Saturday 31 January 2009

ANGUS HOTEL #3 - 1980's

On the Angus Hotel reception desk they used to have a visitors book that guests would sign.
Being Dundee's top hotel for 3 decades meant that it did contain quite a few famous names. In there were the likes of Maggie Thatcher, David Bowie, the Queen, Peter Ustinov, Rod Stewart and so on, page after page.
In 1985, The Associates booked in for the night when they were in town for a gig at Fat Sams.
A while afterwards, I managed to get the page from the visitors book the band had signed that night. Amongst the signatures are - Steve Reid, Billy Mackenzie, Howard Hughes and Roberto Soave.
I also attended the Fatties gig too and I'm gonna give that a mention on Retro Dundee next. Stay tuned..!!
Incidentally, on the other side of the page was the signature of songstress, Susan Maughan. She had a couple of hit records back in the 60's (remember 'Bobby's Girl'), and she was performing at the Whitehall Theatre in April that year.

Friday 30 January 2009

ANGUS HOTEL #2 - 1970'S

This photo of the Angus Hotel zone was taken in 1973.
The road layout reminds you it was in a perfect spot to catch travellers from all points on the compass.
There were a couple of small business premises to the left of the main entrance canopies. Grampian TV was next door. Next to them was a jewellers, office supplier and a car rental. Later, one of those premises was occupied by 2nd-hand record shop, Groucho's.
The 2 businesses across the road in the same Nethergate building next to the roundabout were, J.D Brown Photography Studio (the window with the net curtains) and next to it is the Bangladesh Restaurant, where David Bowie & Co once bought meals to bring back to the Angus Hotel after their gig in '73.

Thursday 29 January 2009

ANGUS HOTEL #1 - 1960'S

Built in the early 60's, The Angus Hotel, on the corner of Marketgait and Nethergate (now Debenhams), was Dundee's top city hotel for around 3 decades. It was THE place for visitors to stop off at, whether they be royalty, politicians, rock stars or celebs. It wasn't only for out-of-towners though, locals used it too, for functions, weddings and so on. It even hosted gigs occasionally. I remember going to a few jazz concerts there in the late 70's - early 80's.
The building was part of the overall Overgate Centre design, and adjoining the hotel on the Nethergate side were 2 pubs, The Glamis and The Nethergate Bar. Then around the back of the hotel was the Overgate shopping area.
The short piece of footage below, from the mid 60's, gives a better view of it's position and layout, showing the front of the Angus and the shops at the rear.
Photo by the Scotsman.Tints by GG.

Wednesday 28 January 2009


The photo at the top is of inside The Other Record Shop in the Overgate and was taken in May 1984.
A wee look around the shop shows that there is still plenty of vinyl to be had. However, the ominous appearance of the CD rack (like a Dalek in the centre of the store) would later go on to almost exterminate vinyl from record shops.
Compact Discs started to compete with vinyl in 1982 and although rock & pop acts were a bit tentative to try using this format at first, it wasn't long before everybody released their material on CD. This in turn became especially lucrative for record companies who chose to re-issue their back catalogue which then had punters purchasing their entire record collection all over again!
It was now pretty much the beginning of the end for vinyl.
DJ's and serious record collectors have prevented vinyl being killed off completely though, becoming more of a specialist commodity nowadays. I for one opted to hang onto most of my vinyl collection, many of which were purchased from this very shop.
Underneath the top picture is a reminder of the stores carrier bag.

Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG.

Tuesday 27 January 2009


Led Zeppelin stopped off at the Caird Hall twice in the 70's - first was on 13 November 1971, and their second was on this day 36 years ago, 27 January 1973.
I missed out on these Dundee gigs but I did manage to catch them live a few years later in England around 78/79.
There are quite a few photos from their Caird Hall shows available to view on fan sites such as Led Zeppelin Database, like Jimmy Page with his double necked guitar.
To get a reminder of them in Dundee, you can travel back in time to their '71 show with this recording below and hear them perform "Heartbreaker", with the Caird Hall crowd getting a bit over excited, inducing a ticking off from Robert Plant!

Monday 26 January 2009


This recording is a bit of a mystery to me.
It's by Billy Plater and called "Tay Bridge".
This review of it cropped up in a Deadbeat fanzine in August 1985.
For starters, I've no idea who Billy Plater is, never seen the name anywhere before.
Although the track title is "Tay Bridge", I don't know if the act is from Dundee or out of town.
The reviewer doesn't even know if it's a duo or a band!
A 10 minute electronic track means it's probably on cassette rather than vinyl.
Deadbeat didn't give it a thumbs up really, but I wouldn't mind hearing it.
Anyone know anything about it?

Sunday 25 January 2009


Lochee Baths is where I learned to swim. This was back in the late 60's when my primary class used to visit there once a week for lessons.
The entrance was up a wee side street called St Marys Lane, just off Lochee High Street.
The interior layout was very compact, in fact there was actually hardly any room to move around the edge of the pool.
When we went there it was only the girls who got to use the perimeter cubicles, us boys got chucked in the communal changing room around the back.
I remember we all started off using arch shaped polystyrene floats before any attempts at proper swimming commenced, but it didn't take long before the whole class could swim.
The upside to the trip was, because we attended Balerno school in Douglas, it meant a lengthy bus journey, so we kind of viewed the 3 hour day out as a bit of a skive from class, what with the all-round excursion using up a full morning.
The downside to it was, our class was booked during the winter months so I can also recall the miserable return journey when we were all damp haired, freezing and shivering waiting on the bus back.
Still to this day, anytime I happen to catch a whiff of bleach, I always get a flashback to the Lochee Baths!
Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG.

Saturday 24 January 2009


My memory of the Old Bank Bar is that I used to visit it more often during the day than I did in the evenings. The main reason was probably based on the fact that in the mid 80's it was one of the first pubs in Dundee to get an all-day license. Inevitably, the novelty of not getting chucked out at half-two was taken advantage of on more than one occasion. The thing about being open all day, however, is that it did sometimes mess up your sense of time. Now and again we would plan to pop in at lunchtime just for a quick pint, only to then see it turn into an unplanned all day session. Lethal..!! It took a few weeks to get used to it.

Friday 23 January 2009

UB40 - CAIRD HALL - 1982

27 years ago today, reggae band UB40 were playing at the Caird Hall, my ticket stub above managing to survive the passage of time.
This was the 2nd time I had seen the band live as I saw them play in Edinburgh 2 years earlier.
Great upbeat vibes on the night that got everyone out their seats!
The item below the ticket is a full page ad from an NME back then that has the tour dates listed.

Thursday 22 January 2009


Sleaz Band demo number 3...


Sleaz Band demo number 2...


A rare compilation of unheard demo tracks by Dundee act, Sleaz Band, was unearthed recently.
20 tracks in total, all of which were recorded during the 1969 to 1974 period.
Although the Sleaz Band did release a proper record in 1974, none of the demo tracks made it onto vinyl.
Sleaz Band seemed to share the same musical arena as bands like, Jo Jo Gunne, SAHB, Geordie, Blackfoot Sue etc - not quite full-on rock and not overtly commercial pop, but all lurking around the same in-between territory in the early/mid 70's.
Don't know why Sleaz Band didn't hitch on board the road to success, they certainly supported many big names and so would have been in touch with plenty influential contacts in the biz - but sometimes that's not always what the bands themselves are looking for.
Perhaps they just enjoyed the booze more than the biz!
Anyway, I'm gonna put up 3 of their demo's, all if which are untitled.
Here's the first of the batch...

Wednesday 21 January 2009


This is the cover of the very first issue of Dundee music fanzine, Cranked Up. It wasn't the cities first fanzine, with the likes of "Men from Soya" and "Le Sinistre" being very short-lived attempts earlier. Cranked Up, however, kept it going for 18 issues, so they had a good run.
The mag hit the scene in 1981 and managed to capture the start of the "New Wave" bands that were springing up locally, although a variety of other music categories were given plenty fanzine space too.
The main man behind Cranked Up was, Jock Ferguson, who nowadays makes a living acting, specialising in Scottish characters. Check out his website to see what he's up to

Tuesday 20 January 2009


The brand new Craigie High assembly hall a couple of weeks before it opened in 1970. Soon after this photo was taken, I, along with the first ever batch of pupils to set foot in the school, nervously gathered in the hall to hear our names be called out to discover what class we were in. Arranged in alphabetical order.
Forward-wind to 1974 and again we gathered in the hall, for the last time, to sit our o-level exams. The balcony that lead to the music dept (top left of photo) had signs up on the doors at either end that read - "Silence. Exams in progress", and everyone had to tip-toe and be hushed at all times during o-levels.
A couple of quirkier moments I can recall were, they showed the film "Zulu" here, the Michael Caine one. The stage had a pull-down screen in-built and this was the only time I remember it being used. No idea now if the movie was part of class or an after class treat.
Another time, a Conservative candidate visited during elections and obviously kept banging on about the Tories, much to the boredom of the pupils. Eventually he finished his speech and asked the pupils if there were any questions. "What's your opinion of the Labour Party?" shouted a pupil. The guy was stumped! He couldn't think of anything to say, he fumbled about, coughed, spluttered then after a lengthy delay managed to blabber something, but by now we didn't hear much for laughter!
I also attended a gig here. All of the guys in the rock band were CHS pupils apart from the singer, who incidentally, was wearing Alice Cooper style make-up! I'm not 100% sure of the band's name now but "Pegasus" seems to ring a bell. Feel free to correct me on that.
Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG

Monday 19 January 2009


This is taken from the Radio Times, dated 17th August 1966. A 40 minute documentary on BBC1 featuring an unusual Dundee double act... music performed by local band Lowland Folk Four and narration supplied by a budding young actor called Brian Cox.
I was only 8 years old when this was broadcast. Unfortunately I have no memory of the programme, but from what I gather the content consisted of a tour around Dundee, old and new, set to music. If anyone remembers anything about it feel free to drop the details into the comments. Or, if someone out there has an actual copy of it, do let me know.
Click on the image to enlarge it to read.

Sunday 18 January 2009


This picture of Brookes in Brook Street, Broughty Ferry, was taken in October 1980.
It's a pub I remember visiting only on Sunday evenings. Sunday back then was our funky nights at the "Sands" so we'd all usually meet here to have a couple of pints first before nipping along to spend the rest of the night at the disco.
It always make me recall those warm, lighty summer evenings.
Photo by DC Thomson.

Saturday 17 January 2009

SLEAZ BAND - 60'S - 70'S

Dundee's Sleaz Band first started out by calling themselves "Rock Tonsils and the Sleaz Band" when they were on the same bill as Pink Floyd for a gig at Dundee Art College in 1968. Soon after that they opted for a simpler version - Sleaz Band - and a rather lively few years in rock music began.
As their reputation grew, they gigged extensively with top acts such as Deep Purple - Fleetwood Mac - T.Rex - David Bowie - Slade - Thin Lizzy, to name just a few of a very impressive gig list.
Along with their own ad above, I have included some adverts featuring the acts they have supported...
Fleetwood Mac - Glasgow 1969.
T.Rex - Motherwell 1970
Deep Purple - Aberdeen 1970.
Nazareth - Aberdeen 1972.
Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Liverpool 1973
Shakin' Stevens - Aberdeen 1974.

They have also recorded. 
An album was in the pipeline but unfortunately it never saw the light of day.
A single, however, was released in June 1974, with the band line-up at this stage consisting of Phil Robertson, Jim Kelly, Clark Robertson & Robbie Stewart, although the personnel did change from time to time.
The band eventually called it a day in the late 70's.
For a wee reminder of their sound, here below is the b-side of their '74 single, a track called "Midnight Man", a tidy little slice of rock, produced by Terry Noon for the Fontana label and clocking in at just 1min 50 secs, shorter than the average punk record!

Friday 16 January 2009


One of the things I liked about going to the Gaumont was the bus stopped right outside the foyer. You can see the bus stop in the picture...dead handy when it rained.
I'm sure this was the cinema we used to go to in the 1960's on Saturday mornings for the kids club. They would show movies made by the Childrens Film Foundation, run weekly episodes of Flash Gordon, chuck in some cartoons and so on. It did get a bit rowdy at times, probably because there were no parents around, so there would be a lot of booing at the baddies, cheering at the goodies and singing along to the tunes....oh yeah, not forgetting the peanut fights!
Typical 60's films I saw there were The Beatles movies, James Bond, Disney and such like, then in the 70's it was blockbusters such as Star Wars.
The Gaumont then became the Odeon in 1974.
Photo by DC Thomson. Tints by GG

Thursday 15 January 2009


This advert for Nautilus in Perth Road goes back to 1981.
I didn't actually try the place out myself but I knew a couple of guys who were regulars.
From what they told me, their evening's fitness routine went like this - go to gym for 1 hour then go to pub for 4 hours!

Wednesday 14 January 2009


Here's my ticket stub showing that on this day 30 years ago, Elvis Costello was in town.
At this stage in his career he was still a bit of a skinny little whippersnapper, having surfaced in tandem with the punk movement, but behind the image lay a big talent, and we got an instant reminder when he started the show off with "Watching The Detectives". After that the hits kept coming, "Olivers Army" - "Alison" - "Accidents Will Happen" - "Red Shoes" and on it went. This tour was to promote his "Armed Forces" album so there was plenty new material too.
He has since gone on to work with just about every musician on the planet it seems and is still touring 3 decades on.
There were 2 support acts on the night.
One was Richard Hell & the Voidoids from the USA. This was the band he formed after he left Television. Richard Hell was the guy who gave the world the "punk look" ie cropped spikey hair with ripped shirt held together with safety pins. The look was later enhanced by the Brit punks to become the more common punk fashion of the late 70's we now refer to.
Also on the bill was big haired Manchester poet John Cooper Clarke.
Urban grit with wit.
I think we got our £2.50's worth!

Tuesday 13 January 2009


Here's a bundle of records that came out when Scotland were involved in the World Cup in 1982, hosted by Spain.
Most of you will probably be familiar with the "official" Scotland record that was released at the time because it actually got into the national charts, was played on Radio 1 and even cropped up on Top Of The Pops.
That record was called "We Have A Dream" and was a B.A. Robertson song, but it isn't in with this lot.
These ones here, I've never heard, and don't want to hear either!
I didn't go to the '82 World Cup, although I did tour Spain in 1981, visiting Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Malaga and suchlike, so I did get a preview of the footballing locations.
Anyway, back to this crap - first up is The Krankies with "We're Going To Spain". Yeah, Benidorm!
Next is a 4 track E.P. by Sydney Devine and includes the highly original title of "Scotland Forever". This record had actually been deleted by Phonogram but unfortunately was brought back to life!
Fran and Anna's effort is called, wait for it - "It's Scotland For Ever". The duo no doubt very knowledgeable about Scottish football too.
The final ad has 3 records mentioned - starting with Andy Cameron's gem "We're On The March Again", which sounds like an anthem for the beer-bellies to sing along to!
Following that it's The Tartan Lads and they put a lot more thought into theirs which is titled "Scotland Evermore". Well it's certainly a touch more creative than "Scotland Forever"... Yawn!!
Finally, there is a compilation album called "World Cup Souvenir Album - Espana 82". This not only had Scottish dirge, but English and Irish as well!! Wonder how many oddballs bought that one!
After the tournament, I imagine all this vinyl was melted down into ashtrays.

Monday 12 January 2009


A novelty ice cream idea that was a big hit with youngsters in the 60's and 70's was the Tonibell Miniball - a plastic ball filled with ice cream. To tuck into the contents you removed the lid, and when the ice cream was all gone you just snapped the lid back on, then you could have a game of football, tennis and so on, with it. They were sold in various colours and they came with a flat wooden spoon.
This advert is dated June 1968 but I can recall when I was at Craigie High school in 1970-74, the 70's ones had either a gobstopper or bubblegum inside as an added extra feature. Needless to say we had many games of football in the playground with them too.
I've no idea when they stopped selling them, I don't have any memory of having ever seen them after my school days, but they were popular in their day, and one of the rare occasions when kids didn't get in trouble for playing with their food!

Sunday 11 January 2009


Before the arrival of the internet, the basic concept of providing an interactive information system on screen commenced in the UK in the early 80's. BT came up with PRESTEL, a public viewdata service. A modified TV receiver in the home was linked by your telephone to a main computer database that connected various Information Provider companies. Subscribers could view thousands of pages on TV featuring items such as weather, travel updates, sport etc, as well as send messages or order goods.
DC Thomson was Dundee's IP and they called themselves TAYTEL 263 VIEWDATA.
The screen visuals were similar to present day Ceefax & Teletext with images made possible using the square block method.
The image above you should be able to figure out, it being the DCT building at Meadowside, and below are some of the original Taytel/Prestel on-screen graphics from 1982.

Saturday 10 January 2009


This is DC Thomson's retouching department based in Kingsway. Picture taken in 1974.
They worked on the negatives as part of the pre-printing preparations.
The guy in the photo is working on a page called "Linda of Nursery Rhyme Land" which I think may be for Bimbo.
Needless to say, nowadays it's all done on computer rather than by hand.
Photo by JDG.

Friday 9 January 2009


Here is the entire list of weekly magazines, papers & comics published by DC Thomson in 1966. The above info also includes their issue day and price.
A mixture of fun for the kids, romance for the females and a little something for the parents.
Below is a rare, if short, piece of footage from the same year, showing covers and artwork from some of the publications on the list.

Wednesday 7 January 2009


Located at 176 Seagate ( the building no longer exists ), the Tayside Bar was a pub you may well have passed in the street without giving it a second glance. It was really an old man's pub, as basic and as spartan as they get. However, in the early '80's, Dundee's trendy youth hijacked it and used it as a live music venue.
Most of the time it was a showcase for the "alternative" music scene...and on the nights there were no bands playing, there would often be a DJ - the Cranked Up Disco!.
Local bands who gigged there were acts such as Altres, The Grip, AAGA, Waiter Waiter, Junkies, Scrotum Poles, The Blush etc etc...but as the venue became more known, acts from out of town would come in and perform too.
There always seemed to be something going on inside which is why it was such a good place to have a drink. I remember Billy Mackenzie used to hang out there as well.
The top photo shows the long narrow lounge area of the pub...where it all happened!!
Under it, is a photo of the pubs main man, Brian Sinclair, the guy who brought all the bands in.
One of the many acts I saw play there was AAGA, and I was in the crowd at one of their gigs they captured on film. Below is that very gig. Filmed in March 1984. AAGA live at the Tayside Bar with a track called "Back in the 60's".
Many thanks to Kevin, Mike, Brian and co from AAGA & Altres for the excellent footage and photo.
Meanwhile, enjoy the blast from the past, on the video below...
Tayside Bar now has its own website - go visit Tayside Bar

Tuesday 6 January 2009


The yellow Alexander buses were the ones we used in the 60's & 70's to go to places like Arbroath and Fife. What I remember about them is that it seemed like everytime I went passed the Seagate Bus Station, the place was always full of them, but on the occasions I needed to go to the Station to actually travel on them, the Station would be mysteriously empty and had to wait ages on one!
The above photo featuring an Alexander's bus was taken in the early 70's. Nobody was hurt in the accident but the funny thing about it is that it's my brothers Austin Maxi that's crushed and it was him that took the picture. He was the only one in the car and as soon as the collision occurred he just stepped out the car and took a few snaps. Not even any camera shake!!
The car was a write-off and the photos were used in my brothers favour when it was insurance claim time!

Monday 5 January 2009


I've put quite a few items up about the old Overgate shops, so now it's time to have a little look around the car park.
The above photo give's you a good reminder of the layout.
Below, however, is a great piece of film from the mid 60's that actually takes you there. No need for any further descriptions as you will see it for yourself. So fasten your seat belt and enjoy the wee hurl.

Sunday 4 January 2009


Cut mag cropped up in the magazine racks in 1986.
It was a Scottish based publication - a tabloid sized paper rather than an A4 glossy magazine.
Youth culture was its content, with most of it being music related.
So it covered the alternative/indie scene in the main, together with a touch of pop, jazz, dancefloor and world music in the mix.
There were record reviews, interviews, live gig reviews, new Scottish acts to watch out for, a gig guide and charts.
The other topics it indulged in were cinema, books, art, theatre, fashion, politics and a wee dash of sport.
Glasgow & Edinburgh were it's main focus needless to say, but Dundee got a look-in too.
The snippets I've put up are the kind of local info the mag supplied - for example, features on Dundee bands such as Plastic Surgery, Sweden Thru The Ages, Let's Evolve, My Brilliant Obsession, Sandflowers and The Poison Boyfriends.
There's also a typical review of a gig that took place at Fat Sams, with local act Wildhouse and guests The Hook 'n' Pull Gang.
Cut unfortunately, had a fairly short shelf life, as it ceased publication in 1989.