Tuesday, 30 September 2008


This is the Boar's Rock's first day open for business and Bob McLaren (seated) awaits his first customer.
It's February 1973 and the transformation from grocer shop to pub is complete.
I didn't start drinking until around 1974 when I was 16, going to places like the Hansom Cab in town. Being underage meant I chose to stay clear of the Boars Rock because it was our local and I didn't want to bump into my relatives or neighbours! I didn't mind risking the town centre ones underage but I didn't think it was such a good idea to get banned from your own local!! So I just held out until I did turn 18 and along I popped to the Rock to sample it which then lead to me visiting there quite often on Sunday lunchtimes.
The pub, situated in Arbroath Road, is still going strong today.

Photo by DC Thomson.

Monday, 29 September 2008


Back in the 60's, Bob McLaren used to run this wee grocer shop called VIVO.
It was located at the Craigiebank shops in Arbroath Road and he & his family also lived above the shop premises.
The picture above was taken in Feb 1969, but in the early 70's Bob fulfilled an ambition he had, that was, to run a pub.
He achieved this in 1973 when he converted the grocer shop into The Boar's Rock, a pub which I'll feature next.

Photo by DC Thomson. Tints by GG.

Sunday, 28 September 2008


When the church on the corner of Meadowside & Bell Street was converted into a pub in the early 80's, it was first called Cloisters, then it became Gabriels, and in its final incarnation it was known as The Cafe Club.
The Cafe Club advert above was published on the night the pub first opened for business, which was Friday 18 December 1987.
Along with the food & drink displayed in the ad, the cafe was also a lively music venue for bands.
A mix of heavy rock and alternative rock bands, some of the acts who have played there are - Jih, Hank Stardust, Short Term Effect, Little Wolves, Baby's Got A Gun, Faith Healer, Satyr, Lonesome Crow, The Heat, Klass, All Tomorrow's Parties, Let's Evolve, The Highlanders, and many many more.

Saturday, 27 September 2008



The Divorce Brothers were on the go in the mid/late 80's.
Line-up - Ian McIntosh & Abe McIntosh were the main guys, others came and went - Ged Lerpiniere - Paul Caswell - Derek Anderson - Roberto Soave - Jimmy MacKenzie - Martin Lowe - Alison Burns and a couple more.
Jimmy MacKenzie was the brother of Billy and the brother-in-law of the McIntosh's.
Sister Liz MacKenzie also provided occasional backing vocals.
They played locally at places such as Tindalls, Unicorn and along at Electric Whispers in Perth.
They released a record in 1986 and from it is this track called "Divorcee".
Although it's a semi-instrumental, it is very Associates-like in style.

Friday, 26 September 2008


This is how Lyon Street looked back in the 1980's. A typical Dundee street that you would pass without giving it a second glance.
In the early 80's, however, something was brewing at number 39.
A wee social gathering of creative musicians were busy producing acts who would go on to record some classy alternative pop music. This is where Billy Mackenzie & Alan Rankine of The Associates were living back then, along with a few others. In amongst the others were Christine Beveridge & Steve Reid who went on to record as Orbidoig, releasing a couple of singles.
A cross-pollination of The Associates & Orbidoig then created a 3rd act called... 39 Lyon Street. They too released a single - "Kites" - which was a cover of the Simon Dupree hit from the psychedelic 60's.
The article under the photo is the band getting a debut mention in an NME dated June 1981.
Below, is rare footage of Billy singing an acoustic version of "Kites" on French TV.
The original vhs tape was a bit mashed, but it's well worth watching anyway.

Thursday, 25 September 2008



Millions Like Us was conceived in Dundee in the mid 80's and was the brainchild of John O'Kane.
John sent a demo tape into Circa Records in 1986, got a reply, and went down to London to get the record deal.
He then teamed up with an English guy called Jeep Hook to record the Millions Like Us album in the USA in 1987.
John has stayed in the States ever since and later went on to record a few solo albums in the 90's as well become a composer-songwriter for other well known acts.
The Millions Like Us album was a one-off project and a track from it called "Ideal World" can be heard below.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


This ad for Sinatras used to run and run back in the 80's.
Well, I mean the frame with logo and graphic did - the content inside would change over the years.
It was a classy kind of pub, busy at weekends and lunchtimes.
The ad here dated September 1986, emphasises their range of cuisine on offer.

Thursday, 18 September 2008


This was a great wee pub, and probably the only Dundee drinking den I could say was "surreal"!!.
On the go in the late 70's - early 80's and situated on the corner of Commercial Street/Exchange street.
It was quite deceptive in appearance because it looked like an old-timer's pub from the outside, but one step indoors and it transported you to a completely different world.
The crazy interior reflected the owner's madcap outlook. They had a "gorilla" theme running throughout the place. Try and envisage this - there were lots of apes hanging from the ceiling from chains, each one wearing the pubs own t-shirt design (King Kong wrecking the Tay bridge) and all had flashing eyes that were synchronised in time with the music!
As if that wasn't zany enough, the walls had an outer space mural that not only had stuff like rockets and planets scattered about it but also included many cartoon characters!!
The music was sometimes played from cassettes chosen by the bar staff and sometimes picked from the jukebox by us who drank there, but both sources were always played at FULL volume and was a mix of punk, rock & pop.
Always a place to have a really good laugh.
The short clip below is a wee visual recreation of their ape theme.

Photo by DC Thomson.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Some of the above fanzine titles may be familiar to a few of you who indulged in keeping track of Dundee's music activity in the 70's and 80's.
Some of the above fanzine titles may not be so familiar due to the short lifespan they had when they were on the go.
I'll supply the lowdown on them anyway as I have a few in my collection.
Most are Dundee based, but a couple are Dundee / Edinburgh combos...

THE VOICE - started up in 1982 as a kind of splinter 'zine when Cranked Up ceased. At least 3 issues.
CRIPES - started up in summer 1977 as a newsletter for Bruce's Record Shop with over 110 issues.
LE SINISTRE - started up in June 1981 and ended in July 1981 after only 2 issues.
FALLING AND LAUGHING - started up in 1983. Unsure how long it lasted but 5 issues at least.
SWEET TV TIMES - started early 80's to promote the activities of The Junkies. Unsure how long it lasted.
MEN FROM SOYA - started and ended in 1981 after only 1 issue (as far as I know).
PROCESS - started and ended in 1981 after only 1 issue.
VEX [VEKS] - started around early 80's mostly to promote Vex's own band(s) and opinions. Unsure how long it lasted.
CRANKED UP - started up in July 1981 and ended in July 1982 after 18 issues.
HARD COPY - started in summer 1982 by local music journalist, Bob Fllynn. Unsure how long it lasted but issue 1 exists.
DEADBEAT - started up in August 1982 and ended in 1986 after 33 issues.
S'PUNK (It's Punk) - started up late 70's. Unsure how long it lasted but 13 issues at least.
HERE COMES EVERYBODY - started up around 81/82. Unsure how long it lasted but 4 issues at least.

Another local fanzine planned in 1982 was "The Buck Stops Here" (or There). Issues published?
There was also word of another fanzine starting up in 1982 called "The Junk Rag". Issues published?

If anyone knows of any other Dundee based fanzine (or fanzines where Dundee was mentioned regularly) feel free to pass the info on.
Should anyone like to share copies they have, again, feel free to get in touch.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


Known affectionately by his Dundee mates as "The Welly", Jim Kelly started 
gigging locally in the mid 60's.
One of the groups he was in during this time was The Honours.
He then left Dundee around 1967 to join "The Luvvers", Lulu's backing band.
After a year or so he joined "The Honeybus" who were quite a major chart band, and recorded a couple of albums with them.
In 1969 he released a solo single called "Mary, Mary".
He came back to Dundee in 1970 and had more success with rock outfit "The Sleaz Band", gigging & recording.
Around 1973 he teamed up with local band "Hunters Key" ( my cousin John Lunan on drums ), and he stayed with them for a few years.
He was also known for his great sense of humour, but his health eventually gave way and he died in the mid 90's.
Here below is a wee tribute vid showcasing the Welly on a track called "Girl Of Independent Means". The guitar riff intro sounding very similar to David Bowie's 1972 hit "Jean Genie", who coincidentally, was also on the same "Deram" label when this was recorded in 1968..!!

Monday, 15 September 2008


A couple of press items about a new music show that started up on Grampian TV on 6 March 1963 - called Teenbeat.
Dundee had quite a big role in it as Andy Lothian was the host, singers Tony Vincent, Sheila Mitchell & Johnny Hudson were all local too and Dundee act The Mystery Men were the resident band.
The show usually showcased a couple of big name stars each week and on this first episode, Vince Eager and The Barron Knights were the main guests.
Dundee also got in on the act with local dancers demonstrating how to do the Twist & the Madison.

Click items to enlarge.

Sunday, 14 September 2008



Dundee was transformed into a town called Medburgh when filming took place in August 1977.
This was for a TV comedy play titled "The Mayor's Charity".
It starred Thora Hird, Frank Windsor, Roy Kinnear and a few others.
A local taxi driver, John Mackay from Douglas, also made an appearance.
Locations used were, Euclid Crescent, the old Reference Library and Morgan school.
The play was broadcast by the BBC in November the same year.

Click article to read.

Friday, 12 September 2008


Sunday nights were the best nights to pop along to Broughty Ferry hotspot "The Sands" in the late 70's & early 80's musically speaking, because their choice of sounds on Sundays were of a more specialist variety.
So being black based music in the main meant there was a lot of serious funk going down, plenty of hot soul imports spinning and a fair amount of Northern Soul belted out too. They did drop a dollop of chart pop stuff along the way but it was in much smaller portions than you'd get on Fridays & Saturdays.
The atmosphere was better on Sundays too which made it a great way to finish off a weekend's clubbing.
As well as DJ's blasting out the latest dancefloor goodies, The Sands also hosted jazz events on Sunday afternoons and anyone wanting to jam alongside Dundee's top jazz musician, Jimmy Deuchar, were welcome to.
The photos above show The Sands in 2 different phases - the first 2 are its late 70's look with a circular dancefloor - the other 2 are from the early 80's when they extended the dancefloor out to the seating areas and added more lights around the joint.
Combining both the dancefloor and jazz elements of The Sands, below is a track I always associate with my Sunday's spent there. Its a great jazz-funk groove that dates back to 1980 - and I still have my original 12 inch copy of it too!

Photos by DC Thomson.

Thursday, 11 September 2008


A wee shoe shop in the Murraygate called "Lotus" sold these hooped socks in 1974.
Hooped socks were already popular with teenagers at that time because of glam-rock music fashions, but those ones were generally referred to as Slade socks because Noddy Holder famously wore them on stage.
Why these ones above stood out from the crowd and differed from Slade socks slightly was because they were fluorescent. This was the first time fluorescent colours had been used in fashion, way before punk and the term Dayglo became known.
The trousers were usually worn "half mast" to show them off!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


This mural called "Shoppers" was designed by Dundee artist, Ian Eadie, in 1965, and spanned one of the underpasses in the Overgate Shopping Centre.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


This well known disco location became the Coconut Grove in March 1984. Previously the Barracuda, it was renamed this when it came under new ownership and a £1/4 million face-lift.
After a couple of years they opted to drop the name "coconut" and it became known just as "The Grove", as in the above picture.
Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG.

Monday, 8 September 2008


Paul McCartney & Wings played at the Caird Hall on 23 September 1975, the concert having sold out in advance.
There was a camera crew following Wings around on this tour with the Scottish shows caught on film and inserted into the documentary they were making. I have seen the footage that was taken but didn't manage to identify the Caird Hall, so not sure if the Caird Hall sequence is tucked away somewhere in the vaults!
The ad at the top is from a 1975 NME and has the tour dates.
The item underneath the ad is the Caird Hall autograph book which Paul & Linda signed when they were in town that day.
A nice touch of humour by both, with Dundee and the Queen being referred to.

Saturday, 6 September 2008


Chequers position in the Nethergate was reflected by those who used to drink there - half were townies and half were students.
It opened around 1980 and was a cheery, civilised place to mingle - even on the nights it was crammed.
As well as a jukebox up on the wall, it had "Commedia dell'Arte" themed paintings hanging up around the pub - Pulcinella and co, as above.
Its interior was done in typical 80's ever popular green, hence this caption colour!

Friday, 5 September 2008


Opened in the late 70's, the Crypt was a fashion boutique run by Billy Mackenzie.
As its name suggests, the shop had a dungeon-like theme which was evident on the inside as well as the outside decor.
There were coffin shaped changing rooms & dead animals indoors (stuffed, of course), with a wrought iron portcullis on the doorway & window outdoors.
The gear was a mix of classy retro clothing and modern designer garments.
The shop then changed to "Plan 2" in the early 80's when Billy's brother took over.
Below is a short film clip of the shop doorway with Billy saying a wee word about it.
Photo by DC Thomson.

Thursday, 4 September 2008


2 images of the old Wellgate before it became what it is today.
Above picture was taken in the mid 70's when the street was closed down to make way for the demolition team to do their stuff.
Below is footage that was shot in the late 60's showing the street still open for business.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


Birrell's was one of Dundee's best known shoe shops, a familiarity which was probably down to their long history.
In 1967, they had officially been doing business in town for 100 years!
The advert is dated August 1966 and has a variety of brands on offer for ladies, gents and kids, with their premises in Kirk Style & Overgate.
The photo was taken in the late 70's, but around the early/mid 70's period, Birrell's was the place to go for the best Desert Boots in town!

Photo by DC Thomson.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


Some of the albums here in the window of The Other Record Shop taken in 1984 are - Roger Waters, Psychedelic Furs, Bob Marley, David Bowie, Human League and Echo & the Bunnymen.
The shop also sold concert tickets which is why there is a poster advertising Bob Dylan tickets on the window, although that was for a gig out of town as Dylan has never played in Dundee.
They also had a variety of rock t-shirts and comics on sale.
The advert dates from April 1985 and is a reminder that they also stocked a variety of jazz records.

Photo by DC Thomson.

Monday, 1 September 2008


Mr Beaujangles was a fashion boutique dreamt up by Dundee businessman, Ian Dand.
His first store opened in the Overgate in November 1973, with well known Scottish DJ, Stuart Henry, doing the opening ceremony. That was soon followed by shops opening in Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
The stores were targeting the 16 to 25 age group and closely followed the latest London fashion styles. 
Mr Beaujangles also came up with the novel idea of having go-go dancers perform in cages at weekends, to attract custom.
Later, 2 more shops were added to the Dundee collection - one in the Wellgate and another in Commercial Street. However, when all 3 stores were operating at a later stage, they dropped the "Mr" part from their business name and just settled for being called "Beaujangles". The main reason for this was that they introduced a female clothing section, thus becoming unisex stores.
However, it all crashed to a halt in April 1982 when Beaujangles closed its doors for good.
The top image is how the shop looked in 1978 in the Overgate when it was still called "Mr Beaujangles" and so too the shop carrier bag from the same era.