Sunday 28 February 2010


Paynes hairdresser was located at the bottom of King Street. It was there throughout the 60's and up to the early 70's when the shop disappeared along with the rest of that section of King Street during the demolition of the Wellgate.
This photo was taken in the early 60's and would have looked pretty modern in comparison to it's surroundings.
Not sure if the place attracted Dundee's young trendy hipsters back then mind you, as I never went there!

Saturday 27 February 2010


It wasn't only Dundee based fanzines that were on sale locally in the 70's & 80's, you could also get others from around Scotland, and the occasional national one.
A good example of the latter, is this one called, Collusion, which I picked up in 1982.
It is a slightly different kind of fanzine, in that it was put together by professionals rather than local enthusiasts, but although all those who contributed to Collusion were well established music authorities already working as journalists, musicians, critics and authors, they did do this fanzine in their spare time without any financial backing.
You may be familiar with some of the names from the likes of NME, Face & Wire - Steve Beresford, David Toop, Lol Coxhill, Sue Steward, Simon Frith, Nick Kimberley and a few others.
The music covered in it is what we now call world music, but back then some of these music genres were just starting to become heard about. You may recall this was around the time the WOMAD organisation began.
The wide variety of music featured includes - African, Asian film music, Cajun, jazz, Japanese Enka, surf, 50's pop, reggae, gospel, and a few other bits & pieces.
There is also a top notch 4 page article written by fellow Taysider, Stuart Cosgrove, about the Wigan Casino and Northern Soul scene.
So Collusion was a great wee read. No idea how many were issued, this is the only one I have and I can't find much info on the net about it, but it is a good reminder of the kind of material that was on the go in those days before the internet.
The tricky bit was, trying to find any of the recordings in Dundee's record shops!!

Friday 26 February 2010


Another Dundee fanzine that cropped up in 1982 was called, The Voice.
Covering similar topics as Cranked Up, it touched on the local music scene, theatre, food, politics, humour etc, and was on sale at places like Rockpile, Bruces and Tayside Bar.
The top image is the cover of issue 3, showing some of the subjects to be found inside, as well as coming up with the claim that it has "More Pages Than The Dundee Standard"!!
Underneath it is a page I plucked out as an example of the content, containing 4 Dundee gig reviews. KIM WILDE at the Caird Hall and 3 shows at the Tayside Bar featuring - FIRST PRIORITY - DESPERATION A.M. - ZOE & THE ZEBRAS.
Click on the items to read the enlarged version.

Thursday 25 February 2010


Oink hit the shelves in 1986, and although the comic was aimed at youngsters, the rebellious humour of it's content soon had it become a favourite read of student types and the like. It's not surprising Oink grabbed the attention of an older crowd because it was put together by a team of UK's top comedy writers.
Some of those who contributed material were my colleagues from Private Eye, cartoonists - Banx, Clive Collins (Phil Collins brother), Tony Husband and Haldane.
Another contributor was well known BBC DJ and ex member of The Fall, Marc Riley.
TV satirist, Charlie Brooker also had a stint on the comic.
I'll refrain from mentioning them all, but one final Oink associate, Kev F Sutherland, later went on to work for the Beano.
As you can see above, the first issue of the comic had a free flexi-disc - 2 tracks, "The Oink Song" by The Oinklettes and "Oink Rap" by Uncle Pigg.
I remember John Peel was a fan of Oink and used to discuss it on his radio show. Issue 1 actually has a colour poster of "Bacon Stevens" accompanied by an interview by John Potatopeel!
Another amusing music item inside is a sexy sketch of blond bombshell, Hamantha Fox!
Unfortunately, there are no references to Dundee band, Pigs Are Cute..!!

Wednesday 24 February 2010


Most of us were brought up on DC Thomson comics as kids - the Beano, Dandy, Topper, Beezer etc. However, we also reached the stage when we all grew out of them. This is where Viz stepped in, giving the older teenager/young adult something to giggle at with it's mix of crude & clever material.
I suppose not many of you have seen the rare 1st issue of Viz though (above). Looking more like a fanzine than a fully-fledged comic, it came out in December 1979. Only 150 were printed, and all sold out in one night at a punk gig in a pub in Newcastle.
Issue 1 began as a "Bumper Christmas Special", which is a good wee joke in itself, but another good laugh is that it cost 20p...30p for students!
As you can see on the cover, there is also a nod to the Beano, with Billy Whizz having a speedy look through the comic and appearing to be very impressed with it.
The Dundee seal of approval..!!
Click image to read full size version.

Tuesday 23 February 2010


In 1964, pop group, The Hollies, invaded the editorial room of DC Thomson's girl magazine "Romeo".
The band were in town for a gig at the Top Ten Club at the Palais, so this would have been a bit of PR during their free time.
The 3 Dundee lassies in the picture from West Ward Works are - Irene Colville, Mina Duncan & Evelyn Porter.

Talking about The Hollies, in 1967 the group's lead singer, Allan Clarke, was back in Dundee to perform the opening ceremony of a new shop that was launched in the Overgate.
It was half fashion boutique and half discotheque.
Called "Scene One", the front part of the store sold the latest designer gear brought in directly from Carnaby Street in London. This then lead to a door that took you to the other half of the premises at the back - the disco area.
Unfortunately, Scene One only lasted around a year.

Monday 22 February 2010


It's the turn of Cliff Richard this time to be set upon by the Jackie team, and pose for a picture before his Caird Hall gig in 1974.
Every time I see an image of Cliff, I can't help hear the voice in my head, of Rik Mayall reciting one of his Cliff poems from the Young Ones!
Still, I suppose it's preferable to hearing one of Cliff's songs crop up!!

Sunday 21 February 2010


Before he went on stage to sing in front of his screaming teeny-bopper fans, a DC Thomson photographer grabbed David Cassidy for a photo session during which he settled down to read all about himself in the Jackie. As you can see, his mugshot is on the front cover!
The concert took place in 1974 in Glasgow.
The year before, Jackie gave away the above free flexi-disc with David recording "a special message to all Jackie readers", along with a couple of tracks from his new album, "Daydream".
So this was the day DC met DC..!!

Saturday 20 February 2010


A wee bit of fun now as I indulge in a short, quirky sequence featuring famous music biz personalities photographed reading DC Thomson publications.
Starting with this LP released in 1966, the John Mayall Blues Breakers album which has Eric Clapton reading a well known Dundee comic on the cover. The image has become so iconic, that the record has since become known as "The Beano Album".
Although it's quite an amusing sight, the album itself is seriously considered to be one of the most influential LP's in rock history because it spotlights for the very first time, the sound of a Gibson Les Paul being powered through a Marshall amp. A phenomenon which itself eventually became a bit of a cliche in rock music and was comically parodied in Spinal Tap...remember..."the numbers all go to 11"

Friday 19 February 2010


The sight of 2 well known Dans teaming up together for an advert, cropped up in the national music press in March 1974.
Yes it's Dundee's Desperate Dan carrying an album by U.S.A.'s Steely Dan.
It could be interpreted as Dan stealing the LP, giving it a visual pun (stealy Dan), especially as it may also be a rogue Dan (bolts in the neck?!).
Anyway, it's quite amusing, and I remember buying Pretzel Logic too.
If I incorporate a 3rd Dan onto the scene, Dundee's Danny Wilson, some of you will know that they were somewhat inspired by Steely Dan's music.
In fact, they even released an EP in the late 80's which gave a bit of a nod to Pretzel Logic - cheekily calling it Strepzil Logic!


It's Desperate Dan again, this time with a front row seat at a gig.
Others in the crowd are members of The Broons, Oor Wullie and funky legend, James Brown, who is doing his thang in the aisle.
This is the album cover artwork of a recording by Dundee musician, Ken Hyder.
The LP is called "Under The Influence" and was released in 1984.


Our Price record shop opened up in the Murraygate at the tail end of the 80's.
I was down south by then so missed out on it as being a regular place to shop. However, on a return visit a couple of months after it had opened, it was one of the first places I headed for. I can remember them playing videos all the time I was in while I was raking around the racks. Needless to say I had to make a purchase - so the one & only record I ever bought from this store was a brilliant 12 inch single by Nightmares On Wax called "Aftermath" - a twisted underground dance groove that still sounds great today.
I've no idea how long the store lasted, who worked there or have any other info about it...but I'm sure some of you will!
To help jog your memory I have accompanied the image of the shop with an ad announcing the official opening of the store, which was on 13 May 1989.
Also, one of their familiar carrier bags.
Trivia-wise, rock band, The Silencers, once did an in-store P.A. set there in August '89.

Thursday 18 February 2010


DATA was the brainchild of Dundee artist, Pete Horobin. It stands for - Daily Active Time Archive. The concept behind it was to document 10 years of his life on a daily basis, from 1st January 1980 to 31st December 1989, using art, films, audio recordings, journals, photography and a few other methods. A rather hefty project to undertake! He was based at 37 Union Street, with his living quarters & studio known as "The Attic", which was also open to like-minded artists who he collaborated with. A couple of examples of DATA output here - The image above is his introduction page from a book published by AAGA Productions called "Views From Urban Dwellings - 2" dated 1983. PH was one of 9 contributors to the book, containing poetry, stories, observations, graphics etc. Below is an audio recording he made during an interview with the DHSS using the name DATA DD1 4BS. A great piece of work using layers of cut up loops, similar in style to Steve Reich. The repetitiveness of certain sections is a good reminder of what it's like signing on over & over again, a situation that feels like you're trapped in a never ending cycle, and one that could possibly drive you crazy!! It lasts 7 minutes, so you've been warned..!!


Wednesday 17 February 2010


When Radio Tay started up in 1980, The Jobcentre teamed up with them and set up, what was known as, the Job Shop, at the stations premises. The idea behind it was to expand the Jobcentre's facilities in Dundee to help spread the word about work in the local area. Radio Tay would then broadcast vacancy updates 3 times a day, to remind the unemployed what jobs were available and they could make enquiries about the jobs either at Radio Tay or the main Jobcentre.
Below is a short, silent clip of the interior of the Job Shop in 1980.

Tuesday 16 February 2010


This is my TSB bank book I used at Meadowside.
As you can see, my final withdrawal before departing Dundee was made on 27th November 1986, leaving me with 13p to my name!
I never actually officially closed this account as I just opened up a new one with a different bank when I arrived down south, so I suppose, technically, I'm still entitled to my TSB money!
Let's see, what with all the interest that must have accumulated over the years, I could be sitting on a 17p fortune here..!!

Monday 15 February 2010


The DRCU creche got a mention in yesterdays comments, and so here is a reminder of how it looked.
The photo, taken around the late 80's, features the magnificent 6ft painting by Laura Walker, who later went on to decorate the whole place.
Thanks to MK

Sunday 14 February 2010

D.R.C.U. - HILLTOWN - 1980s

Whilst on the subject of the dole, here is my DRCU concession card from 1986.
This entitled me to discounts from selected shops, clubs & services in town. For example, I remember using it in places like Willie Low's, Manifesto, Fats Sam's, and on buses too I think.
The top image is the back of the card which reads - Dundee Resources Centre for the Unemployed. 2 Hilltown. Dundee - and the office hours.
On the flip side it had a mugshot and name & address. You had to visit the DRCU each month for them to stamp and validate it for the following month's usage, as shown in the 2nd image.
This was my final year in Dundee as I headed South in January '87.
It's good to recall I was still going to Fat Sams to catch live bands, right to the end!
DRCU also put gigs on too.
I missed out on this example here, a weekend programme of visuals and audio called Vaudio.
Bands, video, film, performance art and suchlike, all put together by tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCe, A Conspiracy Of Feelings, Pete Horobin & co.
This was in July 1988.

Saturday 13 February 2010


During the mid 80's period, when I was on the dole, I used to make Kurt Schwitters style collages. Not being able to afford art materials, I used things like cornflakes boxes, sweet wrappers, carrier bags and so on, the kind of consumer packaging you would normally chuck in the bin. I would cut them up and assemble them into wee pieces of abstract art. This wasn't a career move by the way, it was just for my own creative amusement.
I was living in a city centre flat and used to pay my electricity bills at the Hydro Electric Board showroom in Whitehall Street.
On one occasion when funds were low, I was struggling to pay my bill. Having ignored the reminders and final demand, I received a letter from them that had a large red warning stamped on it that read - SUPPLY DUE FOR DISCONNECTION. CONTACT OFFICE IMMEDIATELY.
The above item is my collage piece depicting this moment, dated 1985.
The top blue square represents my electric fire, with the orange strip showing that only one bar was working at the time!
Below it, is the actual warning that I cut out of the letter.

I ended up arranging to pay the bill in installments.

It's quite funny looking back at those days, with my mind not having any thoughts of domestic comfort. And even when totally skint, was still able to view the situation with a touch of humour!

Friday 12 February 2010

SONY TA-2650 - R.I.P.

Earlier this year, my hi-fi amplifier blew up! Yes, sadly, it has finally died. I say finally because I have actually been using this same stereo since the mid 70's.
I bought it from Larg's in Whitehall Street. The first major purchase off my own wages. It took me 2 years to pay it up mind you!
The sound quality was brilliant, so I didn't feel the need to get a new one over the following 34 years, although I did add to it over time with a cd player, cassette deck, mini disc player, tuner, the usual gubbins.
It does mean though, I won't be able to convert my old records into mp3 format now, until I get another one.
Anyway, you probably won't be surprised to find out that I kept my original Owners Instruction Manuals that came with it, dated 1976. So if there are any old audio boffins out there, here's a couple of pages from the manuals that may interest you.
The top one shows the front of the Sony TA-2650 amp, and the middle one is the back panel.
It came with 2 large wooden cabinet speakers (Sony 5300) which were made in Norway.
The turntable deck, Sony PS-1700, still works fine. The rubber slip mat has suction cups to help the vinyl grip better.
If I was told when I bought it that it would last 3 & a half decades, I wouldn't have believed them!!
Click images to enlarge.

Thursday 11 February 2010


I have 2 items linked to Whitehall St coming next, but before I do these, I thought I'd put up a wee reminder of how the street itself looked back in the day!
Here is the lowdown on the shops in the photo, taken in May 1978.
DRAFFENS dept store takes up the full length of the street down the right. The wee shade structure above the door on the far right has "Restaurant" on it. You could use this stairway to take you straight there without having to trek through the shopping departments.
On the left, starting at the Crescent corner, is - STORK CORNER, babywear - HYDRO ELECTRIC BOARD - LARG'S, musicsellers, with the clock above the entrance - the 2 stripy canopies next to each other are NICOLL & SMIBERT, bakers/restaurant and FISHER & DONALDSON, bakers - then MATHIESON SHOE GROUP - and the one chopped off at the far left corner is THE DESIGN SHOP, household goods.
There were also quite a few dentists in the premises above the shops.
Back then, Fisher & Donaldson sold brilliant strawberry tarts, but only during the summer season. A pricey luxury item available around June to August, then when they disappeared, you'd have another year to wait before you could indulge again!
A wee bonus in the picture is the reminder of the Wullie Low carrier bag. A design that resembled the "Keep Britain Tidy" logo, but in red & white.
Click image to have a nosey around.
Photo by DC Thomson.

Wednesday 10 February 2010


LUX - OMO - TIDE - FAIRY SNOW - OXYDOL - DREFT... just some of the washing products that were popular in the 60's, but now I think all have disappeared.
I have 3 items relating to the subject here, so starting first with the photos above.
These are some of the greenie poles aroond the backies in Kemnay Gardens where we lived. They were standard council installations that everyone in Craigie had in the 60's. However, none of the ones in the snaps exist anymore. All the garden areas have been partitioned off from each other and everyone uses whirligigs now.
With old style tenements, many had pulley systems outside the windows on the upper floors which were attached to a large main pole that held many clothes lines.
Which brings me to the 2nd item. Some examples of these pulleys crop up in a short film I have (below), the footage of which was taken around various locations in Dundee in the 60's.
But before we go on a retro tour of the backies, item 3 is a wee reminder of how washing powder was advertised on tv in the 60's, with the one below being for Fairy Snow, who's slogan some of you may recall... "Forces Grey Out - Forces White In!"

Tuesday 9 February 2010


One person who was at the Rocky Horror Picture Show was Jock Ferguson, resplendent in leopard-skin!
Jock, as I'm sure you all know by now, was a member of The Beaver Sisters, Dundee's answer to The Tubes!
Above, you can get an idea of the kind of humour they had, in this witty mock interview, full of double entendres, twisted word play...and even putting the boot into - or should that be digging the stilettos into - Danny Wilson. Ouch..!!
Quite a few members came & went in the band line-up, but the main core of The Beaver Sisters who had the longest run, were - DREW RAMSAY - PETE SILVERS - JOCK FERGUSON - ANTH BROWN - BARRY GIBSON and STEVE HAMILTON.
The band did tons of gigs locally, with their shows in Foreigners being notoriously riotous affairs.
The above line-up were together for around 5 years, but in total, The Beaver Sisters were on the go nearly 7 years - mid 80's to early 90's.
The interview (all Jocks work) comes from Street Life mag - 1988.
Click image to enlarge.

To get an alternative insight on the band, here is a well written piece about the Beavers live shows - click link - Beaver Sisters live

Monday 8 February 2010


This ad for The Rocky Horror Picture Show was in Dundee's Street Life mag.
The late showings took place at the Cannon in the Seagate in November 1988.
There was a large turnout for this charity event, and as well as the main feature film, there was live cabaret on stage. The added attraction was the appearance of the shows creator, the entertaining and all-round good guy, Richard O'Brien.
Somewhere in the crowd there would have been the winning ticket holders of the Street Life competition too!
And a good time was had by all.
Click image to enlarge.

Sunday 7 February 2010


This instantly recognisable layout comes from the what's on section in the Courier. The one here dating from April 1970.
The choice of Dundee cinemas to pick from are - ABC - GAUMONT - ODEON - PLAZA - RITZ - ROYALTY - TIVOLI - VICTORIA and the REGAL in the Ferry.
Quite funny to see that all the films have family rated U & A certificates, except for the Tiv, who typically is showing X's..!!
Despite the Royalty being located at my end of town, I don't think I was ever at this picture house. No memory of that one at all.
Click image to enlarge.


Not so many cinemas in town by the time we reach the late 80's, but here's what films were on offer in October 1988, published in Dundee's what's on guide, Street Life.
If I only had to pick one movie, I think I'd opt for "A Fish Called Wanda".
Picture houses mentioned are - STEPS - CANNON 1 & 2 - VICTORIA.
Click image to read large version.

Saturday 6 February 2010


From the pages of Cranked Up comes this round-up of 1981's best movies, written by their critic, Fabian Bell.
I remember going to quite a few of the ones mentioned, but for some reason I never went to see the winner, Raging Bull.
One of the films I noticed in the write-up but not in the top 10 was "Clash Of The Titans". I just thought I'd remind you that this featured the brilliant stop-motion animation of Ray Harryhausen. This actually turned out to be his final piece of work, and although this type of film was a bit played out by the 80's, RH's contribution in the Titans was still pretty amazing.
Click image to enlarge.

Friday 5 February 2010


The film causing all the commotion at the Gaumont was "Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs".
These pictures were taken on the 5th April 1973, so the movie would have been on it's umpteenth re-release by then.
I too saw this classic animation at the Gaumont, but that was in the mid 60's. For some reason, I always remember Dopey's drum solo sequence!
I also have a hazy memory of singing a rude version of "Hi Ho Hi Ho" in the school playground, but can't recall how it went now. Probably just as well!
If you want to have a closer look at the faces in the crowd to see if ye ken anybody, just click onto the images to enlarge.
Photos by DC Thomson.

Thursday 4 February 2010


A little glimpse at what was showing at the Steps in April 1989.
Not much in the way of family films, but looking through the list it reminded me that I bought the COLORS soundtrack on vinyl back then. I had a look to see if I still had the album in my collection and I do, so I plucked it out to get a reminder of the content. If there are any old b-boys & fly-girls out there, then here's the tracklist lowdown...
ICE T "Colors" - DECADENT DUB TEAM "Six Guns" - SALT 'N' PEPA "Let The Rhythm Run" - BIG DADDY KANE "Raw" - ERIC B & RAKIM "Paid In Full" - KOOL G RAP "Butcher Shop" - 7A3 "Mad Mad World" - ROXANNE SHANTE "Go On Girl" - MC SHAN "A Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Waste" - RICK JAMES "Everywhere I Go".
Some classic old school hip hop in there... and this was around the time the word "Yo" started to infiltrate our language.
Yo...I'm outta here!!

Wednesday 3 February 2010


Call it the Victoria, Vicky, Vic or flea-pit, but as picture house's go, it was quite low down in the pecking order of cinema's to visit.
It couldn't really compete with the blockbusters the ABC and Odeon screened regularly and so would often show movies that were on their 2nd or 3rd outing. Having said that, I did go there quite a lot in the 60's & 70's.
I have 2 not so good memories of the Vic...
Once, on a visit as a schoolkid in the 60's, me & my wee brother came back from a show with our heads covered in lice! Yep, the flea-pit tag struck with a vengeance that day. We had to use "special shampoo" and a nit comb for a few days afterwards!!
The other Vic nightmare was in the early 80's, when during a film, a huge chunk of plaster came crashing down off the ceiling. Luckily it landed around an empty area of seats beside the aisle rather than on someones noggin, but I clearly remember saying after the show - "That's the last time I'll be in this place" - and indeed it was.
Amazingly though, the Vic was the 2nd longest running cinema in Scotland, so I can only assume it's heyday was pre 60's.
The place was closed/condemned at the end of the 80's.

Tuesday 2 February 2010


This ad for the Tivoli dates from the late 60's.
It was a place I never went to, so don't know much about it other than the thing everyone knows, it was the place to go see X-rated blue movies!
In fact I didn't even realise it was licensed until I saw this ad. If I had known you could get a pint, I may have visited it out of curiosity!
Below is a very short clip of film, also from the late 60's, showing the Tivoli's position in Bonnybank Road.
The cinema closed down around the mid/late 70's, and lay empty for a while before it changed into a snooker hall.

Monday 1 February 2010


Here's 2 different Vex performances that took place in 1981.
The first review is seen from the audience's perspective, and the other is an account of a gig by the band.
So, the top one was a show Vex did at the Tayside Bar. A large turn out for this one too, and although writer, Jock Ferguson, gives a good detailed description of the evenings events and a bit of background information on the band, he does end up dismissing Vex as "Bluffers"!!
At least there was no police presence during this performance, but being Vex, some of their gear got smashed up!
The 2nd review was written by Vex member, Mike Strachan, and tells of what happened at their gig at the Brig O' Tay in Fife.
Not only did Vex improvise their sets, on this occasion they also improvised a name change and called themselves Mass on the night, sharing the bill with 2 other acts, The Noise and Waiter Waiter.
Once again, however, the night ended abruptly when the police were called, that lead to their equipment being switched off and the band banned!
You'll probably need to click the images to read the large versions.