Saturday 28 February 2009


Here's a quirky item of Dundee music trivia from the 70's that may get a few locals scratching their head!
In 1971 Dundee band, Thynglchyme, appeared on TV talent show "Opportunity Knocks", hosted by Hughie Green.
At the time, my cousin was drummer in The Jacques who was one of the other bands who took part in the auditions for the local heat.
Thynglchyme won the Dundee contest though and made it onto the show. Not only that but they actually went on to win the TV show 2 weeks on the trot.
However, performing on national television in front of millions doesn't appear to have done their career much good because I put THYNGLCHYME into Google search and got absolutely nothing!
So if any of you knowledgeable Dundonians can fill in a few details on this mystery band with the groovy name, feel free to pass on the any info you have into the comments.
Then a few years later in 1978, it was the turn of local outfit Tivvy to make an appearance on the show.
The above cutting is dated Feb '78.
Tivvy once played at the Caird Hall supporting Slik - this was in 1976.
Apart from that, I have no details on this band or information as to how they did on the TV contest - so over to you to fill in the details in the comments.

Friday 27 February 2009


31 years ago today, Gallagher & Lyle were in town.
Now, I went to see rock bands, jazz bands, punk bands, prog bands, pop bands, reggae bands, pub bands, new wave bands, the lot, but I think this was the nearest I got to experiencing an easy listening band. I don't mean that in a corny Foster & Allen kind of way, I mean it was an evening of relaxation, nice laid-back music to get you settled comfy in your seat. No rushing to the front of the stage for this gig.
The duo did write good tunes mind you, both as G&L and in their previous band McGuinness Flint. The biggest cheer of the evening came when they did their 1976 hit "Heart On My Sleeve".
I remember there was a joke doing the rounds at the time about a guy who went into a record shop and asked for "Tart On My Sleeve by Tate & Lyle"..!!
That's my surviving ticket stump at the top accompanied with an ad for the album they were promoting along with tour dates which appeared in an issue of NME back then.

Thursday 26 February 2009

U2 - CAIRD HALL - 1983

On this day, 26 years ago, U2 were playing in Dundee and it was a show I went to. In fact this was the 2nd time I had seen the band as I caught them at Edinburgh Nite Club a couple of years earlier.
I remember popping along to Da Vinci's for a quick pint before meeting up with my mates in the city square for the concert. So after my refreshment I was making my way into the town centre and as I was passing the Angus Hotel, lo and behold, there was U2 getting into their minibus ready to be taken to their gig. I very nearly shouted over to them to give me a lift but I managed to restrain myself. If I had another couple of pints inside me I may very well have been telling you about the time U2 drove me to their show!
Oh well, anyway, this Dundee gig was the very first date on this '83 tour. On the back of the stage they had a huge image of their "War" album cover. Bono was quite hyperactive on the night, pacing up & down the stage waving the white flag, clambering about on the PA stacks and even managing to reach the balcony at one point while still singing!
I missed the support act who were called The Nightcaps.
Below is a recording from this very U2 gig at the Caird Hall. Not only that, as they were trying out their new material, this track "Like A Song" would be the one and only time they would ever play this song on stage, so a bit of a Dundee exclusive!
Afterwards, me and my mates all went back to Da Vinci's to finish the evening off.

Wednesday 25 February 2009


This is the same top of the Wellgate Steps area in the previous photo only in it's brand new transformation into the Wellgate Centre, Library and Steps Theatre. The image taken in 1979.
I used to go to the Steps Theatre quite a lot in the late 70's/early 80's for it's cinema. They used to show quite a lot of obscure French films, art house movies and underground stuff in general. The most commercial they got would probably be Woody Allen pictures.
Mind you, as a consequence of putting on such arty stuff the place would be pretty empty a lot of the time. All you'd see was rows and rows of bright green seats and hardly any audience! In fact the only one time I remember it being packed to capacity was when they showed a 2 hour Loony Tunes cartoon extravaganza. Bugs, Daffy, Droopy and the rest of them. Now that WAS entertaining!
The graphic is their well known ident which they used in their adverts. 


Looking extremely run down at this stage in the mid 70's with all this area preparing to be knocked down. The boards going up on the shop fronts remind me of someone being blindfolded waiting to be executed!


And a wee reminder of the steps...


Better get yer hankies oot...
This photo taken from the Wellgate steps in the early 70's shows the street empty because most of the shops were being boarded up in readiness for imminent demolition. Shortly after, the whole Wellgate area was cordoned off to make way for the bulldozers and so to the street's final farewell.
For reference purposes, here's the complete list of shops & businesses that were in the street in 1970. Starting from the Cowgate corner and going up on the right towards the steps :-
J.LAWRIE costumiers - BOOTS chemist - JW WHYTE spirit merchant - A.MASSEY grocers - HUNTER household store - BRITISH RELAY tv's - WATT'S music - MENZIES & SONS outfitters - CALEDONIAN TAILORS - KEN'S BAZAAR - DUDLEY'S OF DUNDEE - BANKS fruiterer - MINIT HEEL BAR - FASHION BARGAIN CENTRE - S.C.W.S furnishing - BETTY WHITE fruiterer - JS YOUNG fish merchant - HENDERSON furniture - AG KIDD baker - HENDERSON furniture - and WEST RIDING WALLPAPER.
We reach the steps here and so back down the street we go with the shops on the right :-
SMITH billiard saloon - OLGA'S hairdresser - McRAE baby linen - CHRISTIE tobacconist - CALEDONIAN TAILORS - PIGGOT butcher - ALEX SMITH furniture - CHAS STEPHEN drugstore - DISCOUNT STORE - HOUSE OF HEARING - FORESTER ARMS BAR - AMUSEMENT ARCADE - MORGAN'S STORE - LYALL grocer - RADIO RENTALS tv's - GRAFTON SPORTSWEAR - MALONE shoe repair - NELSON CREAM ICE CO confectioner - WELLGATE SNACK BAR - GREENLEES bootmaker - THOW BROS stampcutters - and CLAUDE ALEXANDER tailors. Bringing us back down to Panmure Street corner.
In contrast to the empty street in the photo, below is a short film clip of how the Wellgate looked when in full hustle & bustle mode a few years earlier.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

1963 AD #3 - D.M. BROWN'S

3rd ad is for DM Brown's, on the corner of the High Street & Commercial Street.
This was a large department store, the perfume area being the first thing you'd come to when you went in through the main High Street doors, and consisted of a big maze of counters that seemed to take ages making your way through when trying to find the other departments in the store!
I remember my mother, aunties and their friends talking about Coty L'Aimant back in the 60's, so it must have been pretty good stuff. The one in the ad costs 11/6.
Below is an original 60's commercial for another Coty product - lipstick.


2nd ad is for Cairds Hairdresser's at 21 Reform Street.
Not a place I ever went to but I can imagine there was probably quite a lot of Bristow's shampoo involved!

1963 AD #1 - DRAFFENS

3 adverts from 1963 coming up, of particular interest to the ladies!
First is this one for Draffens, located on the corner of Nethergate & Whitehall Street.
Here they are letting you know about their Lancome Beauty Consultant who will give beauty tips when visiting the Perfumery Dept and keep you informed of the latest trends in Parisian make-up.
Ooh la la!

Monday 23 February 2009


Pullman's was for a while, the city centre pub that me and my mates used to arrange to meet in before hitting the rest of town, so my recollections of it are mostly being there only in the early evenings for a couple of pints to get the night started.
It attracted a young crowd at weekends, even if it did only have a basic wall jukebox.
Lunchtimes, however, saw more of a mixed age group because their pub lunches were popular.
To get your bearings in the photo, the windows faced onto Ward Road which is also where the main doorway was (centre area of the shot).
There was also another entrance on Constitution Road out of view behind the photographer.
The above image was captured on 21st April 1982.
The decor was at first done in a plum/wine colour, then a few years later it had a makeover and was transformed into a green coloured drinking den called No1.
In it's older pre Pullman's life, this building was Le Mirage restaurant.

Photo by DC Thomson.

Sunday 22 February 2009


Exactly 30 years ago, I, along with a big squad fae Dundee, hired a bus to go through to Glasgow to see Average White Band do their thing live on stage at the Apollo.
And a funky night had by all, with a full house dancing the night away in the theatre!
Dundonians like to claim AWB as their own of course, but the fact is they are from all over Scotland, with only 2 of the original members hailing from Dundee when they formed in 1972. Robbie MacIntosh, the Dundee drummer, died in 1974 so that just left Roger Ball, from Broughty Ferry, as Dundee's representative, birth-wise. Molly Duncan and Alan Gorrie went to Dundee Art College with Roger, but Molly was born in Montrose and Alan, Perth, the others, Hamish & Onnie are from the Glasgow area.
Dundee trivia-wise - AWB once played at The Ambassador in Clepington Road.!!
Their mate, Dougie Martin, whose band Mafia, were playing there that night, and needless to say, by the end of the evening both acts ended up jamming together on stage.
This Ambassador event was also captured on film by a BBC tv crew who were doing a documentary on AWB at the time, following the band around, showing how the group spent their time when back home, away from life in USA.
The programme (see above) was broadcast on 31 March 1979.
The footage below is not from the documentary but is from the 1979 tour, although not the Glasgow gig.
The track is "I'm The One", a song of theirs that, along with a bucket load of other AWB tunes, has since gone on to be sampled by dozens of hip hop acts!

Saturday 21 February 2009


This spot in Cowgate is where the Gaumont used to be, prior to it becoming the Odeon in the mid 70's.
Not much of a change to the interior of the cinema I recall but there was a bit of superficial tweaking to the outside with the addition of tiles to the entrance area.
The above photos were taken in September 1978 and the film was "Revenge of the Pink Panther", a movie I remember seeing at the time.
It looks as if the policeman is giving directions to Inspector Clouseau!
The Odeon closed down in 1981 then the building re-opened in 1983 as a bingo hall.

Photos by DC Thomson.

Thursday 19 February 2009


Although the Palais goes way back to around the 1930's, it's only from the 60's onward that need be mentioned here.
The main Palais man in the 60's was owner/promoter, Andy Lothian. He was the guy who brought all the best 60's pop acts to Dundee - both the Caird Hall and more specifically to this feature, the Palais "Top Ten Club" on Sunday nights.
Acts like Manfred Mann, The Hollies, The Yardbirds, David Bowie, The Move, Troggs, Love Affair, Amen Corner, Foundations etc, all performed here throughout the 60's.
As well as being a concert promoter, editor of “The Scottish Beat” music paper, presenter of TV show "Teenbeat", having his own jazz club and jazz band, Andy Lothian also ran ALP Records, a local record label for local bands, including The Vikings, The Poor Souls, The Hi-Fi's, etc. The letter "A" in the ALP logo was designed to look like a mountain (the Alps!!).
By the time the 70's arrived, more emphasis was being placed on the "DISCO" aspect and bands were often seen as an additional attraction rather than being the main attraction.
The ad above is typical of the kind that were published in the local papers in the early 70's, with the one here dated Friday 14 Jan 1972.
I didn't start going to the Palais until 1974 when they used to have an under 18 disco on Sunday evenings, so I missed out on all these well known 60's acts I was familiar with as a schoolboy.
The Palais then closed down for a while in the mid 70's after a change of ownership and re-opened in 1976 as Samantha’s - a disco and live venue.
Samantha’s stint ended around April '78 and was then transformed into another disco called Bloomers in October '78.
Bloomers, like Samantha's, also used to put on bands, more often than not acts that were part of the punk / new wave scene.
There was also a pub called the Stage Door Bar at the back of the Palais in Marketgait that was in biz the same time as Samantha’s & Bloomers and this had access at the back of the pub that took you directly into the discos which saved you going all the way around to the main entrance in South Tay Street.
Bloomers, however, turned out to be the final incarnation of the Palais, as it's short-lived run ended in August 1979 - then in  February 1980 the place was destroyed by fire.
Below is a short interview with Andy, who looks back over the 60's era.

Wednesday 18 February 2009


The above photo was taken in 1982, so this would have been a kind of last glimpse of John Menzies corner spot before moving to the opposite side of the Murraygate into Woolies old premises at the tale end of 1983.
As an added bonus, below you'll find a reminder of the Galaxian machines Menzies had on the stair landings.
Incidentally, at the time of this photo, there was also an Amusement Arcade next door to JM's that no doubt had the sound of Galaxians blasting out all day long too!
Photo by DC Thomson.

Tuesday 17 February 2009


Around 1972, teenagers came up with alternative ways to wear a scarf.
The above examples were 2 of the most popular variants that earned you a bit of street cred at the time.
This wasn't only for football matches, it was a full fashion fad.
For example, youngsters who went to glam-rock concerts also wore their satin pop group scarfs like this for acts such as T.Rex, Slade, Sweet, Gary Glitter, David Bowie etc.
It probably peaked with Bay City Rollers fans and their tartan scarfs around 1975/76, and as all trends do, kinda fizzled out soon after.

Monday 16 February 2009


The 2 karaoke renditions below are to the tune of "This Old Man".
These chants were heard regularly in certain areas of Dundee back in the early 70's when teenagers were "mental" - and yet ruled!
The first, by the Fleet, I can remember being sung in and around Dens Park on match days.
The Toddy version was sung upstairs on the 26 bus and in Craigie High School playground.
Incidentally, MP George Galloway used to be in the Fleet.
He said in a radio interview that he recalled spraying "Lochee Fleet" on walls.
Nowadays he makes headlines in Fleet Street and puts the boot into politicians..!!

Sunday 15 February 2009


This rare piece of footage below shows some of the gang names that were kicking around the city in the 60's.
It was filmed between 1967 and 1969.
The graffiti includes the Shimmy - Huns - Cosmo and the Fleet.
There is also an interlocking "TS" ( The Shimmy - The Shams?).
I noticed 2 sets of letters as well - RNB and YRB, but not sure if they pertain to gangs or a persons initials.
Anyway, the main thing is, the originals are documented for posterity.


When panda cars first hit the scene on trial in England in the 60's, they started off with black & white markings, hence the nickname. However, when the rest of the UK adopted the panda's, they changed the colouring to light blue & white, although the nickname stuck.
Dundee had a fleet of Morris Minors (as in above photo) and then in the 70's I'm sure they changed to or added Ford Escorts.
Craigie, where I lived, had a small local Police Station beside the shops so we always saw them passing by on a regular basis. Still, despite being familiar with them, when we were primary school age, every time we saw one approaching from a distance, we always ended up hiding behind hedges or running up closies, even when we were just only playing in the garden.
It was a good bit of practise I suppose for our teenage years when they would come looking for us and it was time to scarper over walls & fences!
Black Maria's were black Police vans. A bit more sinister and always on the scene when there was serious trouble to deal with. Most often used at football matches. They would open up the back doors and just chuck you inside!
By the 1980's, panda's became extinct as the cars and vans were replaced with the white "jam sandwich" look.
Photo by the Scotsman. Tints by GG

Saturday 14 February 2009

ROYAL HOTEL (Teazers etc) - 70's & 80'S

The old Royal Hotel building in Union Street was quite a busy place if you go back 2 or 3 decades.
Here's the lowdown on the mid 70's to mid 80's period.
Well "Teazers" was the name of the night club they ran upstairs. The disco in the main lounge was quite roomy, and being a typical city centre club, it was always chock-a-block at weekends.
However, more interesting things were going on in the other rooms in the hotel...
In one of the smaller lounges they put on occasional jazz acts. I remember attending a few back then. Jazz-funksters Morrissey Mullen, and jazz-rockers Soft Heap, are 2 that spring to mind.
In another area of the hotel there was a larger hall that also had a stage. Dundee's alternative music promoters "Dance Factory" used this venue to put on gigs. Although these were usually advertised as being at Teazers, it wasn't the main disco room.
Needless to say, I went to lots of those too. Some of the acts who performed were, Big Country - Aztec Camera - The Fall - Durutti Column - Death Cult - Fischer Z, and on it goes.
This hall was also the place where they had a go at running a regular reggae disco. It was a bit hit & miss attendance-wise, even if the music was great, so unfortunately it only lasted a few months. Shame because it was the only place in Dundee where you were likely to hear Junior Murvin's classic "Police & Thieves" - so it got my thumbs up at the time!
When the Dance Factory moved to their permanent home in Fat Sams in 1984, Teazers started up a new club night called the Rock Machine, and this showcased both the alternative scene and rock music.
The top picture is the main Royal Hotel building's location on the corner of Union Street.
The photo under it shows the entrance area to Teazers Nite Club (the black & white doorway structure behind the pole) which was roughly halfway down Union Street.
Underneath that is the main lounge bar in Teazers disco.
The Teazers advert is a typical example of the kind published in the local press - this one here dating from December 1978.
And below, is a clip of the Royal Hotel entrance which was a separate area to Teazers doorway, and captured on film in 1985.
Although the building itself is till there today, it's no longer in use as a hotel.

Friday 13 February 2009


The photos of Steeleye Span on stage at the Caird Hall were taken by my brother on 28th October 1972.
The band was probably the most commercial of the folk-rock acts that were on the go at that time.
The line-up did chop & change around this period so the only definite on the blurry images is vocalist, Maddy Prior, although that's probably Peter Knight (wearing the hat) on fiddle. I wouldn't want to commit myself on the other members on view.
The support act on the night was another folk-rock band, The Amazing Blondel. Don't know much about them, but a wee bit of trivia I have is that Eurythmic, Dave Stewart, used to be roadie with The Amazing Blondel as well as occasional guitarist!

Wednesday 11 February 2009


This Barber shop in Exchange Street in the 60's and early 70's used to be known by locals as "Quickies". A nickname, not a business name. I think it just had City Hairdresser or something above the door. Another name it was called was "Scotties", after Scott, the guy who ran it. The photo above, which was taken in the late 80's has yet another name variant!
I'll always remember it as Quickies though. An apt for a quick trim and out again. No messing, no fuss, no problem!
Photo by DC Thomson.Tints by GG

Tuesday 10 February 2009


Regarded by many jazz aficionados as one of the best trumpeters Britain has ever produced, the career of Jimmy Deuchar spanned more decades than is covered on Retro Dundee.
He began trumpeting professionally in the 1950's and kept it going right up until his death in the 90's.
Jimmy was also a composer & arranger who went on to record numerous albums and singles under his own name, and many as guest on other performers recordings.
Although he mainly played on the UK circuit, he has also spent a fair bit of time playing in Europe and USA too, not to mention occasional TV appearances.
Dundee was Jimmy's home base though, and during the late 70's - early 80's he organised jazz jam sessions down at The Sands in Broughty Ferry every Sunday lunchtime. I remember going to many of these. He would start off with a basic quartet, and if anyone fancied joining in, then they did so. Sometimes there would end up being about 8 on stage. All good fun, and a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. He also used to invite some of his jazz friends to visit and perform. One I recall was a gig at The Sands by his long time buddy from London, Ronnie Scott.
The photo above is Jimmy playing in the City Square. Perhaps the City Council should rename the square "Deuch's Place" (sorry, just a wee jazz joke there!). The local talent with him in the picture are - Frank Rossiter on trombone - John Whyte on guitar - (unknown hidden guitarist) - Jimmy on trumpet and Jim Mckenzie double bass.
Below is a wee tribute video I made as a reminder of his good work. The track is taken from a 1955 7inch e.p. called "Don't dance, dig" and the tune is a be bop version of "Dancing in the dark", not Springsteens!!

Monday 9 February 2009


Couldn't find a photo or ad for this pub so will have to make do with recreation.
Slickers was located near the Westport end of South Tay Street and opened for business in the early 80's.
It was a bit of a trendy bar at the time, the place to go to see girls wearing bubble skirts and their big back-brushed hair, with the blokes wearing those new romantic baggy breeks.
There was the main entrance part of the bar which was the usual standing around area and then further along you went up a couple of steps to get to a more lounge based zone where they had lots of seats and tables.
Fridays & Saturdays were always cram packed with new wavers while Thursdays & Sundays would often attract a more studenty crowd from the alternative scene.
Slickers claim to fame was that it was the first pub in Dundee to have a Video Jukebox.
It presented a mixture of pop videos (Duran Duran, Ultravox...) a few classics from the past (Bob Marley, Dire Straits ...) and some alternative acts (New Order, Teardrop Explodes...).
I can remember playing over & over P.I.L "Public Image" - David Bowie "Lets Dance" and The Mighty Wah! "Come Back".
I must have put quite a lot of 50p's in it over the years come to think of it!
The other item above gives you an idea as to what the jukebox would have been showing in '84 - the article coming from a 1984 music magazine.
Video Jukeboxes are very common these days of course, but below is an example of the first generation that Slickers had.


Around about 1970, Boots on the corner of Reform Street, became the first store in the city to install an escalator. The first weekend it was operating saw an influx of kids to the shop who wouldn't normally be in Boots. They were the ones trying out this modern contraption the most. It was just like a visit to the funfair I suppose, the novelty of it.
What I liked about it was that it lead straight into the record dept on the first floor. Yes, Boots did used to sell albums, singles, cassettes and posters in the 70's.
They didn't have a "down" escalator though, so after a wee rummage through the record racks it meant having to use the "old fashioned" staircase. They did have framed pictures on the stairway walls, so at least you got a free art gallery display for your efforts!
The top image is of when Boots changed their exterior appearance the same time as they got the escalator put in.
Underneath it is the carrier bag from their record department - with a pop act on one side and a classical conductor on the flip.

Sunday 8 February 2009


This ad for Potters in the Murraygate is dated April 1970.
A week devoted to getting a free fitting from the experts it says, but isn't it just trying on different sizes?
The above styles don't appear to reflect the fashion of the times either it has to be said.
Anyway, the shoe shop was on 3 floors and was in quite a nice "ye olde" type of building.
Below is a piece of footage (almost a pun there) of the actual building, taken from across the road.
It only lasts a couple of seconds, so don't blink!!

Saturday 7 February 2009


This building on the corner of Marketgait & Guthrie Street, once had a real tenpin bowling alley in the 60's. So later, when it came to be a Students Union in the 70's, us lot who went there still generally referred to it as the "Bowling Alley".
The students in this case being from the College of Technology rather than University.
It's heyday was the mid 70's to mid 80's period, and was always a really good buzz.
Card carrying students got in free and they could each sign in 2 paying guests.
I remember you had to be signed in before 11:00 pm - then the doors closed! This often lead to a rush of people vacating the pubs between 10:30 & 11:00 for a mad dash along the Marketgait to make it on time, otherwise they'd be locked out.
The rooms were upstairs, 3 areas all on the same floor.
A wee recreation room with darts, pool table & table football to chill out in.
Then the main hall itself that had the disco and bar (see 2nd photo above).
Finally, a back room with a stage area where bands played.
The DJ was Brian Wilson, who played a diverse range of music, an aspect that made visiting the Bowling Alley such a big draw. The original name was Deepwater Disco and then it later became known as Brian's Disco.
The Bowling Alley also had the comfiest seats in town, so much so that sometimes you were reluctant to get up off them to dance!
Quite often at the end of the evening there would be an amusing beer fight. Typical student fun really, never any trouble.
Along with the disco and cheap beer, the other attraction was live music.
Like the University circuit, this was a good place to catch an act at the beginning of their career...
The Sex Pistols, Dire Straits, Simple Minds, Motorhead are just 4 of the acts who performed there before going on to greater things.
Rock, punk, pop & new wave were all represented, with the likes of Saxon, 999, Joe Jackson, XTC... too many to mention really.
Needless to say it was a hot venue for local bands too, e.g. Colossus, Friction, Skeets Boliver...and on it goes.
Examples of the venue cropping up in the music press back then are displayed in the above cuttings...
The first one is from an NME and shows Lemmy's Motorhead there on Saturday 9 October 1976.

The one under that is from the Melody Maker and the date XTC performed there was Friday 27 January 1978.
The last one is from an NME and has the Dire Straits gig dated as Wednesday 21 June 1978.
The place then had a bit of a make-over (UV lights etc) in the early 80's which is shown on the 3rd & 4th photos above.
Although the building is still there today, it has since gone through further transformations - but not necessarily an improvement made to it!.
Thanks to DJ Brian Wilson for first interior photo.
Thanks to David Pentland for the other two interior images.

The Bowling Alley now has its own website - go visit Bowlin' Alley

Friday 6 February 2009


Another one of my old ticket stubs from the Caird Hall, this time it was Be Bop DeLuxe on stage, 32 years ago to the day.
The band appeared in that transitional mid 70's period in music - after glam rock and before punk, so journalists were unsure how to categorise them as the band were too clean cut to be a full on rock outfit but not commercial enough to be a pop group, so they generally got classified as a college band or art rock band.
Mind you they did actually have a couple of chart successes, their most known one being "Ships in the night".
Having released around 4 albums at this point, the gig was mostly album track material rather than a show of their greatest hits.
The band split in 1978, but their prolific main man, Bill Nelson, is still involved in the music biz today with his various solo projects.
Incidentally, Bill later went on to collaborate with Billy Mackenzie for a one-off recording session. He ended up playing guitar on Associates single "Take Me To The Girl".

Thursday 5 February 2009


Found these coins the other day.
It's the old £SD currency we used before 1971.
The top large one is One Penny.
The small silver one is Brian May's I mean a Sixpenny bit (tanner).
Bottom left is a Ha'penny (hupnae).
Next to it is a One Shilling (bob).
The brassy one with the straight edges is a Threepenny bit (thrupnae).
In the 1960's, these were the coins we got our pocket money in and spent on things like the penny tray and comics.
We'd play pitchy with them in the school playground too.
They also got chucked out of cars at wedding scrammies!
If something cost 2 Shillings it would be written 2/-, and if it cost 2 Shillings and sixpence it would be 2/6d.
I can clearly recall when I was in my last year at Balerno Primary school in 1969/70, we got lessons teaching us how to convert old money to the new Decimal currency which was on the horizon. Us kids got the hang of it pretty quick but the older generation struggled at first when prices in the shops changed from old to new. So when people were trying to figure out the prices when shopping after the transition took place, that's when you would hear the phrase "What's that in old money?".
The big change-over - "Decimal Day" - took place on 15th Feb 1971.

Wednesday 4 February 2009


This was the view you got from the balcony inside the Galleon. Most folk made a grab for the seats nearest to the balcony railing because you could keep an eye on what was going on down below. It was like getting a window seat on the bus..!!