in the early hours pf the morning, the owner, who I’m sure had a charisma by-pass, would always toss it into the fat fryer ! Can’t think of any worse way to heat up a pie nowadays, but we always used to eat them – pastry oozing with soggy ‘chip fat’ and all ! 😉

    • I don’t need the dosh these days thankfully but it is interesting isn’t it? Minimum wage and all that – on the other hand I hear that close to the curry house in Albert Road, the Leopold has closed and the Fifth Hants is going. I don’t see pub landlords in Rolls-Royces so that might be the reality! A particular memory I have of post-gig eating places way back (late 1960s) is the open air café by the Dockyard gates. S&K pies, mug of tea and interesting clientele!

      Incidentally almost as soon as I posted that story we were offered a pub gig at the Winchester …

    • Almost next door to the Lord John Russell , along from the King’s Theatre, was Sharif’s, possibly one of the best curry houses in Albert Road at the time. He was a very hospitable owner, welcomed you at any time of night. The only downside was the state of his trainers, always covered in curry sauce and rice, very savoury and before anyone makes any comments, they weren’t on the menu !!
      Further up the road, almost opposite the police station (now a drinking hole) was the Kohinoor, a bit more up market than Sharif’s but great curries also……

  2. I so remember that little ‘all night eatery’ too, by the Dockyard Main gate, as it was in those days !
    Very colourful certain ‘ladies of the night’ would frequent it, looking to entertain the young guys on overnight passes from their ships.
    I think they would migrate there, after The Wiltshire Lamb closed ?

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