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Sunday, 31 January 2010

VEX LITERATURE

Mike Kane once got the following headline in Cranked Up mag - THE MOST HATED MAN IN DUNDEE - and it went on to state - "Vex has elicited more horror, disgust and outrage than any other musician of his time".
The piece was written by Fabian Bell aka Craig Methven and it continued with an interview which contained this classic opening line - "Mike, I know a lot of people who want to punch you in the mouth..."!!
Vex did get a few pages of coverage in Cranked Up but his band didn't exactly get the C.U. thumbs up, and so Vex decided to print up their own literature, putting the band's point of view across, in music as well as politically. These publications were given out free at gigs.
A couple of examples are shown above, from the 1981/82 period.
The top cover has printed on it - VEX (veks) annoy, irritate, make unhappy.
The 2nd cover has printed on it - LECTURES SET TO NOISE.
The bottom snippet comes from the Lectures mag and has Vex laying it on the line with a mini manifesto describing their declaration of intent.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

TIME FOR VEX

It's time to have a dip into the disorderly world of Vex now - so those of you of a nervous disposition, better look away for a couple of days!
Main man, Mike Kane (above), set Vex loose in Dundee around the late 70's having mutated out of Flux. Although there was no real permanent band line-up, some of those who were involved were - Mike Strachan - Neal Mitchell - Rat - Gary Kidgell and a few other like minded music extremists. There was a bit of cross-pollination going on with fellow radicals, Boo Hooray.
What Vex presented was a kind of mishmash between the ideology of 60's improvisation collective, AMM, and the confrontational attitude of the New York no wave scene of the late 70's, which resulted in an unpredictable collision of ideas leading to lots of experimental freestyle post-punk mayhem!
They were also dab hands at generating their own publicity, distributing Vex literature and splattering the town with homemade flyers.
The artwork below could almost be a Banksy!
Anyway, to give you a sound clip to go with the caption, here is a wee blast of Vex doing a track called "Exorcise Your Thoughts" - in this case, it's all Mike Kane.
At least Vex can't be accused of being a commercial music biz sell-out!


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Friday, 29 January 2010

DUNDEE JAZZ FESTIVAL - 1987

This review of the Dundee Jazz Festival at the Rep, comes from an NME dated June 1987.
The acts mentioned are - TOMMY SMITH'S FORWARD MOTION - COURTNEY PINE - TAM WHITE - TED HAWKINS - STAN TRACEY - and Dundee's own, HAVANA SWING.
Plenty well known names on the bill that year.
The piece was written by local music journalist, Bob Flynn.
I think you should be able to read it ok as it is, but anyone struggling can click onto the image to view the large version.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

RNLI BADGE & FLAG DAY

It's starting to show it's age now, but this is an original RNLI badge dating back to the 60's. The RNLI used to have "Flag Days" in the city centre when I was a schoolboy, and for a small donation you got a flag - ie a paper square on a pin that you stuck into your lapel. Or if you wanted to splash out a tanner, you were given this badge. Sometime later they replaced the flags with stickers, but they never changed the name to "Sticker Day"!
I know they still have Flag Days today, but I'm obviously just referring to the old style ones.
The Dundee donations were for the Broughty Ferry Lifeboat.
Another one I can recall is, The Red Cross, who were also regulars in the 60's & 70's.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

THE TUDOR CRISPS VAN

In the 70's, Tudor Crisps had a warehouse at the Craigie shops in Huntly Road.
I'd see their van passing our way quite a lot. It had the face of Henry VIII on the side of the van, and it was one of those portraits...you know how on some paintings the eyes appear to follow you around the room...well it was the same with Henry. When the van was coming towards you, you'd see Henry staring at you from the side of the vehicle, and when the van had passed, he would still be looking at you, even if it was from a different angle - as if he swivelled his head around keeping an eye on you!
Always amusing thing to observe at schoolboy age.
What he didn't manage to catch the sight of however, was when one day, a couple of Craigie High pupils nicked a box of crisps from the back of the van when it was being loaded up at the warehouse and they ran back with it into the playground at lunchtime for us all to dip into!!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

READY SALTED CRISPS

When you had Ricicles, it meant you didn't need to sprinkle sugar onto your Rice Krispies, and so when they brought out Ready Salted crisps in the 60's, it meant you no longer had to sprinkle salt onto your crisps. Before then, you should remember they were sold as plain crisps but included a wee blue bag of salt inside the packet for you to spread all over the crisps.
It seems nothing now, but when Ready Salted originally hit the scene, it wasn't just a novelty, it was more like a giant leap forward into the future!

Monday, 25 January 2010

RICICLES - TWICICLES AS NICICLES

I can't remember now whether this EP had to be sent away for (3 packet tops & a 2/6 Postal Order!) or if it came free with a box of Ricicles. The Kellogg's sellotape may suggest it was stuck to the box. Anyway, it is dated 1966 and has 5 tunes on it, including the well known TV advert song for Ricicles - "Twicicles As Nicicles", and is basically a wee adventure Noddy has going to the shops.
I used to have another Ricicles EP from the same period in which Noddy & co go out to sea, but many years later, when aged about 18, my mate borrowed it, and I never saw it again!
Although the record is for kids, the songs were composed by music biz heavyweight, Ron Goodwin, famous for his 60's tunes made at Abbey Road with George Martin, as well as scoring loads of film soundtracks.
You may not have heard the TV ad song since the 60's, but bet you'll still be able to sing along with it!



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Sunday, 24 January 2010

WISHBONE ASH - CAIRD HALL - 1980

On this day 30 years ago, Wishbone Ash were in town.
This outfit would have been considered very unfashionable in 1980, being in with the groups from the early 70's era labelled as old dinosaurs, but me not being afraid to venture into the Jurassic period from time to time, went along to the Caird Hall to see them in action, and an evening of bluesy melodic rock is what I got.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

LONDON GIG FOR DUNDEE DUO - 1980

This ad appeared in Sounds music paper in August 1980.
2 Dundee bands in action on the same night at the Lyceum in London - AWB & Mafia.

AWB ON TOTP - 1975

This is the moment the Average White Band first appeared on Top Of The Pops.
The date of the show was 20th March 1975, and the lads had reached their peak position at #6 in the charts with "Pick Up The Pieces".
The above image is the one used on the TOTP chart rundown at the start of the show, and the clip below is of Tony Blackburn introducing film footage of AWB from America, where the band were based. They did of course reach #1 in the States with the same single.
The film of the band live on stage is the original line-up, ie Robbie McIntosh on drums, so would have been shot sometime in 1974.


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Friday, 22 January 2010

OBSERVATION BEE HIVE

A display that was introduced into the museum in the 60's, as a few of you have mentioned, was the Observation Bee Hive.
The hive was behind a pane of glass allowing you to have a wee keek inside and watch all the bees in action, going about their daily routine.
You can read about the idea behind it in more detail, above.
What I can remember about it was that they dabbed a bit of red paint onto the queen, to differentiate it from the workers, and it would take ages sometimes to try and spot it in amongst the hundreds of bees buzzing about.
It was like playing Where's Wally..!!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

MUSEUM'S OLD DUNDEE TOWN MODEL

Another display in the museum from the 60's/70's era was this model of the old Dundee town centre, a very impressive piece of work laid out on a large table.
The problem I had with it back then however, when I was school age, was trying to figure out where it was. Everything South of Reform Street just looked completely alien. Of course that was pretty understandable as most of what was in the model had disappeared from the town centre. So the Overgate didn't resemble how it was , and the city square wasn't in the model either! Now that I am quite familiar with images of how Dundee looked way back in these very old days, I'd get on a bit better I reckon.
Having said that, you'll notice that the model has numbers on the roofs, well they had an identification index on the side of the display so you could match them up and read about the details of each individual building.
To help you make sense of the photo, the corner area, top right, is Boots/Reform St corner, which means the buildings to the left of it are the Overgate/High St area. The main building with #1 on the roof is the Town House - where the city square now is.
The superb model was made by C.G.L. Phillips & Alexander R Fair.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

OLD MUSEUM ROOMS

You may remember in the old layout of the Museum in the 1960's & 70's, they had 2 house interiors from the late 19th century on display. They were next to each other to show the contrast in living conditions between the poor and the rich.
The image on top is the example of the grubby poor hoose which was called the Dundee Kitchen, the decor dating from around the 1870's. Although it's not shown in the illustration, I can recall this room also had a mouse running across the floor.
Next door to it was the shiny posh hoose called the Victorian Parlour, with decor dating from the 1890's. Again, not shown in the drawing but I remember in the room there was also a pedal organ.
Although the difference in the two lifestyles was plain to see, they did have something in common on display - the Wally Dugs on the mantelpiece!
The illustrations were done by Margaret J Webb in 1970.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

CRIPES...MORE PUNK!

This article is taken from an issue of CRIPES, Bruce's Record shop's in-house magazine.
It's just a brief word about a few gigs that were on at the Marryat Hall during the summer of '77.
Bands mentioned are - Chelsea - Alternative TV - Boomtown Rats and The Count Bishops.

Monday, 18 January 2010

I & N RECORDS - CRICHTON STREET

The late 70's saw I & N Records open their shop at 2 Crichton Street.
The top image is of the shop's location, housed where the main window opposite the bus shelter is, with the door being in the wee alcove area.
A couple of recent comments on Retro mentioned that they remember going to I & N regularly for their punk records. Well I can recall once being a bit startled to find Black Uhuru's "Sinsemilla" album there, the kind of record I would normally have had to go through to Edinburgh to buy. I felt the shop earned kudos that day!
And I can honestly say that I & N is the only shop in Dundee I ever bought any classical records from. They had a rack load of Deutsche Grammophon vinyl that I used to indulge in from time to time.
They then introduced video rental as an addition to the music, which in turn eventually became their main merchandise, doing away with records altogether.
The other image is of the I & N record bag, which most of you will no doubt be familiar with.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

THE BLUSH - TAYSIDE BAR -1981

Here is a review from 1981 of The Blush playing their 3rd gig at the Tayside Bar.
The constructive Cranked Up critique, once again, is Jock's work.
Click to enlarge.

HEY YOU!... WE'RE THE BLUSH

Another band who cropped up on the local music scene around 1980 was The Blush, a polished pop act who played guitar based tunes in a similar style to The Pretenders & Police.
The line-up was - JEFF DORAN, guitar - STEVE DUNCAN, bass - EDDIE ROBERTSON, guitar and STEVE AUNGLE, drums.
The Blush made a demo tape containing 5 original tracks, but the general opinion of it was that it didn't quite hit the mark, lacking the punch of their live sets. They then recorded another track of theirs called "Hey You", which wasn't on the demo tape, but captured their sound better, and this is the one below for you to give a listen to. A lively wee tune with a typical early 80's vibe.
Steve Aungle later went on to work with Billy Mackenzie, ironically, after rejecting an offer to team up with The Associates back in '78!
Photos by Camera Ken.


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Saturday, 16 January 2010

BROOKE BOND CARDS #2

Here's a wee nosey inside the Brooke Bond books to give you a reminder of the layout.
Picking a page out at random from the motor cars one, we have 3 cards featuring a Mini Minor, Rover BRM and Ferrari P4. The illustrations are an XK Jaguar and a Citroen.
You should all be familiar with painting on the card from the book of ships - yes it's the Discovery. Back then in the 60's it was berthed in London, way before there was any notion of it being a Dundee icon!
Click the image for the enlarged version.

BROOKE BOND CARDS #1

I reckon most of you who were kids in the 60's will remember collecting Brooke Bond picture cards. This was when tea packets contained loose tea rather than tea bags, and we needed a tea caddy & sieve to make a cuppa.
There were a variety of subjects cropped up on the cards as they changed from one set to the next. Some I can recall are, wildlife, space, famous people and butterflies, but there were only 2 themes I managed to collect the complete set of, motors cars and ships.
These were hard earned too, having to go around the primary playground trying to find swaps with the doublers!
The 2 books above are from around the 1968/69 period and not only contain the full set of cards (50 in each) but they also had a lot of illustrations and extra info on the subjects.

Friday, 15 January 2010

MENZIESHILL MULTI'S IN THE 60'S

This image of the Menzieshill multi's was captured around the mid/late 60's.
The view from Dickson Avenue, running along the left, shows that a lot of the nearby ground was still a building site at the time, while the multi's and their circular garages had been completed.
The same area was also caught on film around the same time.
Below you can see the junction/corner area of Balgay Court and the comings and goings of everyday life, albeit briefly.
A great view of the circular garage from above, the design of which really does look so 60's, in fact I'm always half expecting to see Emma Peel drive up in her Lotus Elan every time I watch it!!

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Thursday, 14 January 2010

RORY GALLAGHER - DUNDEE - 1977

On this day, 33 years ago, Rory Gallagher was on stage at the Caird Hall.
What you got was not glitz or pyrotechnics, but just him with his sleeves rolled up, his battered old Strat strapped on, his band pumping out their own particular brand of blues-rock, all putting in a good 2 and a half hour shift!
It's fine to just keep things nice & simple sometimes!!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

LAND O' CAKES IN CRAIGIE

This was probably one of the lesser known Land O' Cakes shops in Dundee - the Craigie one in Huntly Square. These shops were built in 1962/63 and Wallace's were one of the first to move in.
The top picture was taken in December 1963 and as you can see, shows the full window display. However, it was a very short lived stay because by September '64, when the other picture was taken, it had a "Closed Down" sign on the window and nothing but empty doilies inside.
The sign also informs everyone that the nearest branch can be found in Baluniefield Avenue, but they meant Baluniefield Road!
Photos by DC Thomson.

WALLACE - LAND O' CAKES

Well I started this recent food theme with Wallace's pehs, and so I'll bring it to an end with another one of Wallace's gastronomic gems, their Land O' Cakes shops.
These 2 ads are from the 60's, with the top one showng an image of their main bakery HQ up at Stobswell.
Their most well known shop was probably the one in Crichton Street, but they did have lots of others dotted around town - Dura Street, Hawkhill, Hilltown, in fact we even had one in Craigie!
The last time I looked, the Stobswell Bakery HQ in Eliza Street had been demolished, and their adjoining shop on the corner of Dura Street was lying empty, although a large Land O' Cakes sign was still on the side of the wall.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

LUNCHTIME IN DUNDEE - 1982

Once again, Egon Boney is our guide on a jaunt around a few city centre eating places, this time searching for a decent lunchtime meal.
His findings were a bit hit & miss from what was on offer in 1982.
The pubs & cafes listed are - ARCTIC BAR - CHEQUERS - STUDENTS UNION - THE EXECUTIVE - WINSTONS - SINATRA'S - GENNAS - TINDALLS - THE BISTRO - YMCA CAFE - BOTHY - LADYWELL - FREWS.
Click the image to enlarge and have a wee read.

Monday, 11 January 2010

WILSON & GORDON RESTAURANTS

The original Restaurant Wilson in Union Street was destroyed by a fire in 1956 - and so this picture here is how it looked after it was restored and modernised for the 60's.
Restaurant Wilson is listed in my 1966 Dundee Directory, however, by the time the 1970 Dundee Directory had been published, it had changed into the Gordon Restaurant.
The ad above is dated March 1977 and as you can see there was wining, dining & dancing - and on this occasion the music was supplied by an act called Pastel Colours.

DUNDEE SUPPLY COMPANY

This ad from 1965 is for the Dundee Supply Company who were located a couple of doors up from DM Browns in Commercial Street.
I must admit, it's a shop I knew nothing about until I saw the advert for it. Mind you, I would still have been at primary when the shop was on the go, so it wouldn't be a place I'd visit by myself anyway.
Judging by the photo, it appears to be quite a sizable store, well stocked with fancy foodstuff.
It seems it didn't quite make a century being in biz though. As you can see, it was established in 1873, and although it is listed in my 1966 Dundee Directory, it doesn't show up in my 1970 one, so sometime in the late 60's the shop closed it's doors for good. Same goes for their Ferry branch.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

DUNDEE'S CONTINENTAL CUISINE - 80'S

2 restaurant ads from the mid 80's featuring the Mediterranean flavours of Italy and Spain.
Easy to figure out which one is which by their names - Bruno's, in Meadowside, being Italian and Miguel's in the Ferry, the Spanish one.
The images were taken at the opening of Miguel's in the mid 80's, with local celeb, George Duffus, doing the ribbon cutting honours.
Photos by The Bear.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

DUNDEE RESTAURANT GUIDE - 1981

A reminder of some of the eating places on the go in 1981 can be found in an overview presented in Cranked Up, with Egon Boney taking us on a youthful guide to dining out in Dundee.
For this food tour, EB lists the following - KOH-I-NOOR - GUNGA DIN - HIMALAYA - BALAKA - HIGHLAND STAR - GULLISTAN - BRUNO'S - PIZZA GALLERY - FORTE'S COFFEE HOUSE - RAFFLES - PENTHOUSE - DEEP SEA.
I remember Raffles in the Nethergate/Perth Road got a rave review in Punch magazine in the early 80's. This was when food critic & MP, Clement Freud was doing a weekly food column in the publication. The reason he ended up in Raffles was because he was in Dundee for the Liberal Party conference. He had of course previously been Rector of Dundee University from 74 to 80, so he was well acquainted with the Perth Road area.
He gave Raffles a really good write-up and commented on how cheery the staff were...and Clement wasn't easy to please!
Not only that, but in the mid 80's, Raffles actually achieved an award from the real Egon Roney and got a mention in his 1985/86 publication "Just A Bite Guide".
To find out the ratings by our own Egon Boney, click onto the image to read the large version.

Friday, 8 January 2010

THE RESTAURANT - REFORM STREET

The not very imaginatively named, "Restaurant", was on the corner of Reform Street and Bank Street.
You may remember it was next door to Betty White's fruit shop.
Although this photo of the Restaurant was taken in the early 70's, by 1974 it had changed into the Corner Coffee House.

THE UNICORN - REFORM STREET

The Unicorn in Reform Street was part of the DPM (Dundee Pasteurised Milk) Company who had quite a few dairy's scattered around town in the 60's/early 70's.
This restaurant was located across the road from Bank Street, approximately.
When the Unicorn/DPM closed down in the early 70's, the premises became Cathie McCabe's record shop.

THE HOWFF RESTAURANT

The Howff Restaurant was part of the Breadalbane Arms in Constitution Road. The Howff at #33 and the Bread/Bothy at #35.
I'm sure there was a door inside that connected the 2, to enable you to have a wee drink at the bar before nipping through for some nosh. The restaurant was quite a popular place to have a work's do.
Although the Bread is still there today, the Howff has since disappeared.
The illustration dates from the 70's.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

THE AULD DUNDEE PIE SHOP

I'm gonna have a food theme running over the next few days featuring local cuisine and restaurants galore - and so where better to start than with one of the city's most famous names - Wallace's.
These 2 ads from the 60's are for The Auld Dundee Pie Shop (Wallace's) in Castle Street, now no longer with us.
In the top ad it mentions that the original shop was situated in the Vault area of town before moving to it's permanent location in Castle Street, a shop I'm sure every Dundonian our age has been to.
Now I'm no expert, but I would mark their pie and bridie pastry 10 out of 10, but would only give them 1 out of 10 for the peely-wally clump of gristle inside!
Hope that doesn't make me seem disloyal, because I did feast on them for many years.
Below is a short clip of local celeb, Frank Gilfeather, indulging...!!

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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

THE DUNDEE MUSIC SCENE - 1981

You may have noticed the media like to look back over past events when the year ends, and so from the pages of a Cranked Up festive issue, here is an account of what was going on in the local music scene during 1981.
Click on the image to view the large version and read about bands such as - THE MEGAZONES - SCROTUM POLES - STREET LEVEL - ALIEN CULTURE - MAFIA - ST ANDREW & THE WOOLEN MILL - LONDON BROADS - THE GRIP - THE BLUSH - PARADES - VEX - WAITER WAITER - NO FIXED ABODE - PUSH - MISBEHAVIN' - SYNTHETIC DREAMS - PULSEBEAT PLUS - PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORIES - STRUTZ - ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN - APB - THIRTY BOB SUITS - NEW LONDON - FRENZY - JAZZ TOO - STREET URCHIN - BLIND PEW AND ASGARD.
Phew!...and they even managed to squeeze in a Rockpile ad!!
A salute to "The Major" for getting all that info down in print.

CHEERS!

"Hello Hello, I'm back again" - so sang another GG back in 1973, and now is a rather fitting phrase for the return of Retro Dundee.
For those of you who didn't get enough booze over the New Year period, here is a reminder of the glamour gals they used to put on tins of Tennents lager in the early 70's, a common sight at parties and around football grounds.
So, from Heather, Shirley and myself, a drink to your health, and all the best for 2010. GG