Monday, 31 August 2009


Son of Russ Paterson (see previous post), multi-talented Don has been involved in the creative arts straight from leaving school in the 70's when he had a stint working on the Commando comics. From there he embarked on a career in music, and after getting a fair bit of experience playing guitar around the social clubs in Dundee, he went on to lead a trio in the 80's which included Nico Bruce (nephew of Jack). Next up was a group called Restless Natives, a free-improvising collective that included fellow Dundonian, Ken Hyder on drums. Ken, who had his own 70's jazz-folk band, Talisker, still operating, got Don to join them in 1984, with a line-up that included King Crimson violinist, David Cross. When Talisker split a while later, Don formed the successful Celtic-jazz outfit, Lammas, with well known saxophonist Tim Garland, and recorded numerous albums over the next few years with them.
By this time, Don's other talents were flourishing, most notably writing poetry and plays. He has won many important awards for his books of poetry, and his plays have been broadcast on radio as well as performed live on stage, including "Land of Cakes" at Dundee Rep.
And if that wasn't enough, he is also editor for a publishing company, a journalist and teaches at St Andrews University. Phew!!
His own personal website is currently under construction, but you can read about his career in more detail on various literature and poetry related sites on the net, not to mention a general overview available on Wikipedia.
Oh yeah, nearly forgot, add O.B.E. to his name too!!

Sunday, 30 August 2009


Russ Paterson started playing guitar and harmonica with a Dundee group called the Inn Folk back in the early 60's. Around the same time, he was also involved in setting up the very successful Dundee Folk Club, which went on to organise many a memorable night at the Woodlands Hotel. As well as playing the local clubs, Russ has also performed at the Caird Hall quite a few times sharing the stage with the likes of Tom Paxton, Hamish Imlach, The Corries, Archie Fisher to name just a few.
In the late 70's he joined The Cameron Kerr Three and gigged with them for a couple of years.
From the 80's onwards he has performed mostly as a solo artist but occasionally finding time to sit in as guest with other acts, including a few blues sessions with his sons, Don and Stephen.
Russ now runs the Dundee Folk Club website, which you will find in with the Retro Dundee links down the left. He also has a link to his own blog on the site. Lots of Dundee photos and info from the 60's to view.
The advert above was for a gig at the Royal Centre Hotel in November 1976.
His son Don, is the subject of tomorrows post.

Saturday, 29 August 2009


Early every Saturday morning in the 60's & 70's, the cul-de-sac where I lived was awakened by the sound of rattling bottles. It was the lemonade van with the lemonade boys doing their door to door deliveries. We'd leave the empty lemonade bottles on the doorstep like we did with the milk bottles and the lads would take away the empties and replace them with fresh ones, flavour for flavour.
It looked hard graft mind you, the boys always running back & forward to the van, and for those who had more bottles to carry than their fingers could manage (as above) they had to struggle with heavy crates. Didn't fancy that job, especially with all those closies! We did give the lads a bumper bonus payment at Christmas for their years hard work I recall. Standing on the platform at the back of the lorry looked fun though!
Bottles of lemonade were in "deposit" bottles back then, that meant when you returned the bottles you got money. Returning them to the van got you your fresh batch cheaper and taking empties to a grocer got you cash in hand. This was a situation kids took advantage of to get some spending money. I remember during the 7 weekies we went around the block asking neighbours if they had any old bottles, and the ones we collected we went straight to the shops with and cashed them in. An easy way to make a couple o' bob!
Photo by Lloyd Smith.

Friday, 28 August 2009


This bonnie mess may rekindle some pleasant trips for a few of you and unpleasant ones for the rest of you!
This was mostly an early 70's scene when gang culture was the thing.
With no bus conductors to watch out for anymore, out came the felt pens & knives. The green leatherette seat covers would be slashed, exposing the yellow foam stuffing. Sometimes it was so bad that often there was no seat padding remaining and you had to sit on the bare wooden board underneath. The slashed leatherette was used to sew patches onto jeans as a kind of gang fashion trophy!
Windows would either be panned in from the outside or kicked out from the inside (good to know there was a choice involved!!!). I can also recall a couple of journeys when the large emergency window upstairs at the back was opened and stuff got chucked out along the route, fag packets, cans, stuffing etc and of course the usual gang signs & chants presented to the passers-by in the street..!!
They introduced a driver periscope mirror to try and monitor upstairs, but 1 driver facing up to 20 gang members didn't stand much chance. Despite this going on for years, we all just seemed to take this carry on in our stride.
Shit happens!!
Although I didn't indulge in bus vandalism, I did have a way of leaving my mark. For I was..."The Phantom Window Scribbler"...!! Actually, what it was, was when the windows steamed up I would do wee doodles in the condensation, like most kids did. However, as I got older I took it a stage further and drew full cartoons on the windows. So subjects like having a pop at Maggie Thatcher & Ronnie Reagan would go up. A bit of satire to cheer the passengers up!! The cartoons really did get a laugh, so it was a good bit of practise for later in life.
A free blank canvas, some harmless fun and no damage done.
Better to knock the stuffing out of politicians than nick the stuffing out of seats!!
Incidentally, the above snap is only an artist impression of such a scene, not the real thing!

Thursday, 27 August 2009


These Dundee bus tickets go back to the early 70's. Old money was still in use in 1970 hence the 8d one.
In the era of bus conductors, I remember a wee schoolboy prank we'd sometimes try. When passengers got off as you went on, they'd sometimes leave their used ticket in the back frame of the seat in front of where they were sitting. So just before the moment came for the conductor to ask for your fare, you'd grab the ticket from the seat frame and flash it to the conductor to indicate you had already paid. It has to be said though, as scams go, this one had a low success rate!
There was a also jokey quip about conductors doing the rounds back then. It was about how they would confuse passengers by shouting "Come on, get aff!".
Another function conductors had was to stamp their time-card at the bus clocks that were dotted around the routes, and the short clip below shows that very aspect in action.
Conductors were eventually phased-out in the early 70's when the one-man/driver only buses came into operation.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


One of the places Dundee mods used to gather at was The Hap cafe in Arbroath Road.
This short clip of film below captured some of the original 60's mod culture, hanging out at The Hap and whizzing about on their scooters.
I remember in the late 60's there being a customised scooter parked in Craigie. Dozens of mirrors & lights with a raccoon tail on the back! Dead smart actually.
The mod scene has been going on ever since of course with it's fashion, style and music still appealing to each subsequent generation.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


This postcard of the Speedwell Bar aka Mennies, highlights the fact that it is pretty irrelevant what era the photo was taken, the timeless interior of the pub has remained the same since it opened for biz back in the early 1900's.
My era for visiting it was the late 70's to mid 80's period.
Using a University Challenge phrase, this was our "Starter For Ten" pub - not points, but pints - Mennies being the first in the Perth Road Pub Crawl, and 10 being the amount of pints we'd have sunk by the time we reached the Nethergate!
So although I've never spent an entire evening there, I do have cheery memories of the place for it launching many a Perth Road pilgrimage!

Monday, 24 August 2009


A 70's ad for "Le Mirage", an upmarket style restaurant which was situated on the corner of Ward Road & Constitution Road.
I don't actually recall ever being in the Mirage so don't know that much about it personally, but I do know that on opening night in 1974, the cabaret act was a Spanish dancer called Karin Karina, and this was her first performance in Scotland. 

Sunday, 23 August 2009



Seeing this Mothers Pride packaging again reminds me of being a bairn in the 60's. Not just jam pieces, but there was Gales Lemon Curd, Condensed Milk, Lyons Golden Syrup and gooey treacle. All nice and messy for kids!
Nowadays the red stripes on the wrapping have disappeared and have been replaced with the official "Mothers Pride Tartan".
Plain plaid..!!

Saturday, 22 August 2009


The Fountain Disco opened in November 1983, not long before rivals Fat Sams opened in fact.
It was a bit of a trendy place playing new wave, pop and disco.
This was the first club in Dundee to have lasers as part of the lightshow, and together with over-active dry-ice and bubble machines, made the dancefloor area a real visual treat when in full flow.
One of the DJ's was, Quincey McAdam, who used to DJ down at Londons Camden Palace.
Large video screens were up around the place, and with this being the era of over-the-top pop promo vids, they would show the likes of Duran Duran, Michael Jackson and Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
There were 2 lounges and 3 bars which meant there were areas other than the dancefloor to indulge in.
It put on the odd live act too. I remember seeing the brilliant Bristol reggae band Black Roots play here in 1984.
The ad under the photo is for when The Fall were also due to play here in '84, but the gig venue was changed to rivals Fat Sams!
The other ad is just a general one showing their extended weekend action and is from summer 1984.
It had a "No Jeans" rule on certain nights, and I recall on one unplanned visit, I was the only one in my crowd who was wearing jeans and so wasn't expecting to get in. I queued up anyway, and when the time came for me to step through the door the bouncer did his "Sorry, no jeans" routine. Improvising off the top of my head, I found myself saying "They're not denim, they're blue canvas". He stood staring at them bamboozled for a couple of seconds and said "Aye OK, in ye go!".
And that's how to outsmart the smart dress code..!!

Friday, 21 August 2009


Here's a typical clash featuring 2 local football teams battling it out one Sunday back in the 80's.
The location is Downfield Park, the teams are Dundee United Social Club & Royals and the level of game is from a short-lived under 23 League.
This was DUSC's first season together, with most of the players hailing from the Douglas area and the team being managed by brothers, Joe & Stevie Stewart, from Fintry. Being the new kids on the block, DUSC surprised everyone by winning the League and picking up 3 out of a possible 4 trophies (they were finalists in the 4th!). My wee brother (a Dundee supporter incidentally) played in the DUSC team and went on to be named "Player of the Year" that season.
The action caught on cam is a final encounter for a trophy called the Scottish Cup, which despite it's name only had Dundee teams involved. Only the goals in the video clip, and without revealing the score I can tell you that there are 5 goals in total.
No commentary but plenty of noise from the crowd!

Thursday, 20 August 2009


I thought I'd end the Tay Road Bridge sequence by having a wee sing-song!
Dundee folk band, The Wally Dugs, were on the go in the 70's and 80's.
The band line-up was - Pat Finnigan - George Getty & Neil McLeod.
All 3 sang and played a variety of traditional instruments including guitars, mandolin, bagpipes, banjo & whistle.
The band had a stint as resident band at the Nine Maidens in Downfield - the ad above dated March 1977.
They also released an album in the 80's, with the dramatic cover of Dundee painted by band member Neil McLeod.
And so to play us out, here's a stirring bagpipe version of well known title track "The Road To Dundee", which I'm sure you'll all be able to sing along to..!!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


Some of the other shows on that night were, Top of The Pops with Pete Murray. One of the rare episodes I missed out on. I can tell you though that The Beatles were at #1 at the time with their double A-side single "Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine".
I remember I used to watch Adam Adamant Lives, the Victorian swordsman living in 60's swinging London! It has since gone on to achieve the "Cult TV" tag.
Dusty Springfield had the Dudley Moore Trio on her show, a jazz act with a touch of humour I recall.
The Radio Times back then only covered BBC programmes in the magazine so I've no idea what ITV had on offer.
Click image to read large version.


So a little look at that days tv schedule...
The Tay Road Bridge live coverage was on from 11:35 to 12:30, with another half hour of edited highlights broadcast after the teatime news. Tom Fleming was doing the commentary.
I never saw any of the evenings telly because as I explained yesterday, I was away having a very slow trip across the bridge and didn't get back until after 10pm!
Click on image to read large version.


Somebody mentioned in yesterdays comments that they remember watching the Tay Bridge opening ceremony on tv. Well it was indeed televised and as you can see the event made the front cover of the Scottish edition of Radio Times.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


On this day 43 years ago, the Tay Road Bridge was officially opened.
Also on this day 43 years ago when I was aged 8, I was playing with my mates in the culdee where I lived, when one of my neighbours shouted over to us to ask if we wanted to go across the bridge. Needless to say, we all piled into his car. It was around teatime we set off, thinking we were in for a nice pleasant half hour trip, however, it seemed like the rest of Dundee had the same idea at the same time as the queue from our end of town was miles long, right along Dock St & Broughty Ferry Road. It was the same over in Fife when we eventually inched our way along the bridge. It was dark when we got back after what turned out to be about a 4-5 hour crawl, with the parents worried what had happened to us.
I remember the neighbour saying "At least, when you're old, you'll be able to tell people that you went across the bridge the day it opened!" - and I think this is that very moment!
I also recall there was a bit of a rush for Dundonians to get their mitts on one of these First Day Covers that commemorated the occasion. Wonder how many kept theirs though?
The film clip below is from the same day too and has a bit about the "new" bridge and how Dundee was looking forward into the future!
Lord Provost Maurice McManus explains the reasons for the bridge and its cost.
By the way, he is who the McManus Galleries building is named after.

Monday, 17 August 2009


Click onto the image to view the large version of the leaflet and read about where some of the artworks were to be found and who created them.


The second of the leaflets shows that the concept of public art had been broadened to cover all of Dundee after the success of the Blackness project, so now the artworks were to be spread across town from the city centre to industrial estates.
The example on the cover of the leaflet is a piece of work called "Leaping Deer" by David Annand and located at the High Tech Park.

Sunday, 16 August 2009


Click onto the image to read about some of the works of art that were on display around Blackness, where they were located and who created them.


The first of 2 leaflets I have on public art in Dundee in the 80's, with this one here being for the Blackness area.
In the late 70's much of Blackness was a pretty depressed location, with the buildings either lying empty or being cleared. So in 1981, agencies got together to form a joint project to regenerate the region. "Action Blackness" consisted of a Blackness Public Arts Programme and the Blackness Business Development Area. The idea being that the introduction of art into Blackness would attract attention and bring in much needed business to the area.
When it was complete, it made for an interesting wee tour from Westport to Polepark Road and all the narrow streets in between, trying to track down around 20 works of art.
Many of the works have now themselves since been cleared to make way for the latest chapter in improving Blackness.

Saturday, 15 August 2009


Dundee features in this episode of The Big Yin cartoon strip from December 1976 - on the list of gig cancellations!
The Big Yin was of course, Billy Connolly, who in the mid 70's had started to hit the big time. As well as his stage shows, he also indulged in tv films, had records in the pop charts and had now become the star of his own cartoon strip in the Sunday Mail.
The character was created by Malky McCormick, who himself appears in the strip as The Wee Man, The Big Yins chum.
Every Sunday the strip would revolve around that weeks topics, and in this particular instalment, the main subject that hit the headlines was all the publicity the Sex Pistols received after their notorious ding-dong with Bill Grundy, followed by the commotion caused by their cancelled shows..!!

Thursday, 13 August 2009


Those of you of a certain age and with a certain dress sense will instantly recognise this shirt - the Ben Sherman.
This design was particularly popular around the 1971-74 period. I wore them, as did my mates at school, but they will always be associated with skinhead fashion and the Dundee gang scene.
A reminder of some of the small details of the Ben Sherman are the button on the back of the collar, the tag on the pocket and the folded pleat down the back underneath a loop. 
This kind of check pattern is called "Gingham" and there was a larger variant and a small version of it, the one in the photo being the middle size and most common. There was also a short sleeved shirt alternative.
They were as equally popular with girls as they were with the boys... and still dead smart in my opinion..!!
A classic garment of its time.
You can also get a reminder of the original Ben Sherman box in my July 2008 Archives.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009


There's a good chance that these youngsters running down the steps in yesterdays clip may have been wearing Wards Grand Prix shoes.
This ad from the late 60's for the kids shoes shows 5 styles available - all named after Grand Prix circuits. I had a pair of the Le Mans slip-ons.
As well as the tyre tread soles and the chequered flag insoles keeping the theme going, you also got a racing board game free with each purchase. Don't remember getting a tartan tiddlywink to represent Jackie Stewart to go with it though!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


To set the scene, this little nook of Dundee is located where Barrack Road (aka Infirmary Brae) meets Parker Street below. The other side of Parker Street in the 1960's joined onto Dudhope Crescent Road, but these days it connects to North Marketgait.
I remember using these steps in the 60's, mostly on visits to the D.R.I.
Then when I had a nearby flat in the 80's, I used them again when going on trips to Dudhope Park and the Law Hill.
The short piece of film below is from the 60's and has some young lads running down the steps as fast as they can, which was good fun I recall, the wee legs going like the clappers!
There is also a glimpse of local residents, but don't blink or you'll miss them.
Viewing the steps from Parker Street now, the building on the right is still in use, however, the housing opposite is no longer there.

Monday, 10 August 2009


Over 1300 runners turned out for the first marathon held in Dundee on 24th April 1983.
I didn't take part in it but I did go to the city centre to give the competitors some encouragement. I had a flat in the centre of town at the time and remember catching the build up to the start of the race. I then nipped home for 2 hours and went back into the city centre to see the runners finish.
Radio Tay were broadcasting from the city square as part of the marathon's entertainment and I recall they played the theme tune to "Chariots of Fire" by Vangelis as the runners went by.!!
Later that afternoon, the central pubs were crammed with locals wrapped in silver foil..!!

Sunday, 9 August 2009


Flying over Menzieshill and coming into land after another journey back in time.
The only change in scenery I can spot is the grassy area to the left of the multis along Dickson Avenue where a few additional buildings have since been built.
And so that concludes the second wee aerial trip around 70's Dundee.
I do hope you all had a very pleasant flight!

Saturday, 8 August 2009


Built on a section of the Downfield Golf Course, this photo of Ardler doesn't bear much resemblance to how it looks nowadays. The main streets are still there, but that's about it.
Bottom left has the prefabs running along the length of Harrison Avenue. All appear to be lived in judging by the washing hanging out!
The school in between the white blocks of flats cutting diagonally across the photo, is Blackshade Primary School. The other school in front of the multis is St Fergus.
The image does remind me of how stark the place looked back then, this being how I remember it when visiting relatives who lived in the flats off Turnberry Avenue. In fact, one of the relatives I visited then still lives in Ardler. My Auntie Bette, who this year received Dundee's "Citizen of the Year" award for her work helping transform the area into becoming the award winning Ardler Village as it is now known. A more visually appealing place to live these days, in comparison.

Friday, 7 August 2009


The roundabout here is where Forfar Road meets Claverhouse Road and Fountainbleau Drive. Claverhouse / Mill O' Mains to the left and the edge of Fintry on the right. The Dichty burn cuts across the front of both schemes.
From what I can make out on the present day Google Earth view, these 4 hi-rise flats near to the circle don't appear to be there anymore. The most obvious observation though is that there have been more new buildings gone up in the area than have been knocked down. So it'll be a bit busier around this neck of the woods these days.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


My old area...
The Arbroath Road/Kingsway roundabout splits the picture in two - with Craigie on the left and Craigie High School to the right.
Aboyne Avenue is the main road far left going up towards the Gotterstone area. The shorter road to the right of Aboyne, running parallel to it is Huntly Road, going up to Monymusk Park (belonging to Dundee High School!). Sandwiched in between Aboyne & Huntly are the shops (Huntly Square).
In the 60's there used to be a disused Power Station along Huntly Road, we called it "The Powerie". This became obsolete early 60's when the Douglas Road Electricity Station opened (bottom left of pic). When we were primary age we used the empty Powerie location as a play area. Hide & seek, kissy catchy, truth dare and so on. Later we got a rope swing up on one of the trees. In the late 70's, the Powerie was knocked down and housing built on the site.
Behind Huntly Place are garages (the lock-ups). We had some brilliant games of football there. It was also an area we'd go plundering the nearby gardens for apples and plums during the dark Autumn evenings.
In the early 70's, I had a few stints at delivering the papers around Craigie, usually only filling in for when the regular paper boys couldn't manage.
In 1973, when I was at Craigie High, I had a better paid regular job for a while, delivering rolls (Cuthberts, I think). Slightly further afield this time - Craigie Drive, Dawson and Gotterstone. It was a bit of a killer after a few months though, getting up at 5 in the morning then having to go to school after it. The long days did seem to be forgotten about however when it came to day!!
When I left CHS in '74, we used to play futba in the evenings still using the school pitch. Mind you, it meant we had to climb over the closed gates on Arbroath Road and chance not getting caught by the jannie. 9 times out of 10 we got away with it though!!
Click on the image for a larger view.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Taken a bit higher up this time, you can see quite a spread of detail on this shot, with the main feature of course being the Swanny Ponds. Pitkerro Road running along the left and the Cleppie branching off to the right.
A couple of blocks beyond the Swanny Ponds is Maryfield Hospital. The buildings of the hospital were demolished in 1979/80.
You can also make out the pre-fire Morgan school, and tucked away top right you can just catch glimpse of Tannadice.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


This view takes in an area of the Hilltown, and goes down to as far as Blackscroft.
Some of the main streets to be seen are - Alexander St (with Jamaica Towers & Wellington Towers) - Ann St (with primary school?) - Wellington St - William St - Dens Rd - Lyon St - Victoria St - Victoria Rd - Princes St - Constable St - Blackscroft, plus a few others in between.
The photo shows the demolition clearance that was taking place at the time, and although many (probably most) of the buildings have since disappeared, one or two of the old buildings did survive, for example the jute mill building down Princes Street was converted into flats in the 80's.
To have a look around the area, click onto the image to enlarge.

Monday, 3 August 2009


Ready for take-off....and on with another mid 70's flight over Dundee.
This is the view looking across town just as the plane leaves the runway. Still too low down to make out any particular street detail other than the Seabraes area, where Perth Road meets the Nethergate.
Seabraes has since been tarted up a bit, but this is how it looked when we were on our Perth Road pub crawls in the 70's & 80's. We used to stop off at Seabraes for a couple of joints when going from McGonagall's to Chequers..!!
Also recall occasionally doing a spot of sunbathing there on those hot summer Sundays!

Sunday, 2 August 2009


This curvy section of Lochee Road has the Logie Burying Ground on the corner, and on the other side of the street there are the shops and business premises.
If you go onto Google Street View you'll find that all the shops and businesses have been replaced with modern housing.
The footage below also features some young lads messing about. Possibly budding Lochee Fleet members..?!!

Saturday, 1 August 2009


Dundee band, Street Level, played plenty of gigs on their home turf of course, but here's a snapshot that captured the band in action when they were playing in Crieff High School.
This was their second performance in Crieff in a month.
They were so popular first time out, they were asked backed, and when they did, it was reported as being a "triumphant return"!
Not an exaggeration - at the end of the performances, the locals mobbed the band, wanting autographs & photos, and the gigs made headline news too!
These 2 gigs took place in October & November 1980.